Jacob Laukaitis is a self-proclaimed digital nomad who has been travelling the world while running his online business, ChameleonJohn, for the last two and a half years.
Laukaitis, who is originally from Lithuania, has travelled to nearly 50 countries and is constantly in search of global destinations that are truly one-of-a-kind. After watching multiple documentaries and reading up on North Korea, he decided to pay the hermit kingdom a visit in April of this year.
Laukaitis shared some photos from his one-week trip, from the bizarre tourist attractions he saw to the fascinating aspects of daily life he witnessed.
Before his arrival, Laukaitis' phone -- including any photos and apps that were on it -- were inspected by officials. Outside the airport, he was met by his guides and told he would not be allowed to take photos of police, military, or government officials during his trip.
One place they were able to visit was the Puhung Station in Pyongyang, which is one of the world's deepest metro stations. Laukaitis and his tour group were allowed to ride the subway for four stops before they were told to get off.
The station was covered with daily newspapers that mostly focused on Kim Jong-un and his activities, Laukaitis said.
'I was surprised to see these solar panels everywhere in Korea, both on the streets and in people's flats and apartments,' Laukaitis said.
Pictured here is a crowd during the annual Pyongyang Marathon. Since people from the same school or workplace often wear the same clothes, you'll typically see a sea of people in white, red, blue, or grey at events like this.
Interestingly enough, one of the tourist attractions Laukaitis' group was taken to was a carbonated water factory in Pyongyang. Dozens of tourist groups would gather to visit the plant each day, Laukaitis said.
Laukaitis was shocked by the propaganda posters that lined the walls of schools he visited during his trip. 'I thought they were a little too cruel for elementary students,' Laukaitis said of the images.
While visiting a learning center in Pyongyang, Laukaitis snapped this photo of tourists. 'I took this photo because I felt sad for the kids being photographed ... They were performing what they were learning while others were painting or dancing, but tourists were just sticking their cameras and phones in their faces,' Laukaitis said.
He also visited the Grand People's Study House in Pyongyang, where Koreans can study a wide variety of subjects. One of the rooms housed rows of boomboxes and a Beatles album with 19 songs tourists and locals could listen to.
The dancing even extended to local restaurants, where waitresses would sing karaoke and often invite guests to join them.
Laukaitis said that North Korea had plenty of options for vegetarians. 'It can be hard to find vegetarian food in Asia, so I was surprised to see how seriously this was taken in North Korea,' he said. 'At restaurants, they would always make sure I had my specific vegetarian dishes.'
This photo was taken at a park in the center of Pyongyang on Laukaitis' last night. 'I've never seen so many people dancing and having a great time together,' he said.
A popular stop with tourists is the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, where Kim Il-sung's and Kim Jong-il's embalmed bodies remain. Dubbed 'one of the weirdest' experiences you'll have in the country by Lonely Planet, the palace includes a 20-minute-long escalator that takes riders past photos of leaders.
Laukaitis and his tour group used a tram to get around Pyongyang. He noticed that the vehicle was filled with tiny notes, which he was told bore the thoughts of North Korean leaders past and present.
He also learned that every tram, trolley, and bus is given a red star after successfully going 500 kilometers without breaking down. When the vehicle finally does break down, all the stars are taken away and must be collected anew, Laukaitis said.
This photo was taken during celebrations for Kim Il-sung's birthday. Laukaitis was told that on this day, every North Korean visits the statues of the Dear Leader and the Great Leader, with thousands lining up to pay their respects at any given time.
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