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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

Holiday in Korea?

by | January 13th, 2013 | 07:00 am
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 Vacation time can be hard to come by and the price tags for travel are rising.  The pressure to find a top notch vacation destination on a budget is forcing travelers to consider alternatives to traditional destinations.  The folks at Koryo Tours have a suggestion.  How about North Korea? Granted, a trip to North Korea demands a bit more hard currency up front than a weekend in Puerto Rico or other discount hot spots, but you can’t beat the sightseeing.  Did you know that North Korea has the largest number of Kim Il-sung statues in the world?  More than than all other countries combined!

The folks at Koryo tours recently sent out their highlights of 2012. While organizations like Koryo tours provide an extremely valuable resource for individuals interested in visiting North Korea, some of this year’s highlights were dubious to say the least.  We’ve also come up with a wish list for future tours that are sure to bring North Korea to the forefront of the jet setter itinerary.

Kim Il-sung 100th birthday celebration

Travelers with Koryo tours were able to visit Pyongyang during April’s giant celebrations of Kim Il-sung’s 100th birthday.  Travelers reported, “We were there in Pyongyang for the celebrations and have never seen the city so full! Tourists, journalists, friendship groups, political delegations and artists filled up Pyongyang’s hotel rooms.”  Friendship groups?  Oh My!  Here’s hoping Alejandro Cao de Benos was there with the KFA.

Dictators’ birthdays are clearly a great cause for celebration.  I’m sure Stalin’s 100th in Russia was a hoot.  When does Idi Amin turn 100?  How about Pinochet? Pol Pot?

The Military Parade!

In addition to the 100th birthday celebrations, travelers were given a real treat in the form of a full scale military parade through the streets of Pyongyang.  Unlike previous parades where tourists weren’t allowed to attend, this year’s group was permitted to attend.  One traveler remembers, “It’s not often that you are happy to be asphyxiated, but when you have the Korean People’s Army just metres away and you are cheek to cheek with North Koreans cheering them on then no matter the politics, it is certainly an event of a lifetime.”

The quote says it all.  You really can’t beat the opportunity to stand in awe as rocket launchers and heavy artillery are paraded before you.  To be fair, you’re probably likely to see just as much firepower at a local NRA sponsored gun show here in the US, but we don’t see that as much cause for celebration either.

Our wishlist for future tours

Kim Jong-un jet ski tour of the Taedong River

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Join guide, jet ski enthusiast, and Dear Leader Kim Jong-un as he takes you on an action packed jet ski tour through Pyongyang along the Taedong River.  Get a unique view of the many riverside hot spots including the many destinations along Yanggak Island. including the funparks, the stadium, and more.

North Korea Mass Games Fantasy Camp

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Join thousands of fellow mass games participants as you train for two weeks to participate in the annual Arirang Festival.  Lucky participants will get the opportunity to reenact through dance the great history of North Korea.  Participants will also receive their own bouquets filled with the iconic flowers Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia.

Interested readers with further suggestions for future tour ideas should submit suggestions below.