A Trip to North Korea

By Lauren Hiser and Zachary Hollis

Introduction

Traveling to North Korea is the trip of a lifetime! You'll be at risk of being captured by authorities and being sentenced to Labor Camp. Sometimes for absolutely no reason at all. Other than that, there are many great attractions to see, such as, the previous dictators of North Korea, Kim Il-Sung, and Kim Jong-Il, whose bodies are preserved and on display in the Kumsusan Palace. How wonderful, to see dead bodies! How about a trip to the Mangyongdae Funfair where rides are rarely ridden, and you could potentially die by the not-so-well maintained roller coasters?


After a day full of fun, you can go back to the hotel where frequent power outages occur. Dog soup will be the main dish at dinner. You cannot leave the hotel premises during the night, which is under 24 hour surveillance, because that is just how much North Korea cares about you. Instead, you’ll be stuck in your room to watch TV filled with North Korean Propaganda. Sounds like a great vacation, right?

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Historical Figures

Kim Il-Sung is the most important historical figure of North Korea, being the man who formed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and deemed himself leader of Korea. He was in power from 1948-1994.


Kim Il-Sung's son, Kim Jong-Il was the succeeding leader of North Korea, in power for 17 years.


Kim Jong-Un is Kim Jong-Il's son, and is the current leader of North Korea, since 2011.


The leaders of North Korea are not seen as ordinary people, but are worshiped as though they are perfect, and gods. This is why they are the most important historical figures.

Language

The language of North Korea is Korean. It is written using a mixture of Chinese characters.

Religion

North Korea is an atheist state, so public display of religion is discouraged and you can be severely punished.


Although it is an atheist state, Kim Jong-Un and his father, Kim Jong-Il, and grandfather, Kim Il-Sung are all worshiped as gods. This is an ideology, resembling a religion, called Juche. It is based around Kim Il-Sung, and translates to self reliance.

Traditions and Culture

Gender Roles: men usually take on heavy industry jobs, and are seen as "better" than women. Women generally don't get the same opportunities that men do, such as a chance at advancing in politics.


Marriage/Children: marriage is often regulated by the government. You may not marry someone with any sort of family origin. Native North Koreans may not marry someone with a Japanese origin, because of the war between Japan and North Korea. Also, you and your spouse must be of similar political statuses. Nuclear households are common, and large families are restricted. Adoption is also an option.


Education: education is considered valuable in North Korea, but North Korean propaganda, ideological messages, and anti-America subjects are about the only things taught.


Holidays: North Koreans have holidays similar to the United States such as the New Years, Labor Day, and Independence Day. However, the bigger, recognized holidays are their leader's birthdays.

Clothing

Modern men and women wear jeans and t-shirts, while traditionally, women would wear blouses and skirts, and men would wear baggy pants. The most common color to be worn is white, besides during festivals and celebrations.


Upper class and high social status people generally wear more colorful clothing, along with fancy shoes, jewelry, and headdresses.


Men and women are required to pick from a limited amount of haircuts chosen by the government, some resembling very closely to that of Kim Jong-Un.

Weather

North Korea generally experiences four seasons. There are short Summers, with high humidity and some precipitation. Winters are long and very cold, but usually clear of precipitation. Spring and Autumn are mild temperature-wise, and windy.


Depending on what time of the year you go, prepare as though you are in Indiana.

(Climates are comparable).

Food

Tourists may experience:


For breakfast: boiled vegetables, soup, a fried meat, tofu, omelets, fruit, and tea.


For lunch/dinner: barbequed meat, including beef, chicken, and even dog. As well as buckwheat noodles in broth, with pork and vegetables.


Beer is a very popular drink in North Korea, often drank like soft drinks.


Food is generally mild and often bland.


Sugar is considered a highly luxurious ingredient, being very short in supply.


White rice and meat soup was once a symbol of good food in North Korea, however, North Korea is experiencing famine. People starve on the streets searching for any food they can find. Ironically, government officials and tourists often eat very lavish meals.

Points of Interest

Juche Tower: a monument in Pyongyang, introduced by Kim Il-Sung, representing the ideology of Juche.


Liberation Monument: honors those of the Red Army who helped liberate Korea from Japan.


Kumsusan Palace of the Sun: serves as the mausoleum of Kim Il-Sung, and Kim Il-Jong.


Arch of Triumph: represents Korea’s resistance to Japan from 1925-1945.


Mangyondae Funfair: an amusement park including numerous attractions such as roller coasters and a pool.


Korea Central Zoo: the national zoo of North Korea, located in downtown Pyongyang.

Entertainment

The people of North Korea like to spend their free time watching musicals that usually have some sort of political message. Military bands are also popular, usually chosen by Kim Jong-Un; the songs are usually about devotion and adoration to him and the state. Bullfighting is also a popular thing to watch. During the day, about 1-2 hours of electricity is supplied to the public, where television and radio with propaganda is listened to.

Cost

A trip to North Korea is fairly cheap. Going though a tour group, costs will be around two thousand dollars for two weeks; this does not include flying costs or other excess costs. North Korea is such a rarely visited country, and information such as this is hard to find.


Flight time is around 28 hours from the United States to North Korea.

Hotel Reviews

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