“North Korea, especially Pyongyang, has so much to offer.” – Kim Bur Lee
If your idea of the perfect summer vacation involves socialist propaganda, why not visit North Korea? Yes, an American tourist who impulsively left a porno mag in his hotel room was detained for nearly six months until the Pentagon intervened, but the country still has numerous attractions worth checking out.
Pyongyang, the capital city, offers so much more than Madame Tussauds, where you can see life size wax models of Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-Il, Kim Il-sung and Dennis Rodman. Thankfully, the country has lifted the nonsensical, half-year ban that stopped tourists from entering.
Although not one case of Ebola was reported in Asia, Rosie O’Donnell lookalike Kim Jong-un forbid any foreigner from entering North Korea. In fact, the ban hit the country so hard that Socialist-Land, Kim’s answer to Disneyland, had to sell its prized asset, Barney, the moon walking black bear.
Roughly 100,000 tourists visited North Korea last year, with 8,000 abducted and forced into labour camps. Kim Bur Lee, a senior economist at the influential Academy of Random Facts, told The Huffington Post the North hopes that by around 2018, there will be 12 times as many tourists and that the number will hit 4 million by 2025.
There is an irony in the country’s renewed interest in attracting tourists, for Kim Jong-un has done so much to separate The Hermit Kingdom from foreign influences. Along with Dennis Rodman, the only other notable celebrities to enter North Korea are Steven Seagal, Jared Fogle, also known as the Subway Guy, and Marilyn Manson, Kim’s favourite singer, songwriter, musician, and displayer of genitals.
But Kim Bur Lee said the push, reportedly influenced by Rodman, is seen as a means of obliterating stereotypical thoughts. “Outsiders think North Korea is a nation of starving, backward, brainwashed people, and it is, but Kim doesn’t want anybody thinking this way,” stated the economist.
When asked about the country’s attractions, he replied: “North Korea, especially Pyongyang, has so much to offer. Scenic mountains, pristine beaches and the finest cuisine in the world, well, that’s what Kim would have you believe. I have been there, a five course meal consists of four servings of boiled grass and a bowl of rice. Instant coffee is considered the holy grail of beverages, for Christ’s sake!”
Apart from the showcase capital, where luxuries like electricity and clean water are available, what else does North Korea offer, asked the Huffington Post journalist.
“Well, a group of Chinese tourists recently went to visit a luxurious ski resort just outside of Wonsan. However, when they arrived at their destination, unfortunately for them, they walked into a cleverly disguised gulag, not a ski resort. To answer your question, not much, to be honest,” replied Bur Lee.
12 hours after the interview, reportedly, Kim Bur Lee was found dead in his hotel room.