fascinating, but at the same time extremely uncomfortable, to see how
the members of the tour group were continually watched and
scrutinized from start to finish. Two female tour guides, the bus
driver, and even a cameraman (!) were always with us. I was astounded
to discover that one of the tour guides before she even met us, knew
not only the names of every member of the fourteen-person group but
also their occupation and even their family circumstances! She had
studied our visa request forms and memorized every single detail!
For me, the
the highlight of the whole North Korea trip was the unbelievably huge
communist statues (Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il) and monuments bearing
ideological messages. It makes you think, if they used even a little
of the huge sums they spend on propaganda to help the poor instead,
they could do so much good in this country (especially in the
countryside). In the capital, Pyongyang, there is no poverty to be
seen. This is a show-city, and life here is more bearable than in the
villages or small towns. The five-day visit to North Korea was a
bizarre experience. It also weighed me down, spiritually and
psychologically, and it was necessary to spend some time recovering
in decadent, capitalist Thailand.” (P. Ki, 2017)
North Korea - 2017
There are local guides and a driver with the group, but this is also the case in several other countries that only allow group travel. We did not experience any close control or intrusive following, as there are organized programs and trips from morning to evening.
During the mass dance, you can dance with the locals, which is quite charming. :) You can also talk to local tour guides, who speak a range of foreign languages, including even Hungarian.
1. We were taken to a souvenir shop several times, so we had the freedom to decide where what and how much to buy (we also bargained).
2. It’s completely pointless to travel here with a Western mindset because apples cannot be compared with oranges (or at least it’s a useless exercise). They may feel ‘sorry’ for us…
5.We ate very well :)
6. Phones and other electronic devices were not taken away. When we were leaving, they looked through the photo albums and some images were deleted. BUT! other rules apply to journalists and they will be informed about this when booking their trip !!!
7. We knew what we were getting into and what the rules would be ... ergo it would be silly to complain…
No one was called by name here. A lot is spent on propaganda in every country, only possible in other ways, and that money is not spent, for example, on the development of the health care system.
It was a sensational experience, but we went without expectations and tried to ‘take off our western glasses’ ... All the same, everyone will see and notice what they want to.
It didn’t cost me € 2,700, but I could have spent more. Two-week trips are not the only option, you can also go for six days and four nights.
There are many pictures of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, but not of Kim Jong Un.
The pizzeria was not built for tourists, nor were the local restaurants, locals can eat there and elsewhere... so the above statement is not accurate.
There are restaurants, shops, and pubs as well. 2017 experience.
Responding to the
above opinion from another perspective:
“Nobody in our
the group was addressed by name when we met our guides. Every country
spends a lot on propaganda, though perhaps in different ways, and
that money is not spent, for example, on improving the health
I won’t pretend
otherwise – this was far from the cheapest trip I’ve taken. A
three-day tour from Dandong to Pyongyang, including train, visa, food
and other transportation, as well as one or two admission charges,
came to €495.
It’s crazy to think that you could spend a week filling your belly
at some all-inclusive Greek resort for the same price, but I’m not
sure that really appeals to me these days. In
addition, the tour agency advises bringing more money for tips at the
end of the journey, optional extra entrance fees, food on the train,
flowers – in a word, spending money – but how much is needed
depends, of course, on the individual.
What surprised you most about the country?
"Lots of things, but most of all, perhaps, the huge number of power outages we experienced. It often happened that from one moment to the next, the place we were in went dark. Although there are a lot of theaters in the country, most of them are not in operation because they simply cannot provide enough electricity for them. The situation is similar with the opera: even though we would have been curious about it – North Korean opera is said to be of famously high quality – there were no performances during our stay. Actors are thus more likely to be sent to work in the rice fields, despite being greatly respected.”