Introducing North Korea
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.
- 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.
-Budget: Package tours start at mere 200 euro per day
-Country Code: 850
-Money: North Korean Won
-Internet TLD: .kp (both websites)
-Internet Users: 2 (2011), 1 (2012)
-Time: GMT +8 hours
-Electricity: fairly common
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
- powdered milk
- toilet paper (10 or more rolls)
- hand soap
- toothbrushes (new or used)
- table salt
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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…”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.”
The following are a nibble at some sure crowd pleasers and practical expressions you might want to use during your visit:
What is your name?
당신의 이름은 무엇입니까?
dangsin-ui ileum eun mueos-ibnikka?
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!
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?
Ronery Pranet, 2012