North Korea courtesy of Google Maps
There’s a country in the world that has been on my radar for some years now, and it’s probably not the first choice for the regular traveller. It’s probably not a first choice for a seasoned traveller either. That place is North Korea.
North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to give it its official title, is one of those places where you hear so many stories about how the country is heavily censored, propaganda is commonplace and that some tourists have never made it out of the country – that makes me want to take a look. When I read into the non-returning tourist things, they had gone to the country under false pretences on a student visa when they were fully fledged journalists. Basically, they lied on their visa form and were penalised for doing so.
Dom Joly wrote a book called ‘The Dark Tourist’ where he visits DPRK (and other off the beaten track tourist locations) and this only spurred my desire to visit the place. I want to see how much propaganda is forwarded onto a tourist; I think it would be a surreal experience.
There are a few reasons why I don’t want to visit the country as well. Firstly, there’s the poverty. I’ve read that the people there face food shortages, power outages as well as numerous other things – this would be a hard thing to witness. Secondly, there’s the matter of the missiles they keep firing. I wouldn’t want to be there when (I mean ‘if’) it all kicks off.
I might visit one day, it depends on numerous things. If anyone has visited, is it worth a venture? What would I expect to see?