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North Korea?

Discussion in 'Asia' started by amelia88, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I was watching a documentary yesterday about the separation between North and South Korea, and how separated families occasionally have the chance to visit each other (under very supervised organized visits) and it made me so sad - but it got me thinking about North Korea.

    Would any of you ever go there? I don't know that I would, but I guess I just find an element of the country fascinating. Probably that it's so closed off from the rest of the world just interests me. I think it's rather hard to get tourist permission there anyway, but it just got me thinking about whether or not any of y'all would visit!
  2. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Member

    I am not that good in history but I think North and South Korea have been separated for more than 50 years already. There was one news item that I read in a magazine where an old couple in North Korea were given a pass to visit the South. Once in the South, their relatives prodded them to stay and not go back to the North. But before 1 month elapsed, the couple decided to go back to the North because they couldn't adjust to the life in the South. There was no specific reason but I think the old couple have been used to the life in the North for 50 years so there's no more way to adapt to the democratic South.

    If being a hermit country looks interesting to you, think again. There are foreigners who are arrested for suspicion of spying. I would dread to be in their shoes.
    amelia88 likes this.
  3. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    @Corzhens yes I think it's been since around the second world war that they've been separated. I've seen a lot in the news lately about people being arrested in North Korea, there was one who was a young American who took something from a hotel in North Korea and was arrested, and last I heard about it they were sentencing him to hard labor!

    I would hate to go there and end up getting arrested simply on suspicion of anything, and it seems like that does happen over there...maybe it's better for me to simply read about the country and keep my distance! I do find the history side of things very interesting.
  4. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Member

    This reminds me of our trip to Beijing last year. Pardon me but this is not to malign China. On our departure, we were subjected to body search in the airport. There was a guy who looked like a military man and around him were some young people looking like university students who were obviously being trained. Those students did the body search on us. I felt like a suspect for murder because the hands of the girl passed by my legs 3 times, the same with my body and my arms. I was so nervous because I know that China is a communist country and what would happen if they find something illegal in my person? It's really a scary experience.
  5. Valerie

    Valerie Active Member

    North Korea is strangely fascinating to me. A world of anachronism. Everything looks so dated, as if the country never left the 1920s in some aspects. I find the lifestyles of the citizens intriguing as well. That is to say, when you see pictures of them on the internet or in documentaries, they do not seem that burdened in their daily lives. We never truly hear about the conditions of North Korea, save for their leader's antics. I would go, if permitted, just to witness a day in the life of someone from North Korea. How different are they from South Korea? Many of my South Korean friends tend to say very little about their northern counterparts. Rather, it's as if they don't know what to say.

    But for now, it's a totally dangerous place for outsiders. I'll keep my distance.
  6. Quazi

    Quazi Member

    The glimpses we see are very staged.
    I would love to visit there but I have no doubt that I'd only get to see what they want tourists to see.

    Recon, monitoring and stories have come out about there being times when food was so short, lots of people were either eating grass or trying to make soup from tree bark.

    The point you touched on @Corzhens about the population not being adjusted is one of the big reasons the neighbouring countries fear the collapse of the regime there.
    What would you do with millions of people who are a mix of being brainwashed, unskilled, behind the times etc.....at the moment they're doing what they're used to but if they had a chance to migrate they would unfortunately be a big burden to wherever they want.

    I really do feel bad for the population and wish their lives could be better than the snippets we hear, and I can also understand why neighbours are concerned.

    I think I would get into trouble if I went there, I can be a little too insensitive and blunt with what I say :p
  7. pwarbi

    pwarbi Member

    North Korea isn't a place that's top of my vacation list either, I must admit and even if I was allowed in there I'm not sure I'd be allowed out, well, not in one piece anyway!

    I'm sure its a beautiful, fascinating country to go to, but the political regime that's in place there, coupled with the fact it would be like going back in time puts me off even wondering about what it's like.
  8. Miya

    Miya Active Member

    I find North Korea interesting, but I don't think I'd visit it. It's simply too dangerous. People get arrested for no reason and they are imprisoned for years. I don't want to risk having that happen to me. It's not worth it.
  9. djordjem87

    djordjem87 Member

    It's a bad way to promote a country in a way they do it so I think I would skip this trip although it really looks like a beautiful country if you omit the crazy dictatorship. I would really like to see the numbers from tourism there. Does anyone go there for pleasure? What to say about this split that happened so many years ago. I have lived that with my country, then Yugoslavia, splitting two times in my life time. First it was a 1991 big civil war split and the second one was recent and peaceful. Montenegro separated from us and we are now Serbia. It is not something to compare with but the first one was very rough and families were lost in between all of that.
  10. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I think it's that strange fascination that draws me in to learn more about it too. And I don't know if you've seen it, but the movie "The Interview" made me literally think "man, I know this is a comedy but I really feel like that's what Kim Jong Un would be like!"

    I've been to South Korea, although I didn't make the trip to the DMZ (I spent more time shopping and doing other cultural activities) and a family member was actually stationed over at a base in Korea too, so he had to go to the DMZ regularly to mediate between N. and S. Korean troops...I guess part of me thinks "why can't you just all get along?" but that's the million dollar question I guess - that we're asking in so many parts of the world :(
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
  11. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I totally agree with you that it looks incredible there in a lot of landscape pictures if you take away that you have a crazy man running the show.


    Seriously check out some of the pictures on that link - it looks beautiful, I guess that's what makes it even sadder. They could have a great tourism industry if they weren't so closed off and insular, I'm sure.
  12. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Member

    Gee, I didn't have an idea of what would happen if North Korea's government would explode to pieces. Yeah, what would happen to the millions of orphans who couldn't even fend for themselves. From what I hear, North Korea is now having problems with their economy and food shortage is getting to be a problem. Although citizens say that don't get hungry but the quality of food have certainly gone down. They don't even know what spam is.

    And in the issue of going to North Korea, I would rather just visit the South so I would have peace of mind in my travel. By the way, my niece was dismayed when she went to South Korea because she said the prices of goods seem to be overblown... so expensive that she wasn't able to buy anything for bringing home.
  13. Quazi

    Quazi Member

    Oh my god, those photos looks like they're from some magical, dreamy Pixar movie - in a good way!

    They look incredible.

    @Corzhens no wonder those guys wanted to go back to the North :p

    I suppose with the laws being so strict there and things being run by a select few, things can look in order and have an overall design/plan to them. Doesn't make it right but still, very impressive to look at.
    Thanks for those photos, I never realised the place looked so beautiful :)
  14. crimsonghost747

    crimsonghost747 Active Member

    If I could visit the country for real, then I would absolutely go there. But the tourists they let in nowadays are not allowed to roam around freely, it's more like a guided tour of the place. So you see what they want you to see, and I don't expect you to get a glimpse into the real North Korea. So a trip like that? Nope, not really interested. A trip where I can walk around and explore on my own? Sign me up!
  15. Coco

    Coco Active Member

    I definitely want to visit North Korea if I had a chance. But I won't be bringing my family with me, especially my son, maybe I'd just be with my husband. Although North Korea is a generally safe country for tourists, I don't know... It just seems a bit risky to bring my son if ever we have a chance to visit the country.

    Anyway, I've read a lot of reviews of people who have visited North Korea. The main point is they let you visit the places that they only want you to see, Pyongyang and a few other regions that is safe. You interact with the elite or middle-class people only. You can take pictures of the majority of the places, although there are a few restrictions. You will be on a guided tour only and even though you can explore other places by yourself, it's only for a short while.

    Then there's the laws with regards to their presidents. You can only refer to their presidents with their name plus the title "president." You can take the pictures of their statues only if you include the entire body, not just the head. You have to bow down whenever you pass by their pictures, which can happen a lot since their faces are plastered everywhere, even in houses.

    Yes, it might be too restrictive, but it's a once in a lifetime experience. I would still love to visit the country despite the tour being staged and all that.
  16. djordjem87

    djordjem87 Member

    By looking at these pictures you really cannot feel anything else then regret. They really have a wonderful country and by some of the architecture you can see the mark of the old socialist society but nevertheless it is quite amazing. I am a very big mountain lover so you can understand hat I think about those pictures with those beautiful mountains. I believe that they have their reasons for some things like not letting America and the west interfere with anything they do. I get that but I do not get why the people of Korea has to suffer the dictatorship. Why so limitation. It cannot be the seek of the discipline or some decorum they all need to have.
  17. pwarbi

    pwarbi Member

    Maybe the fact that North Korea is so secretive and closed to the western world will make it even more of an attraction to some people? While I can see that perspective, I'm still not willing to take that risk as its one thing being inquisitive, but it's not worth risking your freedom, or even your life in some cases, just to satisfy your curiosity.
  18. maxen57

    maxen57 Member

    I don't think I'll ever want to go there after the documentary my son stumbled upon this afternoon. It was just too disturbing to mention so I'll just post the link here so you could see for yourselves, if this is something not to your knowledge yet.
    North Korea could've been as open and as free as South Korea but after seeing what I saw on that documentary, it just made me sad that people have to resort to horrible means to survive. Why the United Nations doesn't seem to do anything to save those people just baffles me also. Even China is more humane in treating its people with dignity.