Yanggakdo International Hotel

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Yanggakdo International Hotel
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl 양각도국제호텔
Hancha 羊角島國際호텔
Revised Romanization Yanggakdo Gukje Hotel
McCune–Reischauer Yanggakto Kukche Hot'el

The Yanggakdo International Hotel is the largest operating hotel in North Korea pending completion of the Ryugyong Hotel, and the seventh or eighth tallest building.[1][2][3] The hotel is located on Yanggak Island in the river Taedong, two kilometres (1.2 mi) to the south-east of the centre of Pyongyang, the nation's capital. It rises to an overall height of 170 metres (560 ft) and has a slowly revolving restaurant on the 47th floor.[4] The hotel is said to contain 1,000 rooms and a total floor space of 87,870 square metres (945,800 sq ft).[not verified in body]

This hotel is North Korea's first luxury hotel, costing around $350 USD per night for a typical twin-bed room. The structure was built between 1986 and 1992 by France's Campenon Bernard Construction Company and opened in 1996.


Besides housing the reception, the ground floor offers the purchase of North Korean currency sets, postcards and letters, and basic commodities at Western prices. There is a bar, and a bookshop which stocks North Korean reading material including treatises of President Kim Il-sung, General Kim Jong-il.[5]

In addition to the revolving restaurant, the hotel guide issued to guests indicates that the hotel contains four further restaurants on the second floor: dining-rooms one and two, the main banquet hall, and the Japanese, Chinese and Korean food dining-rooms.[citation needed]

The fifth floor is off limits to hotel guests.[1] The elevators do not stop on the fifth floor, hence there is no fifth floor button on the elevator panel.[6]

The fifth floor is reported to be further split into two separate floors, with mostly locked rooms, and is decorated with propaganda posters. [7] The basement contains a bowling alley,[5] a pool room, a sauna, a swimming pool, a barber shop, a casino and a massage club[5] run by a Chinese company with an exclusively female staff.[citation needed]

The price of the hotel is $499 a night for two adults. The hotel's grounds originally included a 9,000-square-metre nine-hole golf course. In 2011 the golf course was demolished to make space for a Chinese-funded health complex to be built.[8][9] Also located on Yanggak Island, next to the hotel's grounds, is the Pyongyang International Cinema Hall.[5] The opening and closing ceremonies of the Pyongyang International Film Festival take place here.[citation needed]

The Yanggakdo International Hotel is a standard stop on most tours of North Korea.[citation needed]

On 2 January 2016, a visiting American college student, Otto Warmbier, was arrested for allegedly trying to steal a political propaganda banner from a housekeeping area of the hotel and was sentenced on 16 March 2016 to 15 years of hard labour. The banner was taken off the wall and placed against the wall below where it hung.[10] Staff members from the hotel testified against Warmbier at his trial.[11] After seventeen months in captivity, it was revealed that Otto Warmbier had suffered severe brain damage, and he was brought back to the United States in June 2017. Within a few days, he died.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Johnson, R (April 24, 2013). "A Creepy Journey To The Hidden 5th Floor Of A Pyongyang Hotel". Business Insider. New York City. Retrieved December 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Pyongyang". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "North Korea". The Skyscraper Center. Retrieved 5 July 2017. 
  4. ^ https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/getting-drunk-in-north-korea/279310/
  5. ^ a b c d Moxley, Mitch (October 2, 2014). "The North Korean Hotel That Feels Like Alcatraz". GQ. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  6. ^ "The usual and the not so usual, an experience at a North Korean Hotel". visitthedprk.org. 
  7. ^ "Creepy North Korea: The Hidden 5th Floor…". The Monsoon Diaries. August 23, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  8. ^ Sthankiya, Nayan. "North Koreans Eager to Play Golf as Well". Seoul Times. Retrieved May 23, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Yanggakdo Golf Course is no more…". North Korean Economy Watch. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  10. ^ Sang-hun, Choe; Gladstone, Rick (March 16, 2016). "North Korea Sentences Otto Warmbier, U.S. Student, to 15 Years' Labor". The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2016. 
  11. ^ Nevett, Joshua (March 18, 2016). "North Korea releases CCTV of American student committing 'crime'". Mirror Online. MGN Limited. Retrieved April 17, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°59′56.16″N 125°45′4.15″E / 38.9989333°N 125.7511528°E / 38.9989333; 125.7511528