Tourism to North Korea :What You Need to Know
Interested in visiting North Korea? This guide has got you covered everything about tourism to North Korea. Learn about the country’s top tourist attractions, visa requirements, and more.
North Korea is a unique country with a tightly controlled political system. Tourists must apply for a visa and strict travel restrictions are imposed, including being accompanied by a government-licensed tour guide. Popular tourist attractions include Pyongyang, the DMZ, Kaesong, and Mount Kumgang. It is important to respect local customs and etiquette, dress modestly, and avoid discussing sensitive political issues. Safety aspects include staying with the group and carrying ID at all times. Accommodation options are limited to government-approved hotels, and transportation options include flights, trains, and private vehicles. The best times to travel are spring and autumn. Cash is recommended as credit cards may not be widely accepted and medical facilities are limited. Communications and internet access may be restricted, and social media usage is monitored. Please respect the local diet and be mindful of photography restrictions. Shopping is limited and travelers should be aware of scams and scams. Responsible travel includes respecting local customs and regulations and being aware of the impact of tourism.
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1. Understand the political climate.
North Korea is a unique country with a well controlled political system. The ruling party, the Workers’ Party of Korea, has considerable influence and the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, wields enormous power. It is important that travelers stay informed about the political climate and current events before their visit.
2. Visa requirements and tourist restrictions:
Obtaining a North Korean visa is mandatory for all tourists. Visitors must book through authorized travel agencies and always be accompanied by a government-approved guide. Tourists are also restricted from traveling to certain areas and a special permit is required to enter certain areas.
3. The most popular sights in North Korea:
North Korea offers many unique and exciting attractions. These include the capital Pyongyang and its iconic monuments, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, the ancient city of Kaesong and the scenic Mount Kumgang. Mass Games, a large synchronized performance, is also a must-see event.
4. Cultural etiquette and customs:
When visiting North Korea, it is important to respect local customs and traditions. This includes dressing modestly, following the rules set by the guides and not discussing sensitive political topics. It is also customary to bow when meeting the elderly or respecting monuments.
5. Security aspects:
Although North Korea is generally considered safe for tourists, it is important to follow the directions and instructions given by the tour guide. It is recommended to stay with the group, not engage in illegal or disrespectful activities and always carry your passport and ID with you.
6. Accommodation and transport options:
Accommodation in North Korea is usually provided in state-recognized hotels. Transportation options include domestic flights, trains, and private vehicles offered through travel packages.
7. Weather and best time to visit:
North Korea has different seasons, with harsh winters and hot summers. The best time to visit is spring (April-June) and autumn (September-November), when the weather is mild and pleasant.
8. Currencies and banking services:
The official currency of North Korea is the North Korean Won (KPW). It is recommended that you carry enough cash for the duration of your trip as credit and debit cards may not be widely accepted. Banking services are limited, so it’s important to plan accordingly.
9. Health and medical considerations:
It is important to check all vaccinations and see your doctor before traveling to North Korea. Healthcare options are limited and comprehensive travel insurance is recommended to cover medical emergencies.
10. Communication and Internet connection:
Communication with the outside world can be limited in North Korea. Internet access is limited for tourists and international calls can be expensive. It is recommended to rely on local communication channels provided by the travel agency or hotel.
11. Local cuisine and dining etiquette:
North Korean cuisine consists mostly of rice, vegetables and meat dishes. It is important to respect local eating habits, which may include using chopsticks and sharing food. It is also customary to show appreciation for food by leaving a small amount of food on the plate after eating.
Photography is usually allowed in tourist areas, but it is important to follow the instructions and restrictions given by the guides. Photographing military installations or local people without permission is strictly prohibited. Social media and internet usage can also be tracked, so it pays to be careful.
13. Shopping and souvenir options:
Shopping options for tourists in North Korea are limited. Popular souvenirs include propaganda posters, traditional handicrafts and local artwork. It is recommended to research the regulations and restrictions on taking souvenirs out of the country.
14. Tourist scams and general problems:
As with all destinations, tourists should be wary of scams and potential scams. It is recommended to contact only authorized guides and agencies and be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. It is also important to follow local customs and regulations to avoid unwanted problems.
15. Responsible travel and ethical aspects:
It is important to be a responsible traveler when visiting North Korea. This includes respecting local customs, traditions and regulations. It is important to be aware of the impact of tourism on the local community and environment and to follow ethical and sustainable travel practices.