Uganda is hoping for LGBT travelers, but could North Korea be far behind? The tiny, impoverished, repressive nation is making a play for more visitors, inviting foreigners to the Pyongyang marathon and wrestling tournaments, making available domestic flights for non-North Koreans, and opening up ski areas and beaches, according to the Los Angeles Times.
North Korea attracts 4,000 to 6,000 Western travelers annually, according to estimates. There is no U.S. policy forbidding travel to North Korea, but the State Department "strongly recommends" taking a trip there. Flights to North Korea are available via connecting flights in China and take nearly a day from California.
When visiting North Korea, Western travelers no longer have to surrender their phones at the airport, and Americans can visit any time of the year, not just during the popular Mass Games, which take place in late summer to early fall. But trips to North Korea remain tightly controlled, with multiple guides leading you around tours where individual wandering is srictly forbidden. Highlights reportedly include visits to the embalmed corpses of leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong II.
Of course, North Korea remains a risky, if intriguing, choice for a trip. The nation is currently holding three U.S. citizens who were detained while visiting there, and just sentenced one to six years of hard labor. LGBT rights appear non-existent in North Korea and some reports indicate gays and lesbians have been executed there. If you're prepared to travel at your own risk, click here for practical ways on getting to North Korea.