Keen on seeing a part of the world that is a little different from the usual? How about North Korea? Yes, everyone’s favourite foe. Most people get no further than the DMZ, excitedly sharing the “experience” with their Instagram followers.
If you apply today, Choson Exchange can get you in on an official visa this August, meaning a line on your CV like no other. Registered as a non-profit in Singapore (where of course the North Korean leader and Trump recently signed something vague, shook hands and grinned boyishly before the world media), Choson Exchange offers business training to ambitious people in the DPRK – and is looking for experienced professionals to provide it.
The organisation’s next trip is over 18 – 24 August 2018, and includes site visits in Pyongyang to understand entrepreneurship in the DPRK and a three-day workshop to help local business people succeed. Applications close on 15 June (today), which includes a “donation” of 2,200 USD (about 1,600 pounds), though flights and accommodation are paid for.
As for what Pyongyang is actually like as a place to visit, Choson Exchange have helpfully shared tourist attractions that include a local brewery (wow), the Pyongyang Circus (why not) and Gold Cup Food Processing Plant (I’m in). There’s also the famous Ryungong Hotel that looks a little like the Shard, and I hear the cold noodles are rather nice.
But tourism aside, the key question on most people’s lips is: is North Korea safe? It’s fair to say that country doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations. Choson Exchange have answered this more and on their FAQs page (apparently you can wear blue jeans, so don’t worry about that). On a side note, many countries that have a dreadful reputation aren’t actually that unsafe – you’re probably more likely to be a struck by a falling window pane on the streets of London.
But while it all sounds like a bit of an adventure, it’s wise not to do anything silly – something that many Brits have a habit of doing, whether shagging on a Dubai beach or going on a drunken rampage. Which is why it’s sensible to heed FCO advice on North Korea:
While daily life in the capital city Pyongyang may appear calm, the security situation in North Korea can change with little notice and with no advance warning of possible actions by the North Korean authorities. This poses significant risks to British visitors and residents.
You should follow the political and security situation very closely and stay in touch with your host organisation or tour operator.
That’s a green light to me (go, but don’t do anything stupid). You can apply today on the Choson Exchange website.