As I mentioned in my first post, this summer I went to North Korea. Once I had decided to go, I searched the internet to see which tours were available, searching in both English (my native language, and thus the "easy" option) and Chinese (which I also speak well enough to keep up with my university studies in Chinese). I very quickly found some English-language tours that organised tours that left from Beijing, but with a whopping price tag of $3000. Well, forget that, I thought. I immediately turned my attention to the Chinese-language tours leaving from Dandong, the Chinese border city near North Korea. After contacting one of the companies, I discovered that the price for an Australian citizen to visit North Korea during the Arirang games was 5600RMB - nearly twice the price than that for Chinese citizens, but a 70% discount when compared to the English language tours. Plus, the tour left from Dandong, rather than Beijing, which meant less time in places that I've already visited, and more time in the DPRK. I was sold.
What I wasn't counting on when I chose the Chinese tour was the fact that it gave me a very different set of people to travel with when compared to the English-language tour. Apart from a pair of Hong Kongese, a lone Singaporean and myself, the rest of our group of 30-odd people was from mainland China, and throughout the tour, none of them were afraid to share their opinion on what they saw with the world, and thus give me a new insight into the country.