top of page
North Korea

NORTH KOREA TRAVEL GUIDE

North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.

 

Tourist travel to North Korea is only possible as part of a guided tour. Independent travel is not permitted. If you are not prepared to accept severe limitations on your movements, behaviour, and freedom of expression, you should not travel to North Korea.

 

NOTE that travellers who have visited North Korea will be denied ESTA clearance for the United States of America and will therefore be required to obtain a visa from their nearest embassy or consulate.

BLOG POSTS

  • Capital: Pyongyang
  • Government:Unitary one-party republic
  • Currency: North Korean won (₩, KPW)
  • Area: 120,540 km²
  • Population 25,55 million (2018)
  • Language: Korean
  • Religion:State atheism; Cheondoism, Buddhism, and Christianity are practised by a very small minority
  • Electricity: 220V, 60Hz (European plug)
Quick Facts

DO YOU NEED A VISA FOR

NORTH KOREA?

<<VISA RESULT>>

<< Visa Details >>

For the latest requirements or for application click

HERE

Let iVisa take the pain out of travel planning and assist you with Electronic visas, Travel Authorizations, Visas on Arrival, and even Paper Visas. They can also help with Health Declarations and Embassy Registrations. If you're from the US, they provide a One-Stop Shop to renew your Passport securely and error-free.

North Korea

Find Hotels

via Booking.com

Find a Rental Car

via DiscoverCars.com

Book a Bus/Train/Transfer

via 12Go

Find Hostels

via Hostelworld

Find a Tour

via GAdventures

Book Attractions

via GetYourGuide

Find Cheap Flights

via Skyscanner

Get a Visa

via iVisa

Find Insurance

via SafetyWing

BEST TIME TO VISIT NORTH KOREA

North Korea is a country with a harsh climate, with very cold winters and hot and humid summers. The best time to visit North Korea is during the spring (April and May) and autumn (September and October) months when the weather is mild, and the landscapes are beautiful.

 

It's important to note that travel to North Korea is heavily restricted, and visitors must be part of an organized tour group accompanied by government guides. The North Korean government has also been known to limit or completely ban travel from certain countries or regions, so it's essential to check the current situation before planning any visit.

 

Additionally, visitors to North Korea must adhere to strict rules and regulations, including restricted access to certain areas and limited contact with locals. It is also advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance, as medical facilities in North Korea are limited, and emergency medical treatment may not be available.

 

Overall, due to the political climate and limited access for foreigners, travel to North Korea is not recommended for everyone, and you should thoroughly research and consider all possible risks and factors before planning a trip.

Best Time To Go

NORTH KOREA WEATHER SYNOPSIS

The climate of DPR Korea is temperate monsoon with strong continentality. Rainfall is concentrated in summer; Long, bitter winters.

North Korea

SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

Read more...

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

JANUARY

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

FEBRUARY

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

MARCH

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

APRIL

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

MAY

HOT

COLD
MODERATE
DRY

WET

JUNE

HOT

COLD

MODERATE
DRY

WET

JULY

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

AUGUST

HOT

COLD

MODERATE
DRY

WET

SEPTEMBER

HOT

COLD

MODERATE
DRY

WET

OCTOBER

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

NOVEMBER

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

DECEMBER

HOT

COLD

MODERATE

DRY

WET

HOT MONTHS:

.

MODERATE MONTHS:

.

COLD MONTHS:

.

WET MONTHS:

.

DRY MONTHS:

.

BEST TIME FOR

SNOW SPORT IN NORTH KOREA

HIKING & CYCLING IN NORTH KOREA

BEACH OPTIONS IN NORTH KOREA

SURFING IN NORTH KOREA

KITESURF IN NORTH KOREA

BEST TIME FOR

LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES TO

NORTH KOREA?

FIND YOUR
PERFECT
DESTINATION

Advanced, real-time destination filter by visa required, region, health risk, travel budget, country value, tourist seasons, best weather and activity or sport.

gears.gif
LETS GO!

TRAVEL SAFETY IN NORTH KOREA

Always consider the current safety risk of each destination and do not travel without travel / medical insurance. For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

SafetyWing-NI-general-1.png
Travel Safety

HEALTH RISKS IN NORTH KOREA

Be aware of possible health risks in 

North Korea

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

NORTH KOREA TRAVEL COSTS

he cost of traveling to North Korea can vary depending on several factors, including the duration of your trip, the type of accommodation you choose, the number of people in your tour group, and the itinerary you follow. However, it's important to note that travel to North Korea is heavily restricted, and visitors must be part of an organized tour group accompanied by government guides.

 

The cost of a standard four-night tour to North Korea can range from $1,500 to $2,500 USD, depending on the tour operator and the itinerary. This cost usually includes accommodation, meals, transportation, and entry fees to tourist sites. However, it's essential to check with the tour operator to confirm what is included in the cost and if there are any additional fees or expenses that you should expect to pay.

 

It's worth noting that travelers to North Korea are required to pay for their visa application, which costs around $50 USD. Additionally, visitors are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance, which can cost between $50 to $100 USD.

 

Overall, travel to North Korea is not recommended for everyone, and it's essential to thoroughly research and consider all possible risks and factors before planning a trip.

 

Here is a sample budget breakdown for a standard four-night tour to North Korea:

  • Visa application fee: $50 USD
  • Standard four-night tour package: $1,500 to $2,500 USD
  • Additional expenses (such as souvenirs, snacks, and drinks): $50 to $100 USD

Total estimated cost: $1,600 to $2,650 USD

It's important to note that this is just a rough estimate, and the actual cost of a trip to North Korea may vary depending on several factors, including the tour operator, itinerary, and personal spending habits. Additionally, visitors are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance, which can add to the overall cost of the trip.

Cost & Spending

NORTH KOREA TRAVEL TIPS

If you're planning a trip to North Korea, here are some travel tips that may be helpful:

  • Obtain a visa: Visitors to North Korea are required to obtain a visa before arrival. Contact a tour operator for guidance on the visa application process.
  • Join an organized tour: Independent travel is not permitted in North Korea. Visitors must be part of an organized tour group accompanied by government guides.
  • Follow the rules: Visitors to North Korea must adhere to strict rules and regulations, including restricted access to certain areas and limited contact with locals. Failure to follow the rules can result in detention or expulsion.
  • Respect the culture: North Korea has a unique culture and customs that visitors should respect. Avoid taking photographs without permission and dress appropriately when visiting religious or cultural sites.
  • Stay in designated areas: Visitors to North Korea are restricted to designated areas, and leaving these areas without permission is strictly prohibited.
  • Bring cash: Credit cards and traveler's checks are not widely accepted in North Korea, so it's essential to bring enough cash to cover all expenses.
  • Be prepared for limited communication: Internet access is limited in North Korea, and mobile phones may not work. Visitors should be prepared for limited communication with the outside world.
  • Be aware of the political situation: North Korea is a politically sensitive country, and visitors should be aware of the current situation and any potential risks before traveling.

Overall, travel to North Korea is not recommended for everyone, and visitors should thoroughly research and consider all possible risks and factors before planning a trip.

Travel Tips

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF NORTH KOREA

North Korea is divided into nine provinces and two special cities. Each region has its unique culture, history, and natural beauty. Here are some of the highlights of each region:

  • Pyongyang: The capital city of North Korea is located in the western part of the country. Highlights of this region include the Kim Il Sung Square, the Juche Tower, the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, and the Mangyongdae Native House.
  • Kaesong: Located in the southern part of the country, Kaesong is a historically significant region that was once the capital of the Koryo Dynasty. Highlights of this region include the Kaesong Namdaemun Gate, the Sonjuk Bridge, and the Tomb of King Kongmin.
  • Nampo: Located on the west coast of the country, Nampo is known for its beautiful beaches and scenic landscapes. Highlights of this region include the Chongsan-ri Cooperative Farm, the West Sea Barrage, and the Songdowon International Children's Camp.
  • Haeju: Located in the southwest part of the country, Haeju is a culturally rich region that is home to many historical and cultural landmarks. Highlights of this region include the Gwansan Fortress, the Seongye Temple, and the Sonhwa Temple.
  • Hamhung: Located in the eastern part of the country, Hamhung is the second-largest city in North Korea and is known for its industrial and agricultural production. Highlights of this region include the Hamhung Grand Theatre, the Chongryu Bridge, and the Tongbong Co-operative Farm.
  • Wonsan: Located on the east coast of the country, Wonsan is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches and scenic landscapes. Highlights of this region include the Songdowon International Youth Hotel, the Wonsan Revolutionary Museum, and the Masikryong Ski Resort.
  • Chongjin: Located in the northeastern part of the country, Chongjin is a major industrial center and port city. Highlights of this region include the Chongjin Steel Plant, the Chongam-ri Revolutionary Site, and the Chongjin Fishery Station.
  • Sinuiju: Located in the northwest part of the country, Sinuiju is a major border city that serves as a gateway to China. Highlights of this region include the Sinuiju Grand Bridge, the Sinuiju Revolutionary Museum, and the Dandong-Sinuiju Friendship Bridge.
  • Kangwon Province: Located in the central part of the country, Kangwon Province is a mountainous region known for its natural beauty and scenic landscapes. Highlights of this region include the Kumgangsan Mountains, the Lake Sijung, and the Masik Pass Ski Resort.

Overall, North Korea has a lot to offer visitors, from historical landmarks to scenic landscapes and cultural experiences. However, it's essential to thoroughly research and consider all possible risks and factors before planning a trip to this politically sensitive country.

Highlights
What To See & Do
Travel Map

When visiting North Korea, visitors are required to follow strict rules and regulations, and access to certain areas may be restricted. However, there are still many interesting and unique things to see and do in the country. Here are some of the best things to see and do in North Korea:

  • Visit Pyongyang: The capital city of North Korea is home to many landmarks and cultural sites, including the Juche Tower, the Kim Il Sung Square, and the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.
  • See the Mass Games: This is a grand performance that takes place during the summer months in Pyongyang. It's a combination of acrobatics, dance, and music, and is a spectacle not to be missed.
  • Explore the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ): The DMZ is the border area between North and South Korea, and visitors can take a tour of the area to see the Joint Security Area and the Bridge of No Return.
  • Visit Mount Paektu: This is an active volcano on the border between North Korea and China. It's the highest peak in North Korea and is considered a sacred mountain.
  • Explore the Kaesong city: This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the southern part of North Korea. Highlights of this region include the Kaesong Namdaemun Gate, the Sonjuk Bridge, and the Tomb of King Kongmin.
  • Experience rural life: Visitors can experience the daily life of North Koreans by visiting cooperative farms and factories.
  • Try local food: North Korean cuisine includes unique dishes such as cold noodles, barbecued meat, and kimchi. Visitors can try these dishes in local restaurants.
  • Visit the International Friendship Exhibition: This is a massive museum located outside of Pyongyang, showcasing gifts given to the North Korean leaders from foreign countries.

Overall, North Korea offers a unique travel experience, but it's important to remember that travel to the country is strictly regulated, and visitors must follow all rules and regulations.

North Korea
What To Eat

WHAT TO EAT IN NORTH KOREA

WHAT TO EAT IN NORTH KOREA

North Korean cuisine is unique and distinct, with a focus on hearty and filling dishes. When visiting North Korea, here are some traditional dishes to try:

  • Naengmyeon: This is a cold noodle dish that is popular in North Korea, especially during the summer months. The noodles are made from buckwheat or potato starch and served in a cold broth with slices of beef, pickled vegetables, and a boiled egg.
  • Pansanggi: This is a multi-course meal that consists of many small dishes served together on a tray. The dishes may include meat, fish, vegetables, and rice, and are meant to be shared among a group of people.
  • Kimchi: This is a spicy and sour fermented vegetable dish that is a staple in North Korean cuisine. It's made from cabbage or other vegetables and is typically served as a side dish.
  • Kalguksu: This is a soup made with handmade noodles, vegetables, and seafood or meat. It's a popular comfort food in North Korea and is often served as a meal during the winter months.
  • Mandu: These are dumplings filled with meat or vegetables and served steamed or fried. They're a popular snack or appetizer in North Korea.
  • Bibimbap: This is a rice dish that is served with various vegetables, meat, and a fried egg on top. It's a popular dish in North Korea and is often served in restaurants.
  • Grilled meat: North Koreans are known for their love of grilled meat, and visitors can try a variety of meats such as pork, beef, and chicken, cooked over an open flame.

Overall, North Korean cuisine offers a unique and flavorful experience, and visitors should try to sample a variety of dishes during their visit. However, it's important to remember that food in North Korea may be limited and may not be readily available outside of major cities.

LGBTQ IN NORTH KOREA

North Korea

WHERE TO STAY IN NORTH KOREA

When visiting North Korea for the first time, accommodations are typically arranged as part of a guided tour, as independent travel is not permitted in the country. Visitors stay in designated hotels approved by the North Korean government. These accommodations range from basic to mid-range, with limited luxury options available. Here are some areas and specific suggestions for accommodations in North Korea:


Where To Stay In Pyongyang:

Pyongyang, the capital city, is the main gateway for tourists entering North Korea. Most accommodations for tourists are located in Pyongyang, including hotels and guesthouses.

  • Budget Accommodation:

    Yanggakdo International Hotel: This is one of the largest hotels in North Korea and often hosts foreign tourists. While it offers basic amenities, it is a comfortable option for budget travelers.

  • Mid-Range Accommodation:

    Koryo Hotel: This hotel is centrally located in Pyongyang and is a popular choice for mid-range travelers. It offers comfortable rooms and various facilities, including restaurants and bars.

  • Luxury Accommodation:

    Ryanggang Hotel: While luxury accommodations in North Korea are limited, the Ryanggang Hotel is considered one of the more upscale options available to tourists. It offers more amenities and a higher level of service compared to other hotels in Pyongyang.


These suggestions are based on available accommodations for tourists in North Korea. It's essential to remember that all accommodations in North Korea are booked and arranged through authorized tour operators as part of a guided tour. Additionally, travelers should adhere to the regulations and guidelines set by the North Korean government and tour operators during their stay.

Where To Stay

CHOOSE NEXT DESTINATION

GO

RECENT BLOG POSTS

Albania by Campervan: Essential Tips for an Unforgettable Journey

Exploring Bosnia & Herzegovina: A Motorhome Adventure

Nomad Health by SatefyWing: Your Global Companion

PLAN YOUR TRIP

VISA SERVICES

Let iVisa take the pain out of travel planning and assist you with Electronic visas, Travel Authorizations, Visas on Arrival, and even Paper Visas. They can also help with Health Declarations and Embassy Registrations. If you're from the US, they also provide a One-Stop Shop to renew your Passport securely and error-free.

FLIGHTS
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. These are our favorite flight search engines. They index other travel websites and airlines across the globe to easily find you the best deal.

ACCOMMODATION

Booking.com is our number one resource for researching and booking accommodation. In addition to Booking.com, we have found Agoda.com to consistently returns the cheapest rates in Southeast Asia. For longer stays, find unique homes worldwide on Holiday Swap, the most affordable travel platform that allows you to book homes anytime, anywhere in only a few clicks.

TRANSPORT

DiscoverCars.com is a leader in online car rental bookings; we compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip. 12Go connects the world door-to-door, from transfers to flights, under the same user-friendly ticket.

INSURANCE
Travel insurance can protect you against unexpected illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

 

Need more help to book your trip?
Check our complete resource page for all the best companies to use when you travel. You will only find the companies we use ourselves.

Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you,

we may earn a commission if you end up making a purchase and the income goes to keeping the site ad free.

Trip Planning

SEARCH FOR FLIGHTS TO

NORTH KOREA

Search for flights to

NORTH KOREA

SEARCH
bottom of page