British photographer says the South Island is 'maybe' like North Korea

An edited image of Kim Jong-un in the South Island.
An edited image of Kim Jong-un in the South Island. Photo credit: Getty/file

A British photographer has jokingly compared North Korea to the South Island due to its old-fashioned nature.

David Yarrow was speaking to Kim Hill on RNZ about his travels to the hermit nation, where he tried to get away from the state minders and have a look at parts of the country previously unseen by the West.

To do this, he went outside the country's capital of Pyongyang and headed south to the eastern seaboard.

According to Mr Yarrow, the countryside was beautiful and the economy was a "basket case", giving him the impression of going back in time.

"It's almost like being in a time warp from 400 years ago," he said.

"Maybe it's like [the] South Island in your country someone said to me, but they were joking of course."

Mr Yarrow met several North Korean people as part of his travels, and said they shared many things in common despite the differing ideologies of North Korea to the rest of the world.

"There's quite a big drinking culture there, which as a Scot myself I can offer some degree of affinity with, and they're very welcoming and hospitable," he said.

"And [they're] very good at table tennis - never play a North Korean at table tennis."