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Man Who Visited North Korea Shares Stories About What It’s Really Like

To many outside of the country, North Korea is a mystery. Ruled for three generations by the “Glorious Leaders” of the Kim family, the secretive nation is resistant to outside influence and notoriously quick to punish what it sees as wrongdoers. But a Reddit user recently traveled to North Korea, and his testimony offers a fascinating look at the country.

Right now, the West is focussed on North Korea’s nuclear threats but this man, who goes by the handle “bustead”, learned more about daily life in the country than military secrets. His anonymity is unsurprising: as you’re about to see, he did some decidedly-less-than-legal things while he was there, and revealing his name could potentially get him in trouble with the North Korean authorities.

1. The Basics: “I stayed there for 5 days. 4 in Pyongyang and 1 in Kaesong (a city near the 38th parallel). Pyongyang is relatively modern but Kaesong was a nightmare. Can you imagine a “hotel” with no power or water supply?”

[Author’s note: the 38th parallel is the heavily-policed border between North Korea and South Korea]

2. How he traveled: “I was on a tour. You cannot go alone, in fact. We didn’t get any chance to walk around without supervision, but we did walk around the streets of Pyongyang (the capital). It was a rather unbelievable experience, and I saw more than I expected. The other “free” session is the visit to a shopping mall owned by the Chinese. (Most likely a mall reserved for the elites.) We were allowed to shop there and had some fun.”

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