Welcome to basement floor #1 of the Yanggakdo International Hotel of Pyongyang, the one and only red light district open to foreigners in all of North Korea. Don’t expect to find any North Koreans in this shady area, this floor is forbidden to residents and staffed only by Chinese workers. Here the adventurous can party at the Egypt Palace Karaoke and Nightclub, try their luck at the Casino Pyongyang, and get a naughty Chinese massage in the VIP room of the Golden Spring Island Sauna. While this all sounds like a Hangover movie in the making, in reality don’t expect too much. During my visit to basement floor #1 I found the nightclub closed, the casino empty and depressing, and the naughty massage parlor simply intimidating.
On a side note – my father runs a video game company and in the past was involved with casinos, so I took a close look at the serial number tags on a handful of the slot machines that sat unpowered in the Pyongyang Casino. All of the slots were registered and had come from the United States! I wish cameras were allowed so I could have recorded some of the tags – would have been fun to track these machines down.
Check out all my North Korea pics at my Flickr Photostream
- S Korea to send medicine to North (bbc.co.uk)
- Massive Human Billboard Mosaics of the North Korean Arirang Festival (laughingsquid.com)
- North Korea in Autumn – David Guttenfelder (oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com)