Adventures at Matheran Hill Station
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Matheran is a Hill Station located near Mumbai, Karjat.   It is located 800 meters above sea level in the Jambol Forest of Maharashtra.  It was found by Hugh Poynts Malet in May 1850.  It spreads over an area of 8 square kilometers in Sahyadri Mountains.  It is one of the best places to spend a two-day holiday if you are in Mumbai or in the vicinity of Mumbai or its suburbs.  To reach Matheran,  [...]

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The phantom hotel

Posted on September 22, 2010 | Hotels8 Comments

At the heart of the world’s most secretive society, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a sight that is almost entirely Frankenstein like in its scope, size and monstrosity. Pyongyang’s Ryugyong Hotel is definitely high up the list of the world’s ugliest hotels, and it is probably in with a very serious shot of winning. It’s the world’s 22nd largest skyscraper, and it’s got enough ugliness within its 105 storeys to be spread around the 21 buildings taller than it. It’s been vacant since 1992, when construction stopped and it will always stay that way, it’s grotesque form trapped in time.

Getting into North Korea is hard enough as it is, and DPRK’s problems are as well documented as they can be for a society so shut to the world. But what cannot be hidden is the hideous building that dominates the Pyongyang skyline. If a picture can tell a thousand words, this picture says enough to fill a reasonable epic. It’s like Cinderella’s castle, the odd pyramidal form reaching for the skies and completely off-kilter from the other buildings surrounding it, and by any standards it is an eyesore. What was meant to be a grandiose building complete with some 3000 rooms and walls built at an angle of 75 degrees instead looks a harbinger of doom, a phantom hanging large over the city.

Pyongyang Ryugyong hotel

By any standards, it is a feat of architecture since it is so incredibly twisted and unattractive that it still stands unfinished and unoccupied more than two decades after work on it was begun. And to think that it represents an expense that was, at the time, 2 percent of DPRK’s GDP. It was, at the time of commencing structure, something straight out of an uber-futuristic film such as Blade Runner, but now it is little more than a giant monster hanging in the air, a crane still positioned at its apex. Some say that DPRK ran out of money to build it, and some say that the engineering was flawed and so it can never be occupied. But it’s not like that matters. The hotel has 3000 rooms, but hardly anyone ever travels down to DPRK.

The Ryugyong hotel is a failure by any stretch of the imagination; it is not only incomplete and stuck in developmental limbo, but also completely vacant without a hope of ever being finished. This becomes all the more apparent when you see South Korea to the south boasting the Busan Lotte World Tower standing tall at 110 feet. No one will ever live there, and it is thankful that this is the case; it is, for want of a better description, the world’s tallest and most colossal ruins.

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  • Janette McGahern says:

    Pyongyang literally means flat land.

    Mysterious and gray, Pyongyang is definitely one of the strangest capitals in the world.

    It is often wrapped in thick mist and dominated by the immeasurably sinister and humongous pyramid of the unfinished Ryugyong Hotel.

    Its indeed worth trying to get to know this city in your trip, as this is one of the few places you’ll get a chance to know about North Korea.

    Cool post! :-)

  • Jacques Doyle says:

    At Pyongyang, the guides will be falling over themselves to show you a succession of monuments ,towers , statues and buildings that glorify the accomplishments of the Kim regime..

    These are really impressive but the real delight of Pyongyang are to be had in quieter moments when you can have a glimpse of everyday life.

    If possible, suggest walking between sights rather than driving which most guides prefer.

  • Percy Koontz says:

    I had been to North Korea’s city Pyongyang..We were gently strolling on Pyongyang’s relatively relaxed Moran Hill..

    We saw that the locals have picnics,strum music and idle away on summer afternoons, which warmed my heart.

    The Korean Workers’ Party try their best to suppress people and impose upon them a kind of gloom..

    But despite that there is a keen sense of normalcy prevailing among the local people of the capital city of North Korea.!


    Thanks for posting about Pyongyang!

  • Jacob Curran says:

    If you’ve ever been to Pyongyang, you’d know how immediately on arriving a the DPRK station you’d be latched to your guide,I had the most serious and industrious lady who never left my side till we reached our destination and back each day..

    Most trips were day trips to the peaceful Mt. Myohyang and very interesting yet odd Panmunjom and the never ending monuments around Pyongyang built by the Kim dynasty.

    While leaving the military check picture on the digi-cameras of the tourists..

    Thanks for the post! :-)

  • Vanessa Duvall says:

    We were staying at the Yanggakdo International Hotel.It was a modern three or four star hotel with 4o storyes and on the middle of the island so that there would be no escape.
    My room was modern and contemporary with a single bed.There are many restaurants but you won’t be able to choose.
    During the day trips we had most of the announcements were in Chinese, so my guide was of much help..

    The guides will be more than glad to show you especially the historic monuments around Pyongyang which never seem to come to an end..

    There was always so much food, that we had t choose what to eat and what not to eat. Beer was served at each lunch and dinner.

    It was a one of a kind experience at Pyongyang!

    Keep posting!

  • Richard Browne says:

    The North Korean train was Soviet 1960′s style but definitely gave good service.

    Lunch and a bottle of water was provided..You could buy food and water on the train..

    However, I recommend, if you ever go on this train take a drink and a snack.

    Thanks for posting! Nice read! :-)

  • Daffne D'Silva says:

    Nice and intriguing post on Pyongyang and Ryugyong Hotel..

    Keep posting! :-)

  • Edward Louis says:

    If you are going to Pyongyang , you’ll anyway won’t have a vast array of options to choose hotels..Either here or at Koryo Hotel..

    The Hotel is just fine but one should remember that the comfort level is higher than what most North Koreans enjoy!

    The breakfast is no exciting but neither is it bland!
    You are not allowed to wander anywhere in the island where the hotel sits!
    But there is a book shop, a gift shop and also a casino and a coffee shop..

    Also the T.V. in the room showed channels like CCTV and BBC..which are banned in the rest of North Korea!

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