North Korea’s troubled present and its tightly controlled borders make it a difficult and unlikely destination for even the most intrepid travelers. Independent travel is not possible, with all visitors taken around the country by guides from the Ministry of Tourism. However, North Korea has been reaching out to tourists in recent years, talking up its heritage, from the ruins at Kaesong to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the Pyongyang Mausoleum where founder Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il lie perpetually in state. The spectacular Heaven Lake, on the Chinese border, is a natural wonder to match anything else in Asia.

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