North Korea Travel
Let’s put aside the politics, the propaganda and everything else negative about North Korea. Instead of looking at the constant barrage of negativity surrounding this controversial destination let’s take a look at the positives. I traveled to North Korea for two weeks and loved it. After traveling the most secretive country on earth I can tell you that it is a beautiful country that has stunning nature, clean cities, friendly people and of course bizarre but wonderful sights. North Korea also has a very distinctive culture that everyone shows with pride. Here is a list of reasons why you should visit North Korea!
How to Travel to North Korea?
When travelers think about traveling to North Korea the first question is usually “How do you travel to North Korea?” Traveling to North Korea is actually quite simple. Since independent travel here is impossible, you must take a government recognized tour. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to the path as many believe, it just means that in order to see places here you must get permission first.
I traveled here with UriTours. Uri and I ventured to the far eastern coast to go surfing. So, as you can see just because you have to go on a tour doesn’t mean you can’t get creative!
Why You Should Travel North Korea
If you research travel to North Korea you are likely to get plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t travel there. Many people often say that my posts are pro North Korean propaganda and well that is just silly. I am a traveler, I travel for sights, culture, and food and to experience something new!
Honestly I could give you a plethora of reasons why you should visit. For this post I have broke into down into the main reasons I loved traveling there. These are my twelve reasons why you should visit North Korea.
#1 No Where on Earth is Like North Korea
From the moment you land here you will see that there truly is nowhere else on earth like there. I am not sure whether it’s the eerie morning wake up call or the sharp looks you get, one thing I know for sure is North Korea was one of my most fascinating trips I have ever taken!
Remember since the Korean War North Korea has been essential closed to the outside world. Nothing western has made it there and still much of the country does not use the internet. This combination of paranoia and secretiveness has created an enthralling destination for travelers to experience.
#2 Traveling to North Korea is a Trip Back in Time
Ever wonder what it was like to be in the 50s? North Korea will take you there. Nothing has changed here since the beginning of the Korean War. Internet is pretty much non-existent, even the locals prefer classic style outfits and hairstyles. To add to this trip back in time, The country also embraces the retro style.
Even in Pyongyang when new neighbourhoods are constructed, they are still built in the classic 50s style. As soon as you enter your plane to Pyongyang you will virtually step back in time.
#3 North Korea’s Gigantic Monuments
With so much national pride North Korea constructs some of the most grand and outlandish monuments the entire world has seen. These massive monuments are a display of the countries history, politics and the leaders. They are also a work of art, many of the monuments hold world records.
My favourite monument is the great leader’s statues on Mansu Hill. The leaders Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung bronze statues stand tall as devoted citizens bow and place flowers at the feet of the monuments. Many have told me this is the spiritual heart of North Korea, indeed even for me as a traveler it did feel special.
#4 Seeing the Korean War from North Korea’s Perspective
North Korea’s museums are packed full of depictions and relics from the ongoing conflict with South Korea. Look closer into the war displays and you will see a side of the war you never knew!
North Korea has very different opinions on how the war happened and who the victors were. There is also plenty of information on the United States secretive operations that have been caught! It’s almost refreshing to see a unique and different point of view!
#5 North Korea Propaganda
North Korea hosts some of the most elaborate and visually stunning propaganda on earth. the countries propaganda is everywhere! Since the war there has taken pride in their propaganda and create new takes on old classics! The propaganda has become more of a form of art rather than a political campaign.
#6 Seeing the DMZ on the North Korean Side
The demilitarised zone between North and South Korea also known as the DMZ is one of the most controversial land borders on the planet. Technically it’s not a border at all and is considered by many as the front lines of the ongoing war between North and South Korea.
It’s very common for travelers in South Korea to visit the DMZ, but not many get the chance to say they visited the North’s side. The DMZ is complete with high barbed wire walls, sniper towers, negotiation rooms, and soldiers who stare eye to eye with one another. It’s an intense experience!
#7 Hanging Out with Locals
You will be surprised at how much interaction with locals you can actually have here. North Korean’s are very curious people, especially when it comes to outsiders. They will often approach foreigners to ask what you think about their country. You will be shocked at how open they really are!
While I was on the DMZ a military sergeant had an in depth conversation with me about current events, politics and my countries views towards the hermit nation. He was friendly, intelligent and by no means looking for me to fabricate what I think to appease him. With obvious different opinions he shook my hand smiled and welcomed me!
#8 North Korea Stunning Nature
North Korea is a very mountainous country and the people here respect the natural beauty of their nation. The ancient forests are clean and virtually uninhabited, making plenty of room for hiking.
Visiting a waterfall in the central regions we hiked high into the mountains. The mist coming of the lush forested cliffs looked like a classic Asian piece of artwork. North Korea’s nature is truly incredible.
#9 North Korea Bizarre and Wonderful Sights
From a 7000 room museum dedicated to gifts given to the Kim family to warm museums depicting USA losing the entire war, North Korea’s weird and wonderful sights will keep you fascinated long after you leave.
Every day while I was here I experienced something bizarre and new. When a country has had virtually no contact to the outside world in fifty years it’s guaranteed everything will be strange to us regardless!
#10 Trying North Korean Food
It’s not just Korean BBQ, North Korean cuisine is similar to the South, but unique in its own way. Try a massive bowls of spicy cold noodles, BBQ giant clams on the coast, fermented everything and even their own take on bibimbap.
North Koreans love food and when you arrive here expect to be well fed, they also love to drink Soju a fermented rice wine but do not expect to out drink them as they are champions of consuming alcohol.
#11 Buying North Korean Souvenirs
Taking home souvenirs from North Korea to show your family is a must! Lucky for us travelers North Korea has plenty of awesome quintessential North Korean souvenirs.
Try North Korean hand painted propaganda posters, Kim family biographies, North Korean flags, Ginseng Whiskey and plenty more! Who knew shopping here could be so fun!
#12 Breaking Tensions between North Korea and the World
This is the best reason to visit North Korea. With so much hate in the media causing division between the west and North Korea it’s amazing that we as travelers are even allowed in, but we are. As a traveler here you are an ambassador of peace, you show the people of North Korea we do not hate them and we want to come together one day. For me, breaking the tensions and making friends in North Korea was my most rewarding experience in venturing to the world’s most secretive nation!
UriTours is probably the coolest company that does tours to North Korea. I rode bicycle through Pyongyang, Stand up paddle boarded in the Mountain Rivers and surfed on the northern coast! Uri made a government run tour a unique experience that gave a sense of freedom. Check out their upcoming military parade tour HERE where they will be flying to the far Norther parts of the country as well.