It's hard not to feel a sense of simultaneous discomfort and awe while watching the fascinatingly bizarre YouTube channel of Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based travel agency specializing in trips to North Korea.
We already knew that most North Korean public outreach attempts feel like a real-life uncanny valley, a pastiche of a happy kingdom—and these are no different. 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 centers. 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