Do I Need Travel Vaccines For North Korea

Do I Need Travel Vaccines For North Korea

Not yet and not anytime soon.

North Korea is shaking its fist at the world again. In the past 2 weeks, it performed a nuclear test and then sent off several test missiles in violation of United Nations' agreements. This isolated totalitarian regime has nuclear weapons and an enormous army, but can't feed its own people. North Korean citizens live at the point of a gun. They do not enjoy the rights of free speech, fair elections or foreign travel.

It would be fascinating to travel to North Korea to meet its people and learn about its culture. This will not happen unless the current regime changes or unclenches its fist. Even South Korean citizens are not permitted to visit their own relatives who are figuratively imprisoned in North Korea. North Korean leadership understands the political power of travel. If free people of the world were permitted to travel to North Korea, then its citizens would learn how they have been manipulated, exploited and enslaved by their leadership. This could light a long fuse which ultimately could threaten the regime. North Koreans cannot tolerate a free press or an enlightened population.

North Korea Tour Vaccines

Travel is not just a leisure or business experience. It is an opportunity to spread ideas and exchange views. This is why every American university strives to recruit international students and to send its own students abroad.

There will be a time when North Korea will be an international travel destination. After the walls of isolation come down, as occurred in Berlin in 1989, a curious world will want to step inside and look around.

At Travel Clinics of America, we protect travelers against yellow fever, malaria, and typhoid. We provide travel vaccinations and travel safety advice to international travelers who are traveling all over the world. When the time comes, and it will, we will protect travelers headed for North Korea. Sadly, its own suppressed people need protection against a force more dangerous than infectious diseases. Regrettably, Travel Clinics of America has no vaccine available against the threat they face.

North Korea's Answer to Club Med?

According to a new North Korea tourist brochure, visitors to the Majon Beach Resort can take advantage of a relaxing summer sojourn in one of twenty villas, each equipped with TV, air-conditioning, and kitchenette. The whole family is welcome to enjoy the 1200m long sandy beach, or to explore the local forest, sporting some 4,000 trees. Parents can leave their children at the nearby Soho Children's Bathing Resort for the day to take advantage of the on-site beauty parlor, hire a boat to go fishing with locals, or even visit local factories such as the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex and February 8 Vinalon Complex.

North Korea's Answer to Club Med

Located in the environs of North Korea's second largest city, the brochure explains that the resort is a five-hour drive from Pyongyang, or eight hours if taking the train. To make the journey, suggested transport options include taking a taxi, renting a coach, or even chartering a plane. But quite how this fits with North Korea's notoriously restrictive concept of tourism is left unexplained.

Today, visitors to the DPRK must be accompanied by guides of the state-run Korea International Travel Company (KITC), at all times. Trips must be planned weeks in advance, with detailed itineraries that oblige patrons to keep on the move as much as possible. Freedom of movement and personal time is highly limited, helping reduce the risk that overly inquisitive visitors might cause problems. Quite who the intended audience of the Majon Beach brochure is, or perhaps more accurately, was, is thus, unclear.

With references to the German Mark and photos of a distinctly 1980s hue, this brochure was most probably mass published at a time when the Communist bloc was still standing strong. At a time when for allies, lazy holidays on the shores of socialist North Korea a distinctively attractive possibility. When, it was perhaps even feasible for foreign Communists to explore Pyongyang by taxi and metro, un-escorted - practically impossible for tourists today. But while times have of course changed, interestingly the Majon Beach Resort brochure has not - still being distributed as of 2010 to tourists in the DPRK.

Thanks to the recent approval of KITC, travel to the Majon Beach Resort is now possible for Westerners - with the first group having arrived there in early 2010. Although still well cared for, the resort today, unfortunately, fails to live up to the de-luxe standards described within its aged promotional material. Running water no longer fills the pipes, the three restaurants lie for the most part empty, and NGO staff make up the majority of the guests. One wonders when the last time the disco or cinema was last used for any form of entertainment purpose. Travel to the resort is currently an extremely arduous affair, with roads among the least developed tourists will ever see in North Korea and a train track that is reported to take far longer to traverse than the eight hours quoted from Pyongyang.

Today, Hamhung remains a city of paradoxes. It is most famous for its February 8 Vinalon complex, which produces low-quality synthetic fiber that there no longer exists an export market for - better quality fabrics can be imported from China for the same price. Its celebrated Hungnam Fertilizer Complex was built to supply the nation with much-needed farming resources, but being connected to the rest of the country via dirt tracks and a train track that is in dire need of attention, one wonders how effective its distribution has ever been. And while The Majon Beach Resort may have once attracted tourists from across the world, for the most part, it today lies empty. Whether or not its successor stands any chance of giving Hamhung some much-needed rejuvenation remains to be seen.

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