If travel is about experiencing other ways of life, then it doesn’t get more ‘other’ than this. North Korea is the most isolated country on earth, cut off from reality by a totalitarian communist government that imprisons its citizens in a 1950s vacuum. This not only means North Koreans have never questioned Lady Gaga’s gender or not shut up about The bloody Wire: they have no idea man has been to the moon.
Consequently, visitors must accept strict limitations on what they say, as well as what they see. But that doesn’t mean the tourism is humdrum – not a bit of it. Visit the Democratic People’s Republic and you’ll get to board a captured US warship, be dwarfed by a colossal bronze dictator and witness the largest gymnastics festival on earth. Oh, and you’ll get sneaky peeks of reality too, like malnourished workers in rice fields and legions of rats scurrying through the metro.
You also have an opportunity to compare socialist state propaganda to authenticated history first-hand. For example, visitors are informed that Kim Jong-il was born on Korea’s highest mountain, with his birth heralded by a double rainbow and a new star in heaven. In reality, he was born in a shit hut in Siberia.
Visiting the DPRK can be a frustrating experience, but it’s also fascinating, complex and bizarre. The least seen and least known travel destination in the world today. And that makes it the most interesting of all.
—- SURPRISE: It is the world’s most militarised nation and has only 1,500 Western visitors a year —-
You can read the rest of the article – Top Marx: When Socialism Meets Tourism – in the July issue of stalkingElk