This week’s North Korea-United States summit is a historical one. For the first time, world leaders met and pledged that there will be no more nuclear wars in the future. A bold promise indeed.
We’ve always wondered what North Korea would be like to visit, since it’s such a secretive, mysterious country. And we found the perfect authority in the form of Anjaly Thomas, whose book “There Are No Gods In North Korea” talks about her adventures in both the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic Of Korea, or North Korea as we know it as) as well as a host of other countries. Previously a lawyer, Anjaly has since been travelling and chronicling her travels. Visiting North Korea was a pretty big achievement, especially for a person in her field: Writers and preachers are not allowed entry into the country. So when she got the go-ahead to visit, she jumped at the chance.
So what does Anjaly have to say about North Korea?
Talking about it on her website, Travel With Anjaly, she says “Travelling to North Korea is not like any other trips you may have undertaken. You cannot google information or book through Booking.com nor check into a bed and breakfast.” She also mentioned to Ease India Travel that it’s one of the safest places in the country to visit “As long as you follow the rules, you’re on their good side. No thefts ever happen, for instance, because people are afraid of breaking the rules. When you go to such a strict country, you’re expected to follow their rules and customs.”
There’s a lot more about the country that few others have written about. For instance, did you know North Koreans love their beer? “I am no expert on beer and can hardly tell the difference between one and the other, but I do know a good beer when I taste one – and when in North Korea, I did taste more than one! Loved all of them, too!”
North Korea may be one of the most different countries Anjaly has been to, but it’s not the only. In fact, Anjaly has travelled to over 65 of them. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and attempting the infamous Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea are a few of the adventures she’s had while on the road. “I was, in fact, the first Indian woman to have
attempted that trail. It was far from easy but it was worth it!” Rwanda, she mentions, is one of her favourite countries. “You wouldn’t expect it to be so green and lovely, with such tolerant people. I’d been there to write about the ethnic cleansing that happens there and it was a very different experience.” She met a Hutu mercenary who was recently let out from the asylum but lived among the Tutsis today. What was amazing was how the Tutsis embraced him, despite the atrocities committed against then 24 years ago. It is a great lesson in tolerance and acceptance.
So what’s next on the cards for Anjaly? “Antarctica is one destination I look forward to visiting. There’s the website and writing, apart from that, and then I really don’t know either!”
You can go through Anjaly’s website here: (http://travelwithanjaly.com) and can access her book “There Are No Gods In North Korea” online. We wish Anjaly all the very best for her future endeavours!