Welcome to North Korea?
North Korea is one of those countries that people often wonder about, a land of mystery indeed, and because of this mystery, many perceive it as dangerous and so don’t visit – stop right there! North Korea is a beautiful land, full of sights to see, and accessible via guided tour.
Of course, you should always heed government warnings with regards to travel, but provided you pay attention to all advice given, there is no reason why you can’t head off on your travels to North Korea, ready to enjoy everything this East Asian delight has to offer.
North Korea borders China, Russia and South Korea, so you can expect a melting pot of culture and history. You can only visit as part of an organised, guided tour, and independent travel is not permitted. This is a plus in many ways, as you can truly experience the country with the help of a guide, taking out all the hassle of arranging accommodation, visas and food, and listen to their expert advice and experience. You’ll probably learn a lot more this way.
Things to consider before you jet off:
First things first – health. You will need a yellow fever vaccination to visit North Korea, as well as making sure all your regular vaccinations are up to date prior to your travel date.
On a passport note, obviously make sure your passport is valid and up to date, and yes, you will need a visa, however your tour company should be able to sort this out for you, so be sure to check.
You will need to organise your tour prior to your holiday, and you will have many to choose from, based in regular cities worldwide, and many with links to Beijing, where many people travel to first, before heading into North Korea. Ensure you book with a reputable company, and do your research before money crosses hands! Most tour companies, with the exception of a few government-run companies, are run by the Korean International Travel Company, so check for that endorsement.
Whilst you’re away:
So you’re on your way to your destination, tour booked, all ready to explore North Korea – what can you see?
Your tour itinerary should give you some idea of the main destinations, however most tours will take you to the DMZ, which is The Demilitarized Zone, as well as many museums documenting the country’s troubled past, war memorials to the Great Leader, and the Workers’ Party of Korea.
On a more nature hit, Fragrant Mountain near Myohyangsan is fantastic for those who love to hike and explore their surroundings, with the help of a guide of course, as well as the Diamond Mountains near Kumgangsan. Pyongyang is the country’s capital, and it’s here you’ll find most in the way of modern nightlife, which is relatively safe as long as you keep your wits about you. Be aware also that credit cards and Traveller’s Cheques are not accepted, and instead you will be required to pay in either Euros or US Dollars.
You’re sure to see plenty on your tour, and learn much from your guide. Always be respectful during your stay in North Korea, and don’t engage in chat about leaders or the war, to ensure you don’t attract the wrong kind of attention. As for photography, always check with your guide whether it is appropriate to take photographs.
A little mystery is often a good thing, because it hints towards finding something wonderful. North Korea certainly offers that, and much, much more.