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Inside North Korea: the ultimate package tour

The strangest of all the very strange things about the strangest place on earth, North Korea, is that it's surprisingly easy to go there. A quick Google will give you KoryoTours, a British-run, Beijing-based travel firm who’ll get you in and more importantly will get you out afterward.

This is exciting, as is the fact that Air Koryo is considered unairworthy by the EU.....maybe not.

Barely 1,500 people a year visit North Korea. Or, to put this in context, several thousand fewer than make it to the British Lawnmower Museum. Your mobile will immediately be confiscated upon entry - don’t worry, you’ll get it back on the way out, and don’t be intimidated by the man with a video camera who follows your every move. At the end of your tour he produces a DVD of the visit set to martial victory music, and sells it back to you for €40 - sweet!

The highlight of the trip is a visit to Kim Il-sung's mausoleum, an encounter that must qualify as the greatest touristic experience on earth. (The 'International Friendship Exhibition' in Mount Myohyang-san runs a close second.) It displays the 223,579 gifts given to Kim Il-sung, including a stuffed crocodile in bow tie and waistcoat serving drinks, presented by the Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua, and a Tolpuddle Martyrs plate from the British parliamentary Labour party.

Welcome to a mad world.

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