Pyongyang’s nightlife might not exactly be the Last Days of Rome, but things have drastically improved – certainly in the eleven or so years that I’ve been visiting.
Nowadays there are many more bars, coffee shops, and even pizza joints popping up in Pyongyang. But the one true staple of North Korean nightlife preceded even Young Pioneer Tours, and that is the Taedong Diplomatic Club, AKA “The Diplo”.
When I planned my first trip to North Korea 11 years ago I had read bits and bobs about the Diplomatic Club in Pyongyang, but according to the Lonely Planet and other companies we spoke to, it was impossible to visit. Turns out not only was it possible, but it was fairly easy. Since then, partying in the “only nightclub in Pyongyang” has become something of a YPT rite of passage.
Is the Diplomatic Club really a nightclub? The simple answer to this is no – at least not in the traditional sense. It has a few karaoke rooms (where most of the partying takes place), some restaurants, a pool room, and a 1990s-style arcade room with virtual golf. So whilst not exactly a nightclub, it is probably the closest thing to a nightclub you will find in Pyongyang, and unlike places such as the Random Access Club, foreigners and locals can party the night away together at the Diplo.
Whilst we do try and vary our tours and go to different places, the Diplo is still very much part of YPT folklore. If the walls could talk in that place! It also tends to be where we spend most of New Year’s Eve in Pyongyang; as the first company to have started running New Year tours to North Korea, we feel that this very much cements our position as true pioneers!
If you’d like to visit the Diplo yourself, sign up for our New Year’s Party tour!