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Dangerous Holiday Destinations And Weird Worldly Experiences

Would you like to get the full ‘North Korean experience’

By: David Soffer  |@David_Soffer
 on 5th November 2014 @ 5.03pm
in thailand there   s everything from bars to clubs and full moon parties offering cheap booze and mayhem  so what   s not to like © Twitter
In Thailand there’s everything from bars to clubs and full moon parties offering cheap booze and mayhem. So what’s not to like?

Typical holiday destinations such as Spain, the Americas or South Africa understandably don’t appeal to everyone. However, have you ever thought about why these countries are so popular? Or have you considered potential pitfalls of visiting areas which are not popular?

‘Untypical’ destinations include places like Thailand, Colombia and most recently, North Korea. But while these countries might sound exciting, they can be anything but.

Thailand is a popular choice for people when looking for somewhere to ‘spread their wings,’ ‘find themselves’ or perhaps have that ‘gap yaah’ that involves a lot of do-good activities and travelling. Reasons Thailand is picked over other locations by over 800,000 Brits a year, include the beautiful landscapes and views the country has to offer, the relatively tourist friendly nature in some areas and the cheap prices on offer. Then there’s the westerner-friendly locals in the commercialised areas and the chaotic nightlife that exists.

From Koh Phangan to Koh Samui, there’s everything from bars to clubs and full moon parties offering cheap booze and mayhem. So what’s not to like?

You could get violently mugged in pretty much any part of Thailand. As recently as September 2014, 2 British tourists were killed in a horrific, unprovoked attack on the island of Koh Tao. Muggings are seen as an acceptable inconvenience for tourists travelling to Thailand.

If that doesn’t put you off, there are also the very harsh drug laws. Many travellers who dabble in a bit of harmless puffing, snorting or pill popping, will often get let off with a slap on the wrists from overseas police forces. Thailand however, is a whole different story. As well as the large fines imposed, getting caught with as little as a joint or two can land you in prison for anywhere between 1 month and 25 years. And, if you’re into harder stuff, then the death penalty awaits you once you’ve served a long prison sentence.

Oh and there’s also the small issue that you can be imprisoned for 3 – 15 years if you commit Lèse Majesté and decide to insult the Royal Family of Thailand. And one last thing, martial law has been declared in most of the country, so anything the army says pretty much goes; unless you fancy arguing with an angry Thai man and his assault rifle.

colombia is known for producing exceptionally good coffee  having those temptingly gorgeous landscapes and for being of spanish culture © Twitter
Colombia is known for producing exceptionally good coffee, having those temptingly gorgeous landscapes and for being of Spanish culture

So Thailand didn’t work out. How about you try Colombia? I hear the coffee’s amazing.

Yes, Colombia is known for producing exceptionally good coffee, having those temptingly gorgeous landscapes and for being of Spanish culture and everyone likes that. But there are few niggling problems.

A large proportion of the world’s cocaine is produced in Colombia. While this might add to the temptation for any of those travellers with dirty dreadlocks, it comes with quite a few problems. Because of this drugs problem, there are very high levels of terrorist and paramilitary activity throughout much of the country fuelled by kidnappings, rape and extortion of tourists on a regular basis.  Additionally, it is strongly advised to only travel during daylight hours and to steer clear of many areas due to the risk of earthquakes. I really love coffee, but that might just put me off the perfect cup.

So you can't travel to Thailand and your backup option has just fallen through because you were planning on spending some time in Colombia. So what do you do now?

would you like to experience a once in a lifetime holiday to the most militarised nation on the planet © Twitter
Would you like to experience a once in a lifetime holiday to the most militarised nation on the planet?

Have no fear, because North Korean travel operator Experience North Korea is now offering the opportunity to travel to and tour North Korea.

Recently, a ski resort was opened in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), not that anyone in the country other than the ruling Kim family can afford to go there. There are also opportunities to see the DPRK from their own strange perspective and to experience a once in a lifetime holiday to the most militarised, most secretive and most ridiculous nation on the planet.

If you do decide to venture to North Korea, there are quite a few things to bear in mind. You won’t be able to see much further afield than the capital, Pyongyang because the government minders you will have assigned to you for 24 hours don’t allow it.

While there are monuments and impressive architecture throughout Pyongyang which are probably worth seeing, most of these attractions are statues of members of the ruling Kim family, to which you have to bow down to. In fact, you’ll be doing so much bowing down, that you will likely get that elusive 6 pack by the time you leave the DPRK.

There also aren’t constant supplies of electricity, as they don’t have the technology or resources to maintain constant power supplies. The food has been described by those who have travelled there as ‘strange’ and ‘not much.’ Generally, you should expect to be eating a lot of fried nothing, in one of the most impoverished countries on the planet.

You can only take photographs of what your minders allow and even when you do take pictures; they must be taken in a ‘correct manner,’ so as not to cause any offence.

And the penalty for flouting any of North Korea’s rules, being suspected of spying or trying to see their disgraceful concentration camps? Many years of hard labour in one of those camps, with little prospect of release. Happy days!

So, when choosing your next holiday, you might want to think twice about what you’d like to experience. If you’ve always wanted to experience what it would be like to visit a country run by maniacs with silly haircuts and fat faces; North Korea is certainly the place for you.

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