TRAVEL
09/08/2015 12:24 pm ET

This Is What It's REALLY Like To Vacation In North Korea

A lot of fakery (probably).

With its rigid presentation, lies and exclusivity -- not the mention the terrible image retouching -- mysterious North Korea undeniably piques the curiosity of travelers.

But the truth is, the "socialist fairyland," as the propaganda machine likes to say, is not as inaccessible as you might think.

Although the U.S. "strongly recommends against all travel by U.S. citizens" to North Korea, the country's supreme leader Kim Jong Un thinks he can attract two million visitors from neighboring and European countries by 2020.

Videographer Matt Paish was one such visitor and took an 8-day, state-sponsored guided tour -- the only way you're allowed to see the country -- through Pyongyang to see "many many" statues and monuments, farms, circus performances, a music academy and even a maternity hospital. 

If it sounds like he was treated to some cotton candy version of North Korea, he felt it, too: "We did get the impression that they'd just been created purely for tourists to go to on a bus; there were no other people around," he says in the video below.

It's the latest episode of This Happened Here, produced by Discovery Digital Networks' Seeker channel.

Check out the full video below: 

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