The following pages are a photo-journal and diary of our 2012 tour to North Korea, as experienced and enjoyed by 35 Travel Insiders in September 2012. I’ve shared the diary with the other attendees prior to publishing it now, and at times amended it subsequently to reflect their comments, perceptions, or even corrections, but the faults remain mine.
I wrote it for several reasons. The first was to help me try to put everything I’d seen into some type of format, to help me try to work through the vast kaleidoscope of images and impressions, and to place it into some sort of coherent overall form. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded at this, but at least I’ve captured some of the more tangible elements of the tour – the less tangible impressions are, alas, more evanescent and ethereal (and more subjective – you’ll have to visit yourself in order to form such abstractions).
I also wrote it to help you understand a bit more about North Korea, and have tried to be dispassionate, balanced, and fair. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded at this, either; but at least you have another perspective on this largely misunderstood nation to add to your overall sum of knowledge.
This controversial country sometimes encourages people to look at it in excessively black and white terms, whereas the reality seems to be that it is, like all other countries, a mix of good and bad elements, all jumbled up together in confusing and sometimes contradictory juxtaposition. I’ve tried to rebut some of the ‘urban myth’ views of the country, while also attempting to avoid becoming an apologist for a country that does indeed have limitations and challenges.
I also have a separate page which more directly addresses some of the ‘urban myth’ type perceptions and concerns – a FAQ about North Korea. I urge you to read that too as part of doing your ‘due diligence’ and getting a fair and broad understanding from an unbiased source about North Korea.
Pictures have been taken by me and other group members. A general collection of pictures from us all can be seen here.
I hope you’ll find this commentary – as uncensored and unfiltered as possible – to be interesting, and I hope it will encourage you to come and see North Korea for yourself, too.
|Pre-tour Option in South Korea Part 1
|Pre-tour Option in South Korea Part 2
|Wed (DMZ), Thu
|Pre-tour Option in Beijing
|Saturday 8 Sept
|To and in Pyongyang
|The Mass Games
|Sunday 9 Sept
|National Day, touring around Pyongyang
|Monday 10 Sept
|Down to the DMZ
|An International Incident Narrowly Averted
|Tuesday 11 Sept
|More Pyongyang Area touring
|Wednesday 12 Sept
|Thursday 13 Sept
|Back to Beijing