Our guest blogger Walter Chang from We Call This Home has been backpacking for almost three years, visiting almost 50 countries and taking a lot of photos along the way. Here he offers a fascinating photographic glimpse into everyday life in this highly controversial country…
There’s still a lot of confusion about traveling to North Korea with the general population and much of what is portrayed in the media makes it seem like a dangerous country to visit. However, regardless of the country’s political and economic conflicts with the rest of the world, visiting North Korea is just about as safe and easy as any other country as long as you stick to the rules and with your tour group. I went during a week of the Arirang Games in 2012 and the performance I witnessed was nothing short of mind blowing.
The backdrop for the dancers is actually thousands of school children turning colored posters. There’s no question that what you see is carefully crafted for foreigners but seeing a land and people stuck in time provided me with a better perspective of the country. Essentially the people and places you see on the tour are stuck inside a bubble created by the government to close off the other activities happening inside the rest of the country and the outside world. There really is no other place in the world as isolated and so traveling here is similar to time traveling to a communist country 70 years in the past. The moral issue of traveling to North Korea is left to each individual but I believe that more exposure to such a reclusive country will only help fuel understanding of the complicated issues surrounding it.
All words and photos by Walter Chang find more of his work on the beautiful blog We Call This Home.