Last september I made a trip to North Korea as a tourist. As of this AskReddit post and the discussion about the Vice documentary I was asked to do an AMA! Going to North Korea isn't as hard as it seems anymore. We (my mother and I) booked the trip via a travel agency for trips to NK located in Beijing (I should really get paid by them for advertising! :P) We just contacted them and told them how long we wanted our trip to be and then they proposed a tour. We could request changes regarding what we wanted to see.

So, we went there for 5 nights, 3 of them were in Pyongyang, one in Kaesong and one in the north in Myohyang (famous for the friendship exhibiton where you can see a ton of presents that were given to the three leaders). We got to see the DMZ from the north, the library in Pyongyang, the Juche tower, the friendship exhibiton, the mass games and a lot more!

During the day, we were always together with our two guides (one male in his 50s and a female in her early 30s) as well as our driver. Inside museums there usually was just one of them with us. As we are Swiss, they both spoke German. The driver only spoke Korean. In the hotels we had nice rooms (occasional lack of warm water) and our guides were always staying in the hotel with us (in was less nice rooms and usually with at least 4 people per room as we learned)

So, I want to keep this into rather short because I don't know what you guys are interested in. I took a shitload of pictures (the only rule was no construction, no military and not inside museums) so maybe if you want to see something specific, I can see what I got.

I don't know how much insight I can give on the whole political side of NK and all the answers will be just the way I experienced! So please, AMA!

My Proof:Re-uploaded the picture in front of the mausoleum without the guides (I know, too late)

E: Ok guys, I need to take a break and do some other stuff. I try to get back to a few more questions later!

E: wow, this blew up way more than I expected! I will try and answer more questions. the question about price and what to eat was answered in here. also I might upload more pictures but I want to make sure I'm the only person in them. is imgur the best place to upload them to?

Album: so I made a little album with some of the pics. there's a lot of duplicates in the original number:

Comments: 2020 • Responses: 92  • Date: 

scroogemc942 karma

Are they happy?

Zombie461317 karma

No, they don't seem happy. Of course, they have their happy moments with family or at events but generally, no.

hinterzimmer567 karma

Do you think someone should free this country through a war?

Zombie46801 karma

Thinking about how bad the life is for people, not even starting with the ones in the camps: probably. Not an easy yes/no question because china wouldn't just sit there and do nothing. I think north korea will collapse sooner or later and even that won't be an easy thing to handle

LeCaptainInsano405 karma

China is afraid of North Korea government collapsing; because of the millions of refugees they'll have to manage when it happens.

Zombie46452 karma

I've heard that they are already starting to build refugee camps to be prepared when it happens! Might just be a rumor tho

blackraven36142 karma

North Korea is a really shitty situation. It seems like it they rely on aid to keep themselves going. Kill the aid, the regime falls apart. But this is a terrible solution considering that people will starve and die. War is the same way. The country is already in terrible shape; anything catastrophic is going to take a huge toll on the population.

The only way to go forward is to start developing the economy and slowly doing away the dictatorship. Considering how comfortable the leadership is basking in gold while the population barely gets by makes me think that the ruling family is not willing to risk losing power. Not considering that any economic progress possibly undermines the elite.

Zombie4675 karma

that's why I don't think there's any way to avoid some kind of catastrophic change. but I have no way of knowing.

paupiecam716 karma

Do they ask you about the 'exterior world'? I wonder if they are curious at all, even though it might be forbidden..

Zombie46983 karma

The people we got to talk to usually were curious but also very cautious in what to ask. They just asked about our lifes, nothing political or anything.

Cybernetic_Saturn484 karma

Why are you wearing sneakers with your nice shirt and pants? Were you pulling some kind of psy-ops on them, making them think that's how people on the outside dress?

Zombie46474 karma

Hahaha isn't that how cool people dress nowadays? I only took that shirt and pants with me because we were asked to dress nicely when going to the mausoleum and seeing Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il. I didn't want to take extra shoes with me as well just for that occasion.

tony_nz460 karma

After watching Vice documentaries of North Korea on YouTube, it felt like everything was an act. Did you experience the same effect? E.g. Only person at dinner

Zombie46637 karma

Well we didn't experience the "bringing food to empty tables" thing. But yeah, we usually were the only people in a big room. And a lot feels like an act but not everything. When going to the north of the country we couldn't take the usual route because a bridge was damaged and we drove through smaller towns. There were also occasional checkpoints from the military where our guides had to show their IDs and a special permission for us to be there. Those things didn't seem staged at all.

They probably just try to keep as much as possible under control.

Faps_McTickle358 karma

"a bridge was damaged"

Yes, definitely.

Zombie46133 karma

well I think it collapsed because of floods. but how would I know :D

Havins83 karma

Now that's crazy. It seems from everything I've read very few people get to deviate off of the typical paths. Do you feel like the smaller towns you drove through on this detour provided a different view of the DRPK?

Zombie46123 karma

yeah, the official route doesn't lead through smaller towns so you don't get to see them with the run down houses and everything.

redditor_not_found431 karma

What was the weirdest thing you saw?

Zombie461015 karma

They had coal powered trucks! They took out the engine in the front and built a steam engine on the back and there was always one guy shoveling coal. Petrol is hard to come by without money and they have trees to produce their own charcoal. But that definitely was the weirdest thing in my eyes.

The mass games were kind of weird but in a "better" way.

Nikola_S294 karma

It was probably not a steam engine but wood gas.

Zombie46221 karma

cool, I was wondering how they worked exactly! thanks!

redditor_not_found188 karma

Did you see a lot of people and did they look well fed/happy?

Zombie46534 karma

We saw many people in the streets (everyone was walking!). They didn't seem happy, no. And they were all skinny but at least in the cities not to a starving degree. And everyone is super short which is a clear sign for malnutrition.

Omaestre338 karma

Did you actually have to bow down to statues?

Zombie46672 karma

Well, you're very very very much encouraged to do so. I think you can refuse to do so but they will hate you and make your trip a lot more complicated.

anomalous_cowherd25 karma

I guess it's like churches - if you go to look inside a church/cathedral/synagogue then you pay lip service to their wishes - shoes off, no shorts, no shouting etc. It doesn't mean you have converted or are giving up any of your own beliefs, it's just polite.

North Korea is just one big 'different' place.

Zombie4612 karma

well said!

senor_ww334 karma

Thanks for doing thid AMA. Fo you think is morally correct going as a tourist to NK? Obviously, part of the money goes to th elites pockets

Zombie46370 karma

Good question and also a very difficult question! Yes, we were aware that we are financing the dictatorship. But with going there we also gave more people the chance to interact with a different culture and them opening up to tourists means allowing ideas from the outside into the country as well! So we just hope that the positive effect of money for the "normal" people and letting them see that there's a world outside of NK is more important than the money for the elite.

whytemamba317 karma

Is it true that propaganda is blaring 24/7 throughout Pyongyang?

Zombie46576 karma

No, it's remarkably quiet because there's so few cars. There's a ton of propaganda posters and stuff but nothing coming out of speakers or the like.

relateican225 karma

They do blare in the morning in Kaesong for factory workers, and even in Pyongyang. I was there for couple of days too, it doesn't blare 24/7 but it does early in the morning.

The propaganda mostly are on banners saying things like "long live the spirit of Juche" in lots of buildings in Pyongyang.

Zombie46193 karma

Didn't hear that at either of the two places (Kaesong was closed down while I was there). We probably just were too late to hear it!

OliviaStevens21 karma

Do you have any photos of the posters?

Zombie4664 karma

Hazzadude97301 karma

How strict were they in what photos you were allowed to take, as I've heard differing reports?

Zombie46477 karma

Surprisingly liberal! We were taking pictures all the time, in the cities it was no problem at all. While driving we probably were a bit lucky as I took pictures out of the windows of the countryside and the more run down houses. But only once during a break on a longer ride in the middle of the street, the male guide asked us to stop taking pictures because there might be military personal around.

Hazzadude97229 karma

So basically the laziness of your tour guides let you get away with things :) is there anything you shouldn't have got a picture of, but did anyway?

Zombie46314 karma

They both did great ;). I didn't get pictures of anything specatular other than run down buildings. I got to drive our car for some time tho!

designgoddess113 karma

Do you worry that talking about them and showing their faces will put them in danger?

Zombie46229 karma

I didn't before, I do a little now to be honest.

shnitzzy83 karma

Why'd you How did you get the opportunity to drive the car?

Edit: I didn't mean this comment in the way it's written... Here's how I meant to put it "How did you get the oppurtunity to drive the car"

Zombie46270 karma

Because you dont often get the chance to drive on roads like this!

Kvaezde260 karma

Did some north Korean ask you questions about where you are from and what did they ask you?

Zombie46448 karma

The general population isn't allowed to talk to foreigners. But usually at the tourist attractions, there was a local guide who would show us around together with the female guide and sometimes they asked where we're from and a bit about our lives. And if we travel a lot, what countries we have visited. That always blew their mind.

At the library we had the chance to join a group of north korean doctors that were learning German (and were really good at it too!) so they had a chance to practice. They also asked a bit about our lives, what I want to do when I'm done studying, why we chose to come to north korea. Speaking about politics was a taboo tho.

Kvaezde178 karma

What was your answer when they asked you why you chose north Korea?

Zombie46357 karma

We said that only very little is known about the NK in the west and the media only says bad stuff so we wanted to see what the real deal is. Plus we like to travel!

kinkakinka147 karma

So do you think that the Western media is mostly correct about NK?

Zombie46297 karma

I think it's a bit in the middle. It doesn't give the good things enough credit but I think the bad things aren't really accuarte either because especially in the camps it must be unimaginable

gutter_rat_serenade58 karma

Do you know what the process is of North Koreans that want to travel?

Are even the elite allowed to leave with special permission?

Zombie46114 karma

I think actual travelling is impossible for almost anyone. you only get to sent somewhere for a special purpose and not leisure. unless you're in the kim-family kind of elite.

cheche_sulva205 karma

how was the DMZ? did you feel a tension between the 2 countries??

Zombie46323 karma

Good question because it was very odd! It didn't feel dangerous at all for a weird reason: I'm not entierly sure if we were at the actual border. We saw those blue houses and everything and there were north korean guards on our side but when looking on the southern side, there was not a single person visible. No tourist, no military, nothing! That was one of those moments that felt extremely staged.

We did get to see to the south with binoculars at a different place and there you could see big castle-like military posts and that's where you realize that the tension is very real. There was also some kind of explosion on the southern side which we could see but people didn't really react so it might have been for construction or a test or something.

ohboywhatnow203 karma

If you went with Koryo it was definitely the border, but the guards are mostly inside the blue houses. I was there last year and saw a handful of American soldiers walking around on the other side. Mostly though, both sides tend to pick their strongest-looking and handsomest of their soldiers to guard the DMZ border line, to give off an impression of how great everything is on their side of the border.

Zombie4698 karma

Thank you for this! Makes me feel a lot better actually

RagingRudolph50 karma

I'm not entierly sure if we were at the actual border. We saw those blue houses and everything and there were north korean guards on our side but when looking on the southern side

That's interesting. It'd be pretty awesome/crazy if they built a mock Panmunjom for tourists and, I'd assume, training purposes.

Zombie4661 karma

It was the weirdest feeling! I don't know if I'm completely wrong but considering how much supposedly is staged there, I think it's possible.

hongily25162 karma

What did you eat?

Zombie46433 karma

Food1 Food2 Food3 Food4

The food was... mediocre. There always was plenty and usually we got rice or something with eggs that was good and lots of vegetables. There was also meat but usually extremely fatty and I didn't really like that. They put so much on our tables that we never were able to finish which is a terrible thing in a country where people are starving. But of course they wanted to make the impression that they have plenty of food.

Sr_Citizen128 karma

Pretty much looks like the food I get in my dormitory cafeteria in South Korea right now, although I can`t see any kimchi (some spicy cabbage) or rice. Both are standard in SK, kimchi is even free in restaurants... Good SK-food obviously has more to offer.

Edit: the rice is below the yellow food on the 2nd photo.

Zombie4697 karma

Yeah if you like food from SK you're probably fine with the food there but it sure lacks variety! We got rice most of the time.

Hausenkamp155 karma

What was the atmosphere like? Did you get like an empty creepy vibe?

Zombie46290 karma

It was really odd. You always feel somewhat out of place. Outside of Pyongyang everyone is just walking. No cars. And you feel like nothing is happening in the country except for the tourist things. We always felt 100% safe. But yeah, kind of like you're in a dream.

Hausenkamp105 karma

That's how I imagined it to be! Would you recommend going there?

Zombie46187 karma

Definitely a very unique experience. I'm really glad we went there but I was also glad when we left. In general, yes. But you have to be prepared mentally. It's probably not a good idea for an extremely inexperienced traveller because you can't just ask whatever you feel like and you have to respect the people you interact with, no matter how horrible the things are that happen "behind the curtains"

YuiG151 karma

How did it feel, seeing all the famous North Korean landmarks? What were the normal people's reactions when they saw you? How did people act?

Zombie46391 karma

Actually those landmarks are really cool! As much as communism and the dictatorship there sucks, I think a big monument has it's appeal. They were fascinating!

Normal people avoided us, they didn't even look at us. As far as we know, they are even forbidden to talk to foreigners (and usually are unable to because of language barriers.)

Impressive landmark

eVaan13121 karma

It looks so empty and sad even though it's sunny. Gives me mixed feelings. How did it feel when you were there?

Zombie46177 karma

It does feel very odd! You feel completely out of place there. You try to enjoy it but kind of want to leave at the same time

eVaan1327 karma

Thanks for the reply. I saw some of your answers saying that most of places are like this. Are there not many people around at any time or just certain periods?

Zombie4646 karma

well there is a "rush hour" in pyongyang where you see more people in the streets and it feels less weird then.

Omaestre142 karma

do they have fro-yo

Zombie4625 karma

Haven't seen any, no!

viciouzzz136 karma

Did you get access to the internet in NK?

Zombie46202 karma

We didn't, no. I think there's like on hotel that has a computer with internet access for tourists. Plus you can buy sim cards as a tourist which allows you to use internet. But we didn't get any of that.

ButtsexEurope123 karma

They have 3G there. It's called KoryoLink and it's for foreigners and the elite. So you could probably have gotten internet if you asked.

Zombie46236 karma

We knew that there was some possibility for foreigners but it's also kind of nice to not look at your phone for a few days and not feel bad about it ;) but thanks for the info!

Ruairidh_119 karma

What close calls did you have there (like almost being arrested)

Zombie46270 karma

When we went into the mausoleum where the two dead leaders are, we were asked to take everything out of our pockets. I was feeling a little dizzy in the morning so I had some kind of gum with me that helps in those situations. I didn't really want to give that up so I kept it. When we went through the metal detector it gave a signal and the guy patted me down and apparently the warpper of the gum had some kind of aluminum layer or something. The guard got super angry that I wanted to take that with me and our guide had to calm him down.

Other than that I think we were pretty easy to handle tourists!

Javindo393 karma

Jesus Christ, if a north Korean guard at the tomb of two previous dear leaders tells you to empty your pockets, you empty your pockets. Were you trying to get sent to the Gulag?!

Zombie46220 karma

I just figured fainting or throwing up would be even worse :D

yokem195 karma

typical swiss ignorance.

Zombie46404 karma

sorry. can I make it up with some chocolate?

Beaver1007111 karma

Have you seen any army troops walking around in the city? Maybe, military machines or something like that?

Zombie46149 karma

Very little. In the city it was usually just single army members going somewhere. On the roud we once passed a camp of tents where maybe around 100 soldiers were hanging around and at a river we saw a few dozen army members cleaning their uniforms on the rocks. They probably were helping our with construction in the area there. But no marching batallions, tanks or anything like that.

llosa105 karma

I'm planning on going at the end of this year. Any tips/things I should watch out for?

Zombie46229 karma

Bring cookies both for you (like when your stomach gets upset) and for your guides. Always share in the car, they will love you! Plus bring small presents for them. Bring a flashlight in case the power goes out. Wet wipes. Big enough cards for your cameras. If you're going in the winter I guess warm clothes!

Oh, money! All cash, if you have the possibility to get Euro coins, do that! We brought a shit ton of coins with us to pay for stuff like water bottle in the hotel. They usuall cost like 1-2 euros and they can't even split a 20€ bill if you buy something for like 8€. Chinese money is fine as well. And bring enough money in general if you intend to buy souvenirs. They have stuff like propaganda posters for sale which are kinda cool but quickly cost 30€ and up. If I can think of more, I will let you know!

toeman45100 karma

Did you see any other tourist while you where out there, or was it just all north Koreans?

Zombie46188 karma

We did see other tourists. Not many and we ran into the same tourists multiple times because there's only so much to see in NK and everyone goes to the same places.

ButtsexEurope93 karma

How much did they talk about Korea's ancient history? Did they show you anything from precolonial times?

Zombie46144 karma

They talked a lot about it and we got to see the tomb of one of the last (or the actual last) kings of the koryo dynasty. They do like to talk about that because it was one of the short times where there was actually a united korea.

blue_stark82 karma

Is it true that people were made to style their hair like Kim Jong-un ?

Zombie46135 karma

There was extremely little variety in hairstyles. I think the "same as Kim Jong-Un" thing came up after we were there and is only for students so I can't say much about that. But yeah, they all looked more or less the same

PointOfFingers80 karma

There were some stories early this year that North Korea was almost completely dark at night as an indication of how resource poor they are. Did you notice this? Were there street lights or neon lights?

Zombie46125 karma

In Pyongyang it was ok, they had street lights too! Just once when the power went out and we were in the hotel lobby, it was completely pitch dark.

When we arrived at the hotel in Kaesong, it was already dark. They didn't have any light whatsoever to get to our room so we had to take out our flashlights to find the way!

thandor2377 karma

how does the country smell? i asked this question several times in amas about north korea but so far nobody answered it. so please tell me about it.

Zombie46105 karma

It didn't smell weird or anything, it smelled very neutral. the plumbing seems to work and they don't have any cars so the pollution is very low.

GrenadierCrabs76 karma

Are you being held captive against your will? Blink once for yes, twice for no.

Zombie46128 karma

blink blink

dymsx67 karma

Have you seen any of the VICE documentaries on NK? Do you think they portray NK in a realistic way? I feel like they are a bit exaggerated.

Zombie46135 karma

I watched them before going there. Compared to my experience they are exaggerated, yes. However, they were shot a few years before I went there and Kim Jong-Un ordered the country to expand tourism so things definitely changed! But of course they had to do it in a manner that makes it more exciting to watch.

ToothlessDragon62 karma

How hard is it for travelers from western cultures to get into NK and travel? Did you need permission from certain governments?

Zombie46112 karma

It's actually rather easy! You just need to start organizing well in advance. The agency we travelled with just had us fill out a form the get the visa (stuff like name, birthday, job). And then you pay the fees. Of course in the background the NK government probably does a background check to find out who you are. So if you are a korean war veteran or something, I wouldn't recommend going there. But if you're just a "normal" person, it's not really much of a difference than going to other countries that require you to get a visa in advance like china or india. However, you only get the visa via the travel agencies because you're only allowed inside the country on a set tour!

ToothlessDragon50 karma

Awesome thanks man, to clarify, you cannot wake up one day and say your going east, you have to follow a set path provided by the travel agency? Can you choose it if so?

Zombie4681 karma

Exactly, the whole trip has to be set in advance. You know what day you will be at what place. You can choose/request to see certain things and they will plan accordingly! Howevery, there's some "must sees" that are actually musts. We didn't want to go to the military museum because we thought it's only propaganda so it was taken out of the plan but we went there anyways.

Plus, the tour might be set for you but they can change the sequence as in you might do something today that was meant to be done tomorrow. But you get to see everything that you agreed on in advance!

Jasmene201233 karma

Do you have uploaded photos? I would like see more.

Zombie4633 karma

Unfortunately, no. I took almost 700 pictures and I didn't really get around choosing the best to do that. Anything in particular you'd like to see?

Noxwo1f49 karma

I would be interested in seeing a picture or two of the more rural villages you drove by that you said were a bit more run down. :-)

Thanks for this AMA by the way it's fascinating!

Zombie46107 karma

One Two

Here you go! And you're most welcome, glad people are interested!

DownvoteMeHarder58 karma

Did you see or hear any mentions of South Korea or America while you were there?

Zombie46168 karma

Only in the sense that everywhere we went, we were told that the Americans are the devils of the world and imperialists and the government in south korea are just puppets of the americans. they did however say they wanted to reunite with the people in the south and that seemed really sincere!

marroonit49 karma

What other countries have you visited?

Was NK the strangest of them all?

At any point during your trip were you fearful for your safety?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

Zombie46141 karma

I've been to the US a ton, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, India, Dubai, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Yes, NK was by far the strangest when it comes to atmosphere but since you're extremely taken care of it was very easy to be there. Countries like India need a lot "work" of your own.

No, safety was never a concern at all! You feel super safe. Probably because everyone that would try to harm you would get shot immediately including all of their family or something so people didn't even look at us.

You're most welcome!

Solidarr45 karma

I think many of you need to keep in mind, that having money sent to the NK government was absolutely [i]not[/i] his first and foremost intention. I think he is getting a lot of flak for this when really, the money he spent on the trip is so petty that it probably made no difference to them whatsoever. Regardless of whether or not he went, NK is still a horrible place to be stuck in for a native.

Zombie4615 karma

Thank you!

nysmoln40 karma

Do you think that the tour guides actually believe they are getting away with only showing the "nice" sides of the country?

Zombie4658 karma

You mean that we think that's how the whole country is? I don't think so, I think they just do what they are told to do.

zombiethrow34 karma

How much would it cost to go there from NAmerica?

Zombie4647 karma

Depending on how long you want to go and how big your group is. For a few days (like 5) and on your own, probably 3000-3500$. From and to Beijing so +air fare from your place to China.


Why did you want to visit NK? What did you like from it?

Zombie4663 karma

For one, it's the only country like it. And reading many news articles and watching documentaries, I just wanted to see it with my own eyes and not through the eyes of someone that needs to tell a story.

Well the country itself is actually very nice. And the historical heritage is huge.

iroh18127 karma

Is it as haunting as the vice documentary as it makes it out to be? I seem to recall them going to some sort of visitors center and there is a woman who just lives there and is so delighted to see another human being. really creepy

Zombie4626 karma

I think that changed a little as when they shot the documentary, there was even less tourism as there is now. We didn't really see people that were just happy to see another human being.

Jonatio22 karma

Was it generally cheap or expensive (for you) there?

Edit: Were there many other tourists?

Zombie4627 karma

The tour itself was somewhat expensive. But as everything was included in the price (hotels, guides, flight, food) it could have been worse. Still expensive tho!

Inside the country you can't really buy much but at the hotels you can buy drinks and those are supercheap!

There weren't a lot of other tourists but since everyone gets to see the same things you run into the same people many times!

ZimbaZumba19 karma

Did N. Korea correspond to the impression we get through the media. I realise you were carefully chaperoned, but it is still possible to get a general sense of the place.

Zombie4621 karma

Yeah, most documentaries show you the whole vibe you get in NK.

Potizzle14 karma

I watched the VICE documentary and one thing that made me curious was the fact that they mentioned something about getting spied on, in their "own" hotel room. Were you concerned about something like that? Were you allowed to leave your room or even the hotel? Do you have pictures of the airport? And did they check your baggage at the airport?

Auf Deutsch fällt mir die Fragestellung leichter :) In der Dokumentation von VICE wurde erwähnt dass es angeblich "Wanzen" in den Hotelzimmer gibt die permanent kontrollieren was Touristen sagen und tun. Hattest du das Gefühl beobachtet zu werden? Wie war es im Hotel? Konntest du das Hotel alleine verlassen bzw. zum Beispiel spazieren gehen oder durftest du das Hotel absolut nicht verlassen? Wie war die Atmosphäre am Flughafen? Hast du eventuell Bilder? Wurden deine Sache bis auf jede Kleinigkeit kontrolliert? Ich habe in einer anderen Dokumentation gesehen, dass sämtlich Speicherkarten oder andere Speichermedien am Flughafen notiert werden und bei der Abreise dann kontrolliert werden?! Konntest du Bücher mitnehmen?

Zombie4638 karma

Ich antworte mal auf Englisch damits die meisten verstehen :)

So we were never really sure if we were spied on in our rooms. In Myohyang there was a really odd situation when we went back to our room, the door of the room next to us was open and just two soliders were sitting inside it and closed the door very quickly when they saw us. That felt extremely odd!

Our luggage wasn't opened or anything, they just put it through an x-ray. They wanted to see our mobile phones and just wrote done what model we have. But they didn't check any storage cards for the cameras or anything.

We weren't allowed to leave the hotel without our guides! That was a set rule. It was allowed in Pyongyang because the hotel there is on a little island and we would have been able to walk around there.

I only got 2 pictures at the airport of the plane, not the airport itself unfortunately. Plane1 Plane2

Albatenius10 karma

Do they seem to know that they are missing out on something? Or do they think the whole world is like NK ?

Zombie4619 karma

the people that have no possiblity to get in touch with foreigners probably don't know that it's different. they probably think it's worse outside of NK. but it's hard for me to actually know the answer to that question.

Deedb4creed5 karma

Neat but in a way you kind of inadvertently aided one of the most repressive and murderous regimes financially and politically.

Zombie4629 karma

Very true and was also a concern for us! We just hope that the financal aid for the "normal" people and the contact with western people, ideas and experiences makes up for that.

kitkatalyst4 karma

If you give them enough money do you get to caged hunt another human being somewhere in the mountains near the prison camps?

Zombie467 karma

You might want to ask dennis rodman that question, I don't have that kind of money.

Frazzydee3 karma

Is there a speed limit on the roads? If so, what is it and is it enforced or followed?

Zombie466 karma

No speed limit. You can't really go too fast because there's a shitload of holes in the street that you have to avoid.

Mbizzle1352 karma

What did your diet consist of whilst you were out there? Compared to how much people get, we're talking a bag and a half of rice for a month, you must have ate like a king. I'd imagine they treat tourists like yourselves with a banquet.

Muckerducker2 karma

What is their pop culture like? I know that Internet and television access is almost completely restricted, but what kind of stuff are people interested in there?

Zombie463 karma

Well they have a movie industry where they shoot their own movies. Plus music, very traditional music. But it's all extremely limited

alicization2 karma

When on a tour, are you alone or with a group?

Zombie462 karma

Depends on what you book! We had a private tour so just my mum and me +2guides+driver. You can go in a bigger group if you want to!

occupythekitchen1 karma

How was the food?

Zombie464 karma

There was plenty and it was ok. You usually find at least something that you like to eat (rice, eggs)

GrumpyPumpkin1 karma

Were you aware that going to North Korea as a tourist is an evil act? Not trying to moralise - I imagine most people would be willing to pay thousands of dollars to a totalitarian state for such a unique and interesting experience, even if they become propaganda in the process. Edgework and dark tourism aside, I'm interested in whether you went there knowing that you were supporting the regime, and whether this was an issue for you.

Zombie465 karma

Yes we knew and yes it was an issue. We hope that the fact that we could show that there's a world outside of NK to people, talk to them, show them that there's a different, better way to live makes up for that. Looking away won't help anyone. They see that there are people outside that have a good life and don't need to be afraid. Plus some of the money might help directly or indirectly the people as well.

And by going there I can tell people about it. Most people that replied to this AMA probably wouldn't have thought about NK today but now they did. They know that it has its good sides. They might even be more likely to support something that can change the situation. Of course, all that is only a tiny tiny drop on the hot stone and there are lots of people who do way more than that but I hope it's better than nothing.

caleb13001 karma

How is the local brew?

Zombie462 karma

Pretty good! I especially liked the one in Pyongyang, the one in Kaesong not so much

alfienism0 karma

What did their breath smell like? Did they smell weird in general?

Zombie468 karma

I didn't notice and weird smell, except for cigarette smell since all the men are smoking a lot. It didn't smell weird in general! Pretty neutral.

LovepeaceandStarTrek-1 karma

You look remarkably good for being a zombie. What's you secret?

Zombie462 karma

lots of love, peace and at least one trekkie brain per day!

kuttymongoose-4 karma

What's a good question to ask you?

Zombie467 karma

Something that you wanted to know about north korea which I might had the chance to experience!