Enter Pyongyang Timelapse Video: http://vimeo.com/102051605

I manage cultural engagement projects for Koryo Tours, the World's leading DPRK (North Korea) travel specialist. www.koryogroup.com I help to coordinate international submissions to the Pyongyang International Film Festival and also lead tours to the DPRK.

Here's a photo of me with our North Korean guides during the filming of Enter Pyongyang: http://instagram.com/p/rdu9qxvEyd/?modal=true

Thanks for all your questions, if you have more please contact [email protected] and I will try to get back to you ASAP. I will be in DPRK Aug 18-25, you can follow my travels in extreme North East on my instagram (see above).

Comments: 401 • Responses: 70  • Date: 

CelebrityInternetter160 karma

What do you think about the assertions from people like Sam Potts that your work is hugely disingenuous?

North Korea is fascinating because it is a brutal, horrific despotism. The government is committing atrocities. There are death camps. Isn't this the equivalent of going in to Nazi Germany in the 1940s and asking for the government's permission to film the nice bits?

vickykoryo28 karma

I think the reason most people have a fascination with North Korea is because there is relatively so little known about it. North Korea has isolationist policies and we believe the last thing it needs is further isolation. We don't pretend that this video shows all there is to see and know in the whole country - only a side of Pyongyang, but an authentic side nonetheless.

djc9038 karma

Do you believe tourism in North Korea is ethical? How do you respond to those who argue that giving money to the North Korean regime through tourism is further promoting their oppression of citizens, prison camps and nuclear program?

vickykoryo18 karma

Firstly, we believe that person to person engagement through tourism is beneficial to all - the tourists and the North Korean locals, it helps change perceptions, and humanises each side to the other. In terms of finances, the amount of money from the tour fee you pay that ends up going to the government is relatively little - after paying for services (hotels, flights, tour guides) a small portion is paid to the government - just as tax is levied in all countries around the world. While undoubtedly some money from tourism does go to the government, given that at most 6000 western tourists visit Pyongyang every year - we believe this number is too small to justify the positive effects engagement through tourism can have.

vickykoryo11 karma

We do not believe the ethics question is black and white, however, and understand it is a complex - and personal - issue. I recommend this article which discusses many viewpoints on the ethics of travelling to North Korea. http://shanghaiist.com/2013/02/20/travelling_to_north_korea_ethics.php

DemHoesNigga37 karma

How on earth did you get your job? Did you interview for it? Is the pay good?

vickykoryo31 karma

Ah, good question! I travelled to North Korea in 2008 as a tourist - I'd recently moved to Beijing from my native Scotland and had friends who recommended Koryo Tours. I went for the film festival (I studied film and worked previously as a video editor) and got to know Nick, Simon and Hannah who were the core team back then - they hired me as a video editor and social media manager and in 2013 I started tour leading. The pay is enough to get by ;)

vaticanhotline37 karma

First off, I'm confused as to why you conflate ethics with money; one really has no bearing on the other, and when they do collide, it's often to the detriment of morality. To be sure, the North Korean government would hardly notice if Westerners stopped visiting, in part because there are roughly five times as many Chinese tourists as Western ones, but the point of a boycott is not simply to starve a company (or country) financially.

Secondly, why do you think that Western tourists visiting North Korea will improve the lives of the people there? If you look at places like the Phillipines and Thailand, tourism has manifestly not improved the life of the average person, and in fact has actually made the place worse in ways; for example, endemic prostitution and environmental destruction are just two very grave issues that face these countries. Further, it can be argued that tourism has actively harmed these countries, as people seek a way out by marriage or hope to make easy money from gullible tourists (this is particularly the case in Bangkok with the tuk-tuk drivers). As well as that, doesn't tourism to North Korea validate the existence of the government? They can point to the people visiting and claim that they have come to see the working of "this great country".

vickykoryo5 karma

I feel like I've answered this question already somewhat, but I'll adress your points.

On the financial question - that was a direct answer to the question. Secondly I would say that I'm not sure it's helpful to discuss North Korea in comparison to other countries as it's based on so much hypothesis and North Korea is really unlike anywhere else in the world. In 1993 when Koryo Tours started doing tourism and engagement we couldn't have imagined projects like this, or the feature film Comrade Goes Flying, would or could ever happen. We believe that 21 years of engagement have opened the doors for us to do this, that there are small moves in DPRK opening up to foreign exchange and interaction - and that that is better than isolation and the status quo.

flobop28 karma

Do they really play this music every morning in Pyongyang?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVXSgKYBoE8

vickykoryo30 karma

Yep. That video is filmed from the Koryo Hotel in the centre of Pyongyang and very close to the railway station - there are speakers at the station that play that music at 12 midnight, 4am and 8am every day. I've asked the guides and have been told variously it's a clock chime, it's revolutionary, it's for workers... hard to get a straight answer!

actimeliano27 karma

I have seen the timelapse and it was amazing, but how much of it was the real city? How much was edited or chosen by the gov?

vickykoryo30 karma

The whole of the timelapse is the real city, the entire film was shot on a 5 day trip in April of this year. The video was edited outside of North Korea - there was no comment or interference from anyone in North Korea on the edit.

corey56127 karma

Did the government have to approve the video before you published it?

vickykoryo25 karma

Nope, no one from North Korea saw it in post-production- in fact they're only seeing it now. My colleague has it on his iPhone and he's in North Korea now. We had two tourism guides with us as we were filming, but that's the only interaction we had with any North Koreans in the filming of this.

vickykoryo31 karma

Just got word from Pyongyang [edit: I sent a wechat message to my colleague who is in Pyongyang right now asking if he'd shown the guides the video] - the Koreans my colleague showed the film to were "blown away" our main guide said he was "very proud"

Knoflookperser24 karma

This question might be very specified but the skaters in your video made me curious, but is there such a thing like subcultures or youth cultures in North Korea?

vickykoryo31 karma

There are no subcultures, that would be considered against the ideology. There is an element of youth culture in Pyongyang where young people will skate, bowl, and enjoy other pursuits in their free time.

Knoflookperser15 karma

Thanks for the response. Maybe as a follow-up question: do they have popular musicians? Is there such a thing as a music scene, with a band (or orchestra) touring the country? Or are those sort of activities limited to the mass games?

vickykoryo19 karma

There are pop bands like the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble - all the music is very revolutionary in theme, you can check out our soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/koryotours Their is also a chamber orchestra which does concerts, a lot of the same songs that the pop bands do actually!

Knoflookperser14 karma

Thanks for the links and thanks for the AMA.

A lot of people are giving you a hard time during this AMA and that's a pity. I completely agree that further isolation isn't the solution for this troubled country.

If it doesn't bother I have another question: How much does a group travel to North Korea cost for your average western citizen? What are some weird precautions you need to take before going there?

vickykoryo9 karma

The price changes depending on when you go and for how long - have a look at our group tours page: http://koryogroup.com/travel_groupTours.php

You really just need to make sure you are well-informed about what they consider appropriate behaviour, we will brief you before you go and provide you with pre tour info also. Have a look at our FAQs: http://koryogroup.com/travel_travelAdvice_faq.php

mattyschnitz20 karma

I hate how people are giving you so much flak for this video. I think that generally speaking, humans are good, and that this shows that a lot of north korean people are very normal, which is something that is often lost when people talk broadly about North Koreans in the media.

Do you find this while in North Korea? Is there any difference between people you meet with party affiliation vs your everyday North Korean?

vickykoryo11 karma

Well opening up a debate is why I do the work I do! I don't mind a bit of criticism, all opinions are valid and it helps when you're challenged to solidify your position - but thanks for the support!

In North Korea no local would ever tell a foreigner that they weren't in support of the government, it simply wouldn't be done. We do however work with younger guides who are more modern and western in their attitudes, way they speak, body language, etc.

scottpie14 karma

All these questions about NK are great, but I'd also like to know about the hyperlapse techniques you used for this. Particularly for bits where the camera moves along a curved path (down into the subways for example):

  1. Do you have a way of measuring the increments between shutter releases so the motion is consistent?
  2. Aside from the brief video portions, I assume the shutter is being controlled via intervalometer?
  3. Since it'd be almost impossible to get the edges of each frame lined up from shot to shot, what's your workflow for stabilizing the image?

Like most in this thread, I'm feel conflicted about the positive image this video presents of a state we know to be so corrupt, but I appreciate your comments and perspectives here as well as the sheer technical and aestheitc prowess on display in this video. I'm truly amazed that so much amazing timelapse could be produced in only 5 days!

vickykoryo12 karma

Hi - well all credit goes to Rob Whitworth. His Barcelona video is truly amazing: http://vimeo.com/98123388

I can't answer any technical questions I'm afraid - I would contact him direct via vimeo. We scouted locations for one day and shot for four - early starts and finishing at sunset. Rob edited the whole thing - he's basically a video genius.

flanneur13 karma

Have you spoken with any defectors from the regime? If so, what did they contribute and ask you to show in the film, along with their thoughts on the finished work?

vickykoryo24 karma

No, I haven't spoken with any defectors. There was a very interesting AMA with a defector - you can see it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/18umza/i_am_a_recent_defector_from_north_korea_joined_by/?sort=confidence

puppeteer10711 karma

You ever get out of the cities with Koyro? What's the North Korean wilderness like? Is it well preserved due to lack of development? Or does the government not care and is it polluted and messed?

vickykoryo13 karma

Yes many of our tours leave Pyongyang, it is common to travel on one of the four 'tourist highways' built specifically to take people South to the DMZ, West to Nampo, East to Wonsan and North to Mt Myohyang but in recent years we have been able to travel further and through villages and small towns. In May this year I was lucky enough to join our train tour where we travelled all the way from Chongjin in the far North East to Pyongyang by rail we managed to see a huge amount of the rural country this way. Rural North Korea, that I've seen (and again there are many parts of the country we still can't go to) are very well maintained - and very cultivated. North Korea is still extremely undeveloped in North East Asian terms, and you'll see a lot of very people-heavy farming happening. You'll also see many animals being used and every square inch that can be used to grow food, is. It is a country of exceptional beauty - extremely mountainous and forested with beautiful coasts. Something few people are aware of as the media focus in North Korea is very narrow.

tyes7711 karma

There was an article about how an american had left a bible in a hotel room in north korea. Two questions. How strict are they on the free flow of information? What sort of things are on the list to NOT to bring to north korea?

vickykoryo16 karma

Information in the forms of books, music, film, art are all very strictly controlled. We advise people not to bring books in Korean, especially religious literature. You can bring a bible as long as it is for personal use and isn't used to try and convert the locals.

Double_A_929 karma

Why was there a DHL delivery truck? 0o

vickykoryo12 karma

DHL have a presence there, that truck happened to be driving across the square when we were shooting

Thegreasykraken7 karma

According to this article - http://www.news.com.au/travel/world-travel/the-north-korea-video-kim-jongun-wants-the-western-world-to-see/story-e6frfqb9-1227023118909 - a so called "expert on North Korea" called Dr Leonid Petrov is claiming that the video was technologically altered to make Pyongyang look more colourful than it really is. Is this true?

vickykoryo4 karma

I didn't actually physically edit the film but as it's made up of thousands of still photographs some post production work had to be done to make the colours consistent - absolutely no more than would be done in any other similar timelapse video.

vickykoryo11 karma

Having quickly read that article I'll say: 1. No one in North Korea initiated this project so to say anyone in the govt "wanted this video" to do anything is absurd 2. When the sun shines Pyongyang looks incredible and when it's cloudy and hazy it looks grim. If you use a good camera with expensive lenses you'll get a different image than if you use a cameraphone - ie. light and colour should not be taken as a judgement on a place

Thegreasykraken7 karma

Yes I agree, the whole article is very silly. I was only interested in that section because this Dr Petrov claims himself to be an 'expert' of DPRK - although how that translates to expertise of picture and video editing is beyond me. I suppose you must be used to these kind of hack jobs on north korea by now ;)

vickykoryo4 karma

I will say that there is a very narrow way of reporting on North Korea and this wee video alongside our documentaries are a way of trying to show another side - we don't for a minute suggest it's the only side or a definitive view, but it is in a small way widening the view of North Korea from the outside. Recommend these if you haven't seen already: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR638THdoYk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY0Wlk1BtXA

bigbrain0097 karma

Have you ever been or felt threatened by the government or military there?

vickykoryo4 karma

Nope. We don't come into contact with the government, and some of my warmest memories of being in Pyongyang are when I have been at the DMZ, the soldiers down there are very good fun and extremely friendly - in this video you can see a soldier wishing my sister a happy birthday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL2jvm7lQGU

Ebonite6 karma

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vickykoryo6 karma

I'm not afraid at all when I'm there, some of our tourists do feel apprehensive before they go but I have been many times so no that it's not scary or dangerous. Most people feel like it is a once in a lifetime opportunity - North Korea is unlike anywhere in the world, the landscape is beautiful and the people very friendly - it's the least known and least understood country in the world and many people find that going behind the very one-sided media depiction of the place is worth it

Ebonite5 karma

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vickykoryo5 karma

I wouldn't agree with that statement. There have been some cases of Americans being arrested recently but in all cases they acted in ways that are known to risk arrest in DPRK - as long as you don't break the law as an American you are very safe - and very welcome.

MattyD8514 karma

Are you serious? They have museums dedicated to the "Americans that want to rape and kill them all." No way any American should feel safe there.

vickykoryo32 karma

I am serious. I've been to North Korea with Americans. They were safe - and given that there is an enormous amount of very violent anti-American propaganda it's actually a very positive thing having American tourists travel there and show North Koreans that they are human too.

I_Say_I_Say2 karma

"Act in ways that are known to risk arrest" - So, being American?

vickykoryo4 karma

No, I mean primarily proselytising.

Zbroek36 karma

To what degree do you feel like the information we receive here in the west is false or dramatized? Or is it less than the real situation over there?

vickykoryo11 karma

It's a complex question - it's incredibly hard for journalists to cover North Korea, however I do think that unsourced myths are reported as fact in a way that wouldn't happen with any other country which doesn't help people who have never been to North Korea know how to sort fact from fiction. The human rights situation in North Korea is undeniable - but there are also millions of people, everyday people, trying to live their lives and unfortunately with the un-nuanced one-sided reporting that can sometimes get lost.

ImNotNew6 karma

Was it difficult getting permission to stay recording in a particular area, such as the subway? Did anyone get suspicious of you?

Also here's a link to the video for the lazy.

vickykoryo8 karma

First - thanks for the reminder, I've put the link in the description!

Secondly - we applied for permission before we went to the country so once we were there things went relatively smoothly. We were accompanied by our own guides from the tourism industry and when we shot the subway section we also had an official Pyongyang Metro guide. We did get some funny looks and had to re-explain what we were doing in most places but as we had gone through all the proper procedures (eg. we had North Korean press armbands) we managed to spend the time we needed to get the shots for the film.

flapflip6 karma

Don't you feel that you're only being shown what the NK government wants you to see? Parts of that look very scripted. You mentioned that you were only allowed to see certain parts of the city and travel certain roads. It seems like then city is just a large show to show the rest of the world how great their country is while just outside of that movie set people are starving and being murdered. Thoughts?

vickykoryo10 karma

We are definitely shown only what they want us to see, that doesn't mean that what we are being shown is fake - only that it is part of the story. Most people who travel to North Korea are well aware that there are terrible things happening out of sight - but to be honest, you see a fair amount of poverty and hardship in the parts you do see. No one I have ever met who has travelled to North Korea thinks that the country is as it is represented in Pyongyang - most are intelligent worldly people, capable of complex thought. They know there is much more to the story - but that this is all that open to them now, and they make the choice to take a little over nothing.

mercer1155 karma

Do you ever get to talk to the NK citizens? What's that like?

How do you feel safe going there? Do a lot of foreigners go into NK?

vickykoryo2 karma

I feel very safe in North Korea, safer than anywhere else actually. You are accompanied by two guides whose job it is to keep you safe so unless you do something that is very clearly illegal there is almost no chance you will get in trouble. We give our tourists very thorough pre-tour briefings and information so that they know the dos and don'ts before going.

The most interaction with locals is definitely with our guides, but often you will have the opportunity (esp in Pyongyang) to meet people at local celebrations and holidays and they are usually shy and intrigued - less than 6000 westerners visit every year so foreign faces are quite rare. I have a fairly flamboyant sense of style so that breaks the ice - North Korean ladies often comment on my headscarves and bright red lipstick :)

checkfeet5 karma

What will your next project in North Korea be?

vickykoryo4 karma

I spent ten days earlier this year producing a photography project which is currently in post-production and we hope the exhibition will be ready to launch at the beginning of next year. Blatant self promo but keep an eye on our facebook page for the official announcement of that project.

When I go in on Monday it's to the far North East, leading a tour group to Hoeryong, Rason, Chilbosan and Chingjin.

I will be heading back to Pyongyang on Sep 16th for the Pyongyang International Film Festival (www.pyongyanginternationalfilmfestival.com) for which I have been coordinating international submissions.

No_Cat_No_Cradle5 karma

What's the subway like in comparison to those in other countries? Does it cover a good portion of the city and get used for commuting or just between the main cultural/tourism locations?

Also, there are a couple folks in uniform that seem to mostly be standing around - the man at the bottom of the subway escalator and the women on the street with a baton or something in her hand. What is their role?

Finally, I was surprised to see a DHL truck. Germany must not be a part of the economic sanctions? What presence do western corporations and products have in the country?

Interesting video, thanks!

vickykoryo5 karma

The metro has only two lines but is used for commuting over a part of the city - buses and trams more convenient though as they cover more of the city (much like Beijing until quite recently). We have only just (last week!) been allowed to travel the full system, a colleague was the first to go to every station and our specialist tours (Train and Architecture) will be able to do this also.

The people working in the metro are checking tickets, the woman on the street is a traffic policewoman - directing traffic and so on.

DHL have been operating in DPRK for many years - there are a few joint ventures in the city but not many at all, it's a very rare sight.

Kenny--Loggins5 karma

How strict are the North Koreans with tourist photography? I.e taking photos of public/military buildings/personnel.

vickykoryo10 karma

Apart from when you are at the DMZ photography of the military is strictly prohibited, they also don't like you taking pictures of construction. Essentially they would prefer you don't take pictures of anything that makes the country look poor. In some cities like Hamhung or Chongjin they are extremely sensitive about any photography, somewhere like Pyongyang which is much more open, you can take pictures of almost anything - or anyone. Do check out my instagram www.instagram.com/vickyinam - I took all those pictures in the presence of North Korean guides

z8_GND_52965 karma

IN the subway, at the bottom of the stairs, there is a man in a uniform you filmed for a while. He's standing there for quite a while. Did you meet him and did he know what you were filming for?

vickykoryo13 karma

We didn't speak with him actually, we had some other guides with us and they told him what we were doing but as you can see when he looks into the camera he was a bit uncomfortable - North Koreans are often told that when foreigners are filming in DPRK they are trying to make the place look bad, to destabilise the regime, for colonialist reasons so even though we were with North Koreans some people were very wary.

Ebonite5 karma

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vickykoryo6 karma

Certainly the most incongruous thing I've seen recently, was an absolutely enormous pig with it's forelegs propped up on a 6th floor balcony, it looked for all the world like it was just chilling out checking out what was going on in this tiny village we sped through.

Saso74 karma

Was the video provided by North Korea or did you actually go to North Korea to film? If so did they tell you what to film?

vickykoryo8 karma

We filmed the video in North Korea. We were given the same guidelines as all other foreigners who visit the country - asked not to film military and also construction sites. We edited the video outside of North Korea - my colleague has taken it in this week and will be showing it to some of the North Korean tour guides we work with - it will be the first time they have seen it.

dick_wool4 karma

Will you consider working with Dennis Rodman on your next N.Korea project?

vickykoryo7 karma

I work primarily in art and film so I don't think so. I think in essence what the Dennis Rodman project was trying to do was very admirable - bringing North Koreans and Americans together under the common banner of sport - but it perhaps slightly got away from the goals with the focus being more on the leader and less on the people. There's a great article about that by my colleague here: http://online.thatsmags.com/post/i-spent-a-week-with-dennis-rodman-in-north-korea

zloo64 karma

What programs do you use to edit and what would you advise an amateur filmmaker?

vickykoryo2 karma

I'm not sure what Rob (who shot and edited this film) uses, but I personally use Final Cut Pro.

My advise? Go out and do it, make lots of films, and lots of mistakes and tell lots of stories. Travel as much as possible, meet new people, have conversations with everyone. Don't be scared - and don't take online criticism personally!

chan624423 karma

Are the films that are submitted for the Pyongyang International Film Festival heavily censored (if so, what material is seen as unacceptable)? Also, what sort of film genres have been screened for past Festivals?

vickykoryo12 karma

We never get any feedback about why films are rejected, but anything with graphic violence or explicit sex won't be selected. Nor will anything with a strong religious message.

In the past they've screened Bend It Like Beckham, Mr Bean, an episode from the BBC series Sherlock, a Thai murder mystery, romantic comedies, Hong Kong thrillers and they seem to have a particular interest in sports documentaries and fiction films.

tasztasz3 karma

Don't you think that working for probably the bloodiest dictatorship in today world is not very good idea?

vickykoryo27 karma

My boss may be a bit cranky when he hasn't had a coffee but I think calling him a dictator is a bit much. I don't work for the North Korean regime, I work for a Beijing-based British company called Koryo Tours.

dalybear3 karma

What's the weather like there?

vickykoryo2 karma

In summer hot and rainy

kjeovridnarn3 karma

I have heard that marijuana is legal and not treated like a drug in North Korea. Did you see any evidence of this while you were there?

vickykoryo6 karma

Nope, I've heard that too online but I haven't seen or heard anything about it in the country

Scarecrow3982 karma

To piggy back on this, same question only with crystal methamphetamine?

I often see a lot of news reports about it as a growing trend in NK, sometimes sources even going as high as stating 50% of the population is using it. Have you experienced or seen anything consistent with these claims?

vickykoryo4 karma

I can't really comment - it could definitely be the case but I have no direct experience.

krautchanner3 karma

How easy is it to visit North-Korea as a private tourist? How safe is it? What are the typical daily expenses in dollars?

Also pay not mind to these guys downvoting your posts and whining, they are just bunch of brainwashed tumblers spoonfed with American propaganda and in no way do they represent the intelligent and rational conseus of Reddit, just the majority unfortunatelly.

vickykoryo1 karma

Thanks for your kind words!

It's very easy to visit North Korea - the restrictions actually make it more simple than travelling anywhere else. Because you have to travel with an approved agency (such as ours) you just need to pay and provide a passport copy - your tour company will organise visas, transport, accommodation, everything. Whether you choose to travel in a group or as an individual you will be accompanied by two North Korean guides.

Rastafak3 karma

I saw the video and I liked it, but it feels too much like propaganda. Do you not mind that your video can serve as a propaganda for probably the worst regime today?

vickykoryo14 karma

I don't think anyone watching the video would be unaware of the situation in North Korea - I believe this thread vindicates that. People know how things are there, what they don't know is that there are real people, living everyday lives too. This is a part of North Korea that exists, it's part of the story.

TheStadiaArchitect2 karma

Awesome job on the time lapse! My question is how much if any of the video was staged?

vickykoryo2 karma

There is a part where some ladies in tradition dress are walking down the street - they are the guides who work at the Juche Tower, we asked them to walk around it . That is the only part that was directed, everything else was as we saw it.

shadowbannedguy12 karma

  • On the Pyongyang International Film Festival, did you get to see Comrade Kim Goes Flying? What did you think of it?

  • Does the Pyongyang airport have reliable electricity now? I read Guy Delisle's graphic novel memoir of his visit there and he spoke about how the airport did not have lights.

  • What's your favourite Pochonbo song? :)

  • Did you get to meet any of Pyongyang's "international" residents? (aid workers, ambassadors, etc).

  • How reliable is Koryolink's connection in the city?

  • How does broadband connectivity in the country work?

Thanks for doing this AMA :)

vickykoryo2 karma

I worked on Comrade Kim Goes Flying and have met the whole cast and some of the crew - I think it's a fun film, and is a very important engagement project. If you are in LA it's being screened on Sep 7th! http://comradekimgoesflying.com/index.php

There has always been electricity in the airport when I've visited (various times since 2008)

I happen to be a fan of this one: https://soundcloud.com/vicky-mohieddeen/arirang-echoed-through

I actually bumped into a Red Cross worker in Kaesong in May, very interesting guy. I've also met quite a few of the people working for the British Embassy.

Koryolink is very reliable in Pyongyang and I have had good coverage in all cities I've travelled to - on Monday I go to the far North East so am hoping it holds up there too.

nate8002 karma

Why the fuck would you go to Best Korea?

vickykoryo6 karma

I believe travel broadens the mind.

winnersclub1 karma

I'm a South Korean born with U.S. nationality. If I visit North Korea and tell them I'm actually South Korean, how would they react? Will they speak back to in Korean (I'm fluent in Korean) or in English?

vickykoryo4 karma

They will treat you as family in a way, they will be curious about where in South Korea you are from and they will definitely talk with you in Korean. I have seen many American-Koreans on tour and it's a nice bridge between the guides and the tourists - the guides of course find it tiring talking in English all the time so often it's a relief for them to have a break as it were. It's almost always a enriching experience for both foreign-born/ naturalised South Koreans and the North Korean guides.

AntwanBobson1 karma

Hey! First of all - great video!

I have two, kind of connected, questions:

What is a fact about NK that no one really knows, but should?

What is a fact about NK that everybody "knows" that is actually erroneous?

Good luck with everything.

Edit: formatting.

vickykoryo2 karma

Thanks!

  1. The people there are very warm and open and friendly - even the customs officials in the airports

  2. That everyone in Pyongyang is an actor and everything you see is for show - simply not true

[deleted]1 karma

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vickykoryo6 karma

Quite honestly, a better future for many ordinary North Koreans means, in the short term, supporting organisations that can get very real and practical help to those who need it most - hot water and soap in schools, a reliable food supply in rural areas. We are very happy to support organisations such as Marama Global who have a proven record of getting support to those who need it - no mean feat in North Korea - and you can see our page on humanitarian appeals here: http://www.koryogroup.com/about_humanitarian.php

[deleted]1 karma

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vickykoryo6 karma

Assume by 'they' you mean the North Korean government? They weren't involved in this vid.

Flash1201 karma

Did you show this video to the government? If you did, what did they think? It's very good.

vickykoryo-1 karma

We've shown it to our North Korean colleagues who work for the Korean International Travel Company - they were blown away and those who worked on it were very proud.

TryNstopME0241 karma

Have you ever felt in danger? Can anybody visit North Korea? As an American, would it be safe for me to travel there?

vickykoryo9 karma

Honestly never. It's very safe. If you are a South Korean citizen you can't travel as a tourist other than that anyone can go. As an American if you follow the rules it's perfectly safe. We take many Americans in on tour. Once a guide was talking about the Korean war on the way to the War Museum and was quite bombastic about the Americans in the war, he sat down, thought for a bit and then stood up again and said: 'we don't like the American government, but we like the American people and John [an American tourist on the bus] John, you are my brother'

TheMonsterVotary1 karma

How did the locals react to your presence in North Korea?

vickykoryo8 karma

People were quite wary when they saw our cameras but our guides explained we were making a video about the city. The guides themselves had no idea about timelapse - they were really confused as to why we needed multiple visits to places, and why we needed to be there for so long. Eventually we showed them the film that Rob and JT made in Shanghai and our guide Mr Lim stood and took off his glasses after watching and had a very serious look on his face. Then he turned to Rob and said - well I think you must be a genius and I will do everything to assist you. Was a lovely moment and we went from there!

vickykoryo0 karma

Thank you for all your questions and comments - it's great to see and participate in a healthy debate! I've been here an hour past my intended stopping time so I do need to log off now. If you have any further questions please do just drop me a line at [email protected] and I will try to get back to you!

vickykoryo0 karma

I had to log off there for a bit but will answer questions for another hour.

sebiv-4 karma

Do you feel you've sold your soul, producing a video that supports a government who is the worst human rights violator on the planet?

vickykoryo2 karma

I don't accept the premise of your question. This film simply shows the city, as you see it, as a tourist.