Whenever I tell people that I travelled to DPR Korea (you might call it: North Korea) twice in my life, there are basically two things they say: “I didn’t know it is possible to go there.” and “I guess you are not allowed to take pictures there.”
Actually, it is pretty easy to go to the DPRK. There are several agencies who offer trips from Beijing to Pyongyang and back. I used to travel with Young Pioneer Tours and those trips were always reliable and safe, well-organized and – last but not least – fun.
There are other agencies I know but I never used them. Like Koryo Tours or – as a new player in the market – Rocky Road Travels (run by a former tour guide of Young Pioneers). And there is an interesting side effect of travelling to a dictatorship: you do not need to read dozens of tour guide books and plan where to go first, what to see and what not – because DPRK’s Supreme Leader, at this very date Marshal Kim Jong-un, has already decided where you will go and what you will see. Trips to North Korea are perfect for last-minute travellers.
There are people who might want to discuss the ethics of travelling to a country that is considered to be a totalitarian dictatorship but I will discuss that in another blog post.
So taking pictures in North Korea – the other interesting subject people ask for. Yes, you can take pictures, and actually, my impression is that DPRK is happy when you take pictures. There are even special tours photographers to North Korea, organized e.g. by Young Pioneer Tours or Rocky Road Travel.
North Korea is proud of its country and the beauty of it, and they want you to show this to others (of course also to attract more tourists to come to their country) by taking pictures and even posting them on Social Media. Which I did and still do. This is one of my favourite photos I took in Pyongyang:
There are some rules to obey when taking photos in DPR Korea but they are pretty easy to understand. I will write about these later.