Unless you’re Bill Clinton, Bill Richardson or the New York Philharmonic, travel to North Korea is effectively impossible. Some Westerners, including journalist Laura Ling, got too close to North Korea for comfort and paid the price by spending months to years in a North Korean prison. Thinking of doing a dance along the border between North and South Korea…? The short answer: don’t. Want to do it anyway? Take some suggestions from WikiTravel. (What’s it like to be a tourist in North Korea?)
On the other hand, South Korea is one of the world’s most accessible nations to travelers. The infrastructure in Korean cities is as modern as they come, public transportation is
ubiquitous and South Koreans are happy to take your tourist dollars. According to LonelyPlanet.com’s South Korea pages, South Korea is “most decidedly a forward-thinking country thanks to its hurry-hurry approach to everything, an insatiable appetite for technological advancement and an indomitable can-do attitude. No one knows where the country is headed, but it’s fast-forward all the way.”
If you do go to South Korea, by all means step out of Seoul and visit the countryside. There you’ll find endless ride paddies, sleepy fishing villages and an opportunity to get to know Koreans who live the slower life of generations past. And no, a visit to the Korean Folk Village, while no doubt lovely, doesn’t count.