Rare inside glimpse of North Korean theme park

Team Be

Incredible photos of from a North Korean theme park provide a rare glimpse at what families from the communist state do for fun.

Taesongsan Park is seven miles from the town of Pyongyang and boasts around ten to 15 rides and attractions.

A British traveller slipped into the communist state to take these extraordinary inside images of a day out.

Comparing it to famous UK theme park Alton Towers, he says in terms of thrills this park was the clear winner.

“But it's a different kind of thrill ride you're on there. You know, more the thrill of someone arresting you for unknown reasons and having no way of communicating your situation to the outside world!" he says.

A British photographer has given a rare inside glimpse into a North Korean theme park. Photo: Caters News

Pictures of Taesongsan Park, which opened at the foot of Mount Taesong in 1977, show locals enjoying traditional bumper cars, a Ferris wheel, dancing and archery.

The photographer was allowed to walk around the park freely but could not help but suspect many other visitors were there just to liven the place up.

"We were forbidden from going to the areas closest to the exits through fear we would escape the confines of the park and roam rampantly through the streets of Pyongyang,” he explains.

"Our guides let us mingle with the locals in the approved areas and just stood guard along the pathways leading to the entry and exit points.”

More than a million people, including foreigners, enjoy themselves in the fun fair every year, especially during May Day festivities held in the park.

The visitor explained he tried his hand at a game of archery and was quickly met with laugher at his failed attempts to hit the target.

The traveller enjoyed playing archery and rode the old rollercoaster. Photo: Caters News

"The archery equipment was pretty run down and there were zero health and safety regulations in place as children grabbed weapons and fired freely at targets around 10m away,” he says.

"Despite being quite genuinely afraid that a stray arrow might find its way toward my person, I sheepishly requested a bow and tried my hand.”

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He also tried the rollercoaster, which looked to be at least 60 years old.

“I would estimate there were around 500 people. It was busy and there was a party atmosphere with large groups enjoying picnics, barbecues and all manner of fun and games,” says the traveller.

"That said there was a slightly odd undercurrent to the mood, but that's only to be expected in North Korea!

"One thing I did notice though is that when we were due to depart the park at 12.30pm, it seemed that almost everyone else in the park had the same idea and people were leaving in droves.

"Call me paranoid but it's hard not to suspect that perhaps some people may not have been there of their own accord exactly.

"But who knows, maybe that is just the hour that North Koreans feel is time to head home!”

Locals enjoy the bumper cars at Taesongsan Park in North Korea. Photo: Caters News

He also highlights that everything was free of charge.

"When traveling in DPRK, the guides make sure to tell you repeatedly how well the government treats their citizens,” he says.

"Everything is government owned, there aren't any private businesses, and this is, apparently, a very good thing, I mean some of the perks do sound pretty hard to argue with.”

"I think it's important that people understand that the local people aren't all total oddballs. It becomes quite apparent they are just normal people living in very abnormal circumstances.

"They don't have access to the internet and as a result are incredibly behind the times - everything from haircuts to architecture seems to be from a bygone era.”

With additional reporting by Caters News.

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