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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Kaesong here I come

I've wanted to go to Kaesong, the old capital of Koryo dynasty (932-1392) Korea, for quite a while. Not entirely sure why really, but it's developed a romantic glow in my mind, added to the fact that being on the North Korean side of the border makes it a rather inaccessible place. Anyway... the Korean National Tourist Organisation today announced that it will open an office in Kaesong inside the new North-South industrial park that is being constructed there. Hopefully this brings us a step closer to easy land travel across the border from Seoul to Kaesong, and even perhaps day trips (the two cities are actually very close to one another). At the moment such a trip would require a two-leg flight, via Beijing to P'yongyang and then a road journey down to Kaesong. Basically a day's (very expensive) travel to do a journey of less than an hour by car. This is assuming that you can get into the DPRK, which is obviously out of the question for most South Koreans and, in fact pretty much prohibitively expensive for anyone else.

As the article points out, Kaesong has many historical attractions and is said to be one of the better preserved cities in the whole of Korea. One can only hope that the city's character and environment do not become casualties of North-South rapprochement, unplanned mass tourism and industrial development designed to take advantage of the North's cheap labour.

In the mean time you can find out a bit more about Kaesong here.


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