Back from the Extreme Northeast of North Korea

Chongjin, North Korea

Girls on roller skates in Chongjin City, North Korea. Get a sneak peak of my most recent trip via my latest uploads to Instagram.

I’m safely back in China after an amazing week in the rarely visited Northeast region of the DPRK. Of all my trips to North Korea this has been my favorite. Our locally based guides of the Chilbo San Tourism Company were full of enthusiasm and provided us access to sites and experiences which are inaccessible if coming up to the region with the Pyongyang based KITC company.

We were the first western tour group to cross the Tumen/Namyang border on a route to Chongjin only traveled by NGOs and Chinese tourists in the past. Our ride to Chongjin took us on secondary mountain roads never traveled by any westerners before when we found our route blocked by an overturned truck and were forced to make a 7 hour detour – this was not a typical DPRK tour.

During the course of the trip we hiked a mountain peak in a snowstorm, taught kids American football in a small random village (we were forced to stop due to a washed out road), played with locals in volleyball matches, visited a middle school never visited by any tourist before and taught English in the foreign language class, and had a ride on a fishing boat in the Eastern Sea of Korea – I even won a North Korean traditional wrestling tournament at the Mt. Chilbo Home Stay.

I’m going to be resting up for a few days in Yanji and Beijing before I turn around and head back into DPRK to lead a tour to the Rason Special Economic Zone.

5 responses

  1. J. Rhadamés Cabrera Balcácer

    Sounds fantastic, can’t wait to see ALL the photos and some stories. This is good, so that the DPRK people can mingle with gringo’s and other westerner. We are person ,we don’t want war so is the same to koreans. Kudos bro!

    April 29, 2013 at 4:01 pm

  2. Hi Joe, keep your nose clean and eyes forward, Rason, as you know is where Kenneth Bae was arrested

    April 30, 2013 at 12:54 am

  3. Excellent photos Joseph, looks like you had a great time.

    April 30, 2013 at 7:37 am

  4. This is EPIC joe, I wish I had been there. It’s freaky that Kenneth Bae was arrested for also taking photos in this area, and he was also a tour guide, although one main difference is that you’re not a Christian missionary like he apparently was.

    May 2, 2013 at 10:49 pm

  5. He was arrested in Rason, where I go this week. Word in the industry is he had a hard drive full of illegal video – public executions and 90′s starvation. I won’t be teaching the word of god and carrying a laptop there.

    May 3, 2013 at 1:36 am

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