Travel — March 15, 2012 at 10:37

Lonely Planet – North Korea

Introducing North Korea

The eagerly awaited Ronery Pranet guide to North Korea (printed by the Ministry of Tourism of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) has finally hit store shelves worldwide. It can also be purchased on Amazon.com ($29.99 plus shipping) as well as all DPRK foreign missions.

Eagerly assuming its place among the world’s top travel destinations, even more so since the 2009 Kimchaek nuclear test, North Korea is an epic adventure.  From the wide open and empty streets of Pyongyang to the push and shove of the interrogation room of the Yodok Concentration Camp for political dissidents, from the landmine-studded Demilitarized Zone to the countless orphanages filled with cute and not-at-all obese kiddies, a journey through this amazing country is a mesmerizing encounter with one of the happiest and perhaps fittest nations on earth.

Highlights

  • Hiking in the amazing bark-free forests of Mt. Paektu.
  • Sampling the world-famous tree-bark based minimalist cuisine.
  • Supreme views of the sky in the world’s most stargazing-friendly metropolis.
  • Visiting the Demilitarized Zone and mocking the impoverished American-obsessed South Koreans.
  • Enjoying the jam-free and smooth commutes in Pyongyang – the pinnacle of traffic management.
  • Enrolling in the world’s most comprehensive, W.H.O.-recognized weight loss program.
  • Team-building public executions at the Kim Il Sung Football Stadium.

Fast Facts

-Budget: Package tours start at mere 200 euro per day

North Korea: a leader in the worldwide fight against light pollution.

-Capital: Pyongyang

-Country Code: 850

-Language: Korean

-Money: North Korean Won

-Population: 24,051,000

-Internet TLD: .kp (both websites)

-Internet Users: 2 (2011), 1 (2012)

-Time: GMT +8 hours

-Electricity: fairly common

Travel Hints

You will be having so much fun in the proletarian paradise that you will not want to waste time on phone calls to your home country, and so you will be unburdened of the deadweight of your mobile phone upon arrival.

Due to the extra bright sunshine in the land of the Eternal President, photographic overexposure is common. This is taken care of by uniformed photography experts who will carefully go over your photos and delete all poor quality images for you while you are leaving the country.

 

 

 

 

Warning

A soldier keeping a watchful eye on the beloved guests of the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang.

Koreans are very shy, and do not like to be photographed by strangers.  You are advised to respect the local custom and never take photos of anyone.  The shyness extends to conversations, especially sensitive topics such as the details of someone’s mood and basic greetings.  As a preventive measure to ensure maximum inter-cultural harmony, you will be kept well clear of locals by your handlers who are specially trained in deciding what contact should and shouldn’t occur.  In order to prevent any offence resulting from culture clash, you will not be allowed to leave your hotel unescorted.  Guests staying at the Yanggakdo Hotel will have the added benefit of staying on an island secured by armed guards and surrounded by barbed wire.

Weather

Described by many climatologists as “perfect”, North Korean weather is recognized as the best in the world for everything.  Largely result of careful climate projects spearheaded by the Great and Dear Leaders, the DPRK enjoys all four seasons.  Occasionally, American-instigated floods cause minor annoyance in some regions, but everyone’s spirits are quickly elevated by participation in the Mass Games.

-When to go

North Korea is a year-round paradise but the absolute best time to visit is the period specified on your visa.

Practical Travel Information

-Money, Costs and Exchange

All North Korean gift shops carry a wide range of local delicacies which make for a delectable snack and an even better gift.

Most popular way to see North Korea is on a guided tour, and those are all-inclusive, which means you will not need much money beyond what you will want to spend on beverages, gifts, and replacing small items stolen from your room (by other guests, never by hotel staff).  Despite the fact that North Korea has its own currency, you will not be burdened with the complicated task of calculating the exchange rate, and so all your expenses will be charged in Euro, Japanese Yen, Chinese Yuan, or the filthy imperialist U.S. dollars. Hotel giftshops appreciate the burden created by loose coins and so change is seldom given.

-Tipping

Although guides, drivers, as well as hotel and restaurant staff are all well taken care of by the Great Successor, small symbolic gifts are always appreciated.  Thus, it is a good idea and a nice gesture to bring the following:

  • rice (7 to 14 kg)
  • shoelaces
  • powdered milk
  • toilet paper (10 or more rolls)
  • hand soap
  • toothbrushes (new or used)
  • table salt

-Economy

Poised to replace the United States on the G8, North Korea enjoys a youthful, modern and dynamic economy.

Contrary to imperialist propaganda, North Korean economy is one of the strongest in the world. Top exports include traditional Korean fern-based medicine, small arms, chemical weapons, and statuary.  North Korea is so rich, it can afford everything, and so imports include everything else.

-ATM’s

Numerous bank machines are located in nearby China, Russia and Japan, as well as U.S.-occupied South Korea.  For more information about getting there, see the transport section below.

Getting There and Away

-Entering North Korea:

by Air

Sunan International Airport near Pyongyang is served by Air China (flights to Beijing and Shenyang) as well as as Air Koryo (holder of the coveted and exclusive one-star rating by Startrax) which, although still not authorized to fly over the E.U. territory (due to safety concerns piled upon the victorious and Juche-inspired airline company by the imperialist bureaucrats obsessed with such insignificant things as seat belts and fire extinguishers) will fly you to convenient air-transport hubs such as Tashkent, Baku and Vladivostok.

by Train

There are five weekly flights and four international express trains (K27 and K28) between Beijing and Pyongyang

-Exiting North Korea:

In addition to the most popular air and rail connections, there is an array of other options for departing the Worker’s Paradise:

by Boat

Many fishing boats leave on one-way trips on the Sea of Japan where the crews/passengers/stowaways have an opportunity to transfer onto Japanese Coast Guard vessels.  Luggage is not recommended.

by Raft

A more adventurous local method is to strap many plastic bottles together and push off into the Sea of Japan – while more strenuous, this option allows for wonderful and brisk snorkelling before making it into the international waters, unless one decides to make a return on one of the multitude of DPRK naval patrol boats which will bring anyone on board back to the comfort of the camp.

North Korean plane arrives in China.

by Fighter Jet

An even more adventurous option, although, at the time of writing, only available to DPRK Air Force crews, is flying out of North Korea, either to Russia, South Korea, or Japan.  Keep in mind that due to fuel shortages, the number of takeoffs doesn’t usually equal the number of landings and parachutes are highly recommended.

Swimming Across River

As is the case with most Asians, swimming is a favourite

activity in North Korea, and so most locals choose to go on their vacations and shopping sprees in China by swimming across the cold but wonderfully scenic Yalu River.  While you get best views on a daytime crossing, most locals elect to cross at night.  You might not embrace the odd timing, nor the shoe polish on your face, but “when in Rome…”

Hugs and Tears: North Koreans thanking Chinese friends for bringing them back to the DPRK embassy at the end of a shopping trip in Beijing.

Getting Around

-Car rental

Rental cars are increasingly popular in North Korea, comprising a full 40% of all road vehicles.  Both of them are available for rent in Pyongyang.

-Pyongyang Metro

A showcase of Juche achievement, Pyongyang Metro is the world’s deepest underground train system.  Although it has a total of 12 fabulously decorated stations, you will only see two of them because your busy itinerary will not allow you to explore any of the other ones.  The metro also doubles as a bomb shelter, in case of a nuclear attack by the Americans, so you can feel extra safe.

-Walking

Easily the most popular way to move around this eco-friendly country, walking is a great way to see the place and meet the locals (See note above).  To ensure all your questions are promptly answered, a guide will escort you on every excursion.

Medical Care

North Korea: Leading the fight against childhood obesity.

As always, a well equipped first-aid kit might come in handy. Aside of standard plasters, iodine and gauze, you will not need to pack Imodium or Ciproflaxicin as food borne diseases are virtually unheard of.  It is however recommended to bring glass capsules of potassium cyanide in case things go very wrong.

History and Politics

Since the beginning of mankind the Korean nation has continuously lived on the Korean peninsula.  Anthropological research confirms the superior nature of the Korean people, especially when compared to their neighbours to the east.

After thousands of years of development, a series of amazing ancient kingdoms emerged in the land, eventually to be consolidated into the great Korean nation.  While the rulers of the people were feudal lords, the proletarians themselves demonstrated typically Korean traits such as amazing intelligence, compassion, and amazing strength.

In 1905 Japanese and American imperialists cooked up the unlawful “Five Point Korea-Japan Treaty” and subsequently fabricated the “Korea-Japan Annexation Treaty” in 1910.  Koreans were thus deprived of their country.

After a long struggle against the Japanese and the Americans, Korea won its independence under the glorious leadership of Great Leader Kim Il Sung when he and he alone repelled the imperialists by successfully raiding Pearl Harbour and then destroying Hiroshima and Nagasaki with his bare hands.  A free Korea had not emerged, however, because of another imperialist plot to divide the Korean peninsula  with millions of land mines and hundreds of kilometres of barbed wire fence installed by the South Korean puppets sympathetic to the evil American and Japanese invaders.

Fortunately, while under the guidance of the Great Leader, North Korea entered a period of tremendous prosperity, while the puppet regime of the south had slowly driven itself into the abject poverty for which it is known today.  North Korean citizens to this day enjoy world’s highest standards of living (according to the DPRK Institute of Statistics).  In a recent study conducted by North Korea’s Chosun Central Television, citizens of the DPRK rank second on the “Global Happiness Index”.  While China earned 100 out of 100 points, followed closely by north Korea (98 points), then Cuba, Iran and Venezuela.  Coming in at 203rd place is the AMerican Empire with only 3 happiness point.  The poor South Koreans got a measly 18 points for a 152nd place.  It is a small wonder that North Koreans revere the Great and Dear leaders!

Dear Leader Kim Jong Il bestowing another splendid gift upon the people of North Korea.

A visitor to the country will not miss the great love reserved for the leadership.  People in all communities regularly come together to erect statues and sing songs of praise for the Eternal President Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il whose superior intellect has kept DPRK on a steady course towards true proletarian victory.  Even with the Dear Leader’s passing in December 2011, the enthusiasm remains unshaken as the Great Successor Kim Jong Un has taken the reins and is quickly steering the country towards glory at an even faster pace.

 

 

 

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a genuine workers’ state in which all the people are

completely liberated from exploitation and oppression. 

The workers, peasants, soldiers and intellectuals are the true masters

of their destiny and are in a unique position to defend their interests.”

Trouble in Paradise: Hundreds of kilometres of landmines had to be laid by the glorious DPRK soldiers to keep out the thousands of South Korean refugees pouring over the border. South Korea, for years ruled by foreign imperialists, is plagued by one of the world’s longest and most severe economic crises, which deeply worries leader Kim Jong Un.

Useful Phrases

The following are a nibble at some sure crowd pleasers and practical expressions you might want to use during your visit:

 

Hello!

여보세요!

yeoboseyo !

 

 

What is your name?

당신의 이름은 무엇입니까?

dangsin-ui ileum eun mueos-ibnikka?

 

 

Driver’s Heaven: North Korean highways are famous for smooth traffic flow and a total absence of road accidents.

Long Live the Dear Leader!

긴 위대한 지도자 라이브!

gin-widaehan jidoja laibeu!

 

 

Death to American Imperialist Aggressor Swine!

미국의 제국주의 침략 돼지에게 죽음을!

migug-ui jegugjuui chimlyag dwaeji ege jug-eum-eul!

 

 

Meet the locals: North Korean soldiers having a casual chat with a tourist.

Don’t shoot, we are Russians, not Americans!

쏘지 마, 우리는 러시아가 아닌 미국!

ssoji ma , ulineun leosia ga anin migug !

 

 

Please Comrade, may I have some more?

동지를주세요, 난 좀 더 얻을 수 있을까요?

dongji leul juseyo, nan jom deo eod-eul su iss-eulkkayo?

About the publication
Ronery Pranet North Korea was published as a response to the slanderous and largely untrue travel documentary about North Korea by Monkeetime, a travel video troupe dedicated to spreading the jealous and hateful propaganda of American imperialist aggressors and their pawns.
To see the disgusting collage of vile lies about our glorious nation you may click on this link. Please feel free to leave a negative comment, and tell your friends to do the same.

Ronery Pranet, 2012

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10 Comments

  1. What’s your take on this “Satellite” they are going to launch soon? Japan says they’re gonna shoost it downs. lol

    • @ Nick: The Japanese can’t shoot it down as by the time the rocket will be overflying their territory it will be some 200-300km above – no technology exists to take it out from there. But it seems like the path will be south towards the Philippines ANYWAY. This is not much of a satellite test, only a demonstration that they have intercontinental ability, and that they soon might have rockets able to deliver a nuke-tipped missile to the US. Just crying for attention so they can get more food aid, oil, and other supplies. GO JUCHE!!!

      • Pah!!! Fake!!!! This Communist bastards only want to cover their cremis by putting this piece of shit propaganda!! Their cremis are even more worse than this,raping,murder of innocent civilians,looting and other cremis on the South Koreans.Lets say i reveal the bastards’ cremis and i’ll see how their faces are like.Good thing South Korea rejects your unity and Communism go to HELL!!!

        • Are you sure that this is fake? You mean, this is not the actual Ronery Pranet North Korea page? Do you know the meaning of the word “spoof” ? Ok.. Thanks for visiting…

          • Ok reading this rmined me of my Caucasian male friend who told me what his experience was like in a Korean bathhouse. It was a disbelief and just beyond uncomfortable. He went through the entire process though including soaking his body in water for a long time and having the scrubbing man scrub all over his naked body as well as the private part. A lot of dark dead skin called in Korean, DDEA or TTEA came off and he felt very refreshed afterwards, but it was nonetheless an extremely uncomfortable experience for him.As a Korean who grew up in Korea, my bathhouse trips were frequent. Now that I live in the States, I can’t do it so often but I still manage to go for it once a year, that is in the Spring time when the weather starts getting warm. The idea is to take off all the dirty TTEA and smooth the skin as I’ll be showing off more skin with the warming weather. Two things I want to point out here as someone who understands both the sense of feeling extreme discomfort by westerners and the sense of the need Koreans are having for the fresh clean refreshed body and mind.My first point sums up to this: Mind over matter; Things are all in our own head, Heard mentality once others do it believe me you’ll be fine with it too; Go back to basic after all we all are from the Basics; We all have the same breast and penis. This kind of mentality is in Koreans more so than western people when it comes to physical part of lives. Frequent bumping into each other on the Seoul street also can be said originated from this mentality. It’s looked with more ease. Mental/emotional part of lives of Koreans however is a whole different story and in many ways more sensitivity is given to it than that of the westerners. If you feel Korean people very pleasant, accommodating and understanding, it’s because of this reason.My second point is the raw benefit of scrubbing Ttea off your skin. The difference before and after is remarkable. The skin becomes much more smooth. For Koreans, it’s incomprehensible to carry on throughout life time the dead skin on your skin. It doesn’t feel good, unhealthy and affects your mind. I’m a female and here’s my interesting personal experience. With someone who I went out, who was close to 50, a westerner, on the first night with him, what I immediately noticed was how rough and sandy his skin was. It was an obvious accumulation of the dead skin for the long 50 years. Of course anyone’s skin will become sandy and rough without taking the TTEA off for so long. He needed a real good bathhouse trip.

    • Quite frankly, that blog tkinss. It’s boring, for one. And devoid of personality. Does anyone really care what the Korean government thinks? I sure don’t.On top of that, it actually announced the “Gala Buddhist Temple Food Event in NYC” days after it actually happened. Thanks for the “news!”I’m starting to think “Mi-Sook Recommends” might actually be an ironic category. Or, “cat”-egory. (Mi-Sook is the cat, correct?)

  2. When Stalin died (1952), the vast majority of his sprropteus ceased immediately supporting the policies of his regime. The same thing also happened when TITO died in Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the same thing will happen in North Korea.Kim Jong Il inherited his power after his father, Kim Il Sung died in 1994. I think his son Kim Jong Un will probably become the next leader. There have been some unconfined reports that Kim Jong Un has been already announced as leader.Sadly, it’s the people of North Korea that are going to continue to suffer the most from the continuation of this regime. Only the people of North Korea can initiate the necessary change the country needs to become a democratic, free and stable nation. Maybe the two Korean peninsulas will become reunited?

  3. comments are crazy here lol no one can joke hu…… o_0 i liked it made me laugh .thanks .

  4. Dear Monkee,
    thank you very much for this insight guide to DPRK, I laughed a lot, even though I’m very sorry for the precarious situation of the actual proletarian class in DPRK.
    Very useful guide for when I’ll be able to go, so thanks 😉

    Question: have you ever thought of doing the same for Israel and Palestine? that would be very useful too!

    Ciao!

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