My life in North Korea vs South Korea

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One year ago I went on a strictly guided 7 day-tour in North Korea where they took away my passport and did not allow me to explore anything on my own. North Korea was definitely the weirdest country I had ever visited and throughout that trip I kept wondering what life was like in the neighboring South Korea, because it used to be the same country just over 60 years ago.
To answer my questions, this year I traveled to South Korea and made this video, where I compare my time in the North and my time in the South. I still have a lot of questions about the whole situation, but one thing was clear - the daily lives of the Korean people couldn't be any more different than they are right now.
My favorite books about North Korea:
Dear Leader by Jang Jin Sung -;
Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden -;
Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick -;
1984 by George Orwell (I couldn't believe how similar some things in North Korea felt to the ones in the book) -
Videos about North Korea:
My Daily Life In North Korea (my video from North Korea):
10 Days in North Korea Documentary:
Escape From North Korea TED Talk:
I want to thank my friends Donghyuk Shin, Vytautas JaΕ‘auskas, UrtΔ— LaukaitytΔ— and Leeann Roybal-Shin for their continuous support and helping making this video. I could not have done it without them!
Tags:  my  life  in  north  korea  vs  south  korea 

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Caption: One year ago i went on a strictly guided . seven-day tour in north korea where they . took away my passport and didn't allow . me to explore anything on my own north . korea was the weirdest country i had . ever visited and throughout that trip i . kept wondering what life was like in the . neighboring south korea because it used . to be exactly the same country just over . 60 years ago that is why at the end of . that trip i promised myself to visit . south korea this year so that i could . compare my experiences in both those two . countries and that is exactly what i did . during the second world war korea was . under the control of japan when the war . ended in 1945 the japanese forces had to . leave korea and it was eventually . divided into two spheres of influence. the north was controlled by the soviet . union and the south by the united states . in 1950 a war broke out between the two . koreas and it only ended in three years . having claimed lives of millions of . people on both sides then korea was once . again split into two along the 38th . parallel which is called the . demilitarized zone when i was sitting on . my plane to south korea it has already . been over 60 years since the division . and even though i knew the countries . have grown apart during this time i . could never have imagined how this they . have actually. my first glimpse of life in south korea . was the internet international airport . it was one of the biggest airports i had . ever seen that was filled with thousands . of travelers from all around the world . after an hour-long ride on the metro i . finally reached my hotel which was a . traditional korean house situated in the . center of seoul currently half past . 12:00 at night so there's not much . happening and that is why i'll go . straight to that and wake up early . tomorrow morning to explore as much as i . can. the next morning i met up with my friend . jumped on his motorbike and went for a . ride around seoul it didn't take me long . to understand why so was the 16th . largest city in the world . featured tons of high-rise buildings . historic monuments construction sites . and millions of cars eventually we made . our way to this tiny amusement park that . was situated just a few kilometers away . from north korea that is an amusement . park that north korea a few meters away . from the park they had the so-called . freedom bridge that basically connects . the two koreas and is almost never being . used by train and yang the capital of . north korea is only 208 kilometers away. from where i am now this is the banks no . one can cross because not create they're . on the other side so what can we see . inside others there's another fence okay . so still a few kilometers until you . reach north korea but it's basically . just there just one year ago i was there . on the other side just a few kilometers . away and now i'm here i'm this close yet . at the same time so far because it's . impossible to get to the other side from . here you would have to fly to china and . then. the next morning it was a very fortunate . to have the chance to meet john who was . born and raised in north korea but . escaped the country ten years ago and . was now living in south korea when i . asked him whether he was from pyongyang. he started laughing and told me only the . privileged people get to live in the . capital and that it's very difficult for . ordinary north koreans like him to . reside there he told me he came from a . little town in the north of the country . he told me stories about how the people . living in that area smuggle foreign . movies from china and when they watch . them they think all of those things on . the screen are fake the tall skyscrapers . the modern cities the fancy cars and . everything else meanwhile we arrived in . this extremely beautiful islands called . nami psalm that attracts over 1. 5 . million tourists every year first off we . put some life vests on and hopped in a . super-fun speed then we rented a tandem . bicycle and went for ride around us . gorgeous little . it's apparently there are dozens of . middle-aged people playing baseball with . with a football turn ah ah she's writing . that ha ha ha ah she made it for his . base ok ok after the game we walked back . into the car and talked about how jang . managed to escape from north korea told . me she was led out of the country by . some people smugglers who did it for a. thirty thousand dollar fee that he had . to be won he reached south korea . escaping the country with extremely. difficult jang had to spend three years . working on a farm in china until he got . all of his papers to get into south . korea eventually we arrived to the . garden of morning calm . which was a traditional korean garden . house and over 5,000 different types of . plants the park was filled with gorgeous . water ponds traditional korean houses . tons of visitors and a super fun bridge . this bridge is variant thank you later . that evening junk took me to a part. where he said only the local people hang . out being there i couldn't stop thinking . about the park i visited on my last day . in north korea it also happened to be . the birthday of their eternal president . kim il sung you see our guides also told . us that we were finally allowed to visit . a part where only the local people hang . out when we entered the park we were . surprised to see hundreds of people . dancing and seemingly having a good time . that felt a little strange to us because . throughout the whole time in north korea. people seemed afraid to even look at us . and in this park everyone suddenly very . outgoing and sociable that's why most . people on my guided tour were convinced . this must have been staged and then it . suddenly hit me that if jang had not . escaped the country ten years ago i . might have met him right there in that . part where we'd be a few meters away . from each other but couldn't even talk . or look one another in the eye . [music]. however here in the south we're riding . rico's together have an awesome lunch . exploring gorgeous botanical gardens and . we're free to do whatever else we wanted. to do even something as crazy as this . over the next few days i visited dozens . of interesting places in seoul the first . one was the largest palace in the city . that was originally built in 1395 and . still looked as beautiful as ever i also . visited this place called myeongdong . which is one of the most expensive . shopping districts in the world that . attracts millions of visitors every year . then i went to check out the famous . hanok village which was over 600 years . old it's a very very famous traditional . korean village where apparently the . houses look exactly the same way they . looked hundreds of years ago and there's . so many of them the same day i made my . way to the han river which was filled . with thousands of people having picnics . riding bicycles and marring the local . street . [music]. it is friday night and there are . literally hundreds of people in this . park just having picnics and hanging out . with their friends and the vibe is . amazing i don't know everyone's so happy . and i don't know just having a great . friday evening i love it . as much as i enjoyed all of those places . my favorite one was called lotta tower . which was the fifth tallest building in . the world so apparently this shopping . mall has nine floors of luxury good. that's got the nine floors look i can . see the bottom with it it's quite far . eventually i found an elevator going to . the top and jumped on so we're are. [music]. that's the beds over son look at the . building game it's drawing the . observation deck features six floors of . spacious halls with incredible views of . seoul and the surrounding area. [music]. wow everyone's dating pictures my last . day in seoul i met up with my korean . friend kim who are studying political . science master's degree in new york yes . i rose at first stigmatise former . university campus which was established . in 1885 and was the oldest university in. south korea being as at university . brought back memories of my days in . north korea where almost every day we . would be taking to various schools or . other learning centers and pretty much . every time the students have to perform . [music]. [music]. [music]. here however divide was very different . students couldn't care less about a . tourist visit because they were all busy . studying and hanging out for their . friends later that evening kim took them . to a few bars with his friends where . everyone made sure i tried all the . traditional food and drinks and dishes i . got the next day i took advantage of the . fact that i was free to travel all . around the country and hopped on the . same as bullet train going down to the . south of south korea 285 blocks an hour . wow welcome to the bamboo card it's just . me and millions of bamboo trees right . now on all sides oh man this is so good . then i continued my trip to a little . mountain town situated next to the . biggest national park in south korea . there wasn't that much happening in that . town so i decided to check out the roof . of my hotel wow look at that . through faked being on that roof i . couldn't stop thinking about otto . warburg he was a university student from . the united states who visited north . korea just a few months for i visited . the country myself ready all right ready . to throw it at me soon what he allegedly . went to the staff only area of this . hotel and tried to steal some propaganda . poster that was hanging on the wall . he was later discovered and sentenced to . 15 years of hard labor in north korea . then he reportedly fell into a coma and . was released in the united states over a . year later where she died just a week . after returning home autumn was exactly . the same age as me and he went to north . korea almost the same time as me a year . later i was entering staff on the area . of my hotel in south korea and walking a . little feeling completely safe whereas . he was dead for trying to steal some . random poster from a staff only area the . hotel. early next morning i set out to hike the . second tallest mountain in south korea . that stands at 1900 15 meters above sea . level so far kilometers away from the . top but is not that little way i wasn't . very lucky with the weather that day but . i couldn't care less because i was . surrounded by beautiful nature being . free to do whatever i wanted to do oh oh . this is it right yeah . the summit it's a 1950 meters above sea . level. yeah we're in the cloud and i can see . quite a bit of nature it's all . surrounded by gorgeous rocks that's got . good back then i visited the opal . wetlands which were the biggest wetlands. in the country at that park i made . friends with this guy called ben who . explained to me that most of their . visitors would either be young school . kids or elderly people no because it was . difficult to make them remember the . names of various plants and animals he . created over 30 different dances to help. them memorize wow that's so cool haha . eventually he told me we had to go dance . together. apparently ben has traveled all around . the world he finishes masters in new . york he spent six months living in . australia visited london paris and quite . a few others lee ah . good guy i'm very good as does with him. representing okay dancing is a smoking . habit nz something . every single day that i spent in south . korea i couldn't stop thinking about how . weird it was that even though just a few. dozen years ago the korean people lived . in the same country under the same . conditions these days they were leaving . such dramatically different lifestyles i . kept asking myself why the people in the . north needed special permits travel in . their own country and going abroad was . completely impossible while people in . the south could really go to any place . they wished both inside and outside. their country why was the whole power in . the north concentrated in one person's . hands was considered to be a god whereas . in the south people had the power to . elect their own leaders and dismiss them . if they didn't do a good job and why . were the people in the north not allowed . to freely interact and share their . thoughts with me well the people in the . south will do whatever the heck they . wanted. [music]. [laughter]. [music]. seeing these differences firsthand broke . my heart why has life become so . different for the korean people in just . a few generations . [music]. you . .

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