Reasons why I liked North Korea – Visiting DPRK Explicit

HomeMotivationReasons why I liked North Korea – Visiting DPRK Explicit
Updated May 6, 2017 / João Leitão / 42 Comments / Filed in: / Reading time 14 minutes
Reasons why I liked North Korea - Visiting DPRK Explicit

Reasons why I liked North Korea – Visiting DPRK Explicit

North Korea

People often point out reasons to dislike North Korea.

Personally I only travel to enjoy places and things such as colors, people, little details, architecture, sounds, tastes, sunsets, smiles, etc.

Because I never travel to dislike or criticize, on this page I will show you 88 images – photos – reasons that made me like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The city of Pyongyang has hundreds of monuments and memorial murals. The mural of the Workers Party Monument if very nice

The city of Pyongyang has hundreds of monuments and memorial murals. Photo of the Workers Party Monument.

Whatever reasons you might have to criticize DPRK, I invite you to indulge yourself to discover one of the least visited countries in the world.

DPRK is indeed a fascinating destination with a very beautiful culture and ancient history.

NOTE: this page is not politically biased nor am I writing on behalf of someone or any government. This page is about DPRK traveling and tourism. The reasons why I enjoyed my time in North Korea are immense – the same way I have many reasons to enjoy all the other more than 120 countries I have visited.

What does North Korea look like?

Upper view over Downtown Pyongyang

Upper view over Downtown Pyongyang

DPRK cities were heavily bombed and turned to rubble by the US during the Korean War, so most of the infrastructure in the country is built in a socialist Soviet architecture style, also called as Socialist Classicism or Stalinist architecture. Some buildings were done in Korean architecture style as well. As in many countries in the world, cities are more developed than countryside villages. In the mountains many wooden Buddhist monasteries survived the war.

Woljong Buddhist Temple in North Korea

Woljong Buddhist Temple in North Korea

In terms of present development, and in my modest opinion, DPRK resembles a mix of many countries in Central Asia like Uzbekistan or Tajikistan, or, it even gives you a glimpse of how some socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe such as Poland, Russia and Moldova used to be many years ago.

Video of central Pyongyang:

NOTE: Also read my page Visit Pyongyang – A different look at North Korea’s capital

❤️ 88 Reasons why I liked the DPRK

Are you ready for a quick tour in North Korea?

Let’s go!

1- Air Koryo Korean Airways red carpet

Air Koryo red carpet at Beijing airport - welcoming detail. Air Koryo Korean Airways is the national airline of North Korea.

Air Koryo Korean Airways red carpet

Air Koryo red carpet at Beijing airport – welcoming detail. Air Koryo Korean Airways is the national airline of North Korea.

2- Outside Train Station in Pyongyang

Train Station in Pyongyang - this station serves most of the bigger cities in DPRK and also two international night connections to Beijing and Moscow.

Outside Train Station in Pyongyang

Train Station in Pyongyang – this station serves most of the biggest cities in DPRK and also two international night connections to Beijing and Moscow.

3- Bedroom at Yanggakdo International Hotel

My room in Yanggakdo International Hotel - very comfortable and high quality accommodation while in Pyongyang. TV, air-con, private toilet.

Bedroom at Yanggakdo International Hotel

My room in Yanggakdo International Hotel – very comfortable and high quality accommodation while in Pyongyang. TV, air-con, private toilet.

4- Yanggakdo International Hotel welcome card

"Warm Welcome" card in Yanggakdo International Hotel bedroom

Yanggakdo International Hotel welcome card

Warm Welcome card in Yanggakdo International Hotel bedroom.

5- Pyongyang view from hotel window

My bedroom view from the 29th floor at the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang

Pyongyang view from hotel window

My bedroom window view from the 29th floor at the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang.

6- North Korean donuts

You can get these tasty North Korean donuts topped with sugar.

North Korean donuts

You can get these tasty North Korean donuts topped with sugar.

7- Socialist Art

Socialist Art in North Korea. You can enjoy very nice hand-painted billboards depicting social, cultural, political and military aspects of Korean life.

Socialist Art

Socialist Art in North Korea. You can enjoy very nice hand-painted billboards depicting social, cultural, political and military aspects of Korean life.

8- Sending postcards from DPRK

You can send postcards from DPRK back home to your family and friends. North Korea send to all countries.

Sending postcards from DPRK

You can send postcards from DPRK back home to your family and friends. North Korean postal service sends to all countries in the world.

9- Political hand painted posters

Political propaganda hand painted poster. I love these paintings depicting the enemies of North Korea.

Political hand painted posters

Political propaganda hand painted poster. I love these paintings depicting the enemies of North Korea.

10- People working on the fields

Agriculture is North Korea is booming, all the fields are harvested and cropped during the season. I was surprised with this scenario. Interesting on this picture we can see a traditional way of agriculture - with a cow pulling a plow like in Portugal, my country.

People working on the fields

Agriculture in North Korea is booming, all the fields are harvested and cropped during the season. I was surprised with this scenario. Interesting on this picture is that we can see a traditional way of agriculture – with a cow pulling a plow like in Portugal, my country.

11- Shopping for food and exotic products

Shopping in North Korea is a must. Probably the most famous products of the country is the famous Ginseng root.

Shopping for food and exotic products

Shopping for food in North Korea is a must. Probably the most famous product of the country is the well-known Ginseng root. Exotic liqueurs, cookies and mountain mushrooms are also available.

12- Korean calligraphy

Korean calligraphy is very beautiful and full written  panels create an intense yet balanced script.

Korean calligraphy

Korean calligraphy is very beautiful and full written panels create an intense yet balanced script.

13- Temple Complex of Songgyungwan in Kaesong

Visiting the Temple Complex of Songgyungwan in Kaesong where the Koryo Museum is, will give you a better idea of the history of Korea.

Temple Complex of Songgyungwan in Kaesong

Visiting the Temple Complex of Songgyungwan in Kaesong, where the Koryo Museum is located, will give you a more accurate idea of the history of Korea.

14- Victorious War Museum gate

Victorious War Museum impressive entrance gate in Pyongyang

Victorious War Museum gate

Victorious War Museum impressive entrance gate in Pyongyang.

15- DMZ – Korea’s demilitarized zone

In Panmunjom you can visit the complex of the Korea's demilitarized zone often called as DMZ.

DMZ – Korea’s demilitarized zone

In Panmunjom you can visit the complex of the Korea’s demilitarized zone often called as DMZ. On the picture you can notice a line crossing the blue buildings. That is the actual border line between the two countries.

16- Dragon Mountain pic-nic park

The park in the Dragon Mountain has a huge dragon sculpted in the pic-nic area.

Dragon Mountain pic-nic park

The park in the Dragon Mountain has a huge dragon sculpted in the pic-nic area.

17- Conference Table room in DMZ

You can visit and go inside the building of the DMZ and sit down at the Conference Table in the border of South and North Korea.

Conference Table room in DMZ

You can visit and go inside the building of the DMZ and sit down at the Conference Table in the border of South and North Korea. Two North Korean soldiers stand guard in the conference room inside the demilitarized zone.

18- Panmunjom and Korean War armistice

You can visit the Panmunjom where the Korean War armistice was signed on July 27th 1953.

Panmunjom and Korean War armistice

You can visit the Panmunjom where the Korean War armistice was signed on July 27th 1953.

19- Agriculture and rural life

North Korea is a very non-mechanical country. Like in many parts of Morocco - where I live, cropping and taking care of the land manually is a part of daily life.

Agriculture and rural life

North Korea is a very non-mechanical country. Like in many parts of Morocco – where I live, cropping and taking care of the land manually is a part of daily life.

20- Pagoda in Songgyungwan

Beautiful stone pagoda in the Temple Complex of Songgyungwan

Pagoda in Songgyungwan

Beautiful stone pagoda in the Temple Complex of Songgyungwan.

21- Dogs in DPRK

Although dog meat makes part of the national DPRK recipe book, there are many cute puppies around the country.

Dogs in DPRK

Although dog meat makes part of the national DPRK recipe book, there are many cute puppies around the country.

22- Traditional Korean Pansanggi

Traditional Korean pansanggi is a set of dishes for a table that ranges from 5 to 11 different dishes without counting boiled rice and soup.

Traditional Korean Pansanggi

Traditional Korean pansanggi is a set of dishes for a table that ranges from 5 to 11 different dishes without counting boiled rice and soup.

23- Guided tour with a Korean War veteran

You can meet this North Korean retired officer that explains you about the Korean War and the separation wall

Guided tour with a Korean War veteran

You can meet this North Korean retired officer that explains to you about the Korean War and the separation wall.

24- Korean separation wall

In the Korean separation wall, from the Northern side you can use binoculars to inspect the South Korean bases

Korean separation wall

In the Korean separation wall, from the Northern side you can use binoculars to inspect the South Korean bases.

25- North Korea villages

Villages and countryside of North Korea is simple, clean and very rural. Totally reminds me of Uzbekistan or even Alentejo region of Portugal.

North Korea villages

Villages and countryside in North Korea are simple, clean and very rural. They clearly remind me of Uzbekistan or even Alentejo, a province of Portugal.

26- Pyongyang by night

The upper view of Pyongyang by night is amazing.

Pyongyang by night

The upper view of Pyongyang by night is amazing.

27- Organization, cleanness, order

Organization. The country is very organized and everything goes by the rules. People line up to take the tram something totally opposite to neighboring China for example.

Organization, cleanness, order

Organization. The country is very organized and everything goes by the rules. People line up to take the tram, which is completely opposite to neighboring China, for example – where people fight each other to get into public transportation.

28- Kumsusan Palace of the Sun

The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun located in Pyongyang is the actual memorial place for Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il - former leaders of the DPRK.

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun

The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun located in Pyongyang is the actual memorial place for Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il – former leaders of the DPRK. Many people come here to pay their respect to them.

29- Juche Tower

The 170 meters / 560 feet  Juche Tower is great. You can go up on an elevator and enjoy amazing views over Pyongyang

Juche Tower

The 170 meters / 560 feet Juche Tower is great. You can go up in an elevator and enjoy amazing views over Pyongyang.

30- Downtown Pyongyang skyline

Modern Downtown Pyongyang has a lot of new buildings

Downtown Pyongyang skyline

Modern Downtown Pyongyang has a lot of new buildings.

31- Workers Party Monument in Pyongyang

Workers Party Monument in Pyongyang reflects the social-Marxism-Leninism views of DPRK politics

Workers Party Monument in Pyongyang

The Workers Party of Korea monument was erected in October 1995. The monument depicts a hammer, a sickle, a brush seized by a worker, a farmer and an intellectual. The belt represents the unity of the leader, the party and the people.

32- Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il painting

This is a famous painting of the leaders North Korea, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il

Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il painting

This is a famous painting of the leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.

33- Kim Jong-un haircut

Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un modern haircut. It seems that Kim Jong-Un actually cuts his hair by himself

Kim Jong-un haircut

Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un modern haircut is very stylish. It seems that Kim Jong-un actually cuts his hair by himself.

34- Socialist Classicism buildings

Socialist Classicism buildings in Pyongyang. The capital of DPRK has many great examples of functional Socialist architecture.

Socialist Classicism buildings

Socialist Classicism buildings in Pyongyang. The capital of DPRK has many great examples of functional Socialist architecture.

35- North Korean young soldiers

North Korean young soldiers in the Victorious War Museum in Pyongyang

North Korean young soldiers

North Korean young soldiers in the Victorious War Museum in Pyongyang.

36- Wooden painted ancient buildings

Amazing wooden painted building. North Korean still has great examples of ancient architecture where painted wood depicts amazingly colorful designs.

Wooden painted ancient buildings

Amazing wooden painted building. North Korean still has great examples of ancient architecture where painted wood depicts amazingly colorful designs.

37- Pyongyang’s Arch of Triumph

The 60 meters / 197 feet Pyongyang Arch of Triumph is the is the second tallest triumphal arch in the world and was erected to built to commemorate the Korean resistance to the Japanese invasion.

Pyongyang’s Arch of Triumph

The 60 meters / 197 feet Pyongyang Arch of Triumph is the second tallest triumphal arch in the world and was erected to commemorate the Korean resistance to the Japanese invasion.

38- Pyongyang-Kaesong highway

Highway road system in North Korea. Although there are not many cars in the country, there is a good highway system. The picture if of the Pyongyang-Kaesong freeway.

Pyongyang-Kaesong highway

Highway road system in North Korea. Although there are not many cars in the country, there is a good highway system. The picture shows the Pyongyang-Kaesong freeway.

39- US vehicles exhibit

US vehicles from the 50's. In the Victorious War Museum in Pyongyang you can see several types of tanks, 4X4 and airplanes from the times of the Korean War.

US vehicles exhibit

US vehicles from the 50’s. In the Victorious War Museum in Pyongyang you can see several types of tanks, 4X4 and airplanes from the times of the Korean War.

40- Sunset over Ryugyong Hotel

Sunset over Ryugyong Hotel and the Victorious War Museum's sculptures.

Sunset over Ryugyong Hotel

Sunset over Ryugyong Hotel and the Victorious War Museum’s sculptures.

41- Socialist five star

The Socialist five star design is present everywhere.

Socialist five star

The Socialist five star design is present everywhere.

42- Victorious War Museum in Pyongyang

The Victorious War Museum in the capital of DPRK is a must visit.

Victorious War Museum in Pyongyang

The Victorious War Museum in the capital of DPRK is a must-visit place and will help you understand a bit more about the Korean War conflict.

43- Kim Il-sung statue in Kaesong

The enormous statue of the Leader  Kim Il-Sung in Kaesong.

Kim Il-sung statue in Kaesong

The enormous statue of the Leader Kim Il-sung in Kaesong.

44- Colors

Colorful North Korea. Highly color contrasts of building are normal urban design practice.

Colors

Colorful North Korea. Highly color contrasts of buildings are normal urban design practice.

45- Pyongyang Ice Rink

Pyongyang Ice Rink located in the city center.

Pyongyang Ice Rink

Pyongyang Ice Rink located in the city center.

46- Korean Cold Noodles

Korean Cold Noodles are strangely tasty.

Korean Cold Noodles

Korean Cold Noodles are strangely tasty.

47- Threshing grains on the road

In DPRK countryside people use the road asphalt for threshing grains.

Threshing grains on the road

In DPRK countryside, people use the road asphalt for threshing grains.

48- Triumphal Arch of Pyongyang by night

The Triumphal Arch of Pyongyang by night is amazing.

Triumphal Arch of Pyongyang by night

The Triumphal Arch of Pyongyang by night is amazing.

49- Downtown Pyongyang

Downtown Pyongyang is clean, modern and colorful.

Downtown Pyongyang

Downtown Pyongyang is clean, modern and colorful.

50- Mansudae Fountain in Pyongyang

The Mansudae Fountain is dedicated to Kim Il-sung. This fountains is located right in front of the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang.

Mansudae Fountain in Pyongyang

The Mansudae Fountain is dedicated to Kim Il-sung. This fountain is located right in front of the Grand People’s Study House in Pyongyang.

51- Grand Monuments on Mansu Hill

You can buy flowers and respectfully bow before the giant statue of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il.

Grand Monuments on Mansu Hill

You can buy flowers and respectfully bow before the giant statue of the late leaders Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill.

52- South Korean military bases

From the DZM you can spot the South Korean military bases and the separation wall.

South Korean military bases

From the DZM you can spot the South Korean military bases and the separation wall.

53- Kim Il-sung mural

A very beautiful mural in Chollima Steel Factory depicts the DPRK leader Kim Il Sung talking to workers. The actual stone where he sited is still in place.

Kim Il-sung mural

A very beautiful mural in Chollima Steel Factory depicts the DPRK leader Kim Il-sung talking to workers. The actual stone where he sat is still in the same place.

54- Juche friendship’s wall

It seems Portugal is the one that has more commemorative plates on the Juche friendship's wall in the Pyongyang's Juche Tower.

Juche friendship’s wall

It seems that Portugal is the country that has more commemorative plates on the Juche friendship’s wall in the Pyongyang’s Juche Tower. You can read “O Comité Português de Estudo do Kimilsunismo”.

55- Socialist DPRK posters

You can buy very nice socialist art posters from the DPRK

Socialist DPRK posters

You can buy very nice socialist art posters from the DPRK.

56- Chollima Steel Factory Complex in Nampo

Visiting the Chollima Steel Complex in Nampo city.

Chollima Steel Complex in Nampo

Visiting the Chollima Steel Factory Complex in Nampo city. You can tour around a real steel factory and see how workers handle this hard job.

57- Korean Koryo architecture

Stylized and sober details in Korean Koryo architecture

Korean Koryo architecture

Stylized and sober details in Korean Koryo architecture.

58- Korean children

Korean children are so friendly, curious, cute and welcoming.

Korean children

Korean children are so friendly, curious, cute and welcoming.

59- North Korean family life

Koreans are very family oriented and from early age they engage in family life.

North Korean family life

Koreans are very family oriented and from early age they engage themselves in family life.

60- Kaeson Youth Park

Kaeson Youth Park - Theme Park in Pyongyang - DPRK

Kaeson Youth Park – Theme Park in Pyongyang – DPRK

Kaeson Theme Park is located in Moran Hill. Completed in 1984 it has at least 10 different varieties of machines. The Buddhist Temple Ryonghwa is also located in this park.

61- Couple walking near the Tower of Juche Idea

Couple walking in the Tower of Juche Idea complex in Pyongyang.

Couple walking near the Tower of Juche Idea

Couple walking in the Tower of Juche Idea complex in Pyongyang.

62- Autumn in DPR Korea

I traveled to DPRK during the beautiful Autumn season when all the trees have amazing different colors.

Autumn in DPR Korea

I traveled to DPRK during the beautiful Autumn season when all the trees have amazing different colors.

63- Korean people singing and dancing

Korean people love to sing and dance. Apart from the national addiction called Karaoke, Korean men and women love to dance, sing and have fun.

Korean people singing and dancing

Korean people love to sing and dance. Apart from the national addiction called Karaoke, Korean men and women love to dance, sing and have fun.

64- Kim Il Sung native home in Mangyongdae

President Kim Il Sung native home in Mangyongdae. The house is made of traditional straw-thatched construction.

Kim Il Sung native home in Mangyongdae

President Kim Il Sung native home in Mangyongdae. The house is made of traditional straw-thatched construction.

65- North Korean ice-creams

North Koreans love ice creams and you can notice people buying them on a daily basis.

NNorth Korean ice-creams

North Koreans love ice creams and you can notice people buying them on a daily basis.

66- Snow – Winter mural

This mural with snow is probably one of the most beautiful I've see in DPRK. I guess I'm attracted to the contrast of the white snow and the blue coat of middle figure.

Snow – Winter mural

This mural with snow is probably one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in DPRK. I guess I’m attracted to the contrast of the white snow and the blue coat of the middle figure.

67- Inside Pyongyang Train Station

Inside Pyongyang Train Station is amazing. It seems a trip back in time.

Inside Pyongyang Train Station

Inside Pyongyang Train Station it is amazing. It seems a trip back in time.

68- Sunset in Sariwon

Sunset in Sariwon. Amazing strong red colors with the nice reflex on the lake.

Sunset in Sariwon

Sunset in Sariwon. Amazing strong red colors with the nice reflex on the lake.

69- 1700-year-old Anak Tomb No.3

The King Kogukwon's mausoleum often called as the Anak Tomb No.3 has 1700-year-old frescoes. This UNESCO site was one of the highlights of my trip to North Korea.

1700-year-old Anak Tomb No.3

The King Kogukwon’s mausoleum often called as the Anak Tomb No.3 has 1700-year-old frescoes. This UNESCO site was one of the highlights of my trip to North Korea.

70- Korean food

Korean food is so tasty, healthy and with great variety.

Korean food

Korean food is quite tasty, healthy and with a great variety of products.

71- Samsong Temple

Samsong Temple was build in the end of Koryo dynasty to hold memorial services for Tangun, founder of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom.

Samsong Temple

Samsong Temple was built at the end of Koryo dynasty to hold memorial services for Tangun, founder of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom.

72- Pyeonghwa Motors car

North Korean made Pyeonghwa Motors car.

Pyeonghwa Motors car

North Korean made Pyeonghwa Motors car.

73- Mt. Kuwol Natural Park

Forest in Mt. Kuwol Natural Park. In addition to an incredible nature of the beautiful Mt. Kuwol Natural Park there are still several Buddhist monasteries and many tombs of kings of ancient Korean dynasties.

Mt. Kuwol Natural Park

Forest in Mt. Kuwol Natural Park. In addition to an incredible nature of the beautiful Mt. Kuwol Natural Park there are still several Buddhist monasteries and many tombs of kings of ancient Korean dynasties.

74- Mt. Kuwol

Mt. Kuwol literally means Mt. September because it is particularly beautiful in this month of the year.

Mt. Kuwol

Mt. Kuwol literally means Mt. September because it is particularly beautiful in this month of the year.

75- Traditional Korean women dresses

Beautiful yellow traditional Korean dress.

Traditional Korean women dresses

Beautiful yellow traditional Korean dress.

Woman with a traditional Korean blue dress and statues with the past leader Kim Il Sung.

Traditional Korean dress and statue

Woman with a traditional Korean blue dress and statues with the past leader Kim Il-sung.

76- Woljong Temple

The Woljong Temple is arguably the most impressive Buddhist temple in North Korea. Wooden architecture and murals dating from the ninth century. I had the opportunity to have a private Buddhist ceremony given by the monk who takes care of the temple. Fascinating place.

Woljong Temple

The Woljong Temple is undoubtedly the most impressive Buddhist temple in North Korea. Wooden architecture and murals dating from the ninth century. I had the opportunity to attend a private Buddhist ceremony given by the monk who takes care of the temple. Fascinating place.

77- Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang

Kim Il Sung Square is the main square of the country where political events, mass demonstrations, important meetings and parades are held on official holidays.

Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang

Kim Il-sung Square is the main square of the country where political events, mass demonstrations, important meetings and parades are held on official holidays.

78- Pyongyang Metro

Pyongyang Metro is the deepest subway system in the world, 120 meters /  394 feet below ground and can therefore be used as a shelter in case of armed conflict. Some of the subway's stations are breathtaking.

Pyongyang Metro

Pyongyang Metro is the deepest subway system in the world, 120 meters / 394 feet below ground and can therefore be used as a shelter in case of armed conflict. Some of the subway stations are breathtaking.

79- U.S. ship Pueblo

In the Victorious War Museum you can visit the U.S. ship Pueblo seized by North Korean naval vessels.

U.S. ship Pueblo

In the Victorious War Museum you can visit the U.S. ship Pueblo, seized by North Korean naval vessels.

80- Taedongmun Gate

Taedongmun built in mid-6th century was the East gate of the walled city of Pyongyang.

Taedongmun Gate

Taedongmun Gate built in mid-6th century was the East gate of the walled city of Pyongyang.

81- North Korean war memorials

Many war memorials are spread around the rural areas of the DPRK.

North Korean war memorials

Many war memorials are spread around the rural areas of the DPRK.

82- Sariwon City Folk Museum

Mosaics depicting Korean traditional life, with women cooking vegetables. This set of mosaics can be found at the Sariwon City Fold Museum.

Sariwon City Folk Museum

Mosaics depicting Korean traditional life, with women cooking vegetables. This set of mosaics can be found at the Sariwon City Folk Museum.

83- Yellow Sea

Yellow Sea Village in the DPRK.

Yellow Sea

Yellow Sea Village just near the West Sea Barrage.

84- Traffic Police

Traffic Police in North Korea are always very active and maintain road order.

Traffic Police

Traffic Police in North Korea are always very active and maintain road order.

85- Taking photos with DPRK officials

Taking photos with DPRK officials.

Taking photos with DPRK officials.

Taking photos with DPRK officials

86- Marriage celebrations

During weekends many couples profit from the good weather to make pics of their most memorable day. Marriage celebration and family photos.

Marriage celebrations

During weekends many couples profit from the good weather to make pics of their most memorable day. Marriage celebration and family photos.

87- Train from Pyongyang to Beijing

The train from Pyongyang to Beijing takes about a 24-hour journey from the capital of DPRK to the capital of China. The landscape of North Korea is very beautiful and less industrialized than China

Train from Pyongyang to Beijing

The train from Pyongyang to Beijing takes about a 24-hour journey from the capital of DPRK to the capital of China. The landscape of North Korea is very beautiful and less industrialized than China.

88- Korean STOP road sign

Korean STOP road sign.

Korean STOP road sign.

Korean STOP road sign.

I end this page with a small video I made of some friendly DPRK soldiers happily dancing while they relax off-duty.

Is it possible to travel in North Korea? Yes, the country is open to tourism and many companies do organize guided tours.

Visual artist shares inspiring photos and exotic travel destinations. Adventure travel blogger with ideas and narratives to motivate independent travelers and audacious backpackers. Intense journeys into more than 126 countries around Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania since 1999. Expat in Morocco - North Africa since 2007, polyglot and proud Lonely Planet Pathfinders blogger.

Leave your comment:

42 Comments. Leave new

Amazing photos! I noticed you had a lot of notes about the “separation wall.” I realize you want to remain non-political so I thought maybe this was tongue-in-cheek… but you know there’s no wall, right? It’s a long-running fabrication of the DPRK that they love showing to tourists.

Reply

Thanks to your detailed article alongwith lots of photos, I got to know what unique things DPRK has and some impressive works

Reply

I guess banchan is called pansanggi in North Korea? Those political posters are awesome. I would have loved to bring back the whole lot.

Reply

Hey man, loved the pictures in this article. The place looks so clean! Definitely on my bucket list now.
Pete

Reply

This is a fascinating read. I’ve always been fascinated by North Korea, most likely because it is shrouded in so much mystery. Thanks for the insight!

Reply

thank you for your message! indeed DPRK is full of mystery.

Reply

I think you did a great job trying to be no political. As a travel blogger you have a difficult time, and people sometimes already have been fed ideas about a particular location. Pictures show a glimpse of what you see, and generally as positive people travel bloggers try to show happiness, and hope. You did a good job, and should not defend yourself, just accept that people will disagree, and move on. Thank you again for sharing your unique experience.

Reply

Thanks John, I guess the most difficult is to be quiet and not try to defend oneself… yet, that would be the most smart step to take. Definitely I’ll take your advice in consideration next time. Thanks! big hug all the way from the French Riviera!

Reply

Very nice pictures indeed. However after hearing/reading all what goes on with the north Korean people, the tone of your post sounds propagandist. Most of the stuff you were shown are just a facade for tourists. So I cannot really rejoice on the beautiful landscapes or modern buildings, when most of the people don’t have enough to eat. Not a biased opinion but a heart felt opinion. Don’t hate me! 🙂

Reply

hey Miguel thank you very much for your comment. I deeply appreciate your feedback. I do not believe that what you say is true. Many things that we think are for tourists, are not, and, we are just taken by US led propaganda to believe in that… other places in the world are the same Cuba and Iran for example… I have several examples of things that happen and people I talk with, to make my statement the way it is. Propaganda of what? To travel? People are poor? of course, the west impose cruel sanctions that affect only the normal people. There are other examples in the world that thousands of children die due to lack of medicament and vaccines… just because the west sanction their government. North Korea has a good regime? No. Are our regimes any better? No… actually even worse… war for oil – war for money… sick… big hug!

Reply

In any case; are there no poor people in the US? Isn’t the US primarily a service economy that fulfills it’s industrial needs getting very cheap workforce from other parts of the world like Haiti, Bangladesh, which workers work in awful conditions and barely have enough to live?

Reply
Rishi Ajay Das
November 27, 2015 4:49 am

Photos worth of thousands words! Amazing photos describes north korea in simplest way.

Reply

Thank you for your nice comment Rishi.

Reply

Thanks for posting this great information and reflection – and in English too ! I am expecting to visit for the first time in March 2016. Your information is helping inform my decisions.

Reply

I?m glad I could help Andrew. DPRK is a very interesting place. enjoy your travel.

Reply

oh, I like this post, thank you so much. have a nice day

Reply

Wow. I didn’t even know you could go to North Korea. I thought visas were only given to certain important people. I assume not many people get to go.

Was it difficult to get a visa? More importantly, I’m curious how the local people were towards you? Welcoming and curious of you?

Fantastic pictures. Never thought it would look so elegant. Thanks for sharing!

– Elliott

Reply

Really nice post.

Reply

Thank you for these amazing photos. I’ve just discovered your blog through your post on Lonely Planet, this being the first article I read. It definitely gives some extremely interesting insights about life in North Korea. I noticed many people criticized your post as being biased and supportive of the regime. Well, I think there’s no doubt that North Korea is a dictatorial country with very limited freedom in many areas of life, but this certainly is just one side of the situation. A part of the other side (i.e. people’s lifes and their culture) was exposed by your article, and this is why I like it.
…I said a part because I believe no matter where you go and what you do, there’s no country in the world where you can fully understand its situation in just a short trip (this is referred to people saying that visitors in North Korea can’t see what the real situation is there).
Keep up the good work!

Reply
Phoebe Nguyen
June 17, 2015 1:10 am

I did not know every thing about travel in North Korea, even thought that we can not come to North Korea for travelling.
But after reading your post, I think travelling here is a good idea. thank you!

Reply

A trip to North Korea is seriously at the top of my bucket list – everyone thinks I’m crazy! Maybe I should show the doubters this post 😉 Which company did you travel with?

Reply

One of the best blog’s I’ve come across regarding the DPRK. Beautiful photo’s, great job!

Reply

hey Justin! thank you very much for your kind words of support. Are you going to DPRK? Greetings from Tozeur – Tunisia!

Reply
JULIAN Pignat
May 4, 2015 6:42 am

thank you for your wonderfull photos, I would like to use some of yours photos, in our DPRK study groupe , we have many peoples that ask us about the DPRK /‎DPRK Study Group

thank you

Reply

Some fantastic photos but you can’t go to north Korea and swoon over how amazing and lovely it is when what you see mostly (if not all) exists for the tourists. There is ‘potential’ there with factories etc, although it isn’t using its potential when all budget is granted to the military and nuclear. Too many people go there for a jolly holiday without looking at the bigger picture and the means from which we need to learn and spread awareness and put our hands up and say ‘this is the cover, and I saw a little of the truth, but not all’. That’s not being critical of North Korea, that’s shedding light on what is going on here and how travel here isn’t the norm.North Korea has become a bucket list item, and a ‘fun thing’ to tick off the list. I, for one, will never, ever forget my time there…but I will never grant it ‘amazing’ status. Not in the same way we do for places without such regime and ideology.

Reply

Dear Becki thank you for your comment – I do appreciate the time you took to leave your opinion about this country.

Again, my travel to DPRK was not political.

Although this blog is not about politics, I’d like to ask you to think about the following 3 historical facts:

  • Japan officially annexed Korea in 1910. The Japanese invasion ended in August 1945;
  • In August 1945 the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were hit by two USA atomic bombs with a total of more than 200,000 people killed;
  • During the Korean War (June 1950 until July 1953), USA planes dropped 635,000 tons of bombs on North Korea (including napalm).

Is it normal that DPRK regime is military, restricted and army oriented with a crescent concern of being hit with an Atomic Bomb? I mean, from where DPRK regime took the idea of being nuked from? And we called them paranoid? Sanctions are proven not to be effective to regime change, actually the opposite always happens as the country defends itself by being more strict, defensively thought and extremely cautious about the outside world. Plus, sanctions directly affect the population by impoverishing them.

You know, …about evil regimes…, we in the West create most of these evil regimes ourselves. We can’t criticize Cuba, DPRK, etc, when we do block the country’s development and threaten them decades after decades.

It is proven that political and economical sanctions do make things worse, and make the opposite reaction to those said “closed” and less “ethical” regimes. Plus, when we sanction them, regimes get “defensive” mode and create a military regime. Does DPRK had nuclear weapons? Well, since the US nuked Japan that they do have. Do they have reasons to do so, I mean, to be threatened? Ask Japanese from Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Do people have a good quality of life? Well, with extensive western sanctions since 50 years, of course not. Sanctions are proved to affect children mostly.

You are from the UK. Good to know.

Throughout the 1980s, Thatcher’s government backed Iraq during its war against Iran, funneling weapons and equipment to Saddam Hussein in contravention of both international law and British policy, all the way Recently, The Independent reported on UK “blood money”. £12.3 billion of armed goods were sanctioned by government licenses to countries on the UK’s own list of human rights abusers. These include Iran, China, Sri Lanka, Russia, Belarus, Zimbabwe and Syria.

Mass killings involving UK arms have occurred in Israel, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt and Libya in the last few years alone. These exports are heavily subsidized by UK taxpayers. In one report, Management Today describe “peace” as “bad for business”.up until Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. She even sent Christmas cards to both Saddam and Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in 1981.

Saudi Arabia. Should I keep on going? UK vs KSA?

The UK provides diplomatic and military support to dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.

The UK government has been a close diplomatic, economic and military supporter of Saudi Arabia. This has included organizing multi-billion pound arms deals for vast oil supplies alongside diplomatic visits.

According to Amnesty International “Torture is rife in Saudi Arabia”, while the country continues to repress women, censor political expression and carry out numerous state executions. This has not prevented the UK from supporting the regime. The Al Yamamah deal spanned 1985-2006, whereby British arms were sold in exchange for 400,000-600,000 barrels of oil a day. It was the largest arms deal in UK history.

Sanctions in Iraq:

When asked on US television if she [Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State] thought that the death of half a million Iraqi children [from sanctions in Iraq] was a price worth paying, Albright replied: “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.”

Sanctions were imposed on the people of Iraq in 1990. Iraqi people are still suffering, especially children. Infant mortality has increased more than five times. Previously it had decreased from 139 in 1960 to 20 in 1989, which was comparable to developed countries. In 1992 it went up to 111.1 In 1999, a decade later, IM was still high at 104.2 The Gulf War and trade sanctions caused a threefold increase in mortality among Iraqi children under 5 years of age. It has been estimated that more than 46 900 children died between January and August 1991.

Do you know why Cuban people’s lives is not better? Because they do have an economical embargo since decades.

SO should we feel guilty that OUR government are making possible for these types of “evil” regimes to success? And that normal people do suffer because we do block normal life of its people just because we do not agree with their current regime? Yes, we should.

“There is ‘potential’ there with factories etc, although it isn’t using its potential when all budget is granted to the military and nuclear.”

You do have an idea of how much your country spends in military every ear? I mean, the UK is the 5th country in the world spending money for weapons. Total of 61.8 billion dollars.

Do you know how many people died because direct influence of UK and USA in the last century? Such regime and ideology in DPRK for my counts is nothing comparing with our countries in the West.

Would I travel to the UK or USA? Yes of course… even with such regimes and ideologies.

I’ve even been to London many times and I also find it Amazing. Despite of its regime of OIL for GUNS and WAR.

Because for me travel is not politics.

For me YES DRPK was an amazing trip. Like most of many others I made around the globe.

“Adventures with a social conscience. Journeys to change perceptions.”

Also like you, I do hope that with my page about DPRK, I change perception of travelers that countries are made of: regimes and people. Koreans are normal people, they are not evil, etc… I guess you got my point.

Sorry if my reply to your comment seems harsh, but, I do also have my opinion about somethings…

kiss, and big hug all the way from Rabat.

I love your blog by the way. 🙂

Reply

Right on the nail. Let’s not even talk about the continuous interventions of the US in Latin America, backing countless dictatorships.

Reply
Anna Chojnacka
March 18, 2015 4:17 am

DPRK is very underrated destination, while it has so much to offer. You captured perfectly its charms and beauty. Thanks for your post!

Reply

Thank you for your comment dear Anna. My travel to DPRK would never be as nice if you weren’t there with me. Thank you for the company. Kiss

Reply

interesting post, i hope sometimes i got money to travel there, north korea have many unique things, which another country don’t have

Reply

North Korea, like other countries in the region are very interesting. Korean traditions, costumes and cuisine are unique and should definitely be experienced. Thank you for commenting.

Reply

Great post, congrats my friend João, North Korea is on my bucket list! Regards from Dublin.

Reply

Thank you Hugo! I appreciate your comment on my blog my friend! bug hug from Ouarzazate all the way to Dublin!

Reply

obrigado pela mensagem. fico contente que tenhas gostado e conseguido distanciar de politicas para realmente apreciar um interessante destino de viagem. Grande abraço

Reply

thank you very much for your comment Shankar. have a nice day.

Reply
Little World Traveler
December 28, 2014 3:19 am

The DPRK is absolutely one of the most fascinating and captivating countries I’ve been to. Even though I only got a glimpse of the country as a tourist, I feel the interactions I had with the local guides and visiting the sites still gave me a deeper and more personal understanding of the people and country. Some of my highlights were the female traffic cops, the beautiful metro stations, Ryugyong Hotel, and karaoke-ing with my local guides. Thanks for the article, Joao!

Reply

Thank you very much for your friendly comment. Its nice to know that you also enjoyed DPRK. Female Traffic Cops = Traffic babes haha big hug from Morocco!

Reply

João Amigo, aqui tens uma bela apresentação da Coreia do Norte, onde mostras os aspectos mais variados. Parabéns. Quando lá quiser ir, vou ter contigo! Abraços

Reply

Excelente apresentação da Coreia do Norte, João. Adorei a tua forma de mostrar o país, porque claro que se viajássemos para não gostar das coisas não valia a pena. Depois disto, quem é que não fica com vontade de conhecer a Coreia do Norte?!

Reply

obrigado pelo teu comentário! ainda bem que gostaste. Todos os destinos têm muito que gostar… Grande abraço desde Ouarzazate!

Reply
Shankar Banjara
December 26, 2014 4:30 am

Interesting informative really love to read and see the beautiful pictures.

Reply

Thank you for your kind words Shankar.

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Travel blog featured on:
Nomad Revelations on the Media

Follow Nomad Revelations on Instagram @JOAOLEITAOVIAGENS