The Taedonggang Diplomatic Club is the stuff of legends, for a time it was considered “off-limits” to tourists, before being opened up by YPT. Since then many a last evening has been spent either crooning away at karaoke, playing pool with random diplomats, or simply supping vodka in the games room.
The nightlife scene of Pyongyang has expanded somewhat over the last ten years, and whilst groups often go to other paces now, “The Diplo” will always hold a special place many peoples hearts.
Pyongyang’s number 1 nightclub though? Yes, and no, but we will deal with that one later.
The Taedonggang Diplomatic Club colloquially known as the Diplo was, and still is one of the main venues for expats in Pyongyang. Bar wise the Random Access Club on the UN grounds retains more prestige, but you will regularly bump into foreigners at the Diplo, and not just tourists.
To read about the Random Access Club click here (link).
Originally built in 1972 at first it was pretty much the only place for foreigners, at least no Soviet ones in the capital. It has perennially been renovated since, most notably a few years ago, which meant being closed for quite a long time. Personally our finest memories come from The Taedonggang Diplomatic Club circa about 2010.
As the original place for expats there are a number of stories and anecdotes, some involving our groups, others not. One particular interesting one involves a bunch of African diplomats stuck in the country who would hustle the pool table. Alas this was before our time.
Where is The Taedonggang Diplomatic Club
The Diplo is located on the east side of the Taedong River and with a wonderful view of the Juche Tower.
Want to know what Juche is? read here.
What can you do at the Diplo?
It is a huge complex with a hell of a lot to offer. They have a swimming pool, which used to be huge draw for the foreigners the city, numerous restaurants, a pool room which is big and usually busy, karaoke and the games room.
The games room holds particular fireplace in my heart, partly for the barmaid, partly for the very cheap vodka, the retro video games and that they let you do alfresco karaoke!
The newly renovated karaoke rooms are perfect to party like its 1998 in North Korea! Drinks are extremely cheap and whilst there is a cover charge a great night out. You’d be surprised but the Pyongyang Karaoke song list is pretty good and you’d be hard pressed not to find something to sing along to. Of course housed you be able to sing in Korean then the masses will truly love you!
Visiting The Taedonggang Diplomatic Club
Visiting The Taedonggang Diplomatic Club is not something done by accident and you have to plan to come here. We tend to mix it up these days when it comes to the nightlife go Pyongyang, but certainly on a longer trip you would come here.
To read about the Pyongyang Duck BBQ click here.
If you happen to be in Pyongyang by yourself, either business, or on an independent tour, then this is truly a fabulous place to come and meet either other tourists, or expats in Pyongyang.
What’s The Diplo Vibe?
It is such a huge complex that it can often seem empty, but actually there are lots of people scattered around. I have personally met a lot of Diplomats here, which always makes for an interesting conversation. I remember a few vodkas and a deep chat with on Egyptian consular staff in the place.
To read about which countries have embassies in North Korea click here.
What is most special about it is that when it comes to NorthKorea at night (no we do not mean those silly pictures) then The Taedonggang Diplomatic Club is the best place for a late one when it comes to the nightlife of Pyongyang. Hence the reputation of being Pyongyang’s only nightclub.
Is the Diplo a nightclub?
Not in the traditional sense, but can you drink, dance and meet people? Oh yes, yes you can.