Bachelor parties, stag weekends, mancations. Whatever you call them, there’s nothing like debaucherous adventures with your boys. Gambling, smoking, drinking, guns and girls all mix into the perfect cocktail of excitement, vice and unforgettably regrettable behavior. But what happens when an in-room bowling alley, bottle service and a half life-size replica of the Statue of Liberty isn’t enough?
You head to a place with a 12 times life-size replica of one of the world’s most feared dictators, that’s what.
Welcome to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the ultimate guy vacation destination.
Sure, the number-one export may be children’s tears, there may not be a single Lamborghini within a few hundred miles (or any roads where you could safely drive it), and Wayne Newton has yet to book a show, despite having the same haircut as Kim Jong-Il.
But here are three big reasons North Korea kicks Sin City’s butt (or, more likely, simply places it into a re-education camp, never to be heard from again). How do we know? We recently returned from a little pleasure cruise there ourselves.
1. Arirang, the biggest show on earth
Every August, North Koreans kick off the Grand Mass Gymnastics and Artistic Performance Arirang, a huge two-month festival celebrating the birthday of Kim Il-Sung, the original leader of the DPRK. (He was actually born in April, but let’s not sweat the details).
And they do it in grand style with an acrobatic, operatic musical performance of truly epic proportion. Over 85,000 people participate, including a veritable army of schoolchildren who actually create animation in the background using a pseudo-Stalinist version of giant flip-books. The kids also do some ridiculously synchronized dance moves, below.
Recounting the division of North and South Korea, performers dance, sing, tumble and perform death-defying stunts so gnarly it left all of us wondering how many people bite it during rehearsal and get sent home in a box before they ever see the stage. In short, the spectacle makes Circ de Soleil look like a middle-school rendition of Peter Pan.
Pro tip: Pre-party at the Paradise Department Store Microbrewery beforehand. North Korea actually has kickass beer, and even at a hotel bar or restaurant it’s about 50 cents per liter. Gam be, indeed.
2. Shooting Range, home of guns, gals and booze
Sure, the Gun Store in Vegas may have MP5s ready to rip up some paper targets downrange, but the shooting ranges in Pyongyang put that all to shame with cold beer and hot women in uniform reloading your weapon for you, then yelling at you in Korean to put down your beer while you fire for greater accuracy and safety or something.
Five bucks says he’s not looking at the gun. (Photo credit: Joseph Ferris.)
In case blasting metal targets with a buzz isn’t enough for your inner sociopath, up the ante and shoot at some live targets (!), namely a rooster in a chicken-wire enclosure located at the far end of the range. We’re told that if you can hit the bird, they’ll pluck and bag it for you. Bon apetit!
Pro tip: Once you’ve got your buzz on, head to the Funfair (either the new one, or, if you’ve got the balls, the old rusty death-trap version) to interact with the locals and keep your adrenaline high rolling. Wrap up the evening at the only pizza restaurant in the country and enjoy some karaoke with waitresses who dance, sing and play the piano while you embarrass yourself in front of your friends.
3. Surf & Gasoline Clam Bake, naturally
If you’re a fan of the surf, take to the water on the DPRK’s west coast. It’s no North Shore, to be sure, but uou get the pleasure of knowing you’re probably one of the first people in the world to grab a wave in the country. And you’ll work up an appetite for fresh clams, doused in leaded gasoline and set alight. No joke.
Pro tip: Wrap the day with a tour of the film studios. If you happen to be there when they’re filming, they’ve been known to call in tourists as extras, which would mean you’ve had more acting work in the past decade than Corey Feldman. Congrats.
So there you have it: whether you’re planning the most epic bachelor party ever contemplated, or you’re just a sucker for crumbling Communist empires, North Korea has you covered. See you in Pyongyang!
Jordan Harbinger is a Wall Street lawyer turned Social Dynamics expert and coach. He is the owner and co-founder of The Art of Charm, a dating and relationships coaching company. If you dig this and want to learn more from Jordan and The Art of Charm team, then visit http://www.theartofcharm.com. You can also interact with Jordan on Facebook.