After a fantastic hike throughout Chilbosan area in the morning, through forests I found fairly similar to those in the UK, we got back on the bus to go to a city called Kyongsong, also spelled Gyongsong, which is nearby Chongjin, perhaps an hour driving.
Our journey to Kyongsong was definitely the main highlight for me during that day. Passing by fields, mountains, and regular North Koreans going about their daily lives. Especially in the Chilbosan area, the little villages which we passed were stunningly gorgeous, like the pictures below:
We stopped en route a few times, but unfortunately the closest we were able to get to these gorgeous villages was from the road. Sometimes, the road would pass through some towns/villages, though. Life there seemed to be very basic, with a lot of the ladies wearing traditional Korean dress (perhaps it was a special occasion that day?).
Most trade seemed to go around via ox-cart, as shown below. Quite often, the person handling it would be a young boy. I was actually a little surprised at how much poverty we were able to see, as I really expected to be completely sheltered from all of that by our guides. All roads we had travelled on so far, except in Chongjin, were unpaved, despite being the main roads.
I think this drive provided us with some of the best insights into North Korean rural life throughout the trip.
Finally, the drive into the city was stunning. Surrounding us were beautiful rice fields, which, between countless propaganda slogans, created an eerie sense as the sun was setting.
Upon reaching the hotel, we ate similar food to what we previously had, and honestly, it wasn’t fantastic. If the country was giving foreigners the best food it had, I can’t imagine the locals dine well.