North Korea is taking a creative approach to boost tourism (and possibly their image). Their tourism board has ollaborated with a Chinese travel company to put together a scenic 21 hour cruise from Rajin to Mount Kumgang. Oh, did someone say “scenic?”
As you can tell from the video above, this cruise is not at all what we’re used to seeing. Instead of a gleaming white ship offering hot tubs, water slides, golfing and a full amphitheater, this North Korean cruise is aboard a 9,700 ton cargo ship. Maybe this is some sort of existentialist cruise because really, all we are as humans are “cargo,” right?
Though the lodging and amenities look much to be desired, North Korea does earn an “A” for effort in trying to get more people to visit their mysterious country. Even if politics get in the way.
The destination of the cruise is shrouded in controversy. While it is regarded as one of the most scenic spots on the peninsula, Mount Kumgang remains at the centre of a North-South political dispute after a tourist from South was shot dead in the region by a soldier three years ago. With relations at a low point, the two sides have been unable to agree on terms for restarting the project, so the North has turned to China. South Korea has said they will try to get foreign governments to boycott the plans.
So while it may still be difficult to actually enter their country, you can at least look forward to a lovely voyage on the Man Gyong Bong. Wait, this old cargo ship was renovated a week ago? They only tested the trip once to make sure it was safe? Well, you can go. I’m going to stay here with my all-inclusive Carnival cruise down the Mexican Riviera.