Video To Watch: North Korean Motorcycle Diaries

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Video To Watch: North Korean Motorcycle Diaries

North Korea is known for its oppressive regime and closed door policy when it comes to foreigners. It’s frequent antagonizing of other nations, regular human rights abuses and increasing nuclear capabilities have alienated it from the rest of the world. Many details about the country are a mystery because of the regime’s tendencies toward secrecy. Recently however, a small group of motorcyclists from New Zealand got a chance to go where no Kiwi, or anyone for that matter, has ever gone before. They got to ride from one end of Korea to the other – North to South.

Video To Watch: North Korean Motorcycle Diaries
The team

New Zealanders Joanne and Gareth Morgan are two people living out their dream of exploring the world on motorcycles. So far they have covered most of the globe but in August, after years of planning and negotiations, they set off on an unprecedented journey that took them along the Baekdudaegan, a mountain range that runs through both North and South Korea. According to the Morgans, their journey was the first time anyone has travelled through both countries since 1945 when North and South Korea were divided. Check out the fascinating account of their travels below.

If you could go on a motorcycle adventure anywhere in the world, where would it be?

  • William Connor

    Answering this question is really hard. I believe I would go everywhere if I had the chance. Right now I just want to ride out into the back country away from people and do some camping.

  • Justin McClintock

    Amazing video and an amazing experience for those Kiwis.

    That said, if I could ride anywhere in the world, I’d start in Seattle and ride to Barrow, AK…ice road. During the winter. Yes, I realize this is insane and probably very stupid.

    • gregory

      The Pacific Northwest– from northern California all the way to the Yukon– is boring. Just spend one day in Oregon, say, or British Columbia, and you’ll be fine. It’s mountain after mountain, tree after tree. It’s like Western Europe: if you’ve seen one cathedral, you’ve seen them all. Well, if you’ve seen one wet, dreary pine-infested mountainside, then you’ve seen them all. Seattle, especially, is horrible: it so wants to be California. If you want to see the rural Pacific Northwest, visit Portland, OR, for a few days. If you want to visit the global Pacific Northwest, visit Vancouver, BC, for a few days.


  • Clint Keener

    Saw this the other day. Seems scary as crap! My heart would be beating out of my chest at the border crossing!

    • Honyock Undersquare

      It wasn’t a border, but it was mightily intimidating to go through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Southern Arizona. Speed limits reduced by 10MPH every couple of hundred yards, five armed officers, dogs and Uzi’s at the stop, and what appeared to be a sniper nest above and to the right. I love the desert, but it almost seemed like I was in the Middle East rather than the Old West.

      • Clint Keener

        Was this going into California from Az? haha! There is a big border on the 5 north of San Diego too. Border Patrol stops the entire freeway when they see something suspicious. Didn’t see sniper nests though.

        • Honyock Undersquare

          No, on AZ85 North of Ajo, coming back from Organ Pipe Cactus Nat’l Monument, where a Ranger was shot by los coyotes a couple of years back. It’s the only road North from the border for a hundred miles either way. South of the border is the road to Puerto Penasco, or “Rocky Point” which I believe is the name of the resort on the Gulf of California. Beautiful country, but all them fatigues and heavy weapons makes it really uncomfortable. I prefer dodging Peterbilts and Winnebagos to bullets.

  • Vincent T.

    I’m not expert when it comes to the metric system, but I could swear that building is taller than 10cm

    • Aaron Kirkland

      If you read carefully, he is speaking only of the concrete between the buildings, “the division line”, not the building itself…

    • Jen Degtjarewsky

      He’s talking about the demarcation line between the two sides – North and South

  • zion

    So the North Koreans confiscated any GPS enabled devices. I’m curious as to what the purpose of that was. Did they think perhaps they had stored co-ordinates to off limits sites? Or, perhaps, that they would mark co-ordinates to things they spotted, to later relay to Western countries?

    None the less, what a fascinating expedition to be able to undertake.

  • Sentinel

    Amazing video here, beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.

    Any amount or form of oppression, and in this case governmental oppression, is totally and completely unacceptable.

    Oppression should never be tolerated or allowed.

    The natural state of humanity is freedom and liberty, and that nature should never be denied to any person.

  • jlpp

    It’s a bit of a stretch to say that they’re the first to travel through both countries. According to Peter and Kay Forwood, who have taken their motorcycle to almost every country (not South Sudan), they been to South and North Korea on their motorcycle and 200k people cross the border each year.

  • imprezive

    I would love to ride through North Korea. As far as I know Americans are allowed in during the big annual celebration so think a motorcycle ride would be out of the question.

  • Kemal Kautsar

    [This Comment Is Currently Awaiting Approval From National Broadcast And Censorship Bureau of Democratic People's Republic of Korea]

  • Clint Keener

    You guys should do a how-to on planning a trip in a foreign country. I want to do a Spain or Italy motorcycle trip, but don’t speak the languages, only the language of love, hehe.