Cousin is going to North Korea!?

Sariwoo

Member
Mar 15, 2013
194
2
Cali
Hey all,

My cousin has just announced he has gotten a tourist visa to visit North Korea…I personally had no idea he was doing this or I would have talked him out of it. I live in South Korea with my husband (who is also Korean) and even he has stated how dangerous it is, as they have 4 American citizens captive right now. My cousin said he's not worried because he's British and not American, and he has researched the country in great detail, but still. North Korea is a very dangerous place for foreigners, you say or do 1 wrong thing and you're in jail or a concentration camp…

I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience going to NK or knows anyone that did… I would really appreciate your thoughts. I'm stressing out right now because I'm terrified if he does something they don't like he will be held captive. Also does anyone know what to do/what not to do? I know you have to praise Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Un like they're God's, but not much else.

Thanks for your help!
 

redney

Lovin' Life!
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Apr 21, 2006
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Wow. I'm sorry I don't have any experience there or advice for you. Agree it is probably not terribly safe for foreigners and he will likely be followed/watched/monitored in some way.

Is he going for sightseeing (?) or another reason? Is he going by himself or with others?
 

Sariwoo

Member
Mar 15, 2013
194
2
Cali
Wow. I'm sorry I don't have any experience there or advice for you. Agree it is probably not terribly safe for foreigners and he will likely be followed/watched/monitored in some way.

Is he going for sightseeing (?) or another reason? Is he going by himself or with others?
Hi, he's going as part of a tourist group. He said he's already seen South Korea so now he wants to see the North and all the landscape. Even though I told him they're only going to show you the GOOD things about NK and will never show you the camps, poverty and starvation. They apparently have already had a meeting where they told him that normal civilians that try to talk to him are probably government minders. This is freaking me out...
 

redney

Lovin' Life!
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Apr 21, 2006
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Hi, he's going as part of a tourist group. He said he's already seen South Korea so now he wants to see the North and all the landscape. Even though I told him they're only going to show you the GOOD things about NK and will never show you the camps, poverty and starvation. They apparently have already had a meeting where they told him that normal civilians that try to talk to him are probably government minders. This is freaking me out...
It sounds better that he is going with a tourist group. If the group is run by an established agency that runs trips into North Korea fairly regularly, they should have a good understanding of the correct protocol that their clients must follow. If he and the other tourists are accompanied by the company's guides, I don't see too much danger.
 

kat99

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Jun 20, 2006
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There are established agencies that run tours in South Korea (an example is Juche Travel: http://www.juchetravelservices.com/) and they have a lot of experience with N.Korea. That being said there is of course always a risk, but hopefully he is going with a good agency with experience.
 
Nov 20, 2007
2,669
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Canada
I've had several friends travel to North Korea with positive results. They loved the whole experience, although most said they felt uncomfortable at some point or other.

It seems that the main reason you'd get arrested is for religious or political issues. As long as your cousin doesn't bring anything political or religious (I'd avoid all magazines and books just to be safe- even things like men's health and the economist could be seen as inappropriate), sticks to the tour guide closely, and obeys all instruction, hopefully things will be fine...