North Korea was labelled by Washington as one of the world's ""rogue states"".
Its image is one of gulags, famine, out-dated Stalinism and a megalomaniac cult of its leadership.
But what about the people who live under such a regime?
In this series, Tony Pletts goes on a bizarre holiday in what is usually counted as one of the most isolated, mysterious and paranoid nations.
His guide is Nicholas Bonner, a landscape architect from Cheshire who has become North Korea's leading tour operator, and who for over a decade has been charming both the steely authorities of Pyongyang and his adventure hungry customers.
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Tony Pletts continues his unlikely holiday in North Korea with Nicholas Bonner, a British landscape architect who has spent the past decade taking tour groups into the world's least accesible country.
Together they visit the Revolutionary Opera, a collective fish farm, take a trip on the Pyongyang underground (which conveniently doubles as a nuclear fall out shelter) and have an encounter with a Buddhist monk who venerates, above all, the Dear Leader.