Want to go to places no tourist ever dream of visiting? Like Chernobyl, Beirut, and Congo? Well, the VICE Guide to Travel is the the travel guidebook for you!
But even those places don't compare to where Shane Smith and his team managed to go next: North Korea, the Hermit Kingdom.
The first leg of the trip was a flight into northern China. At
the airport the North Korean consulate took our passports and all of our money, then brought us to a restaurant. We were sitting there with our tour group, and suddenly all the other diners left and these women came out and started singing North Korean nationalist songs.
We were thinking, “Look, we were just on a plane for 20 hours. We’re jet-lagged. Can we just go to bed?” but this guy with our group who was from the LA Times told us, “Everyone in here besides us is secret police. If you don’t act excited then you’re not going to get your visa.”
So we got drunk and jumped up onstage and sang songs with the girls. The next day we got our visas. A lot of people we had gone with didn’t get theirs. That was our first hint at just what a freaky, freaky trip we were embarking on...