Ken Enderby- July Summer Tour 2015
We had the pleasure of hosting head teacher of foundation studies at Sydney’s Bankstown College of TAFE Mr Ken Enderby (who brought along his two lovely university student children– lucky kids!) on our 2015 July Summer Tour. Here’s what he had to say about the tour:
The tour with Tongil Tours was brilliant. The North Korean guides were excellent, the food was good and hotels perfectly acceptable.
As far as the guides are concerned, our two North Koreans were excellent – personable and knowledgeable (even though much of their ‘knowledge’ was the official North Korean propaganda line). Alek Sigley was also excellent. Without him to give us extra briefings along the way, the tour would have been nowhere near as good. I would imagine this is the difference between a standard tour and a Tongil Tour. Tongil is interested in what’s really going on in North Korea, not just visiting the tourist sites. I did all the readings Alek provided, and I attended the academic briefing before we left (which was excellent). As such, I had a much better idea of what I was seeing when I was in the country. (I teach totalitarianism – mainly Stalin’s Russia – so I had been wanting to visit North Korea for some time. I visited the Soviet Bloc countries and the USSR itself on a number of occasions during the Cold War, but they were no longer totalitarian by then, merely authoritarian. North Korea, by contrast, is still rigid and Stalinist, although there are some cracks now appearing in the system. The trip offered a real insight into what Stalin’s and Mao’s regimes must have been like.)
As for the sites, we wound up visiting every location on the schedule except for Kim Il Sung University, which cancelled out at the last minute. As compensation, we were able to visit two schools instead of one, which for me was a great trade-off. (I actually got to teach in an English language class in the high school we visited, which was a fantastic experience.) Another great plus was the nature of our group. Every single member was interesting and easy to get along with, Their ages ranged from 18 to 62. Most were in their 20s.
Overall, I would highly recommend you go with Tongil Tours, if you want to see North Korea. There is not a single thing I can say that was negative about the trip.
Ken teaching a class of students at East Pyongyang Number One Middle School