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North Korea - A view from our expert author


The first time I flew from Beijing to Pyongyang, in the late 1990s, I became aware of going somewhere else, somewhere different, before even getting on the plane.

Read The author’s take

North Korea feels like a world apart, a secretive state often synonymous with radical politics and a distrust of foreigners. However, the country offers a rewarding and thought-provoking travel experience. Learn about the cult of the Kims in Pyongyang and then head down to Panmunjom and the DMZ to visit the Armistice Hall and Joint Security area. Watch the spectacular Mass Games performance at Pyongyang’s May Day Stadium and later join the procession to the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il overlooking the vast, tidy boulevards of the capital.

Discover ancient temples and the rich Buddhist history of Myohyangsan or trek to the volcanic mountain lake of Paektusan, the spiritual birthplace of Korea. The beaches and valleys of Chilbosan highlight the untouched beauty of North Korea’s diverse landscape. Although the bulk of the country is still off limits, there are more sights to see now than ever before and the list is growing all the time. 

When you first set foot in the DPRK, you'll feel as if you’ve arrived at a new frontier, somewhere entirely different, an unknown entity. Embrace this feeling, keep yourself open to adventure, and you'll get the most out of your trip to this intriguing and challenging country. Also, don’t forget to wave and smile.

Robert Willoughby

North Korea articles

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Five things you really wouldn’t expect about North Korea

Scratch beneath the propaganda-covered surface of North Korea and you’ll find that there’s far more to the world’s most secretive state than its public image of strict regime, controlled media and elaborate military parades. 

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10 reasons to visit North Korea

North Korea is one of the last unknowns of tourism, and offers a rewarding and thought-provoking travel experience.

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Inside the world’s most secretive nation

Hilary Bradt spent 18 days inside the exhilarating, fascinating and bizarre North Korea. Read on for her account of the trip and her top 15 highlights.

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