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How to enter North Korea: the country where you can't wear jeans. and what to do?



North Korea! Did you know that wearing jeans is prohibited in this country? So it is! Let's find out why and learn more about this enigmatic country.

 



North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia. The capital, Pyongyang, is known for its Stalinist architecture, grand monuments and well-kept parks. In addition to it, other interesting places to visit are the city of Kaesong, Mount Paektu, considered sacred by Koreans, the demilitarized zone on the border with South Korea and the city of Hamhung.


As for traveling to North Korea, costs are generally higher than other Asian destinations as tourists are required to hire an official tour, which includes guides, accommodation and transport. Our trip to North Korea was expensive, we had to get a 5-year Chinese visa (150 dollars each), + tickets to the interior of China: 1000 dollars + the tour there in North Korea which we paid 500 dollars each, but we still had to pay for accommodation and other costs such as internal flights in China and trains, to enter, we did everything with the English agency youngpioneertours , they were very attentive, but they didn't let us enter Korea with a cell phone, as we entered by bus via the Friendship Bridge .



Our first impressions of North Korea, going through a simpler entrance, were that the country was frozen in time, everything was reminiscent of the 80s and 90s, we had the same impression of Cuba, however it was there in the 50s and 70s.



The official language is Korean and the local currency is the North Korean won. For us Brazilians, a visa is required to visit the country.

North Korea is a one-party state, governed by the Workers' Party of Korea. The country has a planned and highly centralized economy, which contributes to a very particular socio-economic reality, with challenges in areas such as human rights and economic development.

 



Now, let's get to why you can't wear jeans in North Korea. Jeans are seen as a symbol of Western culture and, particularly, of the United States, a country with which North Korea has tense relations. Therefore, the use of jeans is prohibited, reflecting the country's isolation policy.


Curiosities about North Korea:


1. The "Juche": The philosophy that guides the nation

Juche, a North Korean ideology, is the basis of life in the country. The philosophy, which translates into "self-sufficiency", permeates everything from politics to everyday life. Juche encourages independence in all aspects, from food production to technology.

2. Three generations of leaders:

North Korea has been ruled by a family dynasty since its founding in 1948. Kim Il-sung, the "Great Leader", was the first supreme leader, followed by his son Kim Jong-il, the "Dear Leader". Currently, power is in the hands of Kim Jong-un, the "Supreme Leader".

3. Cult of personality:

North Korea's leaders are the subject of an intense cult of personality. Images and statues of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un are present throughout the country. The population is educated from childhood to revere leaders as divine figures.

4. Information control:

North Korea is one of the countries with the greatest control of information in the world. Internet access is extremely restricted and the media is controlled by the government. The population only has access to information that the government considers appropriate.

5. Caste system:

North Korean society is divided into a caste system, known as "Songbun". The system classifies citizens according to their loyalty to the regime and family background. People from lower castes may face restrictions in areas such as education, employment and housing.

6. Economy in transition:

North Korea's economy is centralized and planned. Despite international difficulties and sanctions, the country has been seeking reforms and opening up to the foreign market. Agriculture, the textile industry and mining are some of the main sectors of the economy.

7. Natural Beauty:

North Korea has stunning mountainous landscapes, paradisiacal beaches and rich biodiversity. Mount Paektu, considered a sacred mountain, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the country.

8. Preserved traditions:

North Korea preserves many ancient Korean traditions, such as the art of calligraphy, folk music and taekwondo. The country also has a rich cuisine, with dishes such as kimchi, bulgogi and bibimbap.

9. Humanitarian challenges:

North Korea faces several humanitarian challenges, such as poverty, malnutrition and lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation. The country is also frequently hit by natural disasters such as floods and droughts.

10. An uncertain future:

North Korea's future is uncertain. Relations with the outside world are tense and the country faces several internal challenges. Economic reforms and opening up to the world can be a path to development, but the closed regime is still an obstacle to progress.

Explore more:

  • Documentary: "Undercover in North Korea"

  • Book: "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea"

  • Website: "NK News": https://nknews.org/


Understanding North Korea is a challenge, but an important exercise in understanding the world we live in. The country's curiosities and mysteries invite us to reflect on different cultures, political and social systems.


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