One of the best times to travel to North Korea is during May Day, or International Workers Day celebrations. Spring is officially here, Pyongyang’s cherry blossoms are out and people are out celebrating and enjoying a well-deserved day off in the sun.
So what can you expect from May Day celebrations in North Korea? This year we took six groups of Young Pioneers to Pyongyang to mingle with the locals and celebrate the holiday at numerous locations around Pyongyang.
First stop was Mt. Taesong, complete with musical performances and dancing in the sun to everyones’ favourite North Korean space-disco synth pop. Been practicing your classic spirit finger North Korean dance style? This is your chance to show off your skills by joining in with the women dancing in their gloriously vibrant Joseon-ot (traditional Korean dress).
The guys are usually found at one of the numerous volleyball courts, with international vs. local games a common sight for those wanting to engage in some friendly competition. With “free range” wandering very much on the cards, we’re able to walk around and join in the local games and ride the amusement park rides including a rollercoaster, ferris wheel and dodgem cars. Or, try your hand at target practice with the makeshift BB-gun shooting ranges.
Next stop is off to Moran Hill in Pyongyang, brought to life with families and friends celebrating in the park with some seriously impressive lunch spreads and the smell of delicious, delicious BBQ smoke wafting throughout the air.
Kids are playing in the waterfalls and creeks and adults are drinking, dancing and partying the afternoon away, this is Pyongyang at its most relaxed with locals welcoming us to join in their dancing and to share a cheeky soju. Just be careful who you decide to “chuk-bae” (cheers in North Korea) as you may find yourself participating in a deadly drink-off, downing half a bottle of soju in one hit!
Watch this space for our 2018 May Day tour dates, released soon.
Our deepest sympathies are with Otto Warmbier and those who loved him. We had held onto hope that he might recover, and have the life that he should have had, but now those hopes are gone, and we too are reeling with the shock of a young man's life taken well before his time.
The devastating loss of Otto Warmbier's life has led us to reconsider our position on accepting American tourists. There had not been any previous detainment in North Korea that has ended with such tragic finality and we have been struggling to process the result. Now, the assessment of risk for Americans visiting North Korea has become too high.
The way his detention was handled was appalling, and a tragedy like this must never be repeated. Despite constant requests, we were denied any opportunity to meet him or anyone in contact with him in Pyongyang, only receiving assurances that he was fine. There has still been almost no information disclosed about his period in detention. Considering these facts and this tragic outcome we will no longer be organising tours for US citizens to North Korea. ... See MoreSee Less