Things to do in North Korea (and what it’s like to visit this Controversial Nation)

Things to do in North Korea (and what it’s like to visit this Controversial Nation)
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North Korea. Two words which probably evoke some type of negative thought or feeling in you. It’s one of those destinations that polarises people. Some people thought it was so cool that I was visiting. Others thought I was absolutely crazy. There wasn’t a middle ground.
I am so glad I went.
I expected Korea to challenge me and give me the most fascinating experience of my life. It delivered.
What I didn’t expect, however, was that it would challenge me as much as it did and that I would laugh the hardest I have ever laughed in my life.
It is challenging because North Korea is just so different. How I wish I could jump into the mind of a North Korean and really experience how they find their life. Their perspective on events with the US and the rest of the world, while ridiculous at times, made much more sense than it did before.
Pyongyang from Juche Tower
Pyongyang from Juche Tower
I entered with many questions. I exited with even more!
I went in with questions mostly about the political situation and with a general curiosity. I left with questions not just about the Korean way of life but wondering how truly happy the people are there and how that compares with people in my own society.
I laughed so hard in North Korea.
There was a strong sense of camaraderie in my tour group and things became ridiculous fast. I have done some crazy tours in my time but none involved a dead snake and a cow leg joining us on the bus. Yes, this happened.
I wonder if the underlying tension caused us to become crazier, if I just had a particularly funny tour group or everything just aligned to give me such a fun experience. It is hard not to over analyse experiences in the DPRK.
metro station pyongyang
Inside a metro station
I found it hard not to find the people of the DPRK endearing. Although I found them impossible to understand and robot like at times, the people we met were good, ordinary people (albeit innocent) and the country seems like such a time capsule.
One thing is for sure, I am never going hear the words North Korea in the news in the same way again.
I won’t see a demon rogue state.
Instead, I will smile. I will picture our Korean guides laughing with us. I will see Pyongyang which was, quite honestly, amazing. I will think about the little kids I saw, the dancing, singing waitresses and the people on the train so happy to be returning home.
In fact, I think it is going to be hard to listen to news reports in my home country of Australia that like to demonise this country. It’s just a place made up of people after all.
I never expected to have so much fun and enjoy the experience so much.
Inside the Pyongyang metro
Inside the Pyongyang metro
Which isn’t to say North Korea is all sunshine and roses. Quite the contrary. This is a country that will challenge you like no other. What was real? What was orchestrated? I’ll never know and it’s hard to stop thinking about it.
I had no freedom of movement which is a strange thing to give up.
However, I did love my time there and I am so excited to share North Korea with you. To give you a different perspective and to open your eyes to a different side of this country which is so often demonised.
I am no political expert and this article is not about political policy or what is right or wrong. I am a travel blogger and this article is about the experience of visiting North Korea. A country that I enjoyed very much. I just wish I was a better writer so I could do a better job of explaining everything to you. Hell, I wish I understood everything I experienced so I could explain it to myself!
birthplace of Kim Il Sung
At the birthplace of Kim Il Sung
There are two sides to every story and it is interesting to hear the North Korean (or Korean as you would say if you were in the country) side.
My guides on this site are generally very informational with lots of details so you can easily have the same experiences. This one will be different because there is no solo travel allowed. You have to do either a group or private tour. You will have local tour guides and probably a foreign one too.
I will still highlight what to do in North Korea, information about getting in and out of North Korea (I took the train in and plane out), what you can see, eat, everything about my experience visiting this truly fascinating place.

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