Urbanist Hanoi

Back Arts & Culture » [Photos] A Ride on North Korea's Glamorous Subway Trains

[Photos] A Ride on North Korea's Glamorous Subway Trains

From unveiling a Netflix-like entertainment service called “Manbang” to banning sarcasm, North Korea is known worldwide for its bizarre antics. Therefore, it’s rather surprising to see that its metro, one of the deepest in the world, is just like any other Asian mass transit subway system…or is it?

Elaine Li, a 25-year-old photographer from Hong Kong, visited the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, recently and documented her journey on the city's mysterious subway system in a series of photos.

According to Li, the country’s underground stations are very dimly lit, but its interior is far more luxurious than what one would expect at a public transport facility.

“You see chandeliers on the ceilings, marble pillars and paintings of Kim Jong Il,” she told CNN. “The next thing I noticed was the newspaper stands that are on display across the platform itself – you’ll see people standing around and reading them.”

Video via YouTube user Humanity Beside Us.

She also added that although photography was not restricted during the trip, tourists are only allowed to board and get off at certain stations and can’t take snapshots inside tunnels.

“Even though the Hong Kong trains are louder and it seems more lively at first, the reality is that commuters here do not communicate. They are glued to their smartphones,” Li elucidated on her impression of the difference between people in Hong Kong and local North Koreans. “In Pyongyang, I did see some people on their smartphones, but far fewer.”

A Hong Kong resident, Li is more than familiar with the bustling pace of a major metropolis. Her portfolio is outfitted with scores of images from the world’s busiest cities, complete with skyscrapers, long commutes and traffic congestion.

Have a look at her work in North Korea, courtesy of CNN, below:

[Photos via CNN]


Related Articles:

[Photos] Romanian Photographer Captures North Korean Fashion Sense

- Experience: I Was a Tour Guide in North Korea During the Era of Otto Warmbier

Kim Jong-Un Sulks, Bans Sarcasm in North Korea After Being Called 'Fool' by Citizens


Related Articles

in Arts & Culture

'Napalm Girl' Kim Phuc Awarded International Peace Prize in Germany

Nearly 50 years after the iconic photo of her running from a bombing raid was taken, Phan Thi Kim Phuc has earned Germany's Dresden award for her support of UNESCO and children wounded in war.

in Arts & Culture

New Digital Typeface L'Hanoienne Preserves Classic Hanoi Hand-Painted Fonts

Hanoi streets' handprinted signs haven't been replaced with neon like in other Asian metropolises, yet; but when they are, their traditional lettering will not be lost forever.

in Arts & Culture

Nguyen Van Thong, Who Captured Thich Quang Duc’s Self-Immolation, Dies at 94

Although American photojournalist Malcolm Browne is famous for his photos capturing the historical moment in 1963, Browne wasn’t the only one at the scene with a camera.

in Arts & Culture

Retro Typeface 'Cotdien' Is an Homage to Vietnam's Old Hand-Drawn Signage

Vietnam’s sense of aesthetics is going through a retro revolution: from niche cafes playing nhạc vàng and an feature-length film on áo dài artisans to retrofitted album covers of today’s pop...

in Arts & Culture

Vans x Van Gogh Museum Collection Will Also Be Available in Vietnam

Some of Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh’s most iconic works have been turned into everyday apparel.

in Arts & Culture

Vietnamese Photographer Nets 2nd Place in Drone Photo Contest

Vietnamese photographer Pham Trung Thanh captured the exact moment the net of an anchovies fisherman's boat hovered atop the surface in Tuy Hoa, like a petal blooming across the dark water.