As it’s such a secretive nation, we rarely hear about the big events on the North Korean calendar. But fear not, as we’ve compiled five amazing upcoming occasions to ensure you don’t miss out in 2018.
Pyongyang Marathon – April 8th
Officially known as the Mangyongdae International Prize Marathon, the Pyongyang Marathon is a fantastic opportunity to bond with the locals as you sprint through the streets, cheered on by thousands of spectators, high-fiving children who may never have seen a Westerner before. It’s truly a once in a lifetime experience, with an unforgettable electric atmosphere. The route is scenic, to say the least, taking in many of the capital city’s most impressive buildings and monuments before finishing with a lap of the enormous Mayday Stadium. Boasting a 120,000 capacity, it claims the title of the world’s largest stadium, making it the perfect place for a victory lap! The feeling of entering the stadium is indescribable, so euphoric and overwhelming. But the fun doesn’t stop there, as a great night out post-run is guaranteed as the whole city will be buzzing. Sipping a celebratory Taedonggang beer with your fellow competitors is a must. Completing a marathon is an incredible achievement, completing a marathon in North Korea will be a highlight of your life. This year, don’t miss the ultimate bucket list achievement.
Labour Day – May 1st
International Labour Day, or May Day, is taken very seriously in the DPRK. Sports, games and dancing takes place across the country. Mingle with locals in Moran park and take in art performances happening around the city. The mass dance at Kim Il-sung Square is a sight that must be seen to be believed, as thousands of university students move in perfect unison. Marvel at the bright colours and intricate details of the Joseon-ot, the traditional North Korean dresses and let the infectious celebratory atmosphere take over you. Be ready, because you’ll be expected to join in! This is an incredible spectacle and an unforgettable experience.
National Day – September 9th
National Day is always a major event in North Korea, and this year it’ll be even bigger as it’s the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea! Expect amazing firework shows and unbelievable mass dances, and, as it’s the anniversary, expect the unexpected. An amazing spectacle is guaranteed! The biggest celebration of 2018 is one not to be missed!
Autumn International Trade Fair – September 17th-21st
North Korea have a few international trade fairs throughout the year, but Pyongyang’s Autumn International Trade Fair is generally considered to be the biggest and most important. This is an excellent opportunity to see how economics in a reclusive communist country work. It’s fascinating to observe how goods and advertising must adhere to strict regulations regarding the ideology of the country. Also, it’s a great chance to mingle with locals and check out what items are considered important in a country that believes in ‘Juche,’ a cornerstone of which is regarding the coveting of material goods as a ‘petty human trait.’
Pyongyang International Film Festival – September 19th
The bi-annual film festival is a rare opportunity to screen Western films in the DPRK. Since 2002, it has become a true ‘international’ festival, prior to this it was reserved for ‘non-aligned and other developing countries’. Experience the glitz and glamour of the opening and closing ceremonies, and immerse yourself in the culture by watching films with a local audience. It’s interesting to note which international films adhere to North Korean ideology. Brush up on Kim Jong-il’s love of film, and experience a bizarre and truly fascinating festival.