North Korea, strict requirements for tourists

North Korea is a country located between China, Russia and South Korea. North Korea is also located on the Sea of Japan and the Yellow Sea. Most people in this country have no religion. Planning to go on holiday to North Korea? Then take into account the strict rules that apply to tourists.

  • General information
  • Towns
  • Nature and sights
  • Best time to travel
  • climate
  • Travel documents North Korea
  • Be careful when entering
  • Health in North Korea
  • North Korean Won
  • Korean
  • Rules for tourists

 

General information

  • Continent: Asia
  • Original name: Chosŏn Minjujŭi Inmin Konghwaguk
  • Language: Korean
  • Currency: North Korean Won

 

Towns

The capital of North Korea is Pyongyang, with the statue of the country’s first leader, Kim il Sung. It is mandatory to place a bouquet of flowers here. Nearly three million people live in the city, making it the largest city in the country. You are not allowed to just visit the city and you can only travel there if you are with a guide from North Korea. So you can’t just go anywhere. There are large streets in Pyongyang, where mainly trams run. There are also trains in the city, but tourists are not allowed to use them. Kaesong is the ancient capital of the country and is the center of trade and religion. There are many special temples. Haeju is a city with many rice fields. There is also a lot of fishing.
Some sights may be visited, such as the Juche Tower. The tower is at least 170 meters high. There is also the Triumphal Arch, which is comparable to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. However, the Triumphal Arch is a lot higher. The city’s tallest building is Ryugyong Hotel, which remains unfinished. The building is over 330 meters high and construction stopped in 1992.

Nature and sights

North Korea has five sacred mountains. One of them is Myohyang. There are forests and important temples near this mountain. You will also find two buildings where foreigners must leave a gift for the country’s first leader. Another mountain is Suyang, with the Suyang Waterfall, which is 128 meters high. Sariwon is an area with vineyards. You will also find many museums there.

Best time to travel

The seasons in North Korea run the same as in the Netherlands. The best travel period is in spring and autumn. So from April to June and from September to October. The temperature is then most pleasant. It can get very hot in the summer. June to August is also the rainy season. In winter the temperature is very low and there is a chilly wind. Traveling during this time is therefore not recommended.

climate

The seasons in North Korea are the same as those in the Netherlands. The weather is usually very nice in spring and autumn, but it can get quite cool at night and you definitely need a jacket. A lot of rain can fall in the autumn and it is never easy to predict when. Winters are often very harsh. It doesn’t really snow, but it can get very cold.

Travel documents North Korea

You need a visa for North Korea. This visa is very difficult to obtain due to the many strict controls. Many travel companies can arrange the visa for you. This usually makes it a little easier to get the visa. You also need a valid Dutch passport that must be valid for at least six months after your return to your own country. If you do not have a Dutch identity, it is best to contact the embassy.

Be careful when entering

North Korea is a strict country and it is therefore wise to be careful with the things you take with you. For example, you are not allowed to bring books about North Korea. A telephone and radio are also strictly prohibited. You are not allowed to take a video camera with you and you can only take a photo camera if the lens is smaller than 150 mm. This is strictly controlled and if you do have items with you, you will lose them at the border.

Health in North Korea

If you travel to North Korea, it is recommended to take vaccinations against DTP and Hepatitis A. However, it is wise to contact the GGD or your doctor before departure. They are aware of the latest health developments in a country. It is wise to take a small medical kit with you. It is also best to pay close attention to what you eat in North Korea.

North Korean Won

In North Korea, payment is made with the North Korean Won. The import and export of this coin is strictly prohibited. In many places tourists are therefore not allowed to use the North Korean Won. You can pay in most places with the normal Euro. Tipping is not customary in North Korea, but it is of course allowed.

Korean

The official language of North Korea is Korean. It is wise to learn some Korean phrases in advance. English is not really spoken much, but you will always be accompanied by English-speaking guides. Talking to the population is only allowed if the guide gives permission. Discussions will therefore always be conducted with the guide as an intermediary.

Rules for tourists

Only a handful of tourists are allowed in North Korea and they must adhere to strict requirements. You are not allowed to travel through the country without guides and you must do what they say. You will eat at fixed places and you are not allowed to take photos of just anything. It is not possible to explore cities on your own and there are often special hotels and restaurants for tourists. It is strict, but also a very unique experience.

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