If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Pyongyang...

  • Share
  • Read Later
Talk about holidays in hell: A party of 1,000 South Koreans departed Wednesday for an unprecedented five-day visit to famine-stricken North Korea's scenic Diamond Mountain. They're paying $2,530 per person for a holiday during which, a Seoul government official advises, they should "just look and don't do anything else." Complaining about the food, for example, could be construed as making comments offensive to the hosts -- one of the scores of don'ts on a list sent by the North. Photographing or talking to the locals, for example, is verboten, and you don't want to test the rules in a country with whom yours is technically still at war -- even when they're desperate for tourism dollars.

"It'll be courageous South Koreans who'll make this trip," says TIME correspondent William Dowell. "The North is an intriguing, mysterious place, but you never know what you're going to run into." Especially when a North Korean official statement urges the South to "stop provocative anti-north military manoeuvres... which cast a shadow over or endanger the tour." The best advice in the North's list of no-no's: Don't stray from the group.