Image: Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang by Jonas K./Flickr
Known as the last frontier of Communism, North Korea prides itself on its ability to have maintained communist rule just as all but Cuba have reverted to more socialist or capitalist government regimes. Notorious for its adamant secrecy and dictatorship under the rule of Kim Jong-Un, the country is as if a mysterious island off the main coast, close enough to see but too far to swim to.
Leisure trips to the country were once rather unheard of. Now, however, times have been changing and the tourism sector is beginning to see a rather interesting boom. Furthermore, there are developments in having North Korea represented in international tourism expositions, most particularly of not being North Korea’s attendance in the World Travel Market 2014 travel fair.
Image: Pohyon Temple, Mount Myohyang by David Stanley/Flickr
At the moment, a British-run company based in Beijing and specializing in tours to North Korea, Koryo Tours, is one of the only travel agencies that brings tourists into this rather intriguing country that seems to be in its own world, detached from the rest. A second well-known travel agency dealing with tours in the secluded country is Experience North Korea. This agency will most definitely be representing DPRK during the WTF 2014, in less than 5 days.
All flights are made from Beijing into Pyongyang, with Air Koryo. Unfortunately, flights are not run on a daily basis and the tour operators require all information in order to ensure your trip to the frontier is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Even though less than 5,000 visitors enter the country per year, the doors are opening and the flights are available for all, including Americans. At the end of the day, you should be considering a trip to the communist country or at least adding it to your bucket list (just make sure you check the latest entry rules before you book a ticket). After all, it is a gem lost in time and preserved against the unrelenting winds of change. A glimpse into this world is bound to leave you spell-bound.
1. Tour of the Capital
Image: Pyongyang Metro by Matt Paish/Flickr
The capital of Pyongyang is an interesting place to be and a 3 days tour sounds intriguing enough. Between seeing the Arc of Triumph, the Monsudae park and Grand Monument, Taedong Gate, Ryongwang pavilion, Kim Il Sung square and the famous Pyongyang Bell, this trip might just be worth it.
2. Deep North Korea
Building on top of the tour around the capital and the historical tour, this 11 day trip provides a better glimpse into the world of North Korea, focusing on its rural life, the economy, the treasures to behold and its artistic profile.
3. Historical Tour
City of Kaesong by Bryan Hughes/Flickr
An 8 day tour around the country, visiting 5 cities (Pyongyang, Nampo, Kaesong, Wonsong and Hamhung) and enjoying the olden architecture, rich nature, modern educational institutions, Buddhist temples and national treasures, is just what you need to remind yourself that no matter where the geographical location, North Korea is a splendid a country as any other for touristic attractions.
4. DPRK Mt. Paektu & Mt. Chilbo Tour
5 days of trekking through mountains may not be the ideal trip for everyone but for those extreme tourism lovers out there, it might just hit the spot. The beauty and the grandeur of the region will have you feeling like you are officially in a different world.
5. Extreme Traveller Tour
If you are looking for a 2 week adventure into a vast communist region that involves cycling, hiking, camping, cultural activities, architectural visits, and historical sites all within an intense 15-day period, this particular tour is just perfect for you. Between exploring the local culture and climbing up and down mountains, discover your own secrets about this country.
Featured image by Bryan Hughes/Flickr