A Pyongyang Home Companion
No. 7: The Taedong's
Solar-Powered Boats

A new twist on a traditional activity

You gotta know, it's electric! Boogie woogie, woogie! - The Electric Slide

Last November a new flotilla of solar-powered sightseeing boats appeared on the west bank of the Taedong River. Christened the Okryu,-1, -2, and -3, these three-ships can each accommodate up to 40 passengers for a 30 minute – 2 hour leisure cruise between the May Day Stadium upstream and Mangyondae downstream. The ships average 4.5-5 knots, with a top speed of 6 knots.

Okryu means 'Flowing Jade', a name shared with Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant, also located on the west bank of the Taedong. There is no restaurant on board the the Okryus, only a small-bar selling drinks and snacks. Hungry passengers can bring their own packed lunches. Fear not! Each is equipped with a karaoke machine, pretty standard outfit for any ship of waters in this modern era. The rooftop solar-cladding keep the hits rolling. The ships are said to be fully electric, unlike the semi-electric taxis of Pyongsong.

Pleasure cruises on the Taedong River are nothing new. Boating in Pyongyang has a history dating back at least to the 14th century and has been a common theme in Korean poems and literature ever since. In days gone by, taking a boat out on the river was one of eight activities any visitor should take part in on a visit to the City of Willows and was considered one of the 'Eight Scenes of Pyongyang'.

Season: March - November; when the Taedong is ice free.

Operating hours: 10 am – 6 pm, advanced bookings advised and evening cruises can be arranged on request.

A Pyongyang Home Companion is a guide to daily life in Korea: how-to, food, sports, modern culture, and romance.

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