Looking for an exciting new vacation destination? Well, scenic North Korea would love to have you—provided you don’t try anything foolish like talking to a local, walking down the street, or (gasp) using a cellphone. The repressive country is looking to tourism to raise money, but doing its best to keep tourists as isolated as possible, writes Keith Richburg of the Washington Post, who participated in one of these guided tour groups.
North Korea’s efforts are mostly centered on its Mont Kumgang resort, where tourists can be safely isolated, but Richburg’s group went to Pyongyang as well. They were shuttled from landmark to landmark, forbidden from interacting with locals, shopping anywhere but one designated store, or eating out. Most visitors are Chinese, a sign of North Korea’s increasing reliance on China—South Korea once helped run Mount Kumgang, but that stopped when a South Korean woman was shot for wandering into a restricted area.