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10 Weird Facts About North Korea You Need To Know

Weird Facts About North Korea
North Koreans bowing in front of statues of Kim Il-sung (left) and Kim Jong-il

North Korea is a new state, having come into existence in 1948. The United States and the USSR replaced the Japanese in 1945, dividing the Korean Peninsula into the north (for USSR) and south (for US) as we have them today. Here we present to you ten weird facts about North Korea you never knew.

The country has a strict closed-country policy. For this reason, not much else is known about the country outside its borders except what its government wants the world to know.

SEE ALSO: 10 Cool Facts About Mexico You Didn't Know

Population: 24.9 million (2013) World Bank

Capital: Pyongyang

Supreme leader: Kim Jong-un

Premier: Pak Pong-ju

Government: Juche one-party totalitarian state

Continent: Asia

Official Language: Korean

Currency: North Korean won

Weird Facts About North Korea

1. BEWARE TO CRITICIZE

It is highly offensive and illegal to criticize their government. The same goes for the customs and etiquettes, etc., of North Korea.

It would land you in trouble.  And even if you don't land in trouble, your escort or tour guide would.

2.  USE RIGHT NAME

North Koreans prefer you refer to their country as DPRK: Democratic People's Republic of Korea.  This, in fact is their official nomenclature.  And it is still a belief there that the south is occupied territory.

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3.  PHOTOGRAPHING PARTLY ALLOWED

Foreigners taking pictures in the country is not entirely allowed. There are restrictions here and there. Always ask your tour guide before taking any pictures.

4.  A MUST RITUAL

As a tourist, you will be required to bow and lay a flower in front of the statue of Kim Il Sung. If you wouldn't do this, then don't even dream of going.

5. ENGLISH SPEAKERS RARE

Those who speak in English in North Korea are almost literally one in a million. Chances are that the only person you would meet who speaks English is your tour guide.

6. TOUR GUIDES AT RISK

Take along nice things such as booze and nice cigarettes for male tour guides; and body cream for female tour guides. Such would make tour guides go out of their ways to be nice to you.

However, you must understand that any mistakes you make, even those your attention may not be called to, are blamed on your tour guide. So be considerate and don't ask for too much.

7.  THE LOYALTY BADGE

At every public occasion, everyone in attendance wears the badge of Kim Il Sung. The badge is worn on their chest as proof of loyalty.

8. FOOD SCARCITY

There is food, but it is not very available!  For individual occasions, food supply is austere.  Food is only abundant in state sponsored banquettes.  It is only at such food and booze would flow free and last for as long as the occasion lasts.

9. COMPULSORY BIRTHDAY BASH

Life expectancy is 64 for men and 74 for women. But the 60th birthday is special to the North Koreans. It is the only birthday that is traditionally celebrated as a mark of longevity.

SEE ALSO: 10 Weird Facts About South Korea You Never Knew

10. NO TROUSERS FOR WOMEN

Women are not allowed to put on trousers. However, they could put on trousers if...

  • If they are factory workers
  • If they are agricultural labourers
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