North Korea country profile
North Korea country profile

Country profile: North Korea

North Korea is often revered to as the last Stalinist dictatorship and the most reclusive country in the world. The Kim dynasty rules the country with an iron fist and employs all the traditional Stalinist tools like cult of personality, over the top state propaganda, megalomaniac architecture and terror against civilians. Comtourist visited North Korea and will keep following developments on this website.

Satellite image of the Korean peninsula, the North is dark

The lights all went out in North Korea

Satellite images of the Korean peninsula at night show a striking image that say’s allot about the situation in North Korea. Apart from Pyongyang the country is a dark spot in the area between South Korea and China. This is actually a good metaphor for the current situation in North Korea, the light went out a long time ago and hopefully someone will turn it one quickly. Korea was divided in two countries after the Korean war, the Republic of Korea under American influence in the South and The Democratic People’s republic of Korea in the North under Russian and Chinese influence. Kim Il Sung was made president of North Korea in 1948 and would rule the country with iron fist until his dead in 1994. During this period an unprecedented personality cult was developed, Kim was made a god to his people. After his dead Kim Jong Il took over the country and things got even worse. Thousands have died as a result of Kim’s terror and millions strafed to death in the nineties caused by food shortage. Meanwhile Kim Jong Il has been developing nuclear weapons and rocket systems. This potential nuclear capability plus one of the largest armies in the world make North Korea a very dangerous country. The Comtourist crew have visited North Korea and we will keep following the country on this web site. Here you will find travel tips, book and film reviews, recent images and updates on the human right situation.

Comtourist journey: A week in North Korea

North Korea is a controversial vacation destination to say the least. The human rights situation, probably the worst in the world is reason to boycott the country for most people, if they consider going anyway. The money spend on a vacation in North Korea generates hard currency for Kim Jung Il and funds his regime to stay in power and continue it’s brutal oppression. Taking a look in the worlds most exclusive country and the last bastion of Stalinism is very tempting for those interested in all facets of communism like! So we did go in 2004 and you can reed all about our week in North Korea. Comtourist editors spend 6 day’s in North Korea, in our travel journey you will find photo’s, video, maps and reports of all the places and attractions we visited. Intro Comtourist in North Korea

North Korea visa as a separate document to avoid future problems

North Korean Visa picked up in Beijing

National day dancing on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang

Dancing on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang


Photos - North Korea 2004

In our FAQ section you will find some useful tips about planning a trip and travelling in North Korea. Here we will also answer the question that most people ask about spending a vacation in this closed country.

Go to photo gallery page 1 for the photo’s of Pyongyang and to photo gallery page 2 for the photo’s of Kaesong, Mt. Kuwol, Mt. Myohyang and the DMZ. You can also watch all photo’s in a slide show.

City guide: Pyongyang

Pyongyang is a model city with colossal monuments that is visited by not more then thousand foreigners per year. Only Kim’s most loyal subjects are aloud to live in Pyongyang where live is much better then elsewhere in North Korea. In the Pyongyang city guide you can find out what to do and where to go in the world’s most bizarre city. Page 1 Hotels, site seeing and transportation.

Brief History: North Korea

DPRK Coat of Arms with a hydro dam, and sacred mountains

DPRK coat of arms

Korea was a colony of Japan form 1910 until the end of WW 2. After the war it was occupied by the USSR in the North and by the US in the South. After a period of political conflict the country was divided into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). The DPRK was proclaimed 09-09-1948 under the supervision of the Soviets. The Soviets put Korean communists in power who had spent the war years in the Soviet Union. Kim Il Sung became President and General-Secretary of the Korean Workers party. Kim’s government moved rapidly to establish a Soviet-style system, with political power monopolized by the KWP. The establishment of a socialist economic system followed. Most of the country’s productive assets had been owned by the Japanese or by Koreans held to have been collaborators. By 1949 90% of these asset where nationalized and placed under state control. Since then virtually all manufacturing, finance and internal and external trade has been conducted by the state. The agricultural reforms moved slower it took until 1958 before all farming was being carried out collectively. Kim did not accept the division of Korea into two states. The DPRK attacked the south on June 25 1950, achieving total surprise, and rapidly captured Seoul and advanced to the south of the peninsula. The US joined the war and recaptured Seoul and captured Pyongyang. Next the Chinese attacked and the front was stabilized along what eventually became the permanent Armistice Line of 1953. In the 1970s the expansion of the economy, with the accompanying rise in living standards, came to an end and then went into reverse. Kim Il-sung died in 1994 his son Kim Jong Il, succeeded him as General-Secretary of the Korean Workers Party and became the head of state.