This photographer captured a 360-degree aerial view of Pyongyang

October 18, 2017, 9:50am

The Trump administration recently banned U.S. tourists from visiting North Korea, but stunning new video footage of Pyongyang offers viewers an expansive virtual tour of the Hermit Kingdom’s capital — without ever having to actually set foot there.

The 12-minute video, released Wednesday by NK News, was filmed in early September with a 360-degree camera during a microlight aircraft flight over the city. It shows Pyongyang on a clear, sunny day, with all of the city’s the major landmarks visible. Viewers can shift the camera’s perspective and gaze in different directions, creating the sensation of sitting in the tiny aircraft’s cockpit.

This unique, bird’s eye view of Pyongyang was created by Singaporean photographer Aram Pan, who has visited North Korea several times since 2013. Here’s what Pan told NK News about the experience of making the video:

They’ve recently restricted bringing cameras or mobile phones into the microlight planes for safety reasons. The wind is extremely strong up there and a well-timed gust would knock off your mobile phone.

Pan said North Korean officials asked him to delete some aerial photos, but he was allowed to keep “90 percent of what I shot.”

One of the most notable landmarks in the video is the 105-story Ryugyong Hotel, a pointy black tower dubbed “The Hotel of Doom” by Western media outlets. The building has been under construction for more than 30 years and hasn’t hosted a single guest. The glass exterior was completed in 2011, and construction has reportedly resumed in recent weeks.

Cover photo by Aram Pan/NK News