Introducing North Korea
No country in the world provokes a similar reaction to North Korea. Now on its third hereditary ruler, this nominally communist state and by-product of the Cold War has defied all expectation and survived a quarter of a century since perestroika dismantled the rest of the once-vast Soviet empire.
The death of Kim Jong-il in late 2011 has seen the highly repressive police state back in the headlines as nervous governments around the world watch his son Kim Jong-un take over the reins of a nuclear-armed state with an enormous army. Most people don’t even know that it’s possible to travel here, and indeed the compromises required to do so are significant. You’ll be accompanied by two government minders at all times and only hear a one-sided account of history. Those who can’t accept this might be better off staying away – but those who can will have a fascinating trip into another, unsettling world.
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Need to know
It’s no exaggeration to say that the North Korean capital is unlike any other on earth. An ideological statement forged in concrete, bronze and marble, Pyongyang (평양; 'flat land’) is the ultimate totalitarian metropolis, built almost entirely from scratch following its destruction in the Korean War. Every visit to North Korea focuses heavily on the capital.
The island-hopper's guide to Korea
Mention Korea and several things probably spring to mind: the division of North and South, the sparkling city of Seoul (headquarters to Samsung, Hyundai and other Korean powerhouses) and Psy’s manic and flashy ‘Gangna...
Travel literature review: Nothing to Envy
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick Rating: 4...