The experience of a lifetime.

by Brian Campbell
(Yongin City, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea)

Myself at Myohyangsan (Mt. Myohyang)

Myself at Myohyangsan (Mt. Myohyang)

Greetings all,

My story is a rather unusual one, and traveling to the DPRK is certainly an unusual experience in itself! I went there for the Mass Games, got to see the very first performance of the year on August 15th, 2009(Liberation day).

I live in South Korea, which makes my visit fall under more scrutiny then others, so I almost didn't get to go. But there are advantages to that, most notably that I can speak, read, and understand a fair bit of Korean. That allowed me to have a chance (however infrequent and rushed) to speak to real people, which was one of the most deeply felt impacts of my trip. People are people wherever you go.

Of course, given the political situation, relations between North and South have their fair share of tension, and my trip was no exception. Upon returning to the South I was detained and questioned by agents of the KCIA to ascertain my intentions and feelings about the trip, which though a rather unpleasant experience, puts the entire exercise in perspective.

Still, even given the aftermath, I do not regret for one second my decision to travel to the DPRK, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wishes to experience life in a world very different from many of our own.

I hope my story finds an interested audience, and I hope you consider a trip yourself.

~Brian Campbell

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Mar 28, 2010
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by: Brian

I did enter from Beijing, Cliff. That's your only choice.

As for how the police picked up on it, to this day I don't know. Somebody must have called them. I did tell a lot of people I knew that I was doing it...I guess somebody didn't like it.

Going from the south like I did takes time, so plan VERY far in advance. I started preparing months beforehand. Hope that helps!

Mar 24, 2010
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How to visit North Korea from South Korea
by: Cliff

Hi Brian, Magic stuff, I would love to do this too.
Did you enter NK from China, or else where. I am assuming that you went via China, so how did the police pick up on the fact that you had visited NK?
I am also living and working in South Korea, so it would make sense to do the same visit also. How did you arrange the visit please?

Feb 26, 2010
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by: Brian

Being detained by the secret police in south korea was. Makes for a good story, at least.

And yes, I did have a few chances to speak to ordinary North Koreans. They were very interested in my ability to speak Korean, and so I was able to have some more in-depth conversations then most people might. For the most part, they were very curious about what I could tell them but didn't have a lot to tell me.

A very unique experience!

Feb 26, 2010
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Surely is an unusual story!
by: Anonymous

Wow! That certainly is an unusual story! So you got stopped by the South Korean secret service? That must have been pretty intense huh?

You said you speak Korean. Did you manage to get to interact with any local North Koreans while you were there? What was their attitude to seeing a foreigner speaking their language, I guess people don't see that much in North Korea...

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