If you decide to drink the Kool-Aid then you will believe that all tourists that visit North Korea are required to stay in “Alcatraz” – you know; the one of the island, AKA the Yanggakdo Hotel. The fact is though there are a lot of Pyongyang hotel options, from deluxe to budget. The Youth Hotel – AKA the Chongnyon Hotel – is a budget option that we like to use on our Ultra-Budget tours.
Here’s our guide to staying at the Chongnyon Hotel.
The Chongnyon Hotel was completed and came into operation in 1989 and was built to house participants for the World Festival of Youth and Students. It has been somewhat more successful than the other hotel built for this event – the Ryugyong Hotel.
The Chongnyon Hotel has one of the best locations of any Pyongyang hotel save perhaps the Koryo Hotel. Being the Youth Hotel, it is situated near the Sports Village in Mangyongdae District on Kwangbok Street, one of the main streets in Pyongyang. It takes about an hour to get here from the airport.
The Chongnyon is a North Korean hotel, so it has some of our favorite features thereof: a pool room, bars, and a gift shop. The KTV/Karaoke room at the Youth Hotel is one of my favorite bars in North Korea! A night here can go late…
The Chongnyon also has quite a big outdoor swimming pool, which is a great place to hang out – when it’s clean, open, and summer.
One of the more unique restaurants is also located on the grounds of the Youth Hotel: Pyongyang’s first – and infamous – burger restaurant, now newly renovated.
Kwangbok Supermarket, a highlight of many tours to North Korea, is also very close to the hotel.
Chongnyon Hotel rooms
Let’s just say that the rooms at the Youth Hotel are somewhat retro, to say the least! You get twin beds, a TV that doesn’t show any foreign channels, and an interesting bathroom.
Technically there are 465 rooms over 30 floors, ranging from 1st to 3rd class. The 1st-class rooms could almost be considered a suite! Alas, those of you on our ultra-budget tours will not taste such luxury, and will instead stay in a normal room.
Restaurants in the Youth Hotel
If you’re staying here with YPT you might get your first night’s meal and your breakfast in the Chongnyon Hotel restaurant on the 2nd floor of the hotel.
There are hotels better than the Chongnyon Youth Hotel, but there really is a cheap-chic appeal to the hotel that makes it a great place to stay when you visit the DPRK!