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North Korea Lets Its Hair Down On The Mangyongbong Leisure Cruise (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 08/31/11 01:13 PM ET   Updated: 10/31/11 06:12 AM ET

In an effort to cast a wider tourism net, North Korea has repurposed a ferry formerly used to shuttle passengers to and from Japan, as a leisure vessel. The Mangyongbong ferry is part of a new five-day-four-night tour sailing the East Sea from Rajin-Sonbong to Mt. Kumgang, the first tour of this kind for North Korea. Once at their destination, travelers will view the Kuryong pond, Samil lagoon and other "world famous" Korean tourism hot spots, including a stay at the Kumgangsan Hotel, a property seized from South Korea. Tour operators in the US are already booking the unique vacation.

As for the Mangyongbong ferry, the boat set sail on it's maiden leisure voyage this week as a crowd of "fun" seekers, government higher-ups and travel agents hopped aboard for a vacation filled with buffet goodies, confetti and karaoke.

North Korea Mangyongbong Ceremony
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A North Korean woman hides behind a North Korean flag and plastic flowers as she attends a ceremony for the North Korean leisure boat the "Mangyongbong" as it departs on its trial cruise to Mount Kumgang resort from the port in Rason, North Korea. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
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Filed by Annemarie Dooling  |