Thai Air News from Issue 34 dated 20 November 2004

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According to the Control Risks Group, large parts of the globe have become too dangerous for westerners to visit, and the only countries to have an “insignificant” security risk are Iceland, Norway, Sweden and North Korea. So this issue of the newsletter is devoted to North Korea. Happy travelling!
For cheap flights: our cheap flights section. For excellent hotels at discount prices: Agoda.

Contents of this issue

Thai Airways Special Fares

The newly re-designed Thai Airways site offers 4 excellent Special Fares Promotions. These are:
  • Discover Thailand Amazing Fares
  • ASEAN Air Pass Fares
  • ASEAN Hip Hop Air Pass Fares
  • Round the World with Thai
They are all good value.
You can find full details of these special fare promotions on the new Thai Airways International site at:

Around paradise in 5 days

This is one of the best descriptions you will find on the web of what a visit to North Korea is really like. It covers a trip to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea between 9-13 April 2004 and so is quite up to date. Many of the sites covering North Korea are blatant anti North-Korea propaganda, which is not helpful if you want to know what a trip is really like. This site is rather more objective, informative and well written. Not that it is dry - I loved one little aside: "Throughout our stay, we were served with at least two bowls of congee (a traditional Chinese breakfast similar to rice pudding, but tasteless), but one day I was fortunate enough to be served with three bowls, and needless to say I needed toilets much soon afterwards." There are lots of pictures and it is a well observed introduction to travel in North Korea.
Definitely worth reading, on:

On Holiday in North Korea

A short piece I found on the BBC News web site. Some excellent pictures are included and the text is short but interesting. You get a flavour from comments like "There's absolutely no reference to the outside world - no adverts, no symbols" and "the country was strange to the point of being surreal". However, as it says as a conclusion "It's not Torremolinos yet,...but there's no place like it."
If you want a quick summary of what a visit might be like, see:

Journey to North Korea

Scott Fisher, an American living in South Korea, has written an excellent journal of his visit to a gymnastic festival in North Korea. As he says, "My goal here is to present the story of a trip into what can best be described as 'Kimland'. A country totally dedicated to the Great Leader Kim Il-sung, his Juche ideology and his son the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. "

It's an interesting article and contrasts what he saw with his interpretation. For example he says "Well, to put it mildly, my expectations were blown away...How could 100,000 people, as everyone claimed anyway, all work together in such perfect harmony?...The model of mass unity that was being held up as proof of greatness and independence smacked of mindlessness." I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Well worth reading. It tells you a lot about North Korea, a lot about the American view, and prepares you well for a visit. Decide for yourself which point of view you accept, on:

North Korean History of North Korea

Here you have the history of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea according to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It makes very interesting reading and again demonstrates clearly the different visions and philosophies of two distinct world views.

The history is broken down into 5 sections: Old Korea, Modern Korea, Anti-Japanese Fighting, Motherland's Liberation, Korea of Juche. It is well written and very informative. Based on a view completely different from that of the previous article, you will have your own view on its message.
This is a good opportunity to understand Noth Korea from a North Korean viewpoint. It's always worth trying to understand the other person's point of view, so take a look at:

Official Page

This is the official government site. Take a look. From the very beginning you will get an idea of what North Korea is all about. And in addition to lots of information you can also buy souvenirs, flags, music and lots more.
Rather different from most national government sites, but definitely worth a look:

All the information you need

In writing this newsletter I try to find the most relevant and most interesting non-commercial links. I include only the ones I think are really useful but of course I have to leave a lot out. If you want a full list of links to solid information about North Korea you will find them on the *North Korean Studies* site "maintained for the purpose of free publication and dissemination of analytical materials on North Korea (DPRK), its relations with Russia and Australia, research on history and historiography, and the problems of Soviet Koreans."
It doesn't get much more comprehensive than this:

Science Fair Project Encyclopedia

This site is encyclopaedic in its coverage, and gives you an opportunity to study North Korea in depth.
If you want to know absolutely everything about North Korea, take a look at:

Recommended travel books

For useful books on travel in Korea, you will find a comprehensive listing with prices and reviews on my books page (with links to buy direct from on:

Hotel Accommodation

Hotel accommodation in Korea is plentiful and using a reputable agent can secure you substantial discounts. Agoda can usually find you a good deal and you can check their availability below.
Agoda is our favourite hotel booking agent. They are based in Thailand and have an excellent reputation for great bargains and excellent customer service.

Index to back issues

Back issues of this newsletter are available. You can find them on:
The countries covered in other issues are:

Far East Air Fare deals from ConnectedGlobe

For flights to Korea originating anywhere in the world use this ConnectedGlobe link

Other Useful Links

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© 2005 Graham G Hawker