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Photo journey: Travelling to North Korea

Photo journey – Travelling to North Korea

North Korea had been on our bucket list for a long time. But we had pretty mixed feelings about visiting the country, since we knew the only way to get there is going with a tour, which is both expensive and pretty strict in terms of what you are allowed to see. We also guessed that most of the tour fees evidentially ends up in Kim’s pocket.

Despite the cost and our own morality, we let the curiosity beat us; the thought of visiting the most secluded country in the world was just too difficult to resist.

We went with a budget tour company, which came to about 500 euros per person for a three-day tour. The plan was to go during the 70th anniversary of the Worker’s party of DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name). We started our tour in the Chinese border town, Dandong, where we took a 7 hour train ride through the countryside of North Korea before arriving in the capital, Pyongyang.

Our quick visit was both strange and enlightening, proving and disproving many of the rumors we had heard and read about before our visit.

Below you can follow us through our journey and read some interesting facts along the way!


Boat ride on Yalu River, Dandong, separating China from North Korea

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We didn’t encounter any cars in the countryside, only bicycles

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Traditional farming techniques


Two curious boys watching our train pass by


A soldier riding his bicycle

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We didn’t see commercial advertisement of any kind, but propagandous murals of the leaders were easily spotted.

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It is forbidden to photograph North Korean soldiers


A young women supervises the train station

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Locals crossing a river in one of the villages

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North Korean propaganda is plentiful

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Finally in Pyongyang: Mansudae Fountain Park in front of the Grand Peoples Study House

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Two gigantic bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. This monument is dedicated to the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle

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Woman wearing Hoejang Jogori, the traditional Korean dress

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Soldiers pay respects at the Mansudae Grand Monument during the Worker’s Party 70th anniversary

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This young boy was dressed up like a soldier

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These soldiers show their respect at Kim Il Sung’s birthplace

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A well dressed family in front of the Grand Monument at Mansu Hill

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Father and son celebrating

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Street Style: Pyongyang Edition

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More communistic murals

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Fact: 80% of the population has the first name “Kim” …both men and women

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Relaxed soldiers at the train station

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Young woman riding the metro in Pyongyang

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Brothers posing for a photo
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Soldiers wave to the citizens during a military parade
North Korea Travel 55 8ouiAn important place for a traffic cop.

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The Monument to Party Founding; hammer, sickle and brush representing the hands of a worker, peasant and an intellectual

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The world’s deepest metro system also works as a bomb shelter

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Locals celebrate fanatically as tanks pass by during the military parade

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Locals reading the newspaper at the metro station

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Fact: North Korea bases its calendar on Kim Il-Sung’s date of birth: 15 April 1912. So today it’s year 103!

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Locals waiting for the military parade to start
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We noticed how most of the locals wear simple clothes, without any logos
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North Korea has faced a dire food crisis over the past two decades, the ongoing impact of which is still visible on many citizens.

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Young woman working at the metro station in Pyongyang

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Fact: North Korea has its own time zone: Pyongyang Standard Time

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Military airplanes celebrate the anniversary of the workers party

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Deserted streets in the capital
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Fact: Elections are held every 5 years. Voting is mandatory and turnout is always 100% for KimProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Locals watch the fireworks during the celebration

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There aren’t many traffic lights in the capital

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Fact: North Korea has the 5th largest army in the world with over 1 million active troops

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The sun sets down over empty streets in the big city

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Locals admire the fireworks shooting in the sky

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It was a cold day in the city, we felt bad for the traffic lady

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Military men wave to celebrating locals

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The Rungnado 1st of May Stadium – Currently the largest stadium in the world with a capacity of 150.000

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Another metro stop in the city

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Mangyongdae Funfair amuzement park

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Fact: The capital Pyongyang is home to 3 million, but only the elite!North Korea Travel dfye

The military parade we witnessed in the evening. Soldiers and big tanks drove past us next to screaming locals
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It really looks like going back in time, doesn’t it?

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Our short visit to Pyongyang was over and it was time to hop back on the train to China

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Fact: There are nearly 200.000 prisoners in work camps in North Korea, but Dennis Rodman loves it here

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Once again we rode for 7 hours through the countryside, with our faces stuck to the windows watching the “local” life in the villages

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Fact: More than half of the 24 million population lives in extreme poverty

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At one of the train stops

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Village life

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About us Hey welcome to our blog! We are two travel addicts from Iceland on a one way ticket journey to Asia. We love to share with our readers our experiences and good travel advices along the way.  

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