Despite the fact that it’s one of the most dangerous countries in the world to visit, especially for Western tourists, North Korea has long intrigued travelers from across the globe.
Recently, Jacob Laukaitis, a self-proclaimed 22-year-old “online entrepreneur, avid traveler, SEO specialist and occasional writer,” took a seven-day trip to the most secretive state in the world and documented the entire tour in a 14-minute video, as well as Instagram images.
Finally came back from North Korea, safe and sound. Those 7 days were life-changing in many ways and I'm very happy I visited this truly unique country. This is me running/walking 10 kilometers in the annual #Pyongyang marathon. There were a lot of people on the streets and I got to interact with them by smiling, waving and taking pictures. What an awesome experience that was!
While most of the places that he visited have previously been captured on camera by several other photographers, including AP’s award-winner David Guttenfelder, Laukaitis’ narration of his day-to-day experiences provides yet another glimpse inside the hermit kingdom.
For instance, when he visited the Pyongyang Metro — among the deepest in the world — locals appeared to avoid foreigners. Also, after Laukaitis rode on a rather “basic” rollercoaster in an amusement park, he and his tour group were asked to leave the venue, for reasons yet unknown.
“I've always been very interested in North Korea because it seemed to be one of the most unique and mysterious countries in the whole world,” he wrote on his YouTube channel.
On the 2nd evening in North Korea our guides took us to the tallest stone tower in the world - the Juche Tower in central Pyongyang. We were the last group allowed in that day and even though it was extremely windy, the views were breath-taking. It turned out that #Pyongyang was a beautiful city streching for as far as my eyes could see. Good stuff!
Laukaitis added tourists cannot tell if the different events they are witnessing are staged or not because “you are only shown what they want you to see.” Their guides, according to him, are incredibly domineering and strictly monitor, and sometimes even decide, practically every move a foreigner makes.
On the last day in North Korea we saw a world-class circus performance, ate at a pizza restaurant and went to see hundreds of women practicing their dance routine for an upcoming national celebration. The place was filled with colors, smiling faces and live music, which made the atmosphere very friendly and uplifting. All in all, visiting North Korea was a very interesting and eye-opening experience which I will remember for a long time. Definitely no regrets!
“That is why I didn't want to offer my opinion about whether things were staged or not, whether they were good or not, or honest or not. My goal was to show you what my day to day life looked like when I was there and let you make up your own mind and judge for yourself.”