3 North Korea
A proudly reclusive, quasi-communist state, no list of the world’s weirdest countries would be complete without North Korea. While Beijing is the only way for Western tourists to enter the country, once inside, it’s surprisingly safe, provided you toe the government’s line. You’ll be accompanied everywhere by two state-employed guides, and hear a somewhat questionable account of North Korea’s history. You’ll be under constant surveillance during your stay, and probably only see what the government wants you to see. Unsettling, yes, but it is a small preview of what life is like in the world’s most tightly controlled nation. Visas to North Korea are issued in Beijing, so this is where you should shop around for tours. Koryo Tours has been touring North Korea for 20 years, while Young Pioneer Tours is the go-to group for younger travellers. Currently, the Australian government asks travellers to reconsider their need to travel to North Korea. As such, you should take note of which activities and circumstances are not covered by travel insurance.