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Unusual, small group expedition to explore North Korea's national parks and highest peaks announced by UK expedition company, Secret Compass.

(TRAVPR.COM) UK - February 23rd, 2016 - Secret Compass has just launched its first expedition to explore the wild and remote national parks of North Korea, to depart in September 2016.

Tom Bodkin, director of Secret Compass, said, “This pioneering team will aim to get beyond North Korea’s headlines, experiencing the reality of life in the rural and urban regions of this closed state.

“Alongside the national parks of Myohyangsan and Kumgang, our small team will visit North Korea's monumental architecture and the troubled southern border known as the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

“This expedition is unusual in that we’ll be a small team of 12.  Whistle-stop tours of North Korea do exist, which often a focus on bussing large groups of people between sites of interest.

“The Secret Compass team will have more opportunity to meet and interact with locals and guides, being a much smaller group with a focus on exploring North Korea’s natural environment.

“Though the regime wants visitor figures to hit seven figures they remain very low for now, making this a pioneering destination for Secret Compass and our first expedition team.

Bodkin concluded, “Though the team will necessarily be accompanied by a government guide, Secret Compass is approaching this challenging destination from its default expeditionary stance, sending out a leader with full comms and med kits as the team heads into the demanding higher mountains.”


North Korea: expedition highlights

Summit the Myohyangsan range’s Mountain of Mysterious Fragrance

Explore Kumgang’s dramatic landscapes and little-visited trails

Aim to sleep under canvas (a rare activity) in the wilds of North Korea

Visit the monumental architecture of Pyongyang

Visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea


Adventure fact box

Name: North Korea: into the Secret State

Dates: 26 Sep to 8 Oct 2016 (14 days)

Cost: £2,999 all inc. except flights to Beijing (from £600pp with KLM)


Tourism in North Korea

Though there is still debate on this issue – as with Burma/Myanmar – tourism has been touted as a force for good in North Korea. 

Speaking to The Guardian, visitor Ludovica Picone believes that tourism can be educational, both for locals and for tourists who are able to get ‘a better understanding of the country and its ideology.’

Those employed in the trade get to meet outsiders and to practice their foreign languages, while getting a glimpse of the outside world. In a country with strict media restrictions, interaction with tourists can be a key channel for getting news to the outside world, from within this secret state.


Countries at war

North and South Korea are still technically at war. Frictions can occur on the border of these two nations, though visitors are rarely affected.

As a company specializing in remote, wild and challenging destinations, Secret Compass has applied the same strict risk assessment and mitigation measures to this expedition as to any other. By definition, expeditions inherently contain risk so it is down to individual team members to decide if they are happy to accept these risks in joining the expedition.


Upcoming expedition destinations

With its military background, Secret Compass is known for its exploratory expeditions to countries – or parts of countries – avoided by many due to their remoteness, reputations or inaccessibility.

North Korea joins other Secret Compass destinations include Afghanistan, Armenia, Burma, Ethiopia, Gabon, Iran, Kurdistan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Panama, Siberia, Mongolia, Siberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Chad and southern Sinai. 

Secret Compass welcomes applications from anyone with a good level of fitness who’s keen to achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places.

To join the ‘North Korea: Into the Secret State’ team, visit in the first instance to find fuller information and links to the online application form.

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Secret Compass Expeditions

Secret Compass redefines what is possible by creating pioneering projects in the world's wildest places. It’s built around a team of trusted experts who combine a passion for exploration with industry-leading professionalism. Secret Compass reignites your primal need for adventure, providing the catalyst for you to come alive and achieve the extraordinary.

Press enquiries: 0207 096 8428 

Specialist film, TV and brand services
Secret Compass takes film crews, journalists, brands and photographers to create and capture the extraordinary in remote and wild regions thanks to its unrivalled location and risk-management expertise. Clients include the BBC, Nat Geo, Animal Planet, Discovery, Channel 4, Mitsubishi, Sony, Nespresso, Giro, Xbox and Jagermeister.


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Name: Kerry O'Neill
Company: Secret Compass
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