CNN: Me & Uri Tours on North Korea

CNN’s Nic Robertson interviewed Uri Tours‘ Andrea Lee and myself on travel to North Korea.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IpcVJR50XE
In light of recent events with Korean War veteran Merrill Newman, on a tour through a different operator, Uri Tours has released a statement for prospective tourists to North Korea. I hesitate making firm recommendations about travel safety. I would say Toronto is quite safe yet had my only car break-in there, in broad daylight on a Sunday. I have been to North Korea twice and never in any way felt threatened. Quite the contrary, everyone was hospitable. The nature of the regime is such that there is much we cannot know or predict. While this is the only case I am aware of a legitimate tourist falling afoul of the authorities, there is the element of political risk of travel to North Korea. For any destination, it is imperative to do as much research as possible into risks and contingencies, then make the best decision you can make with the available information.

I booked my recent trip to North Korea with Uri Tours because they responded to exactly what I wanted and got it done despite my last minute request. They did a fantastic job getting us access during the Victory Day military parade and that same afternoon I was on a private excursion to Nampo where the guides allowed me to visit a beach with locals dancing, drinking soju and roasting oysters. Uri Tours has a slate of 2014 tours that range from skiing, a first for foreign tourists, to bike treks. By way of disclaimer, I paid the full price of my trip and have not been compensated by Uri Tours in any way. I shared my blog with them after the trip.

North Korea Victory Day 366

It was fascinating to chat with Mr. Robertson about his experiences reporting from the world’s hot spots. The risks correspondents such as he take to provide the world much needed information is a debt we all as citizens owe.

For more on my travels to North Korea, my 2013 Victory Day posts are here, photos here on flickr, videos here on Youtube.  And from 2010 see my travelogue parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and flickr photo album.

North Korea Victory Day 128

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Andy Shuman @ Lazy Travelers
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Fantastic reports, Stephan!

Marshall Jackson
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Awesomeness! Very nicely done.

Matthew
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Nice job on CNN! The DPRK remains high on my list of future destinations.