• Culture

28 Snapshots Of Daily Life In Pyongyang, North Korea

If you've ever wondered what life in North Korea looks like, the following pictures from the country's capital, Pyongyang, provide actual snapshots into the lives of urban North Koreans. Though the age of smartphones usually allows for maximum documentation, Pyongyang photos remain difficult to find given the country's self-imposed isolation and a citizen population largely unaware of the outside world. In fact, the only real consistent photos of life in North Korea usually revolve around its dictator, Kim Jong Un, who maintains a state of practical godliness over his people.

Foreigners visiting North Korea are highly restricted in terms of where they are allowed to go and what they are allowed to take pictures of. Thus, even visiting the country doesn't provide the entire story. But many of the following photos taken by more bold and daring photographers show an attempt to depict the real Pyongyang, thereby giving the outside world a small idea of what life is like in North Korea.

  • Inside A Pyongyang Supermarket

    Photo: Simonkoryo / Instagram

    The gin aisle inside one of Pyongyang's two supermarkets. Tourists are permitted inside of these stores, where imported goods are plentiful, and upper middle class North Koreans can afford to shop.

  • A Child Waits To See His Father In Parade

    Photo: Instagram

    This young boy waits for his father's battalion to pass in a military parade for Day of the Sun. The April 15th holiday marks the birthday of Kim Il-sung, founder and former president of North Korea.

  • A Packed City Bus

    The bus system in Pyongyang is often overcrowded, with passenger queues stretching several blocks. 

  • A Street View Of The Ryugyong Hotel

    The Ryugyong Hotel overlooking a sparsely packed street. One-hundred-five stories tall with five rotating restaurants at the top, it cost North Korea 2% of their GDP, nearly $750 million dollars.