March 02, 2024


Gareth Johnson

Gareth Johnson

Gareth Johnson is the CEO of Young Pioneer Tours, a travel company that specializes in tourism to countries including North Korea, Cuba and Iran.


From Kim Jong Il’s jokes to cold noodles: The best books for sale in North Korea

Propaganda predominates at Pyongyang’s foreign language bookstore, but some works offer a revealing look at the country

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonJanuary 24, 2023

What China’s reopening means for North Korea’s shuttered tourism industry

Pyongyang likely waiting to see how situation unfolds next door before making a decision on its own border controls

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonJanuary 5, 2023

How Kim Jong Il’s death threw the North Korea tourism industry into flux

Even local guides didn’t seem to know what would happen as the country mourned leader’s passing 11 years ago this month

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonDecember 21, 2022

What the future holds for North Korea tourism after the pandemic

China’s COVID situation will affect the timing of any reopening, and the DPRK is sure to take steps to minimize risk

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonFebruary 15, 2022

Christmas in Pyongyang: How devout tourists can worship in North Korea

Visitors are not banned from attending church services or carrying a Bible, but proselytizing is strictly off-limits

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonDecember 27, 2021

Train to Pyongyang: The joys of traveling by rail in North Korea

Outdated infrastructure means travel is slow, but trains offer a unique chance to see the country and meet real Koreans

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonNovember 15, 2021

Deep dive in the DPRK: A Danish globetrotter’s unlikely scuba adventure

Despite logistical challenges, the successful trip showed the creative possibilities of North Korea tourism

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonOctober 29, 2021

Combining travel and education on a North Korea study tour

Studying Korean allows guests to stay in Pyongyang for a month, just long enough to get a feel for everyday life

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonOctober 15, 2021

Fasten your seatbelt: Traveling in Soviet chic on North Korea’s domestic flights

Low demand and an aging fleet mean passengers can expect a unique trip but bumpy ride

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonOctober 6, 2021

Bottoms up! The culture of drinking in North Korea

DPRK beverages outshine their South Korean equivalents, and sharing a drink is a great way for tourists to meet locals

Gareth JohnsonGareth JohnsonSeptember 10, 2021
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