Author Archives: Jacquie Bell

To realms unknown

North Korea 2

I have long used Voyages Jules Verne for interesting places to visit.

In 2012 one flyer caught my notice. The chance of a trip to the hermit nation, North Korea. I instantly booked up. This trip is no longer on offer and I am pleased I took the chance in May 2013.

To begin, it is the only country where I have had to fill in a pre visa application form. It is certain that my son, as a former RAF intelligence officer, would not have got in. I was pleased that, despite being a former East Lothian Councillor, I got a visa.

Flights are only on Air Koryo from Beijing. Eat well before – in flight food was a tasteless cold hamburger. The in flight magazine is Kim propaganda.

Having arrived you need to go with the flow and pay heed to regulations. I was on one of the first tours where tourists were allowed to keep their mobiles – although there was no connection anyway. First night food  at the Koryo Hotel was grey boiled chicken, but it got better. One tour member rarely got off the bus. I wondered why she had booked given the clear statements by the tour company about severe restrictions on movement and food quality.

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