In January 2016, I had the privilege to enter one of the most isolated countries in the world: North Korea. I had been dreaming about visiting this country for a long time and after carefully selecting a travel agency, I finally left and I can say I am the YOUNGEST EUROPEAN GIRL WHO VISITED NORTH KOREA
Visiting North Korea is not something you hear about every day nor is an easy task.
First of all, North Korea cannot be accessed freely; the help of a travel agency is absolutely necessary but most of all, a trip to North Korea must be organized at least one month in advance.
As I just mentioned, North Korea cannot be accessed freely and that is why visitors need the assistance of a travel agency to act as an intermediary and take care of visas and of all other administrative issues. I used Koryo Tours in Beijing, China.
Why among all the countries in the world that I still want to visit, did I choose North Korea?
Since living in Beijing, I have been fascinated and intrigued by those people who have moved to China 20 years or even 30 years ago. Listening to their stories, I see a China that is very different from the one I am used to today. North Korea is – more or less – like China thirty years ago.
It is one of the most isolated places in the world and I did not want to miss the chance to visit it, especially since I have always been fascinated by anything forbidden.
Traveling to North Korea has been a PRICELESS and UNRIVALED history lesson because in that corner of the world, history is very different from what we have always been taught in the west. And when I say different, I don’t mean true or false, right or wrong. Since I made the decision that I will not talk about politics on this blog, I will limit myself to simply reporting my personal experience in North Korea and will set politics aside, which given the country in question, is not an easy task.
What impressed me about this country? EVERYTHING.
What reasons compelled me to embark on this trip, despite the fact that just two days before I left North Korea had conducted a nuclear test and the relations – already precarious – with the western world had become extremely tense (at that time also China had expressed its disagreement and had distanced itself from North Korea’s actions)?
These are my reasons:
People. Yes, the people I meet in my trips – and especially in this one – are always a valid reason to go. I wanted to see how North Koreans live, what they do, what they eat, how they dress, and how they interact with foreigners. I was very surprised how, most of the time, they were cheerful and hospitable. Although at times they appeared intimidated and reluctant to even look at a foreigner, I overall expected much more closure.
I also wanted to make a comparison, with my own eyes, with South Korea.
When I traveled to North Korea, I had not yet been to South Korea, but it was obviously in my plans because I wanted to be able to make a comparison based on my own experience.
Since I would become – and I did become – the youngest European girl (and one of the youngest girls in the entire world) to visit this country, I did not want to lose this record.
I know, it might seem like a more superficial reason to go, but the idea of being one of the youngest girls to travel alone (meaning with no friends, I was never really alone since I was always accompanied by two tourist guides and other travelers) to North Korea was very appealing to me.
All these reasons are what pushed me to choose North Korea as my travel destination and I never regretted my choice.
If you want to learn more about North Korea and what I did there, read the articles I published about this country.