Take a VR peek inside the strangest city on earth, Pyongyang

Whilst North Korea erupts with apocalyptic intentions, some people may be wondering what’s actually going on inside the country or perhaps even better what does the capital city Pyongyang look like? Well now you have the second best option apart from visiting it in person. With some awesome VR technology founded by Swedish startup SceneThere they have allowed you to tour the country’s capital Pyongyang from the comfort of your own home.

Pyongyang VR is an incredible insight into a normal day wandering around the city, taking in sights such as the imposing 22-metre tall statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il and even an early morning riverside dance attended by the city’s elderly community.

The app, which is available both on the web and in the Gear VR store, is the creation of Marcus Olsson, the CEO of SceneThere. Olsson wanted to develop the 360-degree video that gives the user more agency in the experience; “We developed a platform which makes it possible for you to interact, and you can stay longer – you can explore a certain space at your own pace.”

The footage was captured by Olsson himself when he was invited on a trip to educate young entrepreneurs in North Korea. This trip was the venture of Choson Exchange, a non-governmental organisation aiming to support business-minded individuals in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with the necessary training.

Interestingly, Olsson was not conspicuous roaming around Pyongyang with his 360-degree camera, which consists of some 6 GoPro cameras attached to a pole. According to Olsson, due to people’s unfamiliarity with the kit, not many questions were asked, “The rig went through border control without me having to explain it too much.”

Despite the initial intrigue factor, this video means much more. Olsson wishes for Pyongyang VR to provide an alternative view of this mysterious place, to shed light on its people rather than its notorious politics – “Virtual reality is a teleportation device. So it’s a very interesting technology for any place that has limitations on access.”

The experience is only limited to Pyongyang but SceneThere have also mapped Malmo in Sweden and a favela in Brazil as part of their VR journey.

Check out a preview of the VR experience here: