North Korea is a unique country, and its people enjoy a life that the residents of other nations can only imagine. While the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is notorious for having some of the most restrictive laws in the world, there are actually a few activities that are still permitted in the country. However, it is important to note that these activities will vary and depend on the individual.
One of the most captivating activities available in North Korea is hiking. Tourists are permitted to take gorgeous walks around the mountains of Jangbaek, which is located right next to the Taedong River in the capital of Pyongyang. As travelers traverse the mountainous terrain, they’ll be able to experience scenic views of the city and its surrounding area.
Golf is also an activity North Korean visitors can enjoy. The Pyongyang Golf Course, which has been in existence since 1991, is home to the world’s only natural grass golf course. It is located near the city of Mekan, and is an 18-hole course that boasts more than a few unique challenges.
Fish and sea food lovers will also be pleased with North Korea’s offerings. The city of Kangson boasts one of the biggest fishing markets in North Korea. It is a great place to go to sample a wide variety of sea food. The city also provides numerous activities related to fishing and marine sports.
As mentioned earlier, North Korea is well-known for being a closed off nation. Nonetheless, visitors can still find a number of cultural attractions to explore. One such example is Koryo Museum, which is home to a variety of artifacts, documents and paintings. These valuable items provide visitors with a glimpse into North Korea’s rich history.
Music and theater are also popular in North Korea, and the country is home to numerous music festivals and theaters. Visitors can catch dazzling musical performances or go to the theater to see amazing plays and ballets. Of course, all of these performances usually carry a heavy political undertone, but they are nonetheless enjoyable to watch.
One of the many cultural attractions in North Korea is the city of Kaesong. It is home to the impressive Kaesong Fortress, which was built by the ancient Koreans in the 13th century. While visiting the city, travelers can also see the remains of the ancient city walls. These walls were built to protect the city from invaders, and still stand today as a silent reminder of North Korea’s history.
North Korea is an officially atheist nation, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of religious sites available for visitors to explore. The city of Pyongyang is home to a number of religious sites, such as the Paektusan Secret Camp and the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. The latter is home to the preserved body of founding president Kim Il-sung, and it also houses many artifacts related to the Great Leader.
Mount Kumgang is also home to a number of Buddhist temples, such as the Taesang Temple and the Gasan Temple. These temples are popular destinations for tourists and locals alike, and they provide the rare opportunity to experience authentic Korean Buddhism.
Finally, the Chilbosan Sea Park is another religious site worth visiting. It is home to a number of characteristic stone tablets that were erected by Buddhist monks in ancient times. The park also boasts a stunning natural landscape, and it is a great place to take a peaceful stroll and take in the beauty of nature.
What You Cannot Do in North Korea
It is important to note that the restrictions in North Korea go far beyond what visitors are allowed to do. Tourists should be aware that North Korea has a highly authoritarian government, and as such, there are numerous activities that have been outlawed.
For starters, North Korea remains one of the few countries in the world that has not abolished its death penalty. As such, tourists should be aware that certain activities can be greatly penalized. Other activities that are strictly prohibited in North Korea include accessing the Internet, creating or encountering unauthorized financial transactions, importing any type of media, and engaging in activities that are deemed anti-establishment.
In addition to these activities, tourists should also be aware that cameras and recording devices are strictly prohibited in North Korea. Tourists are not allowed to take pictures or videos of military installations, and they also must be careful not to inadvertently capture any other images that may be deemed offensive to the government.
Tourists must also be aware that certain behavior can result in dire consequences. For instance, any behavior that is viewed as potentially critical of the government is viewed as a serious offense, and the consequences can be severe. Examples of activities to avoid include criticizing the government and engaging in political activities.
Freedom of Religion
Similar to other activities, freedom of religion is severely restricted in North Korea. The government does not recognize any religious freedoms, and as such, there is no freedom to worship or practice any religion. The practice of religion is deemed to be a political activity, and is thus viewed as an act of dissent. As such, it is highly discouraged by the government.
As previously mentioned, North Korea has a number of religious sites, but these sites are limited to those that are approved by the government. Additionally, visitors should keep in mind that these sites are heavily policed, and that any activity that is deemed as potentially offensive to the government can be punished.
Finally, it is important to note that there are a few religions that are tolerated by the government, such as Buddhism and some traditional folk religions. However, these religions are heavily regulated and monitored by the government, and any deviation from the teachings of these religions is still prohibited.
Impact of Sanctions
North Korea is currently subject to international sanctions that have had a dramatic impact on the country’s ability to engage in international trade. These sanctions have had a devastating effect on the country’s economy, and have had a significant impact on the lives of everyday citizens.
Specifically, these sanctions have made it exceedingly difficult for the country to acquire much-needed goods and services, resulting in shortages of basic necessities, such as food and medical supplies. Additionally, the sanctions have all but halted the country’s access to international markets, making it all but impossible for the country to engage in international trade.
Likewise, the sanctions have had a major impact on the ability of North Korean citizens to freely travel and engage in international activities. The restrictions on international travel have made it all but impossible for citizens to travel abroad for leisure or for work. Additionally, the restrictions have made it difficult for North Korean citizens to obtain the necessary visas to visit and stay in other countries.
Cultural and Economic Exchange
Despite the impact of the sanctions, there are still some areas in which North Korea has been able to engage in cultural and economic exchange with other countries. As mentioned earlier, North Korea is still able to host a number of international events, such as the Arirang Festival, which is an annual event that brings together performers from all across the world.
The country has also been able to engage in some limited economic exchange with South Korea, thanks to the inter-Korean economic cooperation projects. These projects have been instrumental in facilitating the exchange of goods and services between the two countries. Moreover, the exchange of goods and services has also enabled North Korea to gain access to necessary resources, such as food and medical supplies.
Finally, North Korean citizens have been able to participate in limited international activities, such as international sports and academic competitions in recent years. While these activities are limited to only a select few, they have nonetheless provided North Koreans with an opportunity to showcase their unique culture and engage with the international community.