North Korea today is the last of its kind: an isolated country that has cut itself off almost completely from the outside world, earning the nickname Hermit Kingdom from the media. Because of this decades-long seclusion, North Korea is the ultimate remote land: a fascinating, eerie destination that serves as a window into a 1950s Stalinist nation – a place where time has seemingly stood still.
Drive down deserted, grand boulevards and pass imposing, towering monuments of cherished leaders. Attend the surreal Mass Games, where 100,000 dancers, singers, and athletes perform in perfect unison. Visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where two of modern history’s most controversial and polarizing political figures lie in state.
Contrary to the isolated nature of their foreign policy, tourism opportunities within North Korea are actually growing. There is an expanding list of destinations outside of the capital Pyongyang where visitors can go to observe life in urban and rural areas. Hamhung, the second most populated city in the country, was opened for visitors in 2010. The drive from Pyongyang to Hamhung provides a surprisingly beautiful tour of the country’s lush, green mountains and rolling valleys dotted with small farming villages. Pyongsong, an industrial and mining city, was just opened to visitors in 2013.
Remote Lands facilitates trips to North Korea not as an endorsement of the controversial governance and international policy, but as a means of promoting an open and objective perspective on a much dramatized and often misunderstood nation of 25 million people.