April 13, 2024

‘I Was Told There Would be Robots’

Examining the misconceptions and morality of traveling to North Korea

On Halloween 2011, I did as all the travel blogs suggested and arrived early at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, an unassuming one-story building, not far from the Chao Phraya River. A few hours and 1,260 baht (roughly $40) later, a 28-day visa to Asia’s second-most oppressive regime adorned my passport.

In the eyes of some, I had already legitimized a military junta, supported human rights violations, funded an iron-fisted army and destroyed the very relics I was going to see.

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