By now it's pretty well established that most attempts at public outreach by North Korea feel like a real-life uncanny valley, a pastiche of a happy kingdom. Still, it's hard not to feel a renewed sense of simultaneous awe and unease while watching the fascinatingly bizarre YouTube channel of Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based travel agency specialising in trips to North Korea.
While the videos hit all the major tropes of a welcoming, prosperous community, they're missing one crucial ingredient—reality. It's clear they're trying to paint a picture of a vibrant, progressive cityscape to rival the world's major urban centres. But without the people, the enthusiasm, and the actual, modern machinery, what we're getting feels more like a ghost town stuck in the past.
Below are some of the more bizarre travel videos we've found, but you can head to their YouTube channel here for the whole bunch. Believe us—it's worth the trip.
North Korean Picnic in the Park:
North Korean Movie: A Family Basketball Team
Pyongyang Skate Park
Pyongyang Panorama on a Winter Morning
First Ever Charity Fun Run in North Korea!
Traffic Girls of Pyongyang, North Korea
Inside a North Korean Gym