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What is it like in North Korea?

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What is it like in North Korea?

Hey I know this might be a little silly asking this but I just want to know for anyone who has traveled to North Korea how was your experience? I am simply asking because North Korea is one of the most restrictive country in the world and I don't really know that much about it. I am simply asking for educational purpose.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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1. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

Hi there I have been and I can tell you it is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. Less than 2000 western tourist travel there a year. You are accompanied everywhere with guides. You are not allowed anywhere on your own. You will be taken only to places they choose to take you too. Most of the places are connected to the dear or great leaders who they revere above all others. Everything connected to them is glorious. We had fairly decent food. Our guides were great. They are happy to hear about where you come from and to see pictures. You are not allowed to belittle the leaders or their beliefs or idealogy - you will be told that before you go. Basically its one huge totalitarian theme park. Its definitly a hell of a destination.

all the best

angie

www.angietravels.com

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

Hi Angie!

I have noticed you post in a number of threads! Great information to read so thank you!

I have read on an Independent Tour you can often request to go places you choose? I understand some may be off limits totally (Hospitals, ect) but are you aware if you can visit Schools? I would be interested to see the IT Study area and would consider going Independent just for that haha..

I have been reading and educating myself on NK for about a year now and am very eager to go. I have seen a doco where some journo's got to see the IT Dept - so I think it might be possible?

Tel Aviv, Israel
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3. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

Hi Joel thanks for the compliments and glad I could give some useful information. If you go independently there are still limitations and I doubt if you would be able to visit places like hospitals. My suggestion if you want to visit these sort of places is to check the thread below which is from the official website of the DPRK - they may be able to offer you what you are looking for.

http://www.korea-dpr.com/travel.htm

good luck

London, United...
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4. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

By far the best website for English language news and information about North Korea is Daily NK (just Google it). I've been there, and there are far more surprises than are ever written about. It is a place of much hell and sadness, but also with many delightful and curious people. However, it is seriously as far away from the rest of the planet as most people could ever experience.

Helsinki, Finland
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5. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

Just returned from NK; The Experience was a bit controversial. Our group saw Mass Games (100 000 performers) and very talented children at Childrens palace. Both were amazing.The hotel and food - all ok.

You cant do your own trips, every meter you take is watched and even filmed.

And some tips; dont buy pins of The Leaders from China, not until you come back - they are not allowed for forigners, dont throw presents out of (train)windows (even they are candys....), they might stop the train and do the investigation.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

Booked to go in March.. As I suspected, an Independent Tour was my only option.. :) I am going with Koyro..

Pretty much the same tour you get in the 15-20 March tour, but I managed to confirm a visit to the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, with a look at the ICT dept... yay yay!! haha.. Also get a visit to the high (middle) school.. Didnt expect that.

It cost a hell lot more... almost triple the price :-/, but i did splurge on the flight out.. no train for me haha

Edited: 10 December 2013, 12:21
Tel Aviv, Israel
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7. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

Joel have a great trip. Are any of the guides in the Koryo tour office in beijing going with you like simon or hannah or are you meeting the local guides when you get to the airport. If you get mr lee he is a sweetheart and has a really good sense of humour. Ask if you can go to the opera - this is apparently incredible and they are much more inclined to take you if you are not on a group tour,. I also heard you may be able to go to the bowling alley as well. All of these will expose you to the locals which contary to what people think you are allowed to talk to (although it will be difficult as they dont usually speak english).

all the best

Angie

Edited: 13 December 2013, 08:22
Fredericksburg...
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8. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

If you want to know what it is really like in North Korea do not go on a tourist tour. What you will see will not be what life is like for virtually all Koreans there, except an elite few. Watch this video released January, 2014 from PBS entitled Secret State of North Korea and you will be educated on what it is like in North Korea.

pbs.org/wgbh/…

Thimphu, Bhutan
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9. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

The ICT department: was kitted out with DPRK intranet and a very old version of Microsoft from what I recall.

Yes, a fascinating place indeed and well worth a visit. There won't be any meaningful interaction with locals outside of your tour guides and driver, which may come as a disappointment.

Read up before you go and you'll possibly be able to view beyond what you are being shown to the reality of day to day life. If you leave Pyongyang (try to include a trip to the East Sea beaches, coast) you certainly see glimpses of what life is like for people there, and it's often not great.

Munich, Germany
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10. Re: What is it like in North Korea?

Have you ever heard of the "elephant in the room"? Well, I think this nice little grey fellow has definitely been with us in North Korea.

If you had never read anything about the country, you could come to the conclusion that people in the DPRK had a great life and everything they need. I mean, after all, the food is very good, there is always enough, there is a nice air-conditioned bus, and there are lots of interesting places to visit, such as the People's Study House or the School Children's Palace and of course also the Arirang Mass Games (which are among the best performances I have ever seen). People wave as the bus goes past, and the waitresses and museum guides are all so very nice.

You are being shown everything by these friendly and very smart local guides that simply insist on coming with you everywhere - even to the ice cream booth a few steps away. Of course they have everything they want. So it must be merely by coincidence that there is a power failure while you go bowling or that some of the restaurants can't serve you any tea right now.

But then, you have read something about North Korea before and you know that it was not just a coincidence. You won't be discussing this with your guides, though. They know that you know.

And in addition to all this, you'd have to imagine a certain tension in the air at all times. Imagine you were somewhere you were not supposed to be. That's a bit how it feels, even if you do of course have your visa and are an official tourist.

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