If you’re planning on visiting North Korea, and indeed Pyongyang, then there’s a decent chance you will end up staying at the Yanggakdo Hotel. Although historically the most popular hotel for tourists, fewer and fewer groups actually stay here.
It is often said that North Korea prefer you to stay here because it’s located on an island (much like Alcatraz), but this simply isn’t true.
So let’s give an honest review of what it is really like to stay the Yanggakdo International hotel!
The Yanggakdo International Hotel is the largest operating hotel in Pyongyang, and North Korea, pending the competition of the legendary Ryugyong Hotel.
There are 47 floors to the hotel, with the top floor having a revolving restaurant, which is a kinda a big thing in North Korea. North Korea likes a revolving restaurant and the one at the Yanggakdo offers great views on a clear day.
Yanggakdo Hotel Price
Generally speaking most visitors to North Korea attend as part of a group tour, which includes your hotel. There is no premium to stay at the Yanggakdo International Hotel, but you would be unlikely to stay here on a budget tour. If, for whatever reason, you manage to come to Pyongyang on a business trip then the rate price to stay here is around $120 per night for a standard room.
On the first floor of the Yanggakdo Hotel is the famous casino – one of two in North Korea. All the staff in the casino are Chinese, and it is no Vegas! You also can’t drink in the casino.
Yanggakdo Hotel Booking
One popular thing with tourists right now is the assumption that flights and hotels can be just booked. In real terms they cannot, unless you have some kind of official visa to enter North Korea. That being said, they do have a phone number, and you could thus technically at least call ahead and book a room here.
There are two different kinds of massage available at the hotel: the Chinese one next to the casino (although this seems to regularly be closed) and the Korean one near the swimming pool. Extra services are not implied nor offered.
Which is better: the Koryo Hotel, or the Yanggakdo?
Hard to say, but more official groups stay at the Koryo, and it is more “posh”, but the Yanggakdo is overall more fun.
Why don’t all your groups stay at the Yanggakdo?
Young Pioneer Tours offer the most diverse range of priced tours than anyone other tour operator to North Korea, and thus we need some flexibility with price, so at times we will stay at cheaper hotels such as the Sosan or Youth Hotel..