Sunday, 25 September 2011

North Korean Cruising: Pack up your Mangyongbong

Setting sail: The Mangyongbong embarks on a trial cruise from
Rason on North Korea to the picturesque Mount Kumgang resort.
It’s quite possibly the worst cruise experience since Captain Arthur Philip landed his first guests in Sydney Cove. North Korea’s timid initial foray into adventure cruising took place in August aboard the “newly renovated” Mangyongbong-91, a 40-year-old vessel reputedly used in a former life to ferry contraband, drugs and weapons for the secretive Stalinist regime. 120 foreign journalists were housed in a dormitory-style room with mattresses on the floor for the 21-hour journey to the scenic Mount Kumgang region. This special tourism zone has languished since South Korea banned visits after a tourist was shot dead in 2008. Oh Dear Leader!

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