Screengrab via Fun for Louis
Screengrab via Fun for Louis

British travel vlogger Louis Cole has been uploading footage from his trip to North Korea this week - and boy, is it something.

Cole has been criticised for portraying the country in an unquestioningly positive light, despite the fact Amnesty International says it's "in a category of its own when it comes to human rights violations."

There is no such thing as freedom of expression in the DPRK, and tens of thousands of people every year who are seen to be resisting the totalitarian government is tortured or sent to a work camp.

Cole says that it was his intention to capture a side of the isolated country which the mainstream media refuses to show:

I'm still buzzing, being here... just action packed, full of cool things, visiting amazing places, monuments...

Just seeing places like the waterpark blew my mind because it made me realise that the things we see in the media about North Korea being frozen in time and very basic... there are elements of that, but it was primarily today just realising that 'wow, there's a very active, happy civilization getting on with their every day life' and it's not too dissimilar from other cultures I've seen.

It's unclear who organised or paid for the trip - and as Vanity Fair points out, no one gets into North Korea without being strictly vetted first.

Here's a selection of the positive things Cole and his buddies had to say about the world's most brutal abuser of human rights.

This list is not exhaustive (there's more than 90 minutes' worth of footage you can check out yourself):

1. There were Jaffa Cakes

They may have bought those before the connecting flight from Beijing, though.

2. They didn't have to take their shoes off at airport security

"C'mon, TSA!"

3. They got to enjoy a banquet (North Korea has experienced several famines since the 1990s, and is on the brink of another.)

4. The hotel does massages

And it has ping pong tables.

5. North Korea has great water parks


6. There's only about 100 tourists in the whole of Pyongyang

Because... no one is allowed to go there?

7. Everyone is really nice

Cole is definitely allowed to talk to anyone, and no one is under duress.

8. People like his hair

A few people have never seen dreadlocks before (let alone on a white guy) and Cole thinks it's a remarkable show of cross cultural learning. Gawker points out it's probably because there are only 28 state-sanctioned haircuts available.

There you go, kids: eight bonefide reasons to visit and legitimise the most repressive regime in the world!

indy100 has contacted a representative for Cole for comment.

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