Pyongyang calling: we spent a week in North Korea

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In rare footage of the North Korean capital, the Guardian gained an insight into what daily life is like for its citizens. Escorted by government minders at all times we were invited to visit a nursery, zoo, swimming pool, funfair, parks, factories, festivals and more, but were left questioning if anything was real. After returning to the UK, Emma Graham-Harrison reflects on what it’s like spending a week immersed in a personality cult


anthonychun72 says:

oh my god this reporter's imperialist condescension is intolerable. turn off her voice and watch the footage without her stupid cliched commentary.

Rohan Arora says:

Western can't see their happiness
Yeah they do bad things but man this people are thin , happy and look health.

Yung Learner says:

so many journalists now a days seem full of it

Shaorune Nautilus says:

dam. communism really work in NK

Nice2347 says:

Are these N. Koreans so stupid and ignorant that they don't realize how obvious it is that these showings are staged as hell?

Kai says:

If they're happy there then leave them alone, you want to change their way of life and why?

Hai Le Quang says:

They look like Vietnam in 1980s. Certainly the infrastructure is better than Vietnam's back then but it's about the people. Probably due to nutrition or mindset restriction etc… these kinds of thing ingrain on to the people.


Hell on earth.

CrenJay says:

Seems like a weird combination of Portmeirion and Airstrip 1.

Evera Outta says:

Looking forward to hearing about more cynically arranged prosperity in the DPRK in the years to come.

Wayne Hasch says:

What a waste. There are so many of these so called documentaries on line. Tourist videos surprisingly add more new information. Tourists can sometimes take chances on what is videoed.Journalists are just allowed to show the same things over and over it the flower festival,the zoo etc. This video adds almost nothing new. Guardian is dependent on donations.Donors have been ripped off.

Sunny ambon says:

How is the crime rate in North Korea?

Kim Jong-il says:

North korea is the only country that looked like the 1970's or year 0022

frank Guan says:

Well I'm happy that they aren't a western consumerist society yet, the moment those people got Instagram and McDonald they are as decadent and corrupt as us.

张尼玛尼玛 says:

year over year I see the same report, which you called news… why bother to go for real… at least try to say something slightly different to show your travel is not meaningless.

Royyy McRoy says:

Why do these people feel obliged in disturbing the cohesion of any society they have no influence over.

trev moffatt says:

Yeah, it's a dictatorship, but so are most countries in Asia. But of course N Korea is a communist dictatorship so receives an endless bad press from the West.

Jane Smith says:

Thank you.That was very well made and narrated.

Informed Choice says:

Interesting report. Say what you want but I don't have to live in fear of my own government and that's a valuable boon. It's a nightmare there, like something from a horror movie.

devontodetroit says:

How rare is this exactly? Vice, BBC several times, PBS, Dispatches also Unreported World (Both Channel 4) Plus Indigo Traveler and that annoying bloke with the dreadlocks have all done videos and tours around Pyongyang.

This is a historic time with Korean obviously with the talks and visits between leaders and military at the DMZ alike.. Fingers crossed but I can't see ROK absorbing DPRK economically, which they will have to do.

Guardian sit back down.

semifed says:

Hello Guardian. How about a story on how the North Korean people know the situation, but can't do much about it? Perhaps a story about the danger you put some of these people in when you don't follow the rules (2:26 "I would just wonder off…" " no, you can't take pictures here") …oh the video is sponsored by Rockefeller Foundation? Sorry, my bad.

jhony401 says:

A: they don"t do the massive display for tourist , B : they don"t do a " show just for you !! C : disappointed because did not see army shooting people on the street ? NK IS NOT heaven but is NOT hell either , much beter than Libya , Afganistan , Iraq

Ionut says:

Are we going to see a more detailed video? documentary like ?

Henri Rauhala says:

"(We) were left questioning if anything was real." Well, how about the sight at 2:00, for example? Are North Korean officials now capable of producing such hallucinations, even replicated by a video camera? Even though you bourgeois journalists always claim that they fail to provide anything for the people, they're quite magicians after all. "Almost real apartment blocks"… oh my. If you have difficulties trusting your sense of reality in such a way, you should get your mental condition immediately checked.

poofendorf says:

It would be better just to show images. She needs to add commentary because she knows that it is the only way to indoctrinate people into believing what she wants you to believe when the images are so incongruent.

Martin Tapsfield says:

A truly ridiculous commentary from the journalist, that has absolutely no connection with what viewers can see in the video with their own eyes.

Angshudeep Banerjee says:

kim jun un should spank trumps wife he must be jerking of twice daily after meeting with trumps wife and called her over to the party of pyongyong Kims smashing party ft mia khalifa

SB SB says:

THEY Are a Good People

MrJason005 says:

You should have learned a bit of Korean so you could understand what they weren't translating for you

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