Changjon Street

Changjon Street

Changjon Street represented the beginning of a wave of “modernization projects” that would see new-towns like Mirae Scientists Street and Ryomyong New Town sprout up across Pyongyang.

Click to view 360° image

Construction work on Changjon Street started in 2011 and was quickly completed by 2012 to commemorate the 100th birthday of President Kim Il-sung. To achieve such a rapid construction within a year, North Korea deployed thousands of military soldiers to work multiple shifts, 24 hours a day.

Back in 2012, Changjon Street had the first residential apartments to implement LED lighting and they immediately became a shining new beacon across a dark Pyongyang. Because more lights could be installed at a much lower power consumption rate, future projects would quickly utilize LED lighting. Today, Pyongyang is much brighter than when I first visited.

Changjon Street during the day
Changjon Street at night

Changjon Street is a very upmarket area with shops, restaurants, pharmacy, cafes, bakery, and a supermarket fully stocked with imported foreign goods.

Mansudae Restaurant
Foreign goods supermarket

To put things in perspective, I can get an ordinary coffee in Pyongyang for about 1.00 USD whereas a cappuccino at Changjon Street’s ‘Sunrise Coffee Shop’ costs me 4.60 USD. A Chef’s Sandwich here costs me 2.00 USD and a meatball spaghetti costs 6.50 USD

Sunrise Coffee Shop

As for the quality of the coffee, I visited this place with a Singaporean coffee expert and he rated their coffee 8/10. He was intrigued to see they had well-trained baristas and a professional coffee maker machine.

Baristas at the Sunrise Coffee Shop
해맞이커피’의 바리스타들

As North Korea’s economy evolves with a growing middle-income group, Pyongyang would see more of such upmarket areas in the years to come.

Changjon Street 창전 거리

Leave a Reply


China-DPRK Border Towns During The Covid Pandemic (PART 2 – Tumen)

Part 2 of exploring Chinese towns at the border with the DPRK during the 2021 COVID-19 pandemic. We follow Minhye as she takes a trip to Tumen City (图们市). Tumen city is a small town that is part of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, located in Jilin Province in northeast China. It has an ethnic Korean population of approximately 80,000.

China-DPRK Border Towns During The Covid Pandemic (PART 1 – Changbai)

Since January 2020, the DPRK has shut its borders due to the COVID-19 virus. China has also implemented strict border controls to maintain their zero-COVID strategy. It has been almost two years since tourism halted between these two friendly neighbours. With no more tours to the DPRK being offered, what is life and tourism like in the Chinese border towns during such times? Our resident contributor made recent trips to visit border towns along the Yalu River and Tumen River. Join Minhye on her journey as she explores the Changbai Korean Autonomous County