Anju County – not to be confused with Anju from Zelda – is a city (rather than a county) in South Pyongan Province of the DPRK. It has a population of 240,000 people, and the Chongchon River passes through it.
Anju is one of the least-visited cities in North Korea for a couple of reasons. Firstly, there’s actually not all that much to do here and secondly, it’s so close to Pyongyang (around an hour away) that you might as well just go and live it large in the big city.
It is, nevertheless, not unheard of for people to stay here, particularly when Pyongyang is full. Yes – believe it or not, Pyongyang sometimes gets extremely busy, particularly during big celebrations such as the Mass Games and particularly notable birthdays.
My one and only time to stay in Anju was during the 100th birthday of President Kim Il Sung in 2012 – or, as the locals like to call it, Juche 100.
The county is served by at least one hotel we’re aware of, the aptly named Anju Hotel. It was a pretty awesome place. There were only two of us staying there and they had Tanduay rum, on the label of which it was clearly written ‘not for export’. We drank a lot of rum and did a lot of karaoke in Anju.
Anju is on the North Korean Railway network and not only has a dam (open to tourists) but also has the Namhung Youth Chemical Complex (not open to tourists, and sounds like a Joker origin movie in the making). It makes a pleasantly bucolic alternative to Pyongyang if you get chance to go.