Posts tagged “news

Blogging From Inside North Korea

3/23/13 Update:  3G is no longer available.  The fundraising below has been discontinued with money raised refunded.

Internet has just been authorized in North Korea, but unfortunately it is very expensive.

I am one of the leading North Korea bloggers and run the American in North Korea site.  Through high quality photography and unique access I work to promote cultural understanding and an accurate portrayal of the North Korean tourist experience.  I tend to stay away from politics.

I hope to blog from inside North Korea during the 5 trips I have planned this spring.

I will be going much further afield than just Pyongyang; In April I will be the first American tourist to cross the Tumen border post into Namyang – continuing on to Hyeryong – Chongjin – Mt Chilbo – Rason – Yanji.  In May I will be guiding the first ever recreational fishing trip to North Korea.

With your help I can blog all of this in real time!

Reports have North Korean 3G priced at the following:

A USB modem and SIM card to access the Internet will cost 75 euro and 150 euro (US$100 and $200) respectively, and that’s without data charges.

Data will cost between 150 euro for 2GBs to 400 euro for 10GBs, with an additional 10 euro monthly charge for the SIM card.

Hamhung City Square, DPRK, North Korea

I am looking to raise 600 USD to help accomplish this.  I initially started a Kickstarter project, but in the fine print discovered that this project is too opened ended to meet their standards.

Please help me share pictures like this in real time from inside North Korea.

Pledge $5 or more – A thank you message to your Facebook wall or your twitter posted from inside North Korea – as well as your name mentioned in a thank you post on my blog posted from inside North Korea.  Estimated delivery: Apr 2013

Pledge $20 or more – A two page North Korean stamp book, as well as a thank you message to your Facebook wall or your Twitter posted from inside North Korea – as well as your name mentioned in a thank you post on my blog posted from inside North Korea.  Estimated delivery: Jul 2013, ships within the US only.

Pledge $100 or more – A deluxe multi-page North Korean stamp book and a North Korean postcard sent from North Korea (DPRK does not allow post cards to Europe at the moment due to sanctions), as well as a thank you message to your Facebook wall or your Twitter posted from inside North Korea – as well as your name mentioned in a thank you post on my blog posted from inside North Korea.  Estimated delivery: Jul 2013, ships within the US only.

Donations will be accepted until my goal is met, or until mid May when I have my final chance during this travel season to buy the North Korean stamp book pledge rewards.

Please contact me at josephferris76@gmail.com for more info, how to set up a pledge, or just follow the Paypal donation button.

3/06/13 Update – New details on the Koryolink pricing structure; more expensive than I initially thought!

 


Young Pioneer Tours Exclusive

Exclusive news and ground breaking experiences brought to you by the company I now guide for, Young Pioneer Tours:

YPT’s Richie Fenner just returned from our first trip of the year to the DPRK, with our group being the first foreign tourists to visit the Mausoleum since it’s reopening featuring General Kim Jong Il! We can also now announce that even more interestingly, foreigners can now bring cellphones, including smart phones into the country!

Young Pioneer Tours teamed up with NK News to break these stories, read about the change in cell phone policy here, and Richie’s visit to see Kim Jong-il here.

You can also read more on these developments over at Young Pioneer Tour’s blog.

Cell Call Pyongyang Traffic Girl

Cell phones in North Korea, not just for traffic girls anymore!

 


North Korean Intranet

Google’s Eric Schmidt arrives in North Korea. This is the “internet” he’ll find there….

What he will actually find is a North Korean nation-wide intranet

North Korean Intranet

Computer room at the Nampo Chollima Steelworks.

Grand People’s Study House

Writer Neil Strauss is shown how the North Korean closed intranet works at the Grand People’s Study House.

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


American Detained in North Korea

Don’t worry, I am not the American guide arrested in North Korea, I am safe and sound and on my way to Hawaii – I have been receiving emails all morning long asking.

I have known about this incident since last week, but only today has the DPRK confirmed that Bae Jun-ho, an American citizen of Korean decent, has been charged with committing “hostile acts against the republic”. His website is down, but it is reported that Bae Jun-ho ran the small tour company, “Nation Tours”, which is widely rumored to engage in missionary/proselytizing activities, this is strictly illegal in the DPRK.

Kookmin Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper owned by an evangelical church, had said Bae had been arrested for carrying a computer hard disk which contained footage of North Korea executing defectors and dissidents.

There were other rumors out this week suggesting he was searched because members of his group took unauthorized and unflattering pictures at an orphanage.

No matter the details of this case, legit tour companies such as Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours envision no changes in their schedule or with their relation with KITC (Korea International Travel company), but prospective tourists to the DPRK should be well aware of, and be willing to accept the rules and laws governing a tourist visit.

There are certain taboos and forbidden activities for tourists to engage in while visiting North Korea:

Trying to educate your North Korean guide about the western understanding of Cold War history, especially in regards to North Korea, is bad form. It’s not going to get you in trouble but it could piss off the guides enough that the tour group’s access to sites suddenly becomes restricted. I have seen this happen to other tours! The same goes for breaking the photography rules set by the guides.

More serious taboos include: undercover journalism, missionary work, trafficking in Bibles and anti-North Korean books, and human rights activism.

A tourist visit is not suggested if you are unable to abide by the above guidelines.

For those who believe they must bring a laptop (I leave mine behind), I suggest you check your hard drives. Don’t bring in any anti-North Korean documentaries or anti-North Korean ebooks – and gentleman, please don’t bring in any pornography.

To lighten up this post let me present some Dandong region Chinese/North Korean border signs:

Dandong Chinese North Korean Border
Dandong Chinese North Korean Border
Dandong Chinese North Korean Border
Dandong Chinese North Korean Border
Dandong Chinese North Korean Border
Dandong Chinese North Korean Border


We were on North Korean TV!

 

I believe this clip is a local North Korean news broadcast about the Ultimate Frisbee tournament we played in (the first ever for the sport to be held in the DPRK), along with footage of locals at the park celebrating Youth Day.  I’m told I come on at around 4:48, but I haven’t actually seen this yet as my ship’s satellite internet service has YouTube blocked.

Ultimate Frisbee North Korea

Gabriel Mizrahi teaches a local North Korean boy how to throw a Frisbee.  I will post much more about North Korea’s first Ultimate Frisbee tournament, until then you can check it out on my Frisbee Diplomacy North Korea set on Flickr.