Submitted by Rosa Manson on April 29, 2008 - 11:51am.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is an amazing experience in itself. It is not your average tourist destination, but more a geopolitical, sociological and historical walk through the last 100 years of Korean history.
It seems to raise more questions in your mind than it will answer, as it is the world's last Starlinist Communist, Hereditary Dictatorship.
The Ryugyong Hotel is a huge Pyramid that was build in 1987 and due to financial difficulties was left to rack and ruin in 1992, but it is still very impressive with its105 floors.
The DPRK is still run on communist principles but is dominated by the country's 'Juche Idea' a philosophy aimed at developing self-reliance, and is seen as one of the most difficult countries to get a tourist visa.
There are still forms of Bureaucracy , especially on the train from Beijing, as on the border the Police ask for your telephoine number and Mothers maiden name!
Once passed the Chinese Border it seems to go black and white up to the bridge.
The bridge was blown up during the Korean war, and half of it is still standing the other half seems to have fallen into the sea.
Once you get to the other side, at the railway station the police will do an inspection of your passport and baggage, that takes about six hours.
41 hours later you will reach North Korea to a welcome of Korean Peace Songs, and what looks like 3 international football pitches and on the terraces is a 90ft statue of Kimmel Sung who reigned as leader from 1948 to his death in 1994.
There are about 118 figures all about 5ft High that represent different parts of North Korean history.
But despite all its faults it is still a wonderful experience to see what it is trully like.

Submitted by jcravens42 on April 29, 2008 - 3:05pm.

So, Rosa, when were you in North Korea, to make all of these personal observations? How long were you there? Was it difficult to get a visa? Did you have just one escort to take you around, or were there a group of people? Were you there providing some kind of humanitarian aid and, if so, could you share what organization you were with? Were you allowed to take photos?

Jayne Cravens
Bonn, Germany

Submitted by Rosa Manson on April 29, 2008 - 4:41pm.

Hi Jayne,
One can only go for a minimum of a month.
It takes all in all about 8-10 months to get a visa and a passport guide, and a Letter of Commission.
Even if one is going on a Humanitarian Mission, one has to go with a tour guide, and the one recommended and aproved by the Government of the DPRK is Koryo Tours.
The only Humanitarian Aid Agency in DPRK is Mercy Corps they have been there since the mid seventies.
In October 2007, the Six Party Talks Committee have been having open forums, and workshops on the prospects of International Economic Development and Knowledge Sharing with the DPRK.
This seems to be opening barriers, and hopefully, (if they do not test any more nuclear sites), one can assist them, with Humanitarian and Reconstruction Development Aid.
The DPRK only allow a certain amount of tourists at a time, for the Americans they can only go for example in August to September when the Arin Festival is on.
The Americans have to have a Letter of Commission before going and they have to go with a recognised tour company by the DPRK Government.
Unfortunately one is not allowed to take pictures without Authorisation of the Government, at a cost.
The currency is the Won=100 Chon (about 150 Won to 1US$).
The DPRK are in short supply of medicines, trucks, lifts and fertilisers, and of course food.
I am hoping that I will be able to do some business with the DPRK, to open barriers, although it is a huge risk!

Submitted by jcravens42 on April 30, 2008 - 9:21am.

If you haven't been to North Korea, then your post is very, very misleading, because the implication is that those are YOUR words and YOUR observations. If you haven't been, then they are someone else's. Whose? Where did you get those words?

This is the second time you've posted something to AWN that you implied was your own, but was actually someone else's. Either stop plagiarizing other people's work and start attributing what you write instead of trying to pretend they are your own observations, or I will recommend that AWN ban your account.

Jayne Cravens
Bonn, Germany

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