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Author Topic: Visiting North Korea  (Read 5620 times)

Offline jaybird

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Visiting North Korea
« on: April 14, 2011, 10:40:02 AM »
I'm thinking about making a visit into North Korea. Does anyone have experience traveling to or trying to obtain a visa from North Korea? I understand that since January, North Korea has been issuing visas to Americans - I'm a Korean American and I expect it will be more harder for me, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who has any experience visiting the country.

http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/none/north-korea-lifts-travel-restrictions-americans-529062

Offline gookway

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2011, 10:43:41 AM »
I'd like to know too.  Actually, I'd like to be able to teach english there.  My heart goes out to those kids.

Offline Yu_Bumsuk

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2011, 10:53:56 AM »
As much as I'd be fascinated to do one of those tours the fact of the matter is that almost every last dollar is going straight into the regime's coffers and the tourists serve as propaganda pieces.

Offline dutopia

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 10:57:53 AM »
A trip to North Korea is not small feat, as you may know already.

First you'll have to get an idea of the price - It's going to be very expensive.
Secondly, you have to ask yourself a number of moral and ethical questions, like should you be 'supporting' the regime with your money?
Thirdly, you'll need to think if you're really going to enjoy that trip? It's going to be mentally exhausting, frustrating and there are a number of risks involved. I guess if you're prepared for all that, you could do a visit there. Check out "The Vice Guide to North Korea", a multi part documentary about some Americans who visit the North.

Good luck!

Offline Paul

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2011, 10:59:38 AM »
gookway: There's actually an official response on that on their website. Namely they request direct from the British Council. I vaguely recall hearing something about them sending a couple of New Zealanders over recently.

By the way, have you ever heard of the anonymouse? It's a small furry rodent that can give you the inspiration to help you overcome certain restrictions.
More primary school colours and shapes activity ideas and resources than you'd ever need - here
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Offline mamaujeni

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2011, 11:03:16 AM »
Hi!

A US citizen is currently being detained in North Korea, and due to ongoing tensions between the US and NK, the Swedish embassy is acting on the US' behalf. 

Also, the British Foreign and Commonwealth office have the following info available:
http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/korea-dpr-north-korea

Where ever you go travelling, I wish you all the best! :D

Offline dostoevsky_21_81

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2011, 11:36:16 AM »
Personally, I visited North Korea back in 2007.  It was an amazing experience, but I probably wouldn't do it again.  It was a bit scary to be honest.  I know the procedure is a bit different now than it was in 2007, but if you want a first persons account of what to expect when you visit North Korea, and Geumgangsan Mountain specifically, check out my blog at:

http://daleskoreantempleadventures.blogspot.com/search/label/North%20Korea

It has some great pictures and a good story (or at least I think so  ;D)

Offline Koradian

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2011, 11:47:16 AM »
I am facinated with NK and plan on traveling there before I go home for good.

www.koryotours.com runs package tours right in Pyeongyang. You can attend the Mass Games, Kim Il Sung University, Kim Il Sung Square, etc. The price is quite expensive and can run up to 4 mill for an all inclusive week. Keep in mind that you still have to get yourself to China to board a plane or train to the North.

If i only had that kind of time and money! All in good time :)


Offline tealeeds

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2011, 12:09:00 PM »
I've been looking into this a bit - I am very keen to visit in August for the Mass Games.

I think in all, flights, accomodation and food, it was 1.2million for a 5 day trip. Not too bad in my book, considering.

A few ppl have said to me "oh you wont see the real NK, only a governemnt facade, its all fake and your told where to look, what's the point, etc etc" But in a way, the restrictive nature of the trip is part of the experience, adds a whole other-world feel to it.

As for supporting the regime - I see that side of it, but there's no other way to do it. I went to Cuba a few years ago, and whilst that's less restrictive, tourism still very much there to fund the castro regime. But I dont regret it - theres no other way to do it and it was a fantastic experience.

I will post the links I found when i get home, dont have them here.

Offline Koradian

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2011, 12:14:52 PM »
I've been looking into this a bit - I am very keen to visit in August for the Mass Games.

I think in all, flights, accomodation and food, it was 1.2million for a 5 day trip. Not too bad in my book, considering.
 


I can guarantee you the prices are quite a bit more that this. And they are rising yearly. It's too bad that site is now blocked by the government. Group discounts are available. It would be nice to get a group of interested parties together.

Offline dostoevsky_21_81

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2011, 12:32:26 PM »
I miss the old days. i.e. 2007, when I went for only 400,000 Won. 

Offline Koradian

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2011, 12:37:56 PM »
I miss the old days. i.e. 2007, when I went for only 400,000 Won.

We're are discussion a whole different experience. We're talking about getting right into the capitol city! You can't get to "The Real North" from the South... if you know what I mean. Not to take anything away from your experience, but we're talking about something totally different.

Offline dostoevsky_21_81

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2011, 12:46:03 PM »
I've read the stories about going to the capital as well.  You're sequestered on an island hotel and you're ushered around the capital by handlers just like at Geumgangsan.  So it's actually the same. 

The North shows you what they want you to see, nothing more, nothing less.

Offline hiphopopotamus

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2011, 12:46:50 PM »
When I visited the DMZ last October, I sat on the bus with an American who lived in China and had been to the North a few years earlier. He said they confiscate your passport upon arrival, they issue some travel documents, but don't actually stamp your passport with an entry/exit stamp.

He made a really great video of the North/South. I'm in it (kissing the box of DMZ chocolate):



While you are without a doubt a tool of propoganda for the North during a visit, don't forget you are the same for the South when you tour the DMZ.

I noticed the Koryo Tours website is blocked by the South Korean government cyber police. (at least, I get the warning when I click on it).

Enjoy your trip if you go!

--BMV

Offline iselynjenniep

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2011, 02:35:16 PM »
you should also check out http://www.lupinetravel.co.uk/north-korea-tour.html, a bit cheap than koryo. i was looking into going but i don't think i will, due to costs/other places i'd rather see...

Offline jaybird

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2011, 07:18:39 PM »
Yea, I don't expect them to let me roam around wherever I please and take pictures of everything, but I think it'll still be a unique experience. I saw various Chinese packages - 5 day tour, hotel, and tickets for about 1.3-1.5 million won. I know someone who visited North Korea with no problems, but he is Canadian or something. I was curious how differently Americans and South Koreans are treated.

Offline justanotherwaygook

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2011, 08:09:01 PM »
Is there any hassle for having a South Korean visa/ the fact that you live in South Korea?

Does South Korea give you any hassle upon return?
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Offline dostoevsky_21_81

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2011, 08:19:42 PM »
They didn't with me.  It's a small stamp in your passport that's written in Korean, so only Korean speaking people can read it.  However, that's when the Koreas were getting along.  I'm guessing there won't be a problem, but there's no guarantee with that either.

Hope that helps, but I know (as I've been told) that's a totally different experience.  So maybe someone that's visited through China could tell you better. :P

Offline victoriame

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2011, 10:04:20 PM »
I'm thinking about making a visit into North Korea. Does anyone have experience traveling to or trying to obtain a visa from North Korea? I understand that since January, North Korea has been issuing visas to Americans - I'm a Korean American and I expect it will be more harder for me, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who has any experience visiting the country.

http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/none/north-korea-lifts-travel-restrictions-americans-529062
Umm... Getting VISA from North Korea??
I am sure that it would be impossible!

Offline ppstep

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Re: Visiting North Korea
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2011, 10:17:26 PM »
Wow, it's unbelievable. You are so brave!

 

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