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Thread: North Korea trip report

  1. #1
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970
    Finally.. I'll put this into a new thread.


    The background

    L had booked a dance trip to Cuba for June and originally I had planned to stay home. Early May a friend booked a trip to Hong Kong with British Airways frequent flyer miles on Finnair's direct flight which turned out to be an excellent way to spend the miles. I looked into it a bit and found that the availability for direct flights from Helsinki to e.g. China were pretty good but what would I do?

    I've always wanted to visit North Korea. Not because I support the system but because it's rather unique place and one day it will be gone. I spent a weekend googling, found a few agencies arranging trips from China, sent e-mails, checked the schedules and a week later I had booked flights to Beijing and a trip to North Korea. A week later and everything was paid, tourist visa to North Korea was good to go, and everything was set.

    I might come back to the Beijing part later, after all you don't always visit the Great Wall by being the "only tourist there today" and meet "Military Zone" signs..


    Visiting North Korea

    There are a handful of tour companies arranging trips to NK. The itinerary is typically pretty much the same, and one will always be accompanied by a guide. For the same price one can be a member of a group, with two guides and a driver, or do it as a private tour/person with one guide and a driver.

    I chose to be part of a small group as it would be more free (just two guides for the whole group), there would be some adventorous souls for sure, and it would be more fun. I'm not a fan of group tours but it made sense this time.

    Propaganda? Who cares. Safety? I couldn't think a safer place to visit. At the end, visiting North Korea was dead easy and one of a kind trip.


    My group had about 15 people. Mostly people living in Asia but originally from Europe; swedish, german, quite a few dutch, spanish/singaporean, polish, french, one australian who turned out to be a writer for Lonely Planet, canadian, and one american. I was one of the very few who actually lived in the birth country. Businessmen, travellers, lawyers and one of the swedish guys was a writer who was writing a fiction book where North koreans were uber-humans and he was doing research for the book. The agency was run by a british guys and their guy that flew with us had been to North Korea over 120 times.

    Overall a great trip. The first night we spent until 4am with the dutch (Cathay Pacific's 747 pilot) and australian guy, drinking beer, playing pool, getting the bowling alley in the "dungeons" opened for us, and even managed to convince the staff to let us walk around with the beers. As the ozzie said, one has enough time to sleep anyway so the trip had quite a few long nights. From a tourist point of view NK is "free world", you can buy your bottle of duty free spirits, take the bottle to the bar and ask for a glass. No problem. Feel like smoking? Just ask for an ash tray.

    .. ok, let's get started.


  2. #2
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970


    This the plane from Beijing to Pyongyang. There was a big chance it would have been Tupolev TU-204 which is a modern plane but I was lucky and it wasn't -- it was an Iljushin Il-62M.



    This is the magic card that gets you in. For the NK trip you can choose between flying and taking a train. The default combo is flying in and taking the train back. The train takes about a day so I chose to fly both ways. The train people are part of a group visa so flying has the advantage of getting your personal visa.

    To get a visa I had to submit just a copy of my passport and a copy of my photo. Very straightforward. Actually easier than most countries I've been to that require a visa.



    Air Koryo does have business class, too.



    .. and the North Koreans who have the privilege to visit China, do travel with plenty of luggage. Check-in was very smooth and fast, they don't have luggage limits nor duty-free limits. The ozzie guy really wanted to know if one can bring as much booze as one wants to.. and he did.



    Considering how old the plane was, it was in a really good shape. There are only a handful of airlines who fly these any longer; Cubana, Deta Air and Trust Air in Kazakhstan, Air Koryo, Rossiya in Russia and Ukraine Air Enterprise.

    The flight was very smooth. One can feel the military skills in the engineering.



    Air Koryo offers a tasty meal and some glossy magazines about North Korea. Yes, I did eat everything and it wasn't too bad.



    The eagle has landed and one can feel the excitement in the air.

    You don't want to take photographs of the immigration and customs.



    One cannot bring mobile phones to North Korea. The train folks had their mobile phones taken separately but I was flying, I had to it myself. There was a "mobile storage" at the airport where you hand your mobile phone and get this nice receipt to get your phone back. Obviously at this point your imagination is the only limit to what they'll do to your phone while you're in the country.

    The customs is relatively strict. You are not supposed to bring stack loads of bibles to the country. You are not supposed to bring GPS to the country because everyone with an GPS is considered a SPY. You are not supposed to bring long lenses. The more professional photographer you look, the more difficult it gets. Computers, iPads, nobody knows.

    I had my Sony S90 point-and-shoot, Canon 5DmkIII DSLR, wideangle and 24-70 mm lenses. I left the zoom to China. Too bad. While the customs guy was going through my staff I said "no GPS", he laughed, closed the bag and waved me forward.

    The canadian got asked about cameras and showed him an iPod. All good. People didn't have trouble bring laptops and other to the country. iPads were fine, just tell that it's for watching movies. GPS is really the only, major thing.
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  3. #3
    Petri is offline
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    I have arranged my photos by topic so I'll be "jumping around" a bit.



    While in Pyongyang we were staying in Yanggakdo Hotel, which is presumably the finest. The exterior was being painted for a refreshing looks.

    People talk about the hidden 5th floor that where the escalators never stop. Yes, it exists, it's the maintenance floor. The elevators are a bit funny, they don't stop on all floors, sometimes they go up, sometimes they go down, and you should reserve up to 15 minutes for the elevator trip during the busy breakfast hours. I took the stairs for a few floors couple of times when they were acting up, a bit spooky really.

    No doubt one can see and feel all the spooky spy theories one wants to. That's obvious everywhere in NK. But seriously, I doubt there's nothing happening. Nobody cares. They don't have much spare change so when I bought couple of water bottles and paid in euros, they gave me a lighter as change. I don't smoke so I left the lighter at the hotel. On our way back we were staying at the same hotel, had the same rooms, and the lighter was still there where I left it.

    The TV was showing the local channel, chinese and japanese channels, and BBC World. The local channel was a special "tourist edition" that would run longer than the national broadcasts. Now I've seen bicycling bears on TV.



    The boulevard to the hotel was wide. And pretty quiet, too. The hotel was on an island and one was free to wonder around the premises, not that there was much to see really. One evening we were having dinner in Pyongyang and I finished early, checked the shop at the restaurant (they all have one, tourism..) and went sitting on the steps by the door. Watching ordinary people walking by, on the sideways. Nobody knew were I was, there were no guards, no guides, I could have "escaped to the Pyongyang night" or walked around the block.



    That's the entrance to the basement where all the fun is. North Korean marble if you wonder.

    Pool tables, bowling alley, swimming pool, barber shop, a casino, disco, karaoke, and a sauna & massage club with exclusively female staff. The tailor was on the first floor, more about that later. Everything, including the bar, is open 24h except when they close it. A bit weird really but "interesting dungeon".



    This is North Korean beer. Excellent stuff! I believe the reason for the excellent beer and many micro-breweries(!) in North Korea is due to the DDR. During the DDR era they had german expertise come and establish the breweries and today we can enjoy the results.



    This is also a good time to introduce our guide. She was a great guide, had a great singing voice and was a big fan of Michael Jackson.
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  4. #4
    Petri is offline
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    One of the first sights was Arch of Triumph. It has been bulit to commemorate the Korean resistance to Japan from 1925 to 1945.

    And of course it's bigger than in Paris. It's actually the world's tallest triumph, standing 197 ft (60 m).



    Kim Il-sung Football Stadium next to the Arch of Triumph. Obviously the first thought is that the classic Mercedes-Benz is just a play.





    The 492 feet Pyongyang TV Tower, on the front is Pyongyang Fun Fair. Our itinerary had a visit to the Fun Fair after a micro-brewery visit but unfortunately due to the children festivals the fun fair was closed during the evenings. Which is probably good because after the brewery, one of the attractions is called "vomit comet"..
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  5. #5
    Petri is offline
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    Pyongyang City

    Pyoyngang is basicly a privileged city. If you're privileged enough, you can move from the rural areas to the city. The elite lives "somewhere", the privileged people get by somehow.



    The amount of billboards is actually quite decent. But they do have their style.



    Practising for parade.



    A room with a view. This is actually from the hotel window. One can also spot the same view on the North Korean TV news in the background. We couldn't figure out the TV studio at the hotel, though, but we did try..





    During the week it was a celebration for children. Here is one of the many bus that brought the children for the festivals.





    This is actually green power. It's thermal power plant. Somehow it just worked better in black & white.





    Ah, the famous cars that tout propaganda. What they actually play is the radio channel. There's music, too.



    Some modern, recently finished chinese buildings.



    .. with amazing LED lights. One of the very few places where one can see some light during the Pyongyang evenings.



    There are about five billboards in Pyongyang selling cars. This is one of them and we saw all.

    During the Pyongyang visit one can and will see many sights plenty of times. It isn't really because they want to show you just those things and hide the rest but because the roads are better. I can tell you that a week in a bus on North Korean roads does make a difference -- back in Beijing I slept the first night on floor, my back couldn't handle the soft mattress.







    Sometimes you cannot put a picture into words. Sometimes I'm grateful that the weird human mind has given us so weird things to see.

  6. #6
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970










    So who would you like to have on your apartment house wall?





    The entrance to the Pyongyang department store is being washed. Everything is done by hand in NK.

  7. #7
    Petri is offline
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    Pyongyang by Night

    Not the night life but night..



    For a city of 2.5 million people, it's pretty dark except for the attractions and the new buildings.





    Juche Tower by night.

    Gold Lane Bowling

    Due to my victory during the night at the hotel, the dutch guy wanted a rematch. Or perhaps the bowling alley was on the itinerary anyway..




    Mansudae Fountain Park



    They do look like spys, don't they?





    And a "race of taxi's". I couldn't help wondering what a taxi drive would cost and what would they do if a tourist actually took a ride.

  8. #8
    Petri is offline
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    War Victory Monuments













    Victorious Fatherland Liberation War monuments, also called the Korean War. Just like in Russia and eastern Europe, they don't have trouble putting some emotion into the monuments.

    I know pretty much nothing about the Korean War but these huge monuments are impressive.

    Traffic ladies



    A classic.. Unfortunately NK had removed the stands for the traffic police. Actually as the traffic police are part of the military, you're not supposed to photograph them.



    Notice the very creative truck in the background.





    Seriously, they don't like taking photos of them and usually turn around. I wonder if the drivers like tourists influencing the smooth flow of traffic.

    These girls do have power. One UN car just had to follow the rules, no question about it. One will not enter this road, period.

    There's even a web site dedicated to the Pyongyang traffic police ladies, http://www.pyongyangtrafficgirls.com


  9. #9
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 43,559
    You are very intrepid. I wonder how Americans would be treated. I see the plane you posted has no closures for the overhead bins and you must have been really hungry to eat that airplane meal- ugh. This country looks so vacant and lost. Not my idea of fun. I'll read about it.


    Andy

  10. #10
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970
    USS Pueblo

    USS Pueblo is the only US Navy ship that is being held captive by a foreign government.



    But as one sees the ship, nobody cares really. The war is deep inside in North Korea, no doubt about it. Considering the amount of bombs dropped there, one can't really blame them.





    Our lovely host on the boat. It's amazing how seriously they take things while still being very nice.

    Notice the Kim-jong Il pin. This is the "old model". The new one has both Kim-jong Il and Kim Jong-un on it. The pin is like a medal for confirmation party, a treasure you're given when you grow up. You can't but it from the tourist shops nor anyone will give it to.



    One of the military heroes that captured the spy ship suddenly appears on board.

    Taedong Riverfront

    After visiting the Pyongyang's main square where all the parades are held, we headed towards the riverfront for a "free walk".













    Kids were rowing on the river for fun.









    At this point we had pretty much forgotten all the guidelines. People didn't seem to mind being photographed, the kids were just great and spoke a few words in english, we could hear "hi!" everywhere, and as it was children's festival week, there were children everywhere.





    .. and obviously it meant that our dutch friends were didn't hesitate to make contact with the kids. That's a lawyer and a 747-pilot.





    .. and obviously the locals (local spys?) were suspicious about these activities. Perhaps we were marked for rest of our lives to be followed by NK agents.

    While at the political level it's hard to make a difference at least these kids will now that there are friendly people out there. A small difference can grow into big one.

    One of the guidelines was that we shouldn't photograph people. Oh, what the ..

  11. #11
    Petri is offline
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    Pyongyang subway

    One of my favourites, Pyongyang metro. It's not a tourist thing, there were quite a lot of local people using it and thank's to the children's festival, plenty of kids too. The teachers had an amazing control over them.

    We had an extended metro tour with several stops and a five station ride.



    The cars are classic from Berlin, East Germany.



    With the stations, architectures, statues, metro ladies. Simply amazing. Obviously one cannot wonder if this is the world's best play or something else.

    The "great thing" about North Korea is that it can be everything you expect it to be. If you are a great believer in spy stories and see conspiracy everywhere, you'll be given all the ideas you need. If you think it's just a poor country trying tho show off, it works as well. And everything in between.

    Again this would have been a great opportunity to start wondering around the city.

  12. #12
    Rosemary is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2010 New England Posts: 4,287
    Petri-AMAZING. We will go through this again, so much to take in. Thank you.

  13. #13
    Petri is offline
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    Ryonggak Mountain picnic

    One of the highlights of the trip was a picnic on Ryonggak Mountain, a few miles from Pyongyang. Not because of the place as such, which was quite lovely, but because of the children's festivals. That meant that the park was full of kids.



    A bunny riding a turtle. A bear with fruits. "Think different", as Apple would say.



    The bbq food was just excellent. This can be the hard part of this type of trips, you travel to a place where you know is shortage of food and as a foreign tourist you are shown the best, an image that everything is just fine. I try to keep a simple rule, I eat what is being offered and I eat as much as I need to, and I hope that the leftovers will be taken care of.




    And mandatory singing and music. The canadian guy spoke some korean so we got some contact with the non-guide locals.









    A lot of kids in their school uniforms. They seemed to be genuinely interested in foreign people, and spoke a few words of english. They were curious but very shy.


  14. #14
    Petri is offline
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    Ryonggak Mountain picnic ...








    The dutch pilot had his iPad and a video of his daughter playing football in Hong Kong. These north korean kids knew quite a bit of foreign footballers, too.






    When we walked back from the mountain, there were some families that were singing and dancing. If this interest in foreign people was a play, it was one of the best plays I have ever seen. And the biggest. My simple explanation would be that they live in their own bubble and they are happy when someone shows interest -- maybe without realising that we don't buy the bubble. From everything we saw, I just can't believe that everything was staged.

    The swedish writer decided to join the dancing, even got himself an instrument to play.

  15. #15
    Petri is offline
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    Monument for the party founding



    They don't make these any more..





    I was told this was the best angle to take a photograph. Nice.



    Exhibitions of the Three Revolutions

    At some point all this stuff does get into your head, and you cannot help but start to make jokes. The three revolutions of the Korean socialism are ideology, technology and culture.



    These are all the technology Kim Il-Jong has invented, including the world's first engine.



    This building displays all the space exploration North Korea has been involved in, including putting man into the moon. And I'm pretty sure they have jumped down from much higher than Felix did, and without a parachute.





    North Korea also already masters the Star Gate technology which is still considered science fiction in the west.





    A north korean-built car, with help from South Korea. The two white peace doves symbolize the peace and harmony between North and South Korea.

    What was actually interesting was that the people had genuine wish for the Koreas to be united again. They felt that they had been separated by force and it was only a matter of time when the unification would happen. From a friend who travels to South Korea frequently I've heard that there is similar wish in South as well.



    .. and they make awesome models, too.


  16. #16
    Petri is offline
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    Arch of Reunification

    This was constructed in 2001 to commemorate Korean reunification proposals put forward by Kim Il-sung.





    This is the 6-lane Reunification Highway, or Freedom Highway as it's also called. It connects Pyongyang to Seoul -- well, in theory at least.

    The nice thing was that one could actually walk to the middle of highway to take a picture without fear of traffic. A few hours on this road in a chinese bus is murder, the road was in much better condition here than elsewhere.

  17. #17
    Petri is offline
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    Mangyongdae Children's Palace

    One of of the youtube classics..



    .. and after a visit to the Children's Palace, it starts to feel pretty normal. The school plays will never be the same again.



    The Children's Palace is a huge building in Pyoyngyang. Presumably the kids can come to the palace after school and practise skills.




    The have number of "showrooms" where the kids show what they can do. They are skilled, no doubt about it, but one can easily see that the teaching methods are probably quite harsh.


  18. #18
    Petri is offline
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    We were quite lucky that the it was the children's festival week as the show was twice as long. There was also a lot of kids in the audience with their mobile phones -- turned out they were japanese kids with north korean parents that were visiting their "home country" and they could carry their phones.

    I can't imagine what a japanese kids think about North Korea.



    How often do you see that happening at your kid's school?



    The education starts young.



    Most of the plays had a story from the North Korean history or teachings.



    No doubt it's all a show.


  19. #19
    Petri is offline
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    Mansudae Grand Monument

    Mansudae is probably the best known monument from Pyongyang and North Korea. Until recently it used to be such a statue of Kim Il Jong but March this year they replaced the old statue with a duo of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.





    This is really the "Vatican of North Korea". The whole thing makes sense when you start to think the system as a religion. In fact if one reads all the stories about Kim Il-sung there is a lot similarities to the christian stories.

    If these guys believe it, so be it. Not much difference from visiting Vatican or any other church, just respect the local beliefs even if you don't agree with them.



    The mandatory pose.








  20. #20
    Petri is offline
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    Wedding

    On our way back from the Ryonggak Mountain picnic there was a small lake with a wedding rituals taking place.





    Such a beautiful dress!



    The newly weds throw bread to the lake for the fish to hope success in their marriage and lives.



    Bride's mother.

    Obviously this was all arranged for our small group :)

  21. #21
    GramChop is offline
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    Petri, you photojourney is fascinating! Very enchanting and frightening all in the same frame. Thank you for sharing these photographs.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  22. #22
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,970
    Thanks! A few more sites left..

  23. #23
    Petri is offline
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    Kim Il Sung birthplace



    Kim Il Sung's birthplace in is Mangyongdae-guyok, one of the "villages" next to Pyongyang. Well, at least it's presented as the birthplace.

    Kim Il Sung's birth is relatively normal compared to Kim Jong-Il, who is told to have his birth at Baekdu Mountain and heralded by the appearance of a double rainbow across the sky over the mountain and a new star in the heavens. (Sounds familiar around 24th December?)







    The site itself was relatively uninteresting, couple of houses with items that may have belong to his family. But the locals do take pride for the site and everything was kept in pristine condition, like a holy place.

    The last picture was somewhat typical sight in NK. They plant grass one by one. Overall everything in the country was very labor intensive, one could barely see any hardware being used or even animals.

  24. #24
    Petri is offline
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    Revolutionary Martyrs cemetery



    Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery is a cemetery and memorial to the North Korean soldiers of the Korean War on Mount Taesong.





    Our ozzie friend showing respect. By giving respect to the local culture and their beliefs we actually got a bit further to places one would normally not be allowed to go. I think this also made the trip quite easy, we never felt controlled at all and had a great, relaxed conversation with the guides and the driver.







    The grave for Kang Pan-sok, mother of Kim Il-sung, and Kim Jong-suk, first wife of Kim Il-sung. Of our trip, I believe this was the second most holy place for the North koreans. There were plenty of people taking care of the grounds and a flow of soldiers coming to pay respect.

    As the photos and places we were able to visit show, the Korean War is really deep in the North Korean heart. One could simply feel it, they haven't got over it.

  25. #25
    Petri is offline
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    Ryugyong Hotel

    .. well, sort of anyway.



    This is the classic from the late 80's. In 1992 after the fall of Soviet Union the construction halted and it turned into a 102-story concrete pyramid.

    The construction resumed couple of years ago with Egyptian support and it has finally finished exterior. The story tells that inside it's still a total mess, there's nothing inside, the lift shafts are not straight enough for lifts, and it's very unlikely that it will never be opened as a hotel.

    It is 330m (1080 ft) tall and had it been opened originally, it would have been world's tallest hotel. It's still world's 47th tallest building, though.

    Here is our british guide from Beijing, Simon, inside the building:

    http://passport.foreignpolicy.com/po...rom_the_inside

    (Simon has been to North Korea some 120+ times in the last 10 years)

  26. #26
    Petri is offline
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    Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum



    Wow, what a name for a museum! And one hell of a museum really. As mentioned earlier, the north koreans are still "handling" the war experience. Not that I blame them for that, the US dropped 635.000 tons of bombs, including 32,557 tons of napalm, there during the Korean War -- more than entire pacific region during the WW II. 10% of the korean population died, most of then in the North.





    Our museum guide.













    They had this pretty amazing revolving theater with various war scenes on display, with lights and audio, real-sized props, part of the landscape was built and in the background was a seamless painting. Really impressive!

  27. #27
    katva is offline
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    Petri---FASCINATING!!!! Thanks so much for sharing all of this! I've been looking forward to reading this, and the pictures are simply amazing. I don't know that I had any real images in my head of what I would expect to see in North Korea, but these aren't it! I feel like I got a little tour myself.
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  28. #28
    GramChop is offline
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    I agree, totally, Katva. This is so surreal. Again, Petri, thank you for sharing this with us. Images and explanations we might never have known but for your trip and subsequent report. If I get fired from my job it's because I've been 'googling' words and locations from your report.
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  29. #29
    Petri is offline
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    DMZ/JSA

    Korean Demilitarized Zone is the 4 km wide strip between North Korea and South Korea.

    JSA, Joint Security Area, is inside the DMZ in Panmunjeom. It's the only connection between the two countries. Often called one of the most dangerous borders in the world.



    .. and what a refreshing place to enjoy a can of Coca Cola.

    The rules say;
    - Do not speak with, make any gesture toward or in any way, approach or respond to personnel from the other side.
    - Casual clothes such as ripped jeans, sleeveless shirts, mini skirt, short pants, military cloth, and sandal(slippers) are not permitted in the tour area.
    - Shaggy or unkempt hair is not allowed either.
    - The cameras with over 90mm zooming lens are not allowed.
    .. if you visit the border from the South Korean side.



    A visualization of the place. Notice the huge North Korean flag. The blue buildings are there on the upper left corner where the border goes.



    This charming military man was our escort during the DMZ/JSA visit. This was also one of the very few moments when both of our guides were alert and our female guide was super sharp. One of the few moments we had permission to photograph military.



    Place where the Korean Armistice agreement was signed. There is no peace treaty between the two countries. This room was actually the only place during the trip when we heard the north koreans directly mock the americans -- for using the UN flag.





    Part of the DMZ. While a heavy mine field people also do agriculture there.



    And this is it, one of the best known sights from North Korea. Solders guarding the room where North and South Korea have talks -- if they have to -- exactly on the border.



    A wider view, that's the South Korean building behind the blue negotiation rooms. In fact perhaps North Korean is more known from pictures from that side?



    Stiff! We were supposed to visit the room but both North and South have keys to it and both have the right to close it for "their own purposes" at any moment. Unfortunately this happened and our visit didn't happen. Thanks South! A real bummer but not exactly the place where you want to demand your money back and yell for tourism rights.

    Anyway, start running here and you will be shot.



    And a closer look at the South Korean surveillance. Barack Obama was on that balcony just a few months earlier.



    Whoops, who has left a can of Coke here? Is it for target practising? No shooting from South Korea happened.



    And one of the North Korean solders was happy to pose with a tourist from Finland, a can of Coca Cola and North Korea in the background.

    In fact with the swedes we planned to drink beer but the guide said that drinking alcohol might be considered offensive. So Coca Cola it was then.. and yes, I did finish the can there.

    Funny thing happened with the dutch pilot. He was using his iPad to take photographs (secretly of the military people, too) and what happened was that he left the iPad on the balcony at the border. We were already on the bus coming back from the JSA/DMZ when it was noticed.

    Some "hot moments" and the iPad was returned with the next tourist group to our lunch restaurants later.



    This fellow joined us for the next target, an outpost about an hour away where we had a nice view of the DMZ towards South Korea and binoculars to look at the "wall" South Korea has been building. There was something for sure but who knows what..



    Anyway a very nice spot!

    Some images from the countryside en route to the other border location:





    This feels like a classic painting. Love the guy sleeping.







    There were several military stops en route and just after Kaesong our bus was stopped by the military. A military man came in, spoke with the guides, who went to one dutch lady to take her camera. Later they returned with the camera.

    At an earlier military stop they "had seen" that the military was being photographed and they had called the next stop to check us and the photographs that had been taken.

    One of the "more interesting" moments for sure. And I can't say that it didn't feel special at the border. One of the unique places in the world.

    I will be returning to the site in January. This time from the south korean side.

  30. #30
    julianne is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2003 CT Posts: 3,079
    Petri---Thank you for taking us along on your journey. You could have an alternate vocation as a travel guide. From the photos, it appears that NK streets and locales are so clean as to be almost surreal. Did you see any litter, anywhere?

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