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Life In 360°: Asia’s Most Notorious City

We’re going to take a little trip through the clouds in a microlight for Wednesday’s edition of Life In 360° as we’re off on our travels yet again. It also seems I have an inadvertent theme this week thanks to my choice.  Yesterday, as part of my weekly VR vs. column, I was talking about a tweet someone made about the upcoming Winter Paralympic Games next year in PyeongChang in South Korea. Well today we’re going somewhere that sounds very similar – and it should because we’re actually going to Pyongyang both the largest city and the capital city of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, better known simply as North Korea. 

Whilst both the country and the city have been in the news a lot recently for obvious reasons given the continued tension between North Korea and the rest of the world, particularly the United States, very little has been shown of the capital itself. Except for beyond a few familiar landmarks often connected with the powers of the state in some form.

It is very rare indeed to get photo and video from foreign nationals because of how strict things are in North Korea, so to get 360 degree footage from a microlight is almost mind boggling. We follow the filming efforts of Aram Pan, a photographer from Singapore who takes us for a trip over the city and giving us a view precious few have ever seen outside of the country. One of the most startling revelations being just how pretty it is. For as much as we hear in the West about the state and the fate it’s people the city is surprisingly colourful, with lush forest areas and multicoloured buildings (whites, shades of red and terracotta, greens and blues) of all styles. Giant fountains of water fly upwards out of the Taedong River, itself a wonderful hue in the sunlight. Whilst other better known landmarks such as May Day Stadium are also flown over.

At nearly thirteen minutes it’s not a small trip, which is impressive considering it could and should have been a lot longer. but for the state officials who required some parts to be cut. Pan explained the situation in an interview with Citylab.com, expressing that it was thanks to them it was approved at all. “I’m quite amazed at how much this city has grown, considering most of it was flattened in the bombing of the Korean war just a generation ago.”

You can check out the video below. VRFocus will be back on Friday with our last Li360 stop of the week.