North Korea Travel Guide

Basic Facts of North Korea

Location: In the north of Korean Peninsula, shares land borders with China and Russia to the north, Bohai Sea to the west, Japan Sea to the east, and South Korea in the south.
Area: 122,762 sq km (47,399 sq mi)
Language: Korean
Capital: Pyongyang
Population: 25.3 million
Currency: North Korean Won
Time Zone: UTC+8:30
Administrative Division: 3 municipalities (Pyongyang, Kaesong and Rason), 9 provinces (Ryanggang-do, Gangwon-do, Chagang-do and so on)

Top Things to Do

North Korea, as a beautiful country, has fascinating scenery and rich soil. In the capital Pyongyang, visitors can visit Arch of Triumph and Kim II-Sung Square. Magnificent Mount Kumgang in Gangwon-do and historical Koryo Museum in Kaesong are also worth a visit. As a place controlled by military, Panmunjam is a meaningful destination for visitors. You can also enjoy a great show called Arirang which is a favorite activity for visitors. What’s more, the famous Yalu River, Taedong River, Mount Chilbo, Grand People’s Study House and Mount Myohyang are good sights to visit as well. There are many traditional food and snacks full of North Korean style, such as Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup), Tteok (Rice Cakes), Rice Wine and Naengmyeon (Cold Noodles).

Best Time to Visit North Korea

North Korea has a monsoon climate of medium latitudes and four distinctive seasons. The best time to visit the country is spring and autumn with pleasant temperature and beautiful scenery. It is hot and rainy in summer and cold and dry in winter.

Transportation

For foreign visitors, plane is a good choice and Pyongyang Sunan International Airport is the only International airport. Visitors can take the plane from Beijing and Shenyang of China or from Vladivostok Russia. They can also take an international train to Pyongyang from Beijing, Dandong of China or Moscow of Russia. As for the transportation in the country, subway is available in Pyongyang and it has 2 lines and 17 stations now. However, foreign visitors can only take it to travel between Puhung Station and Yonggwang Station and there is a special coach for foreigners. Of course, there are buses and taxis as well. Visitors had better book the taxi in advance because it’s hard to flag down it on the street.

North Korea Travel Tips

As a mysterious country, the country has many rules visitors should obey. Foreign tourists should be accompanied by a local guide during the tour. Camera with lens more than 200mm is forbidden in the country. There is no Internet access. When touring, visitors should pay attention not to taking photos in the market.

History

Since prehistoric times, people have been living on the Korean Peninsula. From 1910 to 1945, the country was colonized by Japan. After the WWII, it was controlled militarily by Soviet and America. When Japan surrendered in 1945, it was divided into two parts by the 38th parallel. Soviet occupied the north and America occupied the south.

On Feb. 8th, 1946, with the leadership of Kim II-Sung, the north established the Provisional People’s Committee which was admitted by Soviet. In 1947, the Parliament was organized and Kim II-Sung was the first prime minister. In August 1948, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was established.

Geographical Features

Mountainous region accounts for 80% of the whole country’s area. Most mountains stand in the north. There are more than 50 mountains over 2,000m (6,562ft) in the northeast of the country. Plains are mainly in the west and south. Rivers with a length over 40km (25mi) amounts to 138, including the Yalu River and Tumen River. The Yalu River, 790km (491mi) in length, is the longest in the country.