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North Korea Landmarks – 11 Famous Places in North Korea

Table of Contents

About the Landmarks in North Korea

In this article, we will look at some of the most famous North Korea landmarks from the golden statues of the Kims to the Juche Tower, DMZ and more. I have visited North Korea twice, once in 2017 and again in 2018 and I have visited three of the largest cities; Sinuiju, Pyongyang and Kaesung.

Pyongyang is the capital of the DPRK, also known as North Korea . The city is home to 3 million people which makes it a rather small capital city by world standards. The Taedong River runs through the centre, and there are many famous North Korea landmarks throughout the capital.

The city was largely flattened during the Korean War and rebuilt in the utilitarian Stalinist style of the Soviet Union. To me the city resembles Tirana in Albania a lot more than say Moscow, however.

So, without further ado, here are 11 landmarks in North Korea that every visitor to the DPRK should see!

Top 11 North Korea Landmarks

1. kim il sung square.

Landmarks of North Korea, Kim Il Sung Square

One of the most famous North Korea landmarks is Kim Il Sung Square . You will likely recognize the square from news reports showing marching North Korean soldiers and displays of weaponry. It’s also where people gather on special occasions like New Years for large parties with a stage for live music (this was being set up ready for the New Year celebrations while I was there).

There is an English language bookshop not far from the square where you can buy books about North Korea. There is also an assortment of usual tourist tat (which naturally I availed myself of) including postcards, posters, pins, mugs and newspapers.

2. Mansudae Grand Monument

Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, North Korean Statues

The Mansudae Grand Monument is home to the two large bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il , the grandfather and father of current leader Kim Jong Un . Flanking the statues are monuments to soldiers who fought during the Korean War and are very similar to those you can find in any ex-soviet city. If you look to the east with your back to the statues you can see the hammer, sickle and calligraphy brush of the Monument to the Party Foundation in the distance.

Mansudae is a very important place for North Koreans and you will find wedding parties and others coming to lay wreaths (5 Euros/optional) and taking a bow (compulsory).

It is imperative to behave with respect while at the statues. Pay attention to your guides and do as they ask. When taking photos have your hands by your side and do not make any gestures. Ensure that no parts of the statues are cropped in the picture. No running, joking, mimicking or any other behavior that would be deemed disrespectful. Cover up any logos you might have on t-shirts and no ripped jeans.

3. Juche Tower (One of the Most Impressive North Korea Landmarks)

Juche Tower, Pyongyang, North Korea

Another of the North Korea landmarks is the 170 metre (560ft) Juche Tower . The tower sits on the east side of the Teadong River and dominates the skyline of Pyongyang. The tower is usually shrouded in a thin layer of mist. The Juche Tower is included in our list of 27 incredible Asia Landmarks !

Completed in 1982, it was constructed to commemorate Kim Il Sung’s 70 th birthday. You can take a somewhat rickety and old elevator up to the top for magnificent views of the city (5 Euros). If you are not good with heights or enclosed spaces, give it a miss, although I clenched my teeth and went up and was glad I did for the views and photo opportunities.

4. Pyongyang Metro

Pyongyang Metro, North Korea

The capital has two metro lines and 17 stations that only cover the west side of the Taedong River. We were told the river was too deep to tunnel under, and an accident while trying to build this section cost up to 100 lives.

It is the deepest metro system in the world at 360 feet (110 metres) deep. The stations are grand affairs similar to the Moscow Metro and each station has its own theme. We rode a total of seven stops and got off to see three of the stations.

The network carries between 300,00 and 700,00 people each day and is used by North Koreans getting to work and school. A trip on the metro provides a nice insight into daily life in Pyongyang.

5. Arch of Triumph

Pyongyang, North Korea

The Arch of Triumph is another of North Korea’s famous landmarks and was built to honour resistance to the Japanese. Although it is modeled on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, it is 33 feet taller (10 meters) than its Parisian namesake. This makes it the second-largest triumphal arch in the world after the Monumento a la Revolucion in Mexico.

6. Grand People’s Study House

Pyongyang Study House

The Grand People’s Study House is a library and centre of learning open to all Pyongyang residents at university age and above. It is situated overlooking Kim Il Sung Square and features traditional Korean design. The views from the rooftop are some of the best in the city (no photos directly south as there are sensitive government buildings nearby).

7. USS Pueblo & Military Museum

Pyongyang landmarks, USS Pueblo, North Korea

Another of North Korea’s landmarks is the USS Pueblo. The Pueblo was an American spy ship caught in North Korean waters on 23 rd January 1968. The vessel disguised itself as an environmental research ship, but was actually part of the US Navy Intelligence.

One American was killed during the capture and the other 83 servicemen aboard were captured and taken prisoner. The 83 prisoners were released after 11 months of negotiations but endured torture and mock executions during their time in captivity.  The Pueblo is the only US Naval ship that is still being held captive and is now a tourist attraction.

If the propaganda on the streets is not enough, then a visit to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum will surely overload you. The museum was updated in 2014 and now resembles a grand hotel with ornate staircases and crystal chandeliers. There are some interesting exhibits including a 360-degree diorama of the battle of Taejon. The exhibit includes a revolving floor and illuminations of gunfire, smoke and bombs.

One of the highlights of this tour is being led by a North Korean army Captain (the only soldier I’ve ever seen wearing high heels). It might be possible to ask for a photo (one of the only times photography of army personnel is not strictly prohibited).

8. Monument to the Party Foundation

Party Foundation Monument, Pyongyang, North Korea

One of the defining symbols of North Korea and the Juche ideology is the combined hammer, sickle and calligraphy brush. This North Korea landmark represents the workers, farmers and intellectuals.

You will see the yellow symbol on a red background on posters along the streets and atop buildings.  This concrete manifestation dominates central Pyongyang and can be seen from many places in the city. The monument is 50 metres (164ft) tall. This represents the 50 years from the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

9. Arch of Reunification

Pyongyang Landmarks, North Korea

The Monument to the Three-Point Charter to Reunification is a 180-foot (55 metre) high sculpture spanning the reunification Highway. The road leads south from Pyongyang down to Kaesung and the border with South Korea.

10. Ryugyong Hotel

Ryugong Hotel,Pyongyang, North Korea

The vast triangular Ryugyong Hotel is another of the North Korea landmarks that dominates the Pyongyang skyline. At 105 stories (1,082 feet/330 metres) tall it is an impressive spectacle, but scratch the neon surface and you will find a hotel that has been under construction since 1987 and likely will never see a single guest.

11. The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)

Soldiers at the DMZ in North Korea

The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is the strip of land separating North and South Korea. Sometimes known as the “38th Parallel”, this heavily fortified area is famous for the blue truce huts at Panmunjom where talks between the north and the south take place.

It is possible to visit the DMZ from both North and South Korea on a tour from either Pyongyang in the north or Seoul in the south.

How to Visit North Korea

The only way to visit North Korea, unless you are a diplomat or visiting student, is to take a pre-arranged tour. I went with Young Pioneer Tours who are specialists in North Korean travel and have been taking groups to the DPRK for many years.

Your tour operator will arrange a VISA for you (50 Euros with YPT) and this can be done easily by just sending a scan of your passport. The North Korean VISA is one of the easiest to obtain as the North Koreans are very keen for tourists to visit. At this point in time American and South Korean citizens are unable to visit the DPRK.

north korean tourist attractions

How to see the North Korea Landmarks

The only way to see these places in North Korea is to take a guided tour. There are many tours that take in these tourist attractions, and different ways of entering the country.

There are two ways to reach the capital; train from Dandong in China or a flight from Beijing with Air Koryo. I would thoroughly recommend the train as you will get a chance to see a lot of North Korean countryside. You will also witness people going about their daily life in the fields and small villages the train passes by.

To book a tour to North Korea, contact Young Pioneer Tours who have a vast range of tours to the DPRK. Quote Code: TRIPYPT20 to get a FREE North Korea t-shirt from YPT!

You might find these articles interesting:

Dark Tourism Destinations

About the author: Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has traveled to over 60 countries, lived in Armenia, China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.

Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of the world by train, bus and boat. He has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and recently featured in the documentary Scariest Places in the World . See the About page for more info.

Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲

4 thoughts on “ North Korea Landmarks – 11 Famous Places in North Korea ”

this was a good website to see landmarks

has it been the same construction company working on Ryugyong Hotel this whole time or have there been multiple pulled together to try and speed up the time till completion

Hi Aaron, to the best of my knowledge no one has been working on the hotel for years.

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Must-see attractions in Pyongyang

Juche Tower, Pyongyang

Tower of the Juche Idea

This tower honours the North Korean philosophy of Juche and was unveiled to mark President Kim Il-sung's 70th birthday in 1982. Indeed, the tower is made…

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Monument to the Foundation of the Workers' Party

This startlingly bombastic monument has starred on the cover of more books about North Korea than almost any other. The three hands portrayed represent…

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Mansudae Grand Monument

Every itinerary includes an homage to these vast bronze statues of the smiling Great Leader and Dear Leader, the latter in his trademark parka. The first…

Kim Il-sung Square

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Pyongyang Metro

Visiting the impressive Pyongyang metro is definitely a highlight of the capital. The network, which is made up of two lines, has a simultaneous function…

Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum

Perhaps the most interesting museum in Pyongyang, this mouthful of an institution opened its current home in 2013 to mark the 60th anniversary of the end…

Triumphal Arch

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Chollima Statue

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Monument to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War 1950–53

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Kim Il-sung Mural

This massive mural depicts the hypothetical scene of the joyful masses celebrating Kim Il-sung's arrival in Pyongyang, even though the event wasn't quite…

Tower of Immortality

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North Korea, Pyongyang. Arch of Triumph with deserted road which was erected in 1982 for Kim Il Sungs 70th birthday

This is Pyongyang’s top recreation ground: couples wander, families picnic and there are people playing guitars and sometimes even dancing in an…

Tomb of Tan'gun

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Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun

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Pyongyang Film Studios

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Three Revolutions Exhibition

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Grand People's Study House

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Ryugyong Hotel

Three decades after construction began on this extraordinary hotel in 1987, it still has not been completed. Planned as a prestige project but abandoned…

Korean Revolution Museum

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Kim Il-sung's Birthplace

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Party Founding Museum

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Mangyongdae Funfair

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Liberation Tower

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May Day Stadium

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Taedong Gate

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Best Places To Visit In North Korea (If You Make It There!)

Posted on Last updated: 22/11/2022

Let’s be honest. Most probably, it was your curiosity that compelled you to read about a country that is least associated with tourism. What is it like? Is it possible to travel there? Will Kim Jong Un want to meet you personally?

Well, the magic words to the tourist portal of this Korean peninsula are rules, obedience and tour guides. The hermit kingdom of North Korea has its rules. And if you want an experience that may otherwise put you in serious trouble, you will have to obey them to the dot.

You will only be allowed to visit with a tour guide — no solo travel will be allowed.

If you put in the effort and are willing to be disciplined, here are the 7 best places to visit in North Korea on your controlled tour.

Table of Contents

1. Pyongyang Metro

north korean tourist attractions

At the top of our list of the best places to visit in North Korea is the metro system at the heart of Pyongyang. Opened to the Korean public in 1971, the Pyongyang Metro is the world’s deepest subway system to date.

Opened to foreigners in 2014, the metro has managed to become a prime tourist attraction in the years that followed. Foreigners can take the train and stop at each substation to check the architecture that narrates the history — of its wars, victories and liberations.

This can well be your chance to mingle with the Korean public as the citizens crowd the trains day in and day out.

2. Mansudae Grand Monument

north korean tourist attractions

Also known as Mansu Hill Grand Monument , this iconic complex situated in the capital city of Pyongyang continues to be a prominent landmark among foreigners and locals alike.

The 22-metre-tall statues of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong are the centre of this tourist attraction.

People can’t be seen gathering in the square unless to pay respect to the late leaders, with flowers and bows. It is surely on our list of the best places to visit in North Korea.

3. Triumphal Arch

north korean tourist attractions

Standing tall at a height of 60 metres, the Arch of Triumph was opened in Pyongyang to mark the 70th birthday of North Korea’s first leader — President Kim Il-sung.

It is just a bit taller and resembles the Triumphal Arch in Paris, making it the second tallest Triumphal Arch in the world.

If you are entering Pyongyang from the airport, your tour bus may make a stop on the way, giving you a chance to walk around this well-known structure that symbolizes the revolution of the Korean nation.

4. Koryo Museum, Kaesong

north korean tourist attractions

Depicting the culture and traditions of the Koryo dynasty through more than 1000 artefacts, the Koryo museum is the place to be for history buffs!

Spacious and surreal, this historical museum paints a picture of Korean history in mind as they get to walk around ancient trees and small hut houses.

Situated in the city of Kaesong, the Korean museum was once an academic centre in the 11th century AD.

5. Tower Of The Juche Idea

north korean tourist attractions

The tower of the Juche Idea in Pyongyang was built to honour the political ideology of self-reliance, the Juche philosophy.

Reaching the sky at 170m, the tower was flaunted to the public in 1982, commemorating President Kim Il-sung’s 70th birthday, rightly doing so by building it with 25,550 blocks of granite — the number of days the leader had surpassed at the time.

On top of the tower is a torch that lights up at night. Located along the banks of the famous Taedong River, the panoramic view of the city from the top is worth the five euros it will cost you for the trip.

At the foot of the tower is a statue of 30m in height, depicting the communist influence on the nation, and makes this destination deserve its place on our list of best places to visit in North Korea.

6. Munsu Water Park

north korean tourist attractions

Your travel to North Korea will revolve around Pyongyang for most of it —yes, the Munsu Water Park , the largest leisure park in the country was built in its capital city.

Opened in the latter part of the year 2013, the water park has a wax statue of President Kim Jong II, of which you are not allowed to take pictures.

Locals — both young and old, come in numbers to experience the host of activities it offers. With restaurants and cafes inside the gates, you can spend a fulfilling day on your visit.

7. Paektu Mountain

north korean tourist attractions

Saving the best for the last, Mount Paektu is a landscape of oozing serenity.

It is the tallest mountain on the Korean peninsula and offers ecstatic views of lakes surrounded by untouched forests and the cleanest of air. Mount Paektusan was also the ground on which the famous guerrilla war against Japanese rule took place.

You will not be able to access the mountain if you visit from May to September, and you can only reach the city by plane from Pyongyang.

An extinguished volcano with a predominantly cold climate, this landmark is one of the best places to visit in North Korea.

Recommended reading: Places to include in your South Korea Itinerary | Places to visit in Japan

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north korean tourist attractions

Things to do in North Korea (and what it’s like to visit this Controversial Nation)

north korean tourist attractions

North Korea. Two words which probably evoke some type of negative thought or feeling in you. It’s one of those destinations that polarises people. Some people thought it was so cool that I was visiting. Others thought I was absolutely crazy. There wasn’t a middle ground.

I am so glad I went.

I expected Korea to challenge me and give me the most fascinating experience of my life. It delivered.

What I didn’t expect, however, was that it would challenge me as much as it did and that I would laugh the hardest I have ever laughed in my life.

It is challenging because North Korea is just so different. How I wish I could jump into the mind of a North Korean and really experience how they find their life. Their perspective on events with the US and the rest of the world, while ridiculous at times, made much more sense than it did before.

Pyongyang from Juche Tower

Pyongyang from Juche Tower

I entered with many questions. I exited with even more!

I went in with questions mostly about the political situation and with a general curiosity. I left with questions not just about the Korean way of life but wondering how truly happy the people are there and how that compares with people in my own society.

I laughed so hard in North Korea.

There was a strong sense of camaraderie in my tour group and things became ridiculous fast. I have done some crazy tours in my time but none involved a dead snake and a cow leg joining us on the bus. Yes, this happened.

I wonder if the underlying tension caused us to become crazier, if I just had a particularly funny tour group or everything just aligned to give me such a fun experience. It is hard not to over analyse experiences in the DPRK.

metro station pyongyang

Inside a metro station

I found it hard not to find the people of the DPRK endearing. Although I found them impossible to understand and robot like at times, the people we met were good, ordinary people (albeit innocent) and the country seems like such a time capsule.

One thing is for sure, I am never going hear the words North Korea in the news in the same way again.

I won’t see a demon rogue state.

Instead, I will smile. I will picture our Korean guides laughing with us. I will see Pyongyang which was, quite honestly, amazing. I will think about the little kids I saw, the dancing, singing waitresses and the people on the train so happy to be returning home.

In fact, I think it is going to be hard to listen to news reports in my home country of Australia that like to demonise this country. It’s just a place made up of people after all.

I never expected to have so much fun and enjoy the experience so much.

Inside the Pyongyang metro

Inside the Pyongyang metro

Which isn’t to say North Korea is all sunshine and roses. Quite the contrary. This is a country that will challenge you like no other. What was real? What was orchestrated? I’ll never know and it’s hard to stop thinking about it.

I had no freedom of movement which is a strange thing to give up.

However, I did love my time there and I am so excited to share North Korea with you. To give you a different perspective and to open your eyes to a different side of this country which is so often demonised.

I am no political expert and this article is not about political policy or what is right or wrong. I am a travel blogger and this article is about the experience of visiting North Korea. A country that I enjoyed very much. I just wish I was a better writer so I could do a better job of explaining everything to you. Hell, I wish I understood everything I experienced so I could explain it to myself!

birthplace of Kim Il Sung

At the birthplace of Kim Il Sung

There are two sides to every story and it is interesting to hear the North Korean (or Korean as you would say if you were in the country) side.

My guides on this site are generally very informational with lots of details so you can easily have the same experiences. This one will be different because there is no solo travel allowed. You have to do either a group or private tour. You will have local tour guides and probably a foreign one too.

I will still highlight what to do in North Korea, information about getting in and out of North Korea (I took the train in and plane out), what you can see, eat, everything about my experience visiting this truly fascinating place.

Why visit North Korea?

I wanted to go to North Korea after visiting South Korea back in 2006. South Korea was great and it made me much more intrigued about the northern part especially after visiting the DMZ which, at that point, was the freakiest experience of my life. It’s only just been beaten.

To say I was intensely curious about North Korea would be an understatement. I knew so little about this country other than what is portrayed in the media and I wanted to see what life was like in this country.

Mansudae Grand Monument

Mansudae Grand Monument

There really is nowhere like it and if you want to feel like you have entered a time warp, you love interesting North Korea attractions or you just want the most interesting experience of your life, you should go.

If you are at all considering visiting North Korea, GO. If North Korea sounds at all interesting, GO.

I don’t think there is anywhere more fascinating in the world.

You can read my eight reasons to visit North Korea here.

Can you visit North Korea?

how to visit north korea from china

My first glimpse of North Korea from China

Quite a few people were shocked when I said I visited North Korea simply because they didn’t realise it was possible. If you are wondering can you travel to North Korea, the answer is yes unless you only have a South Korean passport.

Everyone else is allowed to visit North Korea, including people from the USA. People travelling on a US passport can’t travel overland in to North Korea but they can fly.

It’s actually very easy to book North Korea. You do have to book a tour and you’ll have a form to fill in so they can get your visa but everything is taken care of for you.

Is it safe to travel to North Korea?

This is a much harder question to answer. I visited North Korea right when it seemed like things were escalating and it was in the news a lot. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me.

However, the Australian Government did not increase their travel warning so I felt it was safe to visit North Korea. The reality is that a lot of the information in the media is over blown so I would avoid looking at that as your source of information. Check our your own government’s travel warnings.

Once you are there, there is not much to worry about as long as you keep to the rules. The chance of you being a victim of crime in North Korea must be incredibly low. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the safest places to visit in terms of chances of being mugged or a victim of the usual types of crimes against tourists.

North Korean propoganda

North Korean propaganda

What is it like to visit North Korea?

Entering North Korea is like entering a time warp. I often felt like I was in an old 50s movies in Pyongyang. It seems like a world long forgotten elsewhere. My visit to North Korea was like no other trip I have done.

Even ignoring the restrictions placed on tourists, everything is just so different that I’m sure I would have felt like I was looking through a lens at a different world and seeing it from behind glass even without the restrictions.

Everything feels different.

The people seem so disciplined and obedient. They all seem to be doing the right thing all the time. For example, many people are on bikes and when they cross the road, they get off their bike and walk it across. All people, all of the time.

It’s perhaps only a little thing but it is like this all the time. There isn’t litter or graffiti. People mostly seem quiet and serious. Kids are well behaved except young toddlers which were like toddlers everywhere. Everyone seemed to have a good work ethic and take their jobs seriously.

Everyone I saw was impeccably dressed and well groomed. Many jobs required uniforms which were well done. The first time I went in the elevator at the hotel I was greeted by someone working the buttons who had a full uniform on including hat and gloves.

Pyongyang from above the Arch of Triumph

Pyongyang from above the Arch of Triumph

It felt like some weird version of The Stepford Wives or like I was in The Truman Show . I kept expecting to see the same people walk past.

Of course the North Koreans are obviously still people like the rest of us. They mostly ignored us but we were always treated like honoured guests. I was embarrassed to realise that I was surprised to see normal people. Women, men, kids. Living life.

As tourists there are restrictions. We have to travel with local guides. You can never walk off and you are only allowed in certain areas. There are rules about many things like how to behave at monuments and not folding pictures of the leaders. You can’t take photos of any military ( except at the DMZ) .

It was obvious as soon as we crossed over to North Korea on the train. After customs had checked us, we were allowed to exit the train and stand on the platform. However, we could only stand right near the door on the platform. By this I mean the door that you exited from.

I wanted to buy something from a seller by the next door, like 10 metres away. I wasn’t allowed to walk to them. I had to go back in the train and walk to the other end of the carriage and exit there to buy it.

Most of the time, I forgot about the restrictions but then I would do something that would remind me. For example, on the last night I went to the toilet during dinner. The sign for women’s toilet pointed to a stair well. When I went in there, I didn’t know whether to go up or down which gave me a strong sense of panic. If you walk somewhere you are not allowed you can get in big trouble.

The freedom of movement restriction wasn’t the biggest deal in the world but it did make me feel an underlying tension.

Doing a Young Pioneer Tour to North Korea

young pioneers tour North Korea

My tour group

Since you have to do a tour to travel to North Korea, I did one with Young Pioneer Tours. I basically picked them because they are a great price, they have a great website and they answered my questions very fast. I found them to be very good both before and during the tour.

Note: I have no commercial relationship with Young Pioneer Tours at all.

This tour company does attract a younger crowd but there were older people as well and a man with his son. Below, I will detail exactly what we did in our tour.

We had two Australian guides who led the tour I did which was over the Military Foundation Day holiday. They were fantastic. They were both very knowledgeable, friendly and professional. Their casual manner helped put me at ease as I had been feeling quite anxious in the lead up to the tour.

My tour group was small. There was only about 30 of us and we were split into two smaller groups. They said the previous tour had been over 100 people so if you want a smaller group, it may be better to avoid the bigger events like the marathon and Kim Il Sung birthday.

Find more information about Young Pioneer Tours here.

Things to do in North Korea!

In my list of things to do in North Korea, I walk through what we did on my tour. They are all fairly similar but note that things change all the time and nothing will be 100% confirmed until you are doing it.

During my tour I managed to see a far bit of the country. I entered by train (more about this below) and we drove down to the Korean border so I did travel the whole length of the country. Obviously, they control what we see but that is still a lot of the country and everything did look pretty much the same – and much more developed than I expected.

My tour spent three days in North Korea. One day was on the train, one day in Pyongyang and one day going to the DMZ and surrounding areas. It is quite a drive to the DMZ. It is not as close to Pyongyang as it is to Seoul.

We arrived at 5:30pm on the train from China. This is what we did in order…

Driving around Pyongyang

propoganda north korea

There is propaganda everywhere like how we have advertisements

I was super excited to get off the train in Pyongyang and not just because the train was super stuffy. It was obvious we were somewhere else immediately especially when there was a film playing on a big screen in the station car park which showed war and things being blown up.

We were straight on a bus to go see some North Korea tourist attractions.

My first views of this city were fascinating. There are so many grand monuments, some big plazas and impressive buildings. The infamous, huge pyramid hotel makes for quite a site as well.

Then there were all the propaganda posters. Where we would have advertisements in our countries, they have big murals and posters about North Korea.

Everything looks good, clean and tidy. There’s barely any trash and no graffiti. I kept being surprised throughout my time in North Korea by how nice everything looked.

Mansudae Fountain Park

Mansudae Fountain Park north korea places to visit

Our first stop of the places to visit in North Korea was the Mansudae Fountain Park. This is a square with a huge fountain and a grand looking library across the street.

It’s a big park with many fountains but we only saw a part of it as it started to rain. Other than this short rain shower, there was beautiful weather over my time in North Korea.

Mansudae Grand Monument north korea beautiful places

The Mansudae Grand Monument is one of the places in North Korea where it’s great to go first. This is a massive monument to North Korea’s previous leaders. The two leaders are in the middle with big monuments on either side. One is to commemorate being liberated in 1945 and the other is for the revolution.

This is also where you have to show respect to President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il. If you visit this monument, you have to bow to the leaders. It’s optional to buy flowers to lie down.

If you aren’t willing to bow, you have to miss this one of the North Korea attractions and stay on the bus (make sure you tell the guide beforehand if you fall into this category).

It’s a grand spot. It’s on a hill with good views and there’s music playing on the way up. This will sound like a bizarre comparison, but it reminded me of walking into Hong Kong Disneyland the week before. It’s all surreal and the music adds an extra layer.

I found it a great introduction to the whole bizarre experience of visiting North Korea.

After this, we had our first dinner in North Korea and finally headed to the hotel for a shower. Many people kicked on in the bars and karaoke room but I hit the sack, exhausted. More about meals and the hotel below.

Birthplace of Kim Il Sung

Locals visiting the birthplace of Kim Il Sung

Locals visiting the birthplace of Kim Il Sung

I woke up on my first morning in Pyongyang very excited to explore! It was Military Foundation Day, so a public holiday, and we weren’t sure if there would be a parade or any special events on. There wasn’t a parade but we did get to see some mass dancing (more below).

Unfortunately, this did mean that the Korean War Museum was shut so we missed out on visiting the USS Pueblo. It’s meant to be an interesting, propaganda filled visit.

We started the day by visiting the birthplace of Kim Il Sung. We weren’t the only ones and there were many locals there (pictured above). They were beautifully presented (as always), quiet and respectful.

It’s in a big park (but don’t step on the grass! I tripped and had like a quarter of the foot touch grass and got yelled at!) and it’s a nice setting. Our guides told us more about Kim Il Sung and his early life.

Pyongyang Metro

subway pyongyang

Taking the subway in Pyongyang

My favourite tourist attractions in North Korea were not “tourist” attractions at all. Instead they were seeing the regular things – like the metro and department store. We were able to take two lines of the metro on our way to the Arch of Triumph.

It’s one of those experiences that shows you we are all the same. In many ways catching the metro here was like catching it anywhere in the world. Many people were on phones and we were somewhat squished.

The stations are deep underground with North Korea having some of the deepest in the world – this is so they make good bomb shelters. They are also quite pretty and well presented with some fabulous murals in parts.

It can feel so normal but then you find out that you can’t pass some arbitrary line in a station and you remember where you are and the limitations on you as a tourist.

Arch of Triumph

Arch of Triumph North Korea

We came out of the Metro at one of tourist spots in North Korea, Arch of Triumph. The is one of the largest victory arches in the world and it celebrates the triumphant return of Kim Il Sung after the Anti Japanese war.

For an extra fee, we were able to go to the top of the monument which had great views over the city. It really illustrated to me just how few people are in cars and some of the advantages of this – what would have been huge car parks had volleyball courts!

Kim Il Sung Square

Kim Il Sung Square

This large square was constructed in 1954 right in the centre of Pyongyang and it’s quite a landmark especially being opposite the Juche Tower. It can hold over 100,000 people!

It was empty when we visited but still worth visiting as one of the famous places in North Korea.

Foreign Language Bookshop

Foreign Language Bookshop Pyongyang

The Foreign Language Bookshop was next on our list of North Korea tourist spots. This shop is a good place to go for books about North Korea, propaganda posters and other souvenirs.

There are actually many chances to buy souvenirs in North Korea (and I bought far more than I usually do). Many North Korea things to do have little shops attached.

While I was here, I bought two books and a magazine.

Juche Tower

Juche Tower North Korea

Juche Tower from Kim Il Sung Square

After lunch, we headed to the Juche Tower. It’s named after the Juche ideology introduced by Kim Il-sung.

Pyongyang from Juche Tower

Pyongyang from Juche Tower. It’s colourful

You can travel to the top of the 150 metre spire which is what I did. There are great views of Pyongyang

Monument to Party Founding

Monument to Party Founding Pyongyang

Another of the North Korea famous places is the Monument to Party Founding.

This monument is 50 metres high, to symbolise the 50 year anniversary of the founding of the Worker’s Party of Korea. The number of slabs that are used in the belt around the monument, as well as the diameter, represent the date of birth of Kim Jong Il. Every monument in Pyongyang seems to have dimensions to symbolise something.

The sickle, hammer and calligraphy brush represent the farmers, workers and intellectuals.

At this site, there is also a small museum and shop.

Mass Dancing

Mass Dancing in North Korea

Mass Dancing in North Korea

If you get the chance, one of the most interesting North Korea activities is seeing some mass dancing. This was actually the most bizarre experiences I had in North Korea.

We found out not long beforehand that mass dancing would be taking part at the Monument to Party Founding so we made sure to get there on time. When we arrived, we found hundreds of young Koreans crouched neatly and quietly waiting for the start time.

This was bizarre in itself. They were crouched in an uncomfortable position for quite awhile and kept quiet.

At the allotted starting time, the dancing started. It was good and the people were beautiful but no one smiled, no one seemed to be having fun, no one looked at each other (considered rude in their culture, but still). Their dresses all looked brand new and perfect. Not a speck of dirt on any hem.

It really did seem put on for us as I don’t know why they would have all decided to turn up otherwise when they did not seem to enjoy it.

However, it seems crazy to believe that all of this was put on for 30 tourists. There were hundreds of people dancing.

We were also able to join in which I found weird. Can you imagine what people would think if weird foreigners jumped into a big synchronised dance performance back in your home country?

Regardless, it was an interesting, if slightly disturbing experience.

Moran Hill pyongyang

Our next stop was Moran Hill which is one of the beautiful places in North Korea. It’s also where the people of Pyongyang like to go to have a picnic on a public holiday which is what it was when I visited.

There were many locals around, having picnics, relaxing with beers, posing for wedding photos and dancing.

The dancing was fun. In great contrast to the mass dancing, locals were dancing in this park relaxed and looking like they were having fun. Many of the guys in my tour group were dragged in. The locals seemed to enjoy that as much as us. A local man pulled me to the front so I could take better photos and seemed to be trying to make sure I was having a good time.

The dancing here was a highlight of my visit to North Korea until I talked to one of my tour mates about it later. He had a very good point that this seemed to be fake too. It didn’t make sense that these generally quiet Koreans who never even looked at us would be pulling some of us into the mix.

Department Store

Department Store

Our next stop was one of my fun things to do in North Korea – we visited a department store.

I don’t know why the ordinary seems so extraordinary in North Korea but it does. Here we had the chance to exchange some foreign currency for some local (only place we could do this or spend local currency) and do some shopping. There was a supermarket and a department store with clothes, home goods, etc like you would see in one at home.

I couldn’t find much to buy but it was fun to walk around (ALONE!) and look at everything. I also liked the chance to get some local currency.

karaoke pyongyang

Karaoke at our hotel

After our shopping experience, we stopped at another shop to buy alcohol before heading to a fun dinner. Back at the hotel, it was time for karaoke!

Karaoke may not come up as a North Korea tourist destination but it was lots of fun and a good way to unwind after a very full day at the strangest place on earth.

One of the main things to see in North Korea is definitely the border with South Korea at the DMZ.

The DMZ is the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas. This is a strip of land that runs right across the Korean peninsula and is about four kilometres thick. It was created in 1953 by North Korea, China and the UN.

Right on the border, in Panmunjom, is the Joint Security Area. This is where talks can take place between the two sides and tourists can visit. There are United Nations buildings straddling the border and you can go inside them and technically walk over to the other Korea (although only inside the building, you are not allowed to enter the other country.

As mentioned above, I have been to the DMZ before, on the South Korean side . To say it’s a different experience coming from the North would be an understatement but probably not in the way you would expect.

When I visited from the South, there was so much tension. I felt like if I even just pointed or waved a hand, I could start World War III. Our guide went on and on about how we had to behave and what would happen if we even twitched inappropriately.

DMZ from north korea

Looking over to South Korea at the DMZ. See it from the other side here .

There was none of this in the North. As long as we went where we were told, we could do what we like. You can scream at the other side, drink beer and tell the Yankee imperialists to go home.

This isn’t to say it isn’t distressing or without its tension. It’s crazy to think what a different world there is on the other side of the border.

I also felt for our Korean guides who find it a very sad place. It was one of our Korean guide’s first time there and she was very distressed.

The contrast between the two sides is interesting though. The North Koreans find it sad because they want to “free” their southern neighbours and reunite Korea. The target of their anger is always Americans and never the rest of Korea.

On the other side, it felt like a fearful place and that they were all afraid of North Korea. It was hard for that not to rub off on me when I visited from the south.

In the lead up to visiting the DMZ, there were a couple of stops to learn some history and to see a building where they had talks before the UN buildings in Panmunjom existed. If you visit on a day when there are lots of tourists, you don’t get to go into the UN buildings which would be a shame.

This area is a three hour drive from Pyongyang. It makes for a long day. The views on the way were much the same as I had seen from the train from China but prettier as there were lots of hills.

Koryo Museum

Koryo Museum

After leaving the DMZ we went to the nearby Koryo Museum which is in the town of Kaesong. It’s a museum of history and culture located in the first Korean university.

It’s a nice spot and a different type of North Korea tourist places. With all the focus on recent history on my North Korean trip, it’s easy to forget that Korea has a rich and interesting history. We learned about some of it here.

There was also a great shop and I bought a cool little book of propaganda posters and stamps.

Thongil Restaurant

eating in pyongyang

One of my delicious meals in North Korea. You could have dog soup as an extra at this meal!

We had a great lunch here in Kaesong at our next stop. I loved all the different things to try and there was also the option to try dog soup (I passed). It was right by a big monument on a hill which was worth a look as well.

DMZ Concrete Wall

Views of the countryside from near the DMZ Concrete Wall

Views of the countryside from near the DMZ Concrete Wall

Our final stop in the DMZ was another of the places to see in North Korea. This time it was a concrete wall. A Korean General told us about this wall (and showed it to us) that the Americans say doesn’t exist to show us how they lie. The general gave us an interesting talk about the war and army today.

At this point, we had phone reception from South Korea so I was unfortunately a bit distracted! It was good to have a moment to check in with home.

Sariwon City

most beautiful places in north korea at sariwon city

Views over Sariwon City

Our final stop at one of the tourist places in North Korea was at a local folk custom park in Sariwon City on the drive back to Pyongyang.

This involved walking up a hill to a lovely pagoda and watching the sunset over the city. It was the perfect way to end my exploration of North Korea.

The next morning I flew back to China. More about the flight below.

Sleeping in Pyongyang

Sosan Hotel pyongyang hotel room

My room at the Sosan Hotel

I stayed at the Sosan Hotel in Pyongyang. It was great.

It’s a huge hotel with many bars, a big restaurant where we had breakfast every morning, karaoke and a shop. I didn’t have time to do anything but eat breakfast, sleep and sing karaoke but it’s a good hotel for that!

I had my own private room thanks to being the only solo female (although you could pay extra to guarantee a private room on my tour).  The room was a good, international standard hotel room. My only complaint was that some of the lights did not work so it was quite dark. They also only had hand towel sized towels.

More annoying was the lights in the hallway where my room was were always off. It made it hard to find my room!

I liked these little quirks though as I found it added to the experience.

What was very cool was I had a whole area behind my curtains and in front of the floor to ceiling windows. I liked it a lot.

Eating in North Korea

Pyongyang noodles eating in north korea

Pyongyang noodles – cold noodles and surprisingly delicious

Eating in North Korea was surprisingly good. I had very low expectations (and I certainly didn’t go for the food) and they were very much surpassed.

We were given lots of well prepared food at every meal. So much food that I felt bad. Often there would be plates of food all over the dining table and then we would still have a main come out. I didn’t realise how much I liked kimchi or just vegetables in general. They were good.

We usually got a beer with our meals as well.

There was usually entertainment which involved singing and dancing waitresses. It was fun.

My only complaint was breakfast. It was Korean style with no real western options and I wasn’t a fan.


Kaesong, North Korea

Shopping in North Korea

I have never had a shopping section in one of my articles before because the fact is I hate shopping. We don’t buy souvenirs (apart from magnets). However, I changed my attitude in North Korea!

There are some very unique souvenirs in North Korea and it was fun to buy them. The favourite things on my tour were books, propaganda posters and postcards. You definitely want to bring in some money for these unique souvenirs.

Getting to North Korea

Train to North Korea!!

Train to North Korea!!

There are two ways that you are realistically going to get to North Korea:

  • Catching the train from China*
  • Taking a flight from China

I wanted the experience of travelling overland to North Korea but I also needed to be fast so I caught the train into North Korea and flew out. I found this to be a great combination

*Americans are currently not able to catch the train into or out of North Korea

Taking the train to North Korea from China

Catching the train to North Korea from China cabin on train

Our open cabin

The train to North Korea is a great experience and I am very glad that I did this.

From Beijing, the journey consists of two trains. We left Beijing at 5:30pm and arrived at the border city, Dandong at 7:30am the next morning. We then caught an onward train to Pyongyang at about 10am so there was time to check out North Korea from the river bank in Dandong and to go through Chinese immigration. The journey all up takes about 24 hours.

The train ride into North Korea is awesome. The border is a river and you know when you hit the North Korean side as there is another bridge next to train one which is blown up right at the border point (you can see it in a video above).

The train to Pyongyang

The train to Dandong

On both trains we were in open cabins with 3 levels of sleeper beds and small chairs and tables in the corridor. It was reasonably comfortable and I managed to get some sleep.

The train to Pyongyang was much the same but far less pleasant. It was very hot and stuffy thanks to people smoking in it and we couldn’t open the windows. I am very happy I caught the train but I was so happy to get off and get some fresh air!

After we crossed the river and made it into North Korea, we went through immigration. The guards came on the train and we couldn’t get off until they had finished processing us.

We had to put all our electronics in one pile and books in another. They went through the reading material (the guard seemed particularly interested in an Ikea like catalogue!) and searched our cameras.

This was quite annoying as he managed to change a setting on my camera so everything was in sepia! And I couldn’t work out how to turn it off!

It seemed somewhat appropriate to take photos in Sepia thanks to how much it feels like North Korea is in a time warp but it meant I had to use my phone for photos. Annoying!

north korea immigration

My sepia photos thanks to the immigration officer! This is the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang

We were also patted down.

Our guide told us that what happens at immigration (in both directions) varies. Sometimes you get absolutely everything checked, sometimes nothing. I was glad we had some type of check as it did add to the experience. I would have been somewhat disappointed to just get straight in.

After the immigration check we could stand on platform, but only just outside the carriage door like I described above.

Chewing gum change in North Korea

Change in North Korea!

I bought a beer on the train and got chewing gum as change! This happens as they can have problems with change.

I bought a good lunch on the train although it was pricey at RMB60.

The countryside on the way to Pyongyang looked good. I expected to see signs of extreme poverty but I did not. There were many small villages and not many cars. Most people walked with some on bikes.

Stupidly, it seemed weird to see how normal everyone looked. I say stupidly as I have no idea what I expected. Of course, North Koreans are just like the rest of us but it seemed weird that that was the case to start with!

Flying out of North Korea

Air Koryo

Air Koryo flight out of North Korea

I flew out of North Korea on Air Koryo, famous for being the world’s only one star airline.

This is completely undeserved and is about sanctions rather than anything else.

The flight was fine. It’s about two hours and was quick and easy especially as it leaves from an airport which must be the least busy of any capital city in the world. There were two flights for the day and our flight had barely any people!

I had the (in)famous burger and some water and, before I knew it, I was back in Beijing. I would never have thought that arriving in China would make me feel so free!

My experience of leaving was very easy. No checks, no questions. Simple.

Travel to North Korea from Australia

If you are like me and need to travel to North Korea from Australia, I found the easiest way was to fly to Beijing and do a tour from there. There are plenty of options to get to Beijing (I took China Southern Airlines which was good) and most tours leave from Beijing.

I flew into Beijing late the night before the tour and flew back to Melbourne on the same day as I arrived back from Pyongyang.

North Korea with kids

I did not take my kids to North Korea. At the time they were aged 0, 5 and 6 and they seemed too young. I think this was the right choice.

There are many rules in North Korea. People are so quiet and obedient. My kids are not. People do take kids of all ages but I think it would be very stressful with young kids.

There are kid friendly attractions in Pyongyang. I saw amusement parks, many playgrounds and read a story about the Natural History Museum. If you do want to take kids to North Korea, you could organise a private tour and make it much more kid friendly (which is what I would advise). It would be hard to visit the bigger monuments unless they know how to behave.

If you are considering doing a group tour with kids, I would not recommend this unless your kids are 12+. I would not take my kids until they are old enough to ask to go themselves. There was a father and teenage son on our trip and he enjoyed it.

My group tour was full on. If your kids can’t handle being out all day (and by that I mean early morning to late at night) then it’s not a good choice. It’s exhausting and there is no option when you have had enough to catch a taxi back to the hotel. You have to stay together.

On the upside with Young Pioneer Tours, under 2’s are free and kids under 13 are 30% off.

North Korean mural in the metro

North Korean mural in the metro

Communications in North Korea

Don’t expect to be able to talk to people at home or use the internet in North Korea.

It’s possible to get a sim card but it takes a day and a half to be approved and is expensive so it’s not plausible for a short trip.

When we were in the border region with South Korea, I was able to get reception with my home sim card and communicate with home. I was not able to ring home from the hotel.

You can send postcards back.

Money in North Korea

The only time we had access to local currency in North Korea was at the department store. Otherwise, we used RMB or Euros. There is no access to more money once you are in the country so make sure you take enough.

I stuck to RMB since it was easy for me to get it on the way. If you want to save money, a bit of both would work best as sometimes things worked out cheaper in one currency than the other. Everything is quite cheap though so it’s not worth worrying about in my opinion.

North Korean visa

North Korean visa. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep it

It’s actually surprisingly affordable to visit North Korea. The cost to visit North Korea is probably lower than you expect. My tour was 790 Euros plus an extra 50 for the visa and 100 to fly out rather than catch the train.

I did not spend much money while I was in the country. You could get away with spending barely anything. Meals are included and drinks are cheap. Most of the money I spent went on some cool souvenirs which are generally very affordable as well.

I loved visiting North Korea.

It challenged and puzzled me and I loved just about every second.

Panmunjom North Korea

Sitting on the border

I travel in huge part because I am an experience junkie and this really is an experience like no other. What was real? What was fake? What is it like to be North Korean?

I have no idea but I found it strangely compelling.

Everything and everywhere was much nicer than I imagined. I expected to see extreme poverty at every turn and I did not see it at all.

Of course, what I saw was controlled but at the same time, I travelled the whole length of the country. I saw much of Pyongyang. I have been to places like India, Guatemala, Bolivia. It was nothing like that there.

It was nothing like anywhere which is what I enjoyed most about this experience. It was so captivating that I didn’t even get a chance to miss my family. Usually when I have travelled alone, the experience has been partly ruined by how much I miss the kids, but that was not the case this time.

This doesn’t mean it didn’t have its challenges. Not at all. It was stressful whenever I looked around and didn’t see someone else from my tour immediately. It’s not nice to lose freedom of movement and worry what might happen if you lose the group. At least, it’s not nice if you are a worrier like me. This did not seem to affect everyone.

I wondered and worried about the people and what their lives must be like. How can they be so obedient? Is it that scary to break any type of rule in North Korea?

I loved the local experiences on the tour best like the department store and Moran Hill. It was nice when we were among the people rather than separated like we were a lot of time.

I spent three days in North Korea. A fourth day would have been great but I feel like I saw and experienced so much in those three days that I don’t feel like I missed out either. It was absolutely exhausting though, especially for an over thinker like me.

All in all, I loved visiting North Korea. The only problem is how will any travel experience I have from now on ever live up to this?

Would you like to visit North Korea?

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North Korea is an enigmatic tourist destination that offers unfamiliar territories to explore. This majestic country boasts cultural heritage and North Korea tourist attractions , making it more fascinating to tourists. North Korea has a rich historical and cultural significance dating back thousands of years. North Korea never fails to offer a glimpse into its interesting past, from Koguryo Tombs to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. You can even immerse yourself in traditional Korean culture by watching colorful mass performances and experiencing customs & traditions. The enriched culture of this country is one of the North Korea attractions . Besides being a secretive country, North Korea is home to unparalleled landscapes. These breathtaking landscapes allow you to make your social feed colorful and vibrant. Mount Paektu is an active volcano, which is one of the surreal North Korea tourist spots . It has the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula. It draws the attention of many travelers who loves to hike. Moreover, nature enthusiasts can also marvel at the scenic Myohyang Mountains, pristine Kumgangsan, and the beautiful Lake Chon. Nature is itself one of the stunning North Korea tourist attractions that offer travelers an opportunity to explore and admire the beauty of nature.   North Korea’s architecture is another marvelous brilliance that adds charm and grandeur to the country’s style. The highlight of North Korea’s architectural excellence is the iconic Ryugyong Hotel. This massive pyramid-shaped formation is one of the famous North Korea attractions . Other unique towering architectures are The Juche Tower and the Arch of Triumph, which are notable landmarks of North Korea. These remarkable architectures commemorate North Korea’s ideology and national achievements. These architectural marvels offer tourists an insight into the country’s emphasis on self-reliance. One of the most iconic North Korea tourist places is the Grand Monument on Mansu Hill. It has two 20m-long bronze statues of Kim II Sung and Kim Jong II. Many tourists visit here to learn about the history of this place. North Korea boasts some beautiful beaches. The country’s Pacific coastline is lined with many beautiful beaches. These beaches are one of the best places to visit in North Korea if you want to have a quaint vacation. The long stretches of sand, dramatic cliffs, rock outlets, and abundance of nature are what make a beach-lover happy. For a tranquil experience, you should not miss out on visiting Lake Sijung. This lake is a perfect place to rejuvenate your soul and relax. North Korea may have not been on the list of travelers yet, but it has the potential to charm every traveler across the globe. If you want to visit this unique country for its off-the-beaten experiences, take the help of Dook International . We have attractive North Korea tour packages that you can customize as per your travel needs. Our tour packages offer exciting experiences and North Korea tourist places to visit for a fulfilling vacation. So, plan a holiday in North Korea with Dook.

Best Tourist Places to Visit in North Korea

north korean tourist attractions

Geumsusan Taeyang Gungjeon

The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun formerly the Kumsusan Memorial Palace and sometimes referred to as the Kim Il-sung Mausoleum is a building near the northeast corner of the city of Pyongyang that serves as the mausoleum for Kim Il-sung the founder of North Korea and for his son Kim Jong-il both posthumously designated as eternal leaders of North Korea. The palace was built in 1976 as the Kumsusan Assembly Hall and served as Kim Il-sungs official residence. Following the elder Kims death in 1994 Kim Jong-il had the building renovated and transformed into his fathers mausoleum. It is believed that the conversion cost at least 100 million. Some sources put the figure as high as 900 million. Inside the palace Kim Il-sungs embalmed body lies inside a clear glass sarcophagus. His head rests on a Korean-style pillow and he is covered by the flag of the Workers Party of Korea. Kim Jong-il is now on display in a room close to his fathers remains and positioned in a very similar way. At 115000 square feet Kumsusan is the largest mausoleum dedicated to a Communist leader and the only one to house the remains of multiple people.

north korean tourist attractions

Workers' Party Foundation Monument

north korean tourist attractions

Kim Il Sung Square

north korean tourist attractions

Grand People's Study House

north korean tourist attractions

National Martyrs Cemetery

north korean tourist attractions

Mansudae Fountain Park

north korean tourist attractions

Juche Tower

Things to do in north korea.

Do what makes you happy

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Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Pyongyang

10 Beautiful and Amazing Tourist Attractions in North Korea 2023-2024

North Korea is a secretive country and tourist destination among the travellers. NK follows strict rules when allowing foreign travellers to visit their country. China is the nearest country which have good relations with North Korea . In recent years, people’s interest surged in searching for beautiful tourist places / tourist attractions in North Korea.

10. North Korea Peace Museum, Panmunjeom

North Korea Peace Museum is an important part of historical places in North Korea. The museum is located in North Hwanghae Province’s Panmunjeom, a former village. On July 27, 1953, the Korean War Armistice Agreement was signed between two nations, North Korea and South Korea.

North Korea Peace Museum, Panmunjeom

9. Tomb of King Tongmyong, Pyongyang

Tomb of King Tongmyong is an amazing and historical place to visit in Pyongyang. It’s a mausoleum of King Tongmyong. It is one of the most popular historical landmarks in North Korea.

Tomb of King Tongmyong, Pyongyang

8. Arch of Triumph, Pyongyang

Arch of Triumph is a beautiful monument which was built to remember the resistance of Korea between 1925-1945. This beautiful monument was opened on April 15, 1982.

Arch of Triumph, Pyongyang

7. Changbai Mountains, China – North Korea Border

Changbai Mountains is a chain of beautiful mountains located between North Korea and China border. The tourism is booming on the side of China. You should not miss an opportunity to see these beautiful mountains in North Korea.

Changbai Mountains, China - North Korea Border

6. Juche Tower, Pyongyang

Juche Tower is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in North Korea. The monument was opened on April 15, 1982 in Pyongyang, NK. It’s a perfect place to get best view of the city. You would get good glimpse of people roaming around the city.

Juche Tower, Pyongyang

5. USS Pueblo, Pyongyang

USS Pueblo is an American spy ship, used by US Navy Intelligence. The ship was captured by the North Korean forces on January 23, 1968. To show off the power of Korean forces, the government created a museum out of spy ship. The museum is located on Taeodong River, Pyongyang. This amazing spy ship attracts thousands of tourists each year.

USS Pueblo, Pyongyang

4. Pyongyang Metro

North Korea is not much developed but you would not believe that, they have a large metro stations with latest facilities. Based on figure of 2009, about 98K people use rapid transit system. In each train, you would able to see photographs of former leaders of North Korea. So, it’s an amazing experience to see this metro system.

Pyongyang Metro

3. Mansudae Grand Monument, Pyongyang

Mansudae Grand Monument is a giant monument, located in North Korea’s capital. The monument is a 65 foot bronze statue of the Great Leaders of North Korea. These statues were completed in 1972 and considered as one of the most amazing tourist attractions in North Korea.

Mansudae Grand Monument, Pyongyang

2. Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Pyongyang

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in North Korea. The palace is a popular tourist attraction among the foreign travellers. It’s a burial place of Kim II-sung and Kim Jong-il.

1. Kim II-sung Square, Pyongyang

Kim II-sung Square is a popular and large city square, located in the central district of Pyongyang. The popular square is named after Kim II-sung, the founding father of North Korea.

Kim II-sung Square, Pyongyang

Article Title: 10 Beautiful and Amazing Tourist Attractions in North Korea

John Mathew

John Mathew is a travel writer and travel enthusiastic, primarily interested in how to get to any place, hotels guide, resorts guide, destination guide, and worldwide travel tips.

Membly Hall Hotel Falmouth

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North Korea

north korean tourist attractions

  • 3 Other destinations
  • 4.1.1 Prehistory and founding of a nation
  • 4.1.2 Joseon Dynasty
  • 4.1.3 Japanese occupation and a divided Korea
  • 4.1.4 Modern North Korea
  • 4.2 Government and politics
  • 4.4 Climate
  • 4.5 Terrain
  • 5.1.1 Additional restrictions
  • 5.2.1 The Korean Demilitarized Zone
  • 5.3.1 Air Koryo
  • 5.3.2 Air China
  • 5.4 By train
  • 5.5 By boat
  • 6 Get around
  • 10.2 Souvenirs
  • 16.1 Photography
  • 16.2 Korean nationals
  • 16.3 Politics
  • 16.4 Illegal substances
  • 16.5 Religious activity
  • 16.6 Emergency numbers
  • 17 Stay healthy
  • 18.1 Tour conduct
  • 18.2 Sensitive issues
  • 18.3 Religion
  • 19.1.1 Mobile phones
  • 19.2 By Internet

North Korea ( Korean : 조선 Chosŏn ), officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or DPRK (조선민주주의인민공화국, Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk ) is the world's most isolated country and has usually been referred to as the "Hermit Kingdom". It's located in East Asia on the Korean Peninsula , which has been divided between North and South Korea since the 1950s.

One of the few remaining communist states in the world and the last frontier of the Cold War , North Korean society is dominated and run by a very strict, controlling, and totalitarian government that maintains a very tight grip over its people. The government is in firm control of just about everything in the country. For example, they own the country's factories, farms, enterprises, and even all the automobiles driven by its citizens.

Tourists may only travel to North Korea as part of a guided tour and they can expect to be under constant supervision and monitoring by the authorities. About 5,000 Western tourists visit North Korea every year. Most complete the journey safely, so long as they follow their ever-present guides. Incidents have occurred, and when they do, due process is hard to come by. The most likely consequence of any trouble with the authorities is a period of detention before deportation.

If the idea of accepting strict limitations on your freedom of expression, movement and behaviour, or the risk of arbitrary, indefinite detention seems unsettling to you, it is recommended that you do not travel to North Korea.

Regions [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

Cities [ edit ]

  • 39.019 125.738 1 Pyongyang (평양) — the capital city and the former capital of Goguryeo during the Three Kingdoms period
  • 41.783 129.766 2 Chongjin (청진) — Industrial city in the North East, very rarely visited by tourists
  • 39.916 127.533 3 Hamhung (함흥) — Northern city, also rarely on official travel itineraries
  • 39.698 125.906 4 Kaechon (개천) — home of the Songam Cavern
  • 37.966 126.55 5 Kaesong (개성) — former capital during the Goryeo dynasty
  • 38.733 125.4 6 Nampho (남포) — industrial centre and port on the western coast
  • 42.344 130.384 7 Rason (라선) — Free trade zone on the Russian border, complete with casino
  • 40.1 124.4 8 Sinuiju (신의주) — bleak industrial city right on the border with China. Probably the easiest ways to look into the country from the outside
  • 39.147 127.446 9 Wonsan (원산) — East coast port city slowly opening to tourists, and it has the first ski resort in the country

Other destinations [ edit ]

  • 38.688056 128.200278 1 Kumgangsan (금강산) — the scenic Diamond Mountain
  • 40.018611 126.333056 2 Myohyangsan (묘향산) — this Mysterious Fragrant Mountain is one of the North's best hiking spots
  • 42.005556 128.055278 3 Baekdu Mountains (백두산) — the tallest mountain in Korea and the Kim dynasty's mythical birthplace
  • 37.956 126.677 4 Panmunjom (판문점) — the last outpost of the Cold War in the DMZ between South and North

Understand [ edit ]

History [ edit ], prehistory and founding of a nation [ edit ].

Archaeological finds of prehistoric toolmaking on the Korean Peninsula date back to 70,000 BC with the first pottery found around 8000 BC. Comb-pattern pottery culture peaked around 3500-2000 BC.

Legend has it that Korea began with the founding of Gojoseon (also called Ancient Chosun ) by the legendary Dangun in 2333 BC. Archeological and contemporaneous written records of Gojoseon as a kingdom date back to around 7th-4th century BC. Gojoseon was eventually defeated by the Chinese Han Dynasty in 108 BC and its territories were governed by four Chinese commanderies, but this did not last long. Natives of the peninsula and Manchuria soon reclaimed the territory, namely the Three Kingdoms of Korea, Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje. The Goguryeo Kingdom (or Koguryo) ruled the entire area of modern North Korea, as well as parts of Manchuria and the northern parts of modern South Korea. Buddhist and Confucian teachings were prominent in the Goguryeo Kingdom, which adopted Buddhism as the state religion in 372. Despite repeated attempts by China, namely the Sui Dynasty and later the Tang Dynasty, to conquer the Korean Peninsula, northern-based Goguryeo managed to repel them. Eventually, Goguryeo fell to a Silla-Tang alliance, which had earlier defeated Baekje. This unified Korea under the Silla dynasty. Even though Tang later invaded, Silla forces managed to drive them out, thus maintaining Korea's independence.

Unified Silla was replaced by the Goryeo (also called Koryo ) dynasty, from which the modern name "Korea" derives. One highlight of the Goryeo dynasty was that in 1234 the world's first metal movable type was invented by a Korean named Choe Yun-ui (200 years before Gutenberg's printing press).

Buddhist learning spread during this time and the former Baekje and Goguryeo leaders were treated well. The kingdom saw relative peace until the 8th and 9th centuries when clan leaders led uprisings and toppled the Silla, establishing the Goryeo Dynasty from which the name "Korea" was derived by Westerners. During this period, the nation suffered Mongol invasions, which led to unrest and the eventual establishment of the Joseon Dynasty in 1392.

Joseon Dynasty [ edit ]

The Joseon Dynasty was one of the longest-running dynasties in the world (512 years), ruling from 1392 until 1910. King Sejong the Great' s rule was especially celebrated, as he helped create the Korean script, choson'gul , which allowed even the commoners to become literate. He also expanded the nation's military power to drive out Japanese pirates and northern nomads and regain territories that had been lost. The Japanese invaded Korea under the leadership of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, though the Joseon Dynasty managed to drive them out with the support of China's Ming Dynasty, albeit with heavy losses in the Korean peninsula. In spite of its losses, the nation experienced about 200 years of peace, and its isolationist policies allowed it to further develop a uniquely Korean culture and identity.

Rapid modernisation stirred by the Second Industrial Revolution created tension between China and Japan as they felt the pressures of Western expansionism, each wanting to extend their influence over Korea. Ensuing wars between Japan, China and Russia led to increasing Japanese influence over the peninsula, resulting in Korea's status as a vassal state of Imperial China ending in 1895, and Japan annexing Korea outright in 1910, marking the end of the Joseon dynasty and Korean independence.

Japanese occupation and a divided Korea [ edit ]

Japan ruled the Korea as a colony until its defeat in World War II in 1945. During that period, the Japanese committed numerous atrocities including massacres, and forced many Korean women to become "comfort women", sex slaves in Japanese military brothels. Moreover, Japan instituted a cultural assimilation policy, forcing the Koreans to adopt Japanese names, and forbidding them from speaking the Korean language.

Japan was forced to give up control of all its colonies after is defeat in World War II in 1945, and the Allied Powers divided Korea along the 38th Parallel, with the Soviet Union occupying the northern half and the United States occupying the southern half. The divide was supposed to be temporary; however, the political power struggle between the two nations to gain influence over the unified Korea led each to establish governments within their newly created territories. North Korea was established as its own nation in 1948 with the support of the Soviet Union, following the Soviet communist model, with Kim Il-Sung as its leader, while at about the same time, Syngman Rhee established a capitalist regime with the support of the United States in the south.

Agitation between the North and South came to a head in 1950 when the North started the Korean War by attempting to reunify the country under its terms by launching an invasion. The Soviet Union and China fought alongside the North against the South, who were in turn backed by the United Nations (UN) forces led by the United States . The UN forces drove the North Korean forces all the way up to the Chinese border, whereupon Chinese reinforcements forced the UN forces to be driven back south. The war finally resulted in the signing of an armistice in 1953, largely maintaining the original borders set prior to the war. Because no peace treaty has been signed since the armistice, the nations of South Korea and North Korea are officially still at war.

Modern North Korea [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

With the nation in shambles after the war, Kim Il-Sung launched a campaign to unite the people by defaming the United States with Soviet support and purging the nation of dissidents and anyone thought to oppose him. He sided with China during the Sino-Soviet split on Communist philosophy because he disliked Khrushchev's reforms but began to praise the Soviet Union once again when China underwent its Cultural Revolution, straining relations with both neighbors. Consequently, he developed his own ideology, Juche ("self-reliance"), to create the sort of Communism he wanted for his nation. Throughout his life, Kim Il-Sung added to and clarified the Juche ideology in order to justify his governing decisions.

The Korean War not only divided the people, but it also divided the labor force. When the peninsula was united, North Korea had most of the nation's industries while South Korea was the agricultural center. This divide allowed North Korea to initially bounce back faster than the South in the rebuilding process. The Soviet Union then funded agricultural efforts in the North, in accordance with the Communist model. This system began to unravel in the late 1970s and 1980s as the Soviet system began to falter. With the end of Soviet aid following its dissolution in 1991, there was no way to continue to support the agricultural systems' needs for fuel, fertilizer and equipment. After so many years of government mismanagement, and the bad timing of severe flooding, the North's agricultural system collapsed in the mid-1990s, leading to widespread famine and death for countless North Koreans. The death of Kim Il-Sung in 1994 took place while the nation tried to deal with the crisis, slowing government response as the new leader, Kim Jong-Il, took his father's position.

The North finally allowed international relief agencies to assist, and the worst aspects of the famine were contained. However, the DPRK continues to rely heavily on international food aid to feed its population while at the same time continuing to expend resources on its songun , or "military first", policy, which Kim Jong-Il introduced and used in conjunction with his father's Juche ideology (which he "interpreted").

Today the DPRK maintains an army of about 1 million infantrymen, most stationed close to the DMZ which divides the two Koreas. North Korea's long-range missile development and research into nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community. In December 2002, Kim Jong-Il reneged on a 1994 "Agreed Framework" signed by his father which required the shut down of its nuclear reactors, expelling UN monitors and further raising fears that the nation would produce nuclear weapons. Missile testing was conducted in 1998, 2006 and April 2009. In October 2006 North Korea announced that it had conducted its first nuclear test. These actions have led to UN and other international sanctions.

Current negotiations, most notably the "Six-Party Talks" involving China, Russia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and the United States, are aimed at bringing about an end to the DPRK nuclear weapons program, in hopes that a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War may finally be agreed upon, paving the way for the opening of diplomatic ties between North Korea and the United States. Unfortunately, in March 2010, a South Korean ship was sunk near the 38th parallel, increasing tensions between North and South Korea. Although North Korea claims not to have attacked the ship, the blame has largely been placed on North Korea.

The death of Kim Jong-Il in late 2011 created a measure of uncertainty during the transfer of power to his son Kim Jong-Un; though the country has appeared to have stabilized since, considerable tensions have occurred intermittently.

Government and politics [ edit ]

North Korea is a totalitarian dictatorship. The government is led by the State Affairs Commission (SAC), which sets national policy and is directly responsible for the military. The supreme leader (Kim Jong-un) is chairman of the SAC, as well as head of the Workers' Party of Korea and several other positions. Atop the administrative branch of the government is the cabinet, which is headed by the premier (like a prime minister).

The cabinet is appointed by the unicameral Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) which heads the legislative branch, although bills are drafted by the Party and the almost 700-person SPA almost always passes them without debate or modification. Moreover, it's in recess all but a few days a year, leaving most authority in the hands of the 15-person Presidium. The judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court, whose three justices are elected, partisan, and accountable to the SPA. The judiciary is not independent and does not have the power to overrule the legislative or executive branches of government, and interference from security forces is a widespread problem.

Despite North Korea's isolation from the rest of the world and its label as the "Hermit Kingdom", it maintains diplomatic relations with 160-170 countries around the globe and is a member of several international organisations, including the World Health Organization. North Korea has cordial relations with its neighbours Russia (the first country to recognise North Korea) and China and several African and Asian nations, and has incredibly tense relations with the United States , Japan , and the European Union .

People [ edit ]

North Korea may be the most ethnically homogeneous nation on earth, with everyone being Korean save for a few hundred foreigners. These foreigners are mostly diplomatic or aid agency workers, along with a small population of Japanese who have Korean ancestry. Almost no South Koreans live in North Korea.

North Korean society is strongly divided and organised along a caste system known as Songbun . Membership of one of three main groups is determined not only by an individual's political, social and economic background, but also that of their family for the previous three generations. Education and professional opportunities are effectively defined by an individual's class.

Climate [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

The climate is generally classed as continental, with rainfall concentrated in summer. Summer months are warm, but winter temperatures can fall as low as -30°C. Late spring droughts are often followed by severe flooding. There are occasional typhoons during the early autumn.

Terrain [ edit ]

Mostly hills and mountains separated by deep, narrow valleys; coastal plains are wide in the west and discontinuous in the east. The mountainous interior is both isolated and sparsely populated.

Read [ edit ]

The Accusation , by Bandi. A collection of short stories, published abroad by a pseudonymous North Korean writer, that are highly critical of the Kim regime and full of piercing insight into its contradictions and cruelties. Uniquely among North Korean dissident literature, they were published with their author still living in the country.

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea , Barbara Demick. An excellent book recounting the lives of six North Koreans who managed to defect and find their way to South Korea. Provides a compelling picture of the miseries and occasional beauty in the lives of ordinary North Koreans during the famine of the 1990s. ISBN 0385523912

Eyes of the Tailless Animals: Prison Memoirs of a North Korean Woman , by Soon Ok Lee. First-hand accounts of the prison system within North Korea

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West , by Blaine Harden. The riveting story of Shin Dong-hyuk, one of the only known surviving escapees of a North Korean prison camp, and his perilous journey out of the country.

Without You There Is No Us , by Suki Kim. A fascinating piece of investigative journalism about teaching English as a foreigner in Pyongyang.

Get in [ edit ]

North Korean entry requirements are perplexing and change frequently without prior warning.

Due to longstanding international sanctions and tensions in the Korean peninsula, you can only enter North Korea from either China or Russia. Generally speaking, most people fly into North Korea from China as Air Koryo, North Korea's national airline, and Air China have regular flights to and from Beijing .

Visas [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

Everyone needs a visa to visit North Korea. Until 2017, citizens of Malaysia and Singapore could enter the country without a visa.

Tourists typically arrange a tourist visa by booking a tour with a travel agency that organises such tours. The travel agencies will usually deal with the visa on their behalf, although in some cases tourists are required to have a short telephone interview with the North Korean embassy to verify their identity and their job. In most cases, the interview is conducted in a friendly manner so it is nothing to be worried about. Visas are often only confirmed on the day before the tour, but rarely will a tourist ever be rejected unless you show that you are of political status or a journalist.

North Korean tourist visas are often issued on a tourist card. If joining a tour group, group visas are often issued on separate sheets of paper containing all the members of the group, attached with a tourist card that bears the name of the tour leader. This visa itself is never held by the tourists, although tourists can ask to take a photo of their visa. In any case, no stamp will be placed in the passport. The only way where a visa and entrance stamp will be stamped on the passport is when the visa is issued within a North Korean embassy in Europe.

Additional restrictions [ edit ]

Journalists or those suspected of being journalists require special permission, which is quite difficult to obtain. North Korea does not allow journalists to visit on a tourist visa.

Citizens of Malaysia were being prevented from leaving North Korea after the March 2017 assassination of Kim Jong-Nam, where Malaysia wanted several North Korean diplomats and nationals for questioning. While restrictions for Malaysians leaving North Korea have now been lifted, the era of visa-free travel between these once relatively 'friendly' countries is over.

Citizens of South Korea are not permitted to enter North Korea unless they have permission from the governments of both the North, for entry, and the South from the Ministry of Unification (통일부). South Korean citizens may face a lengthy prison sentence under the National Security Act (국가보안법) on their return if they do not obtain permission beforehand. South Korean citizens travelling to North Korea on a passport from a different country still risk prosecution.

Contrary to rumour, Israelis and Jewish citizens of other countries do not face any additional restrictions.

Tours [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

North Korea can only be visited by an organised tour, but this can be a large group or a party of one. Prices start from around $1,000 / €700 / £580 for a 5-day group tour including accommodation, meals and transport from Beijing, but can go up considerably if you want to travel around the country or "independently" (as your own one-person escorted group). Tour operators/travel agencies that organise their own tours to North Korea include:

  • Uri Tours Inc. - NYC, US (runs standard and customized tours to the DPRK; also an Air Koryo ticketing agent in the US)
  • Asia Senses Travel Travel & Tour [dead link] - Hanoi, Vietnam
  • DDCTS [dead link] - Dandong, China
  • GLO Travel [dead link] - Hong Kong - largest North Korean tour operator in Hong Kong, clients mostly are from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Overseas Chinese communities. Also organises cultural exchanges, sports events, volunteering and TV programmes on North Korea.
  • INDPRK [dead link] - Zhejiang, China
  • Juche Travel Services - UK, Beijing
  • Koryo Tours and Koryo Group - Beijing, Shanghai, Belgium, UK. Also organises school visits and sports exchanges and has co-produced 3 documentary films about North Korea. English tour only.
  • North Korea Travel - Sheyang, China
  • Young Pioneer Tours - Beijing, China. Offers very low budget tours.
  • Choson Exchange - Singapore, UK & USA. Not a tour agency, rather they provide training in business and entrepreneurship in North Korea to businesswomen, young entrepreneurs and researchers, and bring volunteer/tourists to help them to do so.
  • MBC Travel [dead link] - Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Korea Konsult - Stockholm, Sweden
  • Korea Reisedienst - Hannover, Germany
  • Lupine Travel - Wigan, UK.
  • NoordKorea2GO [dead link] - Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Regent Holidays - Bristol, UK
  • Pyongyang Travel - Berlin, Germany (offers group tours, private tours and New Year's Tours to North Korea)
  • Viajes Pujol - Barcelona, Spain
  • VNC Asia Travel [dead link] - Utrecht, Netherlands
  • Your Planet - Hilversum, Netherlands

No matter which company you decide to book with, all tours are run by the Korean International Travel Company (with the exception of a few, such as Choson Exchange and The Pyongyang Project who both work directly with various government ministries and domestic DPRK NGOs) and it will be their guides who show you around. The average number of tourists per group each company takes will vary considerably so you may want to ask about this before booking a trip.

Most people travelling to North Korea will travel through Beijing and you will probably pick up your visa from there, although some agents arrange their visas elsewhere beforehand though. The North Korean consulate building is separate from the main embassy building at Ritan Lu, and is round the corner at Fangcaodi Xijie. It's open M, W, F 09:30-11:30 & 14:00-17:30; and Tu, Th, Sa 09:30-11:30. Bring your travel permission, US$45 and two passport photos.

Your guides will take your passport and keep it during your stay in North Korea, or at least for the first couple of days of your tour, for "security reasons", or simply because your entry and exit dates must be registered, as noted by the black stamps on the back of your visa or passport. Make sure your passport looks decent and doesn't differ from the most common passports from your country.

Groups such as Choson Exchange bring volunteers (or tourists) to participate in teaching workshops on business and entrepreneurship to businesswomen, young entrepreneurs and researchers, after which volunteers tour relevant sites in North Korea. Such volunteers travel on an official visa, rather than a tourist visa.

  • Choson Exchange - Singapore, UK & USA. A social enterprise providing training in business and entrepreneurship in North Korea to businesswomen, young entrepreneurs and researchers, and bring volunteer/tourists to help them to do so.

The Korean Demilitarized Zone [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

The Panmunjom Joint Security Area is the only place in North Korea that can be visited from the South by regular tourists. This is the jointly controlled truce village in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas.

If you are not prepared to accept strict limitations on your movement in North Korea, visiting the Korean Demilitarized Zone from the South is a better option.

Group bus tours to Kaesong and Kumgangsan in North Korea from the South have been suspended indefinitely after a South Korean tourist was shot dead by a North Korean guard in 2008. It is unclear when services will resume.

By plane [ edit ]

All international flights go through Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport ( FNJ  IATA ). No other North Korean airport handles international flights. Only two commercial airlines fly to Sunan: Air Koryo, the national North Korean airline, and Air China. As of August 2013 neither Aeroflot nor China Southern Airlines fly to North Korea.

Air Koryo [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

North Korea's sole airline, Air Koryo [dead link] , has scheduled flights from Beijing, which depart at 11:30 every Tuesday and Saturday, and return from Pyongyang at 09:00 on the same days. Air Koryo also flies to and from Shenyang every Wednesday and Saturday, and to Vladivostok every Tuesday morning.

Air Koryo was the only 1-star (worst) airline on Skytrax's list, a distinction it held for many years. It had been banned in the EU due to concerns over safety. Although Air Koryo last experienced a fatal accident back in 1983, the airline only operates a handful of flights with its fleet of 10 aircraft. The main reason for flying Air Koryo is the experience: otherwise, it's probably better to fly Air China. The Air Koryo fleet consists entirely of Soviet or Russian-made aircraft, with the pride of their fleet being two Tupolev Tu-204s, which now usually handle the core Beijing–Pyongyang route as well as the Pyongyang-Shenyang route. Otherwise, you'll most likely end up on one of their Ilyushin IL-62-Ms (1979-1988 vintage), Tupolev Tu-154s or Tupolev Tu-134s.

Air China [ edit ]

Air China , a member of the Star Alliance, flies three times weekly from Beijing to Pyongyang using Boeing 737s. Air China is preferred by most to Air Koryo due to its far more modern fleet.

By train [ edit ]

Train K27/K28 connects Pyongyang to Beijing in China via Tianjin , Tangshan , Beidaihe, Shanhaiguan , Jinzhou , Shenyang, Benxi , Fenghuangcheng, Dandong and Sinuiju four times a week. There is only one class on the international train between Beijing and Pyongyang: soft sleeper. It can be booked at the station in Beijing, but reservations must be made several days in advance. Your tour agency will usually do this for you, unless you are travelling on work purposes. It has been increasingly difficult to book space on the Beijing–Pyongyang route, so confirm your tickets well in advance.

Once a week train K27/K28 also conveys direct sleeping cars from Moscow via China to Pyongyang and vice versa. The route is Moscow - Novosibirsk - Irkutsk - Chita - Harbin - Shenyang - Dandong - Shinuiju - Pyongyang . Departure from Moscow is every Friday evening, arrival at Pyongyang is one week later on Friday evening. Departure from Pyongyang is Saturday morning, arrival in Moscow is Friday afternoon.

Some agents (eg Lupine Travel) prefer to cross the border from Dandong in China to Sinuiju by minibus and then board a domestic North Korean train to Pyongyang. Usually you will be seated in a hard seat carriage with KPA soldiers and party workers travelling with their families. There is access to a restaurant car which stocks imported beers (Heineken) and soft drinks as well as some local beers and spirits. This train supposedly takes only 4 hours to Pyongyang but has been known to take 14. If travelling in winter be prepared for temperatures inside the carriages as low as -10°C.

There is also a direct rail link from Russia into North Korea. This route is the Rossiya Trans-Siberian train between Moscow and Vladivostok, with the Korea coaches detached at Ussuriysk. From there it's six hours to the border at Tumangan, with a five hour wait, then a 24-hour haul to Pyongyang. It runs weekly, but as a through-train only twice monthly (11th and 25th from Moscow), arriving Pyongyang 9 days later. This route used to be closed to Westerners, but as of 2018 it's available, providing you've got the correct visa and other paperwork.

By boat [ edit ]

There was an unscheduled cargo-passenger ship between Wonsan and Niigata , Japan. Only available for use by some Japanese and North Korean nationals, the boat service has been suspended indefinitely due to North Korea's reported nuclear testing; Japan has banned all North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports, and has banned North Koreans from entering the country. Be careful about getting too close to the North Korean border in a boat; many South Korean fishermen are still waiting to leave North Korea.

Besides the unscheduled ferry there is also a cruise ship that operates between the coast of Northeastern China, and Mt Kumgang. Jointly operated by China and North Korea, the cruise line uses a 40-year-old ship. The cruise trip is 22 hr long at each leg, and is 44 hr long in total but non-Chinese citizens are not permitted on the cruise to Mount Kumgang.

By bus [ edit ]

A bus is available from Dandong, China, across the Yalu River to Sinuiju . It's run by the "Dandong China Travel Company" but is only open to Chinese citizens. The bus drive from Dandong over the Sino-Korea Friendship Bridge (the same bridge over the Yalu river that the trains take).

Get around [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

All your transport needs will be dealt with by your tour company. Most of the time this means buses, although tour groups visiting remote sites (e.g. Paekdusan , Mount Chilbo) occasionally use chartered flights by Air Koryo. Wandering around on your own is not allowed, and you are required to have a guide to escort you at all times.

A carefully stage-managed one-station ride on the Pyongyang metro is included on the itinerary of most trips to Pyongyang, but use of any other form of local public transport is generally impossible. Some tours also include a train ride from Pyongyang to the border city of Sinuiju, in which you can stop over in Sinuiju for a 1-day tour, though this option is not available to U.S. citizens.

If travelling in a small enough group it is also possible to organise a walk through some areas of Pyongyang with some travel agents (Koryo).

Talk [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

The official language is Korean . North Koreans are quite picky about referring to Korean as chosŏn-mal (조선말), not hangugeo . The language is rather drastically different from any Western language in its grammar, and pronunciation is rather difficult for the English speaker to get right (though not tonal). It has various dialects; standard North Korean (문화어 munhwaŏ ) is ostensibly based on the Pyong'an dialect spoken in Pyongyang, but in reality is still deeply rooted in the Seoul dialect which was the standard before Korea was split.

The Korean writing system is deceptively simple. Although it looks at first glance to be as complex as Chinese or Japanese, it is a unique and simple alphabetic writing system called chosŏn'gŭl by North Koreans, and hangul (한글 hangeul ) by the rest of the world, where letters are stacked up into blocks that represent syllables. It was designed by a committee and looks like simple lines, boxes and little circles, but it is remarkably consistent, logical and quick to pick up. A document from 1446 describing hangul said that "A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days."

Essentially all sources for learning Korean abroad will teach South Korean, which does have slightly different usage: some letters have different names, the sorting order is different, and there are some minor differences in pronunciation and spelling.

Unlike South Korea, North Korea has completely abolished Chinese hanja characters and uses chosŏn'gŭl characters exclusively.

North Korea uses its own unique system for romanization of Korean, which is mostly similar to the older McCune–Reischauer system. In South Korea and the rest of the world, Revised Romanization is more common.

Most guides will speak fairly decent English (some better than others) and will translate for you. Some guides can also speak Mandarin, German, Russian, Japanese and Spanish.

There is no law preventing citizens of the DPRK from interacting with tourists, although locals are often discouraged from speaking with foreigners and language can prove to be an additional barrier. A visit to the DPRK around their holidays may give you more of a chance to interact with the locals.

North Korea has its own sign language, which is not mutually intelligible with Korean Sign Language as used in South Korea; it's unclear if it's related to any other sign languages, or how widespread it is.

See [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

All tours are accompanied by a government minder, who will decide what you can and cannot see. From the moment you leave your hotel, expect to be accompanied by one or more minders. Besides ensuring that tourists do not stray outside of the designated tourist areas, their jobs include inspecting any photographs which they think do not portray North Korea or its government in a good light, and ordering photographers to delete them. It is generally advisable to listen to what your minder is saying, and agree with it.

It is always recommended that if you are uncertain about taking pictures anywhere, ask your guide, though allowances seem to vary wildly. You may get a guide that is relatively relaxed and will allow you to take pictures from a bus or within a city. On the other hand, you may get one that will strictly adhere to controlling where you take pictures restricting anything taken from a tour bus or of certain areas, like Pyongyang's city streets, in general. There is simply no way to tell until you are actually on a tour. If you think a particular photograph might be embarrassing to the DPRK in general, ask or simply don't risk taking it at all.

Photography of military personnel is also generally prohibited. Again, if in doubt, ask your guide. However, there are instances where it is impossible not to photograph certain sites without including a few military personnel within the picture such as at Mansudae (the monument site for the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il) or at a local funfair. Reactions seem to vary between being ignored to curiosity, although you will be told where taking pictures is strictly prohibited (such as at certain areas of the DMZ), and the guards/soldiers there will react unfavourably to being photographed in general. Other areas where photographs are prohibited include the interior of the Friendship Exhibition, which displays gifts from around the world to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, and within the Kumsusan Memorial Palace. If you leave the country via train (to Beijing ) your camera will likely be checked for unfavorable photos by the guards.

The majority of sightseeing consists of visits to various war memorials, monuments to the Great Leader and the Workers Party of Korea, and numerous museums (mostly war-related, like the statues and monuments). The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a popular destination for most tour groups in North Korea.

Whilst you are in North Korea, the prevailing viewpoint places blame on the Americans for starting the Korean War; disagreeing with this position is likely to cause problems for both you and your guide, particularly as the two Koreas are still legally at war with only a cease-fire between them. Despite its misleading name, the DMZ is heavily guarded and dotted with minefields and other booby-traps. Under no circumstances should you stray from your group, or take any photographs of military installations. However, the "peace village" Panmunjom may be photographed, and boasts the world's third tallest flagpole.

Whilst on these guided tours, especially to the state museums and monuments, you will undoubtedly endure an ongoing barrage of propaganda, consisting largely of anecdotes about things that Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il did for their country. Some of these claims may seem bizarre and even amusing to the outsider; however, a straight face is generally advisable. It is generally safest to at least appear to take everything they say seriously, even if it contradicts everything you were ever taught in history class or defies even the most basic human reasoning.

Sights [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

So, with all this practical information being said, what are the places to go? A good part of the important attractions you'll be shown are in Pyongyang . There's the large Kim Il-sung Square , where the famously grand military parades take place. Even without the parades, though, it's an impressive square, and on it is the Grand People’s Study House . This gigantic library and learning centre is home to over 30 million books and a modern system of conveyor belts to get you the one you need. Also on the square are two museums, of which — the Korean National Art Gallery — is the more interesting one. The other great landmark of the nation's capital is its Triumphal Arch . Slightly bigger than its Parisian counterpart, it is in fact the largest arch of its kind in the world. Another landmark you'll be proudly shown are the large bronze statues of the Great Leader and Kim Jong-il . Respectfully join the locals in their serious undertakings to honour the statues, which are a key element of the devotion cult around the national leaders. For a better chance of some casual conversations with locals, try the pleasant Pyongyang zoo . Take a daytrip to the birthplace of the Great Leader in Mangyongdae and of course, visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where both the previous Kims' embalmed bodies are on display.

No trip to North Korea is complete without an extensive glance at the uneasy and heavily fortified border stand-off at Panmunjeom , or the Joint Security Area. Not far from here is the town of Kaesong , with a lovely old town and the UNESCO -listed tomb of King Kongmin . For stunning natural sights, try reaching Kumgangsan , or the Diamond Mountains , where you'll find beautiful vistas, waterfalls, lakes and ancient Buddhist temples .

Do [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

As mentioned above, there is very little to do beyond the watchful eye of your designated minders, with most recreational activity taking place within the confines of the tourist resorts. Bowling and karaoke are among the latest additions to its surprising plethora of recreational activities. The karaoke videos are often accompanied by dramatic historical footage of the Korean War, or goose-stepping People's Army soldiers.

North Korea has three amusement parks, two of which are abandoned due to mutual lack of interest and electricity. The Kaeson Youth Fair has now closed, taking the infamous "Roller Coaster of Death" along with it. Still visible are the shooting-galleries with backdrops of snarling American and Japanese soldiers; however, it is unlikely that your guide will let you venture into any abandoned areas. The one remaining amusement park contains some rides which are actually quite modern and non-lethal, at least by North Korean standards, and is about as worthy of a visit as everything else you'll see whilst in North Korea.

The nightlife in Pyongyang is remarkably safe and non-violent, compared to the capitals of other nations (except maybe Reykjavík in Iceland ); in general, the civilians are not a threat. The plain-clothes secret police, however, may or may not be a threat, depending on what you say or do. The North Korean definition of popular music is at least two decades behind the rest of the world; expect an onslaught of 1980s hits from the West (some obviously are unauthorized copies, to judge by the quality), punctuated by the eerie caterwauling of Korean folk songs, and at least try to look enthusiastic about the whole scene.

Finally, power cuts may hit without warning in the middle of any activity. Whilst you might welcome this if the jukebox is starting to get to you, this is not a desirable outcome if you are in the middle of an amusement-park ride, particularly as these blackouts can last for hours at a time.

The Masikryong ski resort, North Korea's only ski resort, opened in winter 2013. Located near the western city of Wonsan, a visit to the resort may be included as part of a wider DPRK tour.

Buy [ edit ]

Money [ edit ].

The currency is the North Korean won , denoted by the symbol ₩ (ISO code: KPW ) and not typically available to foreigners, except some old North Korean won sold as souvenirs. The only places where tourists are allowed to obtain and spend North Korean won are at the Kwangbok Supermarket, which is included in some tours of Pyongyang , and in the Rason Special Economic Zone. Black market exchange rates (especially in far northern Korea, near the Chinese border) may easily be 20 times the official rate, but importing or exporting Korean won is strictly forbidden. North Korean won is practically worthless outside the country but can make unique souvenirs.

Foreigners are expected to use euros or as an alternative Chinese renminbi, US dollars or Japanese yen. Currency handling is often bizarre, with a frequent lack of change and a number of rule-of-thumb conversions leading to highly unorthodox transactions, so be sure to bring lots of small change. On a typical tour most expenses such as hotel, transportation, and meals will have been paid in advance, and therefore your only expenses may be bottled water, souvenirs, snacks, drinks at the bars, laundry at the hotel and tips for your guides.

In any case, the only shops you will be likely allowed to visit are the state-run souvenir shops at your hotel and at the various tourist attractions. It is generally not possible to visit a real local shop which serves the local population, though you might get lucky asking your guide if he/she trusts you enough. Some tours include a visit to a department store.

Souvenirs [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

There are numerous hard-currency-only souvenir shops at tourist sites. Interesting souvenirs include propaganda books and videos, postcards and postage stamps. At some tourist sites (such as King Kongmin's tomb), you can purchase freshly finished paintings with your name and the artist's name at the bottom.

You can buy postcards and send them to people in any country except South Korea. Stamps would make wonderful souvenirs.

Literature is revered in North Korean society, in due large part to the fact that the government regularly promotes views that present them in a good light, i.e. propaganda. Writers in North Korea are held in high prestige. Sure, North Korean books may be full of views and perspectives promoting the government, but they will allow you to be further exposed to the world's most secretive, isolated country and better understand the thoughts and views of the government, the Workers' Party of Korea, Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-il, and Kim Jong-un. A book from North Korea would make a good souvenir from the country.

Some excellent paintings on silk or linen have been available in Kaesong directly from the artist. Haggling for better prices is not permitted but the prices are very low.

Note: South Korean law criminalizes the possession and importation of North Korean "propaganda". It is advised to avoid bringing your North Korean souvenirs with you if you go to South Korea.

Costs [ edit ]

Most costs are included as part of your tour. Most sights have a shop associated with them where you can buy bottled water, souvenirs and snacks. These are reasonably priced. In September 2017, large bottles of local beer cost US$2 at the hotel bars in Pyongyang. €200 for one week should be enough to cover your costs of water, drinks at the bars, souvenirs and tips for the guides.

Eat [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

As with most other aspects of visiting North Korea, catering is usually organized in advance as part of your tour. Vegetarians and people with food allergies or dislikes of common foods such as seafood or eggs will need to make arrangements in advance. A visit to a "real" local restaurant may be possible; inquire with your guide. Shortages of supplies, combined with the typical use of Korean cooking styles, mean that there is a relatively limited variety of food — and this can get wearying on tours of more than a few days.

There are a few Western food options now in Pyongyang and these restaurants can usually be visited if arranged with the guides in advance. They will usually require additional payment though, unless you have discussed this already with your tour operator, as the costs are not included in the per diem fee charged by the Korean Travel Company. There are two Italian restaurants (one on Kwangbok Street which is near the Korean circus where the pizza is great, and they have imported a pizza oven and all the ingredients so the quality is very high; and one near the USS Pueblo ) and two burger restaurants (the more accessible is in the Youth Hotel). Both are inexpensive and do inject some flavor onto a generally lackluster eating scene, especially on long tours. Visit the Vienna coffee house, which is on the river side of Kim Jong Il square, for a good coffee similar to those common in Europe.

Drink [ edit ]

The local speciality is insam-ju , Korean vodka infused with ginseng roots.

Locally made Taedonggang beer is very good. The brewery was purchased from Ushers in the UK and physically moved to Pyongyang, and some of the soju are not bad either. Local alcohol is inexpensive; a 650 ml bottle of beer is €0.50. Imported beers, such as Heineken, are also available at similar prices. However do not get drunk and cause trouble. Toe the line and show respect, or you and your guide will face serious penalties.

It is advisable to stick to bottled water for drinking as the tap water is not always properly treated.

north korean tourist attractions

Sleep [ edit ]

This is likely to be your principal expense while in North Korea. You may only stay at "designated tourist hotels", for which you will need to pay in hard currency. There may be discounts if you ask for lower class accommodation, if you are travelling as part of a group, or if it is low season (November – March). Costs for your tour, which will include accommodation, all sightseeing activities and meals, will range from US$70 to US$200 a day, depending on these factors.

Usually you pay for all your meals, hotel and Beijing–Pyongyang journey to your tour operator before you leave. One week in high season at a four-star hotel will then cost something between €1,300 and €1,600, depending on your tour operator, but might get as low as €800 for one week.

Learn [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

It's difficult to ascertain the full scope of the North Korean education system, since very few foreigners, if any, take advantage of learning opportunities in the country. The vast majority of foreign students in North Korea are normally exchange students and typically come here to study the Korean language.

The Kim Il-Sung University is North Korea's most prestigious university and has exchange programmes with several universities in China , Russia , and Germany . The university has educated 5,000 students from nearly 30 countries since 1955.

The North Korean government has set up a website where you can freely download books published in North Korea. This will allow you to learn something new about North Korea.

Yanbian University , in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in northeastern China is closely affiliated with other universities in North Korea and can offer relevant courses for learning about North Korea.

Work [ edit ]

If you are interested in teaching in North Korea, you may find success by contacting the North Korean UN Mission in New York, or contacting a North Korean university directly. Your odds of success are, however, quite low: there is only a small team of 4 English Language Instructors dealing with teaching and teacher training, with a Project Manager leading the team of three, placed in Kim Il Sung University, Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies and Kim Hyung Jik University of Education.

There is an opportunity to teach in the Pyongyang Summer Institute during summer time when it is opened to foreigners. It's voluntary, unpaid work, though.

Stay safe [ edit ]

At first, you may feel scared and intimidated by being in an authoritarian country like North Korea. You may even feel uneasy or outright anxious. As a tourist, you're not expected to know every single law and rule in North Korea. So long as you listen to your tour guide(s) and respect local customs, you have nothing to worry about.

North Korea is an authoritarian dictatorship and is generally considered to have the worst human rights record in the world . The authorities are very touchy, and you need to watch what you say and how you say it. Just do what the guides do, praise every stop on your tour, and remember the rule, "If you have nothing good to say, don't say anything at all."

The official policy is that you are not to wander around on your own . You are expected to get permission and/or have a guide accompany you if you leave your hotel alone. This will vary depending on what hotel you are in. The Yanggakdo Hotel is on an island in the middle of the Pyongyang's Taedong River. Therefore you can walk around the area a little more freely than at the Koryo Hotel in the centre of town. You should always be friendly and courteous to your guides and driver, who will usually reciprocate by trusting you more and giving you more freedom.

Photography [ edit ]

When taking photographs , exercise restraint, caution and common sense. If you appear to be looking for negative images of North Korea, the guides will not be happy and will tell you to delete any questionable images. In particular, you should not take photos of anything depicting the military, including personnel, or anything showing the DPRK in a bad light.

Your photographic freedom can largely depend on the type of guides you are assigned and your rapport with them. In a best-case scenario, you can often take pictures without feeling as if you're trying to sneak them by anyone and without pressure capturing some truly unique images. If you are in an area prohibiting picture taking, you will also be informed of this, and it is best to follow your guide's direction. When in doubt, always ask. Your guide might even want to try out your camera and take a picture of you for your collection.

In a worst-case scenario, you can be expected to raise your camera at a reasonable speed, compose and take the picture, and lower the camera at a reasonable speed. Don't try to take pictures of anything that you have been told not to, such as military personnel or certain locales. This may call attention to yourself and the image you are trying to take and can result, whether justified or not, in your being told to delete the image.

Digital cameras are commonly inspected when leaving the country by train. A simple workaround is to leave a memory card with innocuous snaps in the camera and file away any cards with ideologically dubious content.

Korean nationals [ edit ]

If you are Korean or have ties to Korea – such as having a Korean parent, being married to a Korean, or being of Korean descent – you should carefully consider your decision to visit North Korea. You could easily arouse suspicion from the authorities.

Politics [ edit ]

Visitors have also been targeted for political reasons; in 2013, an 85-year-old American citizen was arrested, briefly incarcerated and expelled by the DPRK because of his military service during the Korean War.

Illegal substances [ edit ]

Drug trafficking and the consumption of narcotics can be punishable by death in North Korea. Although Marijuana is said to be found growing freely alongside the road in North Korea, its possession and consumption is illegal; in 2017, the Swedish Ambassador to North Korea stated that marijuana was illegal, and anyone caught using the drug could "expect no leniency whatsoever".

Religious activity [ edit ]

It is strongly recommended that you avoid bringing religious texts or performing any religious activity . In 2012, Kenneth Bae, an American Christian missionary, was arrested for his religious activities in North Korea and was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour (however, he was released nine months later). Another American, Jeffrey Fowle, was arrested for leaving a Bible at a North Korean nightclub and spent six months in a North Korean jail.

Emergency numbers [ edit ]

  • From a fixed-line phone: 119
  • From a mobile phone: 112

For medical emergencies in Pyongyang, dial 02 382-7688 locally.

Stay healthy [ edit ]

Drinking water in North Korea is apparently untreated and there are reports of foreigners being hospitalized in the DPRK after drinking the water; therefore, sticking to bottled water is highly recommended.

Medical facilities are clean although very outdated. If you fall ill then you might be better off going to China for medical treatment. Contact your embassy or consulate in North Korea (if your country has one) for assistance.

Respect [ edit ]

north korean tourist attractions

North and South Koreans share a common culture; you may find the various respect tips in the South Korea article to be of help.

Tour conduct [ edit ]

Your tour guide in North Korea is your best friend. They will do their best to explain the rules and what is expected from you. If a guide tells you not to do something, listen to them . If you're not sure about something, ask. That said, you should refrain from discussing sensitive subjects such as politics, economic systems, and human rights.

Any time you engage in unbecoming conduct, your guide will be blamed for being unable to control you, and they will be penalised for your misbehaviour. Always think before you act, and think before you speak; future tourists could face restrictions on what they can do in the country because of your behaviour.

Consider giving small gifts like cigarettes, skin creams, and so on to your guides. This will garner respect from the guides and depending on how well you conduct yourself, they may even take you to places and events in North Korea they wouldn't usually go to.

Although there are many terrific photo opportunities in North Korea, the DPRK has stringent photography laws. This largely depends on what guide you've been assigned. Do not take photographs of anything of strategic importance (i.e. places with soldiers/police officers, etc.), photographs that negatively portray the country, and things you've been told not to photograph. The North Korean authorities take these rules very seriously.

Sensitive issues [ edit ]

The government of the DPRK — in particular the leaders Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un — are, at least publicly, very highly revered in North Korean culture. While slavish devotion is not expected from tourists, any form of disrespect — such as criticisms or insults — towards the Kim dynasty, the Workers' Party of Korea, the North Korean government, Songun, and Juche is taken very seriously and severely punished. Keep your personal views about them to yourself.

Do not crumple, desecrate, inappropriately use, tamper with, or mishandle anything — this applies to newspapers, books, stamps, postcards, political posters, and money — bearing the names and images of the North Korean government, Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il, and Kim Jong-un. This is tantamount to treason, for which you can be severely punished.

It is advisable to refer to North Korea as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the official name for the country. When speaking Korean, South Korea should be referred to as "South Chosun" (남조선/南朝鮮) instead of "Hanguk" (한국/韓國).

For self-explanatory reasons, avoid praising South Korea , as doing so would attract unwanted attention from the North Korean authorities, and may invite more trouble than what's it worth. That said, do not criticize South Korea either, as they are still regarded as "brother Koreans", and you are a foreigner. For similar reasons, avoid praising the United States and Japan − both countries are considered adversaries of North Korea.

Most, if not all, tour groups to the DPRK are asked to solemnly bow and lay flowers on one or two occasions in front of statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il when visiting monuments of national importance. If you are not prepared to do this, you should not visit North Korea. When photographing statues, especially Mansudae, you are required to get the entire statue in the picture. Formal dress is also expected at important monuments such as Mansudae or visiting the Kumsusang Memorial Palace.

Religion [ edit ]

North Korea is officially atheist. The regime promotes a national philosophy of self-reliance called Juche (주체) which some would categorize as a quasi-religion that pervades all aspects of life in the country. As a tourist, you will not be expected to observe this, although you must always be respectful towards symbols of Juche which are often the images of past and present leaders Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un.

Other religions such as Christianity and Buddhism are vigorously suppressed in practice with severe punishment being given to followers. You should refrain from any religious discussions during your time in North Korea, and be aware that any form of religious proselytizing is dealt with very seriously by the regime, with foreign missionaries having previously been sentenced to life imprisonment in labor camps. With this in mind, be careful of performing even personal religious rituals or bringing religious items into the country and preferably do not do so at all.

Connect [ edit ]

By phone [ edit ].

For international calls to North Korea, the country code is +850 . Some phone numbers (mostly faxes) can be called directly from abroad; most other calls will need to go through the international operator service on +850-2-18111.

International calling is generally possible via landlines in hotels, though it is expensive (€2 per minute as of Feb 2012) and all calls are likely recorded and monitored.

Local calls need elusive 10 chon coins when calling from call boxes, but can also be made from hotels and post offices.

Additionally, your phone calls may be heavily monitored, so you should be careful of what you talk about in phone calls that you make in North Korea.

Mobile phones [ edit ]

As of January 2013, you are allowed to carry a mobile phone from outside the country into North Korea. You will not be able to use your current SIM card in North Korea, however. The only network you are allowed to connect to is the local network, Koryolink, via one of their SIM cards. Your phone must be a 3G WCDMA phone which can connect to the 2100MHz 3G frequency band.

A 3G mobile phone network (Koryolink) was introduced in Pyongyang in 2008 and now covers the 42 largest cities. It is widely used by locals who can afford it and by long-staying foreigners who file an application. SIM cards and phones can be purchased at the International Communication Center, No.2 Pothonggang-dong in Pothonggang District, opposite the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium, as well as at Pyongyang airport and some hotels. As of 25 Feb 2013, 3G mobile internet via Koryolink is available to foreigners, although pricing is unknown. Bear in mind that these SIM cards will only let you call internationally and to a very small number of internationally-enabled phones in North Korea. There are three plans you can choose from for your SIM card:

  • Purchase a prepaid SIM card for €50. This gives you the SIM card to keep indefinitely for return visits, and includes a small amount (less than €30) of calling credit.
  • Rent a prepaid SIM card for two weeks for €50. This includes €30 of calling credit.
  • Rent a prepaid SIM card for one month for €75. This includes €55 of calling credit.

Calling rates are as follows:

  • China and South-East Asia: €1.43 per minute.
  • Russia: €0.68 per minute.
  • France and Switzerland: €0.38 per minute.
  • U.K. and Germany: €1.58 per minute.

By Internet [ edit ]

Internet facilities are limited to a very few North Koreans with appropriate privileges to use it. For foreigners, most of the larger hotels have Internet access available, but this needs to be applied for some days in advance. Advise your tour operator or inviting party of your requirements well ahead of time so that access permission can be arranged. There are no public internet cafés or business centres with web access in the hotels. Mobile internet is available via Koryolink's 3G network (see above) using a local SIM card, but details about this are scarce. Also, even if you have Internet access, your traffic will probably be monitored. There is very little Internet connectivity in North Korea; the little that exists is routed through mainland China and risks heavy censorship by that country's Golden Shield Project, the " Great Firewall of China ".

Cope [ edit ]

There is a growing diplomatic presence of foreign embassies in Pyongyang . Find out beforehand which country can assist you in case of an emergency, such as a medical condition or a police incident.

Sweden serves as the protecting power for American, Australian, and Canadian travellers in North Korea, so these visitors may be able to obtain limited consular services from the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang. American nationals are not allowed by the U.S. Department of State to visit North Korea, although if you must then it is still recommended to notify (by email) the Swedish embassy of your visit to North Korea, as well as to inform the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, particularly if your trip to North Korea entails passing through China.

The British embassy offers consular services to Commonwealth citizens who do not have representation through other countries, except for Singaporeans and Tanzanians, whose governments have opted out of this arrangement.

Media [ edit ]

Foreign media outlets and newspapers are banned by the North Korean government; you may only access media outlets and newspapers owned and operated by the North Korean government.

You can expect to come across fringe and controversial views of the United States , Japan , South Korea , Israel , and Western culture in North Korean media. For example, one article published in the Pyongyang Times claimed that the United States is the world's "worst democracy strangler". Putting this aside, exposing yourself to North Korean media is an excellent way to understand how things are in the world's most secretive country, the views of the North Korean government, and what people are exposed to over here.

  • Korean Central News Agency . The state news agency of North Korea. Available in Korean, Russian, English, Mandarin, Japanese, and Spanish.  

north korean tourist attractions

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World Travel Guide

Landmarks, Attractions and Places of Interest in North Korea

Tuchman Travel Guide

Updated on: February 15, 2023

Landmarks, Attractions and Places of Interest in North Korea

What to visit in North Korea

is a country full of sights to behold. From the grandeur of its monuments and monuments, to the bustling streets and breathtaking landscapes, North Korea has something for everyone. From its ancient Buddhist temples to modern cities, there are many landmarks and attractions that will take your breath away. Historical sites like The Grand Monument in Pyongyang offer a glimpse into the past while modern marvels like Juche Tower provide spectacular views of the city below. Experience traditional Korean culture at places such as Kaesong Folk Village or explore nature at Mount Kumgang National Park with stunning scenery amongst lush forests and rivers. Whether you

  • Overview of North Korea
  • : Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
  • Mount Kumgang
  • Kaesong City Wall
  • Pyongyang Grand Theatre
  • Arch of Triumph
  • Weather in North Korea
  • Food and Cuisine in North Korea
  • Hotels North Korea
  • Reviews and Stories from North Korea
  • 1. Are there any good hotels in North Korea?
  • 2. What are the living conditions like for tourists staying in North Korea?
  • 3. Is it safe to stay in a hotel in North Korea?
  • 4. How much does it cost to stay at a hotel in North Korea?
  • 5. Are there restrictions on where foreigners can visit when they stay at a hotel in North Korea?

There are so many things to see and do in North Korea, Asia we couldn’t list them all but we want to highlight 5 popular places in North Korea to give you a feel of the country. If you think we have missed anything major or if your favourite thing to do in North Korea is missing let us know and we would be happy to add it to our travel guide.

Place of interest in Pyongyang

  • : Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in North Korea
  • Mount Kumgang in North Korea
  • Kaesong City Wall in North Korea
  • Pyongyang Grand Theatre in North Korea
  • Arch of Triumph in North Korea

: Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in North Korea – : Kumsusan Palace of the Sun is an impressive and historically significant attraction. Located in Pyongyang, it is the final resting place of two North Korean leaders – Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. It was built in 1976 as a memorial for the former leader and has since become one of the most important sites in North Korea. The palace is surrounded by a large plaza with fountains, which leads up to its main entrance – guarded by soldiers from all four branches of the military. Inside, visitors can find several monuments dedicated to both past and current leaders along with some interesting artifacts on display like furniture, gifts and documents related

Mount Kumgang in North Korea – Mount Kumgang is a must-see for any traveler looking to explore the history and culture of South Korea. Located just over 3 miles from downtown Kaesong, this wall is one of the oldest structures in Asia still standing today. It was built in 1393 as part of King Taejo’s fortress city during the Joseon Dynasty.

This massive structure stretches nearly 4 miles long and stands 10 feet tall with 12 ramparts along its length. The walls are made up of granite blocks that are beautifully preserved after centuries of wear and tear. Visitors can tour the length of it on foot or take a

Kaesong City Wall in North Korea – Kaesong City Wall in Pyongyang is a majestic monument dedicated to the Korean War. Located in the heart of Pyongyang, this arch stands at 60 meters tall and features two immense granite pillars with a brickwork archway between them. The Arch was built in 1982 to commemorate the victory over Japanese forces during World War II, and it has become one of North Korea’s most iconic landmarks.

The best time to visit this landmark would be during spring or autumn since those seasons offer mild temperatures and clear skies for beautiful views of the area. During these times, visitors can also take part in special ceremonies honoring fallen soldiers

Pyongyang Grand Theatre in North Korea – Minar-e-Pakistan to their lives.

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun is open to visitors year-round and can be easily reached within an hour’s drive from central Pyongyang. The best time to visit is during summer, when the weather is milder and there are fewer crowds. When visiting, visitors must wear appropriate clothing such as dress pants or skirt for women and a jacket or suit for men – this applies even if it’s hot outside! Photography inside the palace is strictly forbidden but outside you may take pictures with permission from guards at certain points. All in all, Kumsus

Arch of Triumph in North Korea -Arch of Triumph cable car to the top for a spectacular view.

The best time to visit Mount Kumgang is during the summer months when temperatures are mild and comfortable. The views of the surrounding countryside are especially breathtaking in the warm evening light. Be sure to bring a camera along so you can capture all of its beauty! There is also an outdoor museum near the wall which showcases artifacts from various eras throughout its history. Additionally, there are several restaurants nearby where you can enjoy traditional Korean cuisine while enjoying stunning views of this impressive landmark.

Weather North Korea

When booking a holiday in North Korea one of the main things to look at is what the weather will be like when you get there. Due to these common weather questions, we have created a separate page talking about what the Whats the weather like in North Korea? .  This included a month-by-month breakdown of what the weather is like and questions travellers have had regarding the climate.

Food North Korea

The second biggest concern I and my team have when we travel is what will we eat! I am a big foodie and love to try everything I can the more unique the better. If you want to find out more about the type of food and cuisine in North Korea check out the food page ( Whats the food like in North Korea? )

Hotels in North Korea

Finally, after reading about North Korea’s weather, food, and tourist destinations, you might want to spend some time reading about the best hotels in North Korea . Hotel information is always changing so please let us know if any of our reviews need updating and please feel free to share your stories and reviews from hotels you visit in both North Korea to help others on their travels. Also, feel to check out our hotel map from to quickly find a hotel in North Korea

The Capitol of North Korea is Pyongyang

When heading off to a country for the first time it’s always a good idea to read up on the capital city. and we have prepared a short guide about the captiol Pyongyang to get you started.

Stories and Reviews from Our Team/Clients in North Korea

North Korea is a fascinating place to visit and the food is one of its best attractions. As a tourist, I had the chance to experience some of the local cuisine and it was truly amazing!

The first dish I tried was Pyongyang Naengmyeon—a noodle dish that originates in North Korea’s capital city. This traditional cold buckwheat noodle soup has been enjoyed in North Korea for centuries and consists of thin noodles served with slices of cucumbers, boiled eggs, carrots, meat or fish among other ingredients. It was absolutely delicious; the combination of flavors were unique but incredibly tasty

Do you have a story to share about a visit to Pyongyang or North Korea? We would love to hear about it and add it here! Please feel free to comment at the bottom of this page or fill in our contact form .

Frequently Asked Questions About  Pyongyang, North Korea

Here at Tuchman Travel Guide, we are always trying to help if you have a question about an upcoming trip that our site does not answer just leave a comment below and we will try to get back in touch ASAP!

1. Are there any good hotels in North Korea? – Yes, North Korea has some wonderful hotels located within its borders. From luxurious five star resorts to smaller boutique stays, you can find the perfect place for your stay. Many of the hotels offer breathtaking views and all have modern amenities to make your visit complete. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or just a comfortable place to relax, North Korean hotels are sure to provide an unforgettable experience!

2. What are the living conditions like for tourists staying in North Korea? – Staying in North Korea as a tourist is an experience unlike any other. The living conditions are quite different than what I’m used to back home – the infrastructure and amenities are not as modern or advanced. You’ll find that electricity may be limited, internet access can be slow, and there’s usually no air conditioning available. Despite these inconveniences, however, you’ll still find plenty of comfort in the local hospitality and friendly atmosphere.

3. Is it safe to stay in a hotel in North Korea? – It’s hard to say if it is safe to stay in a hotel in North Korea. The country has very strict laws and regulations, so travelers must be aware of the potential risks. It’s best to do your research beforehand and make sure you understand all the rules and customs before making any decisions about staying in a hotel.

4. How much does it cost to stay at a hotel in North Korea? – Staying at a hotel in North Korea can be quite costly, as the cost of living is high and foreign exchange rates are often unfavorable. Prices may vary depending on the type of hotel you’re looking for and its location, but overall it’s likely to be more expensive than staying in other countries.

5. Are there restrictions on where foreigners can visit when they stay at a hotel in North Korea? – Yes, there are restrictions on where foreigners can visit when they stay at a hotel in North Korea. As a tourist, you should be aware that much of the country is off-limits and it’s important to respect local customs and laws. Tourists may only travel between certain pre-approved cities or areas with permission from their tour operator. In addition, visitors must always be accompanied by an approved guide and stick to the designated itinerary.

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Tourism Teacher

Tourism in North Korea

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Tourism in North Korea is certainly unique. But why is this industry so interesting and how should it best be managed? Read on to find out…

Geography in North korea

Statistics about tourism in north korea, popular tourist attractions in north korea, popular types of tourism in north korea, economic impacts of tourism in north korea, social impacts of tourism in north korea, environmental impacts of tourism in north korea, crime and safety in north korea, types of tourists that travel to north korea, required budget to visit north korea, faqs about tourism in north korea, to conclude: tourism in north korea.

North Korea is located on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia, with a total land area of 120,538 square kilometres. It shares a border with China to the north and northwest, Russia to the northeast, and South Korea to the south. It also has a small coastline along the East Sea (Sea of Japan). The country’s topography is mountainous, with about 80% of the land covered in mountains and only a small amount of arable land. The highest mountain in North Korea is Mount Paektu, which is an active volcano with a height of 2,744 metres. The country’s main rivers include the Amnok (Yalu) River, which forms the border with China, and the Tumen River, which forms the border with Russia. The capital city, Pyongyang, is located on the western coast of the country and is home to more than 2.5 million people.

north korean tourist attractions

The tourism industry in North Korea is very limited and controlled by the government. Only a small number of tourists are allowed to visit the country each year, and they are only permitted to stay in designated hotels and must be accompanied by government-approved guides at all times. This is due to the country’s strict political system and security concerns.

Despite these limitations, North Korea still attracts a small number of tourists, mainly from China and other neighbouring countries. These tourists are usually interested in the country’s socialist history, political system, and propaganda. The government has invested in developing infrastructure for the tourism industry, such as new hotels and tour buses, in an effort to increase revenue from tourism.

Many of the tourist attractions in North Korea are related to the country’s political history, such as the Mausoleum of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in the capital city of Pyongyang. Other popular attractions include the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border with South Korea, which is the most heavily militarised border in the world, and the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, which is the former residence of Kim Jong Il and is now a mausoleum for both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

Tourism in North Korea

Despite the limited number of tourists, the tourism industry in North Korea has the potential to grow in the future. The government has been actively promoting tourism as a way to improve the country’s economy and increase revenue from foreign visitors. However, the country still faces challenges in attracting more tourists due to its international reputation and political isolation. The government will need to make significant changes to its policies and human rights record in order to attract more international tourists.

Now, lets demonstrate how significant tourism in North Korea is but highlighting some of the key statistics:

(It’s worth noting that the North Korean government does not release official tourism statistics, and obtaining accurate information on tourism in the country is difficult. However, here are some key statistics based on estimates and reports from various sources)

1 – In 2019, it is estimated that North Korea received about 100,000 visitors, with about 70% of them coming from China.

2 – The average length of stay for tourists in North Korea is between 5 and 8 days.

3 – Most tourists to North Korea visit as part of a group tour arranged by a travel agency, and independent travel is not allowed.

4 – The majority of tourists to North Korea are interested in the country’s political history and propaganda, rather than leisure or business travel.

5 – Tourists are only allowed to stay in government-approved hotels, and there are currently about 40 hotels in the country that are open to foreigners.

6 – The most popular tourist destinations in North Korea include the capital city of Pyongyang, the Demilitarized Zone, the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, and the Mount Kumgang tourist resort.

7 – North Korea has been involved in talks with South Korea and China to develop joint tourism initiatives, such as a plan to create a “Peace Zone” on the border between the two Koreas.

8 – North Korea has faced various international sanctions and travel restrictions, which have reduced the number of tourists visiting the country in recent years.

9 – The North Korean government heavily controls and monitors tourist activities in the country, with tourists required to follow strict guidelines and be accompanied by government-approved guides at all times.

10 – North Korea’s tourism industry is seen as a potential source of revenue for the government, but it is also subject to political and ideological considerations. The government has invested in new tourist infrastructure in recent years, but it remains to be seen how successful these initiatives will be in attracting more tourists to the country.

North Korea is a reclusive nation with a tightly controlled tourism industry, but it has some tourist attractions that attract visitors from around the world. Here are some of the most popular tourist attractions in North Korea:

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun: This large and impressive palace is located in Pyongyang and was the residence of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea. Today, it houses the preserved bodies of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and is a popular destination for tourists who want to learn more about North Korea’s political history.

Demilitarized Zone (DMZ): This heavily fortified border area separates North and South Korea, and it is the most heavily militarised border in the world. Tourists can visit the Joint Security Area (JSA), which is the only place where North and South Korean soldiers stand face-to-face.

Mount Kumgang: This scenic mountain and national park is located on the east coast of North Korea and is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers. Visitors can take guided hikes to waterfalls, hot springs, and other natural attractions.

Mansudae Grand Monument: This impressive ensemble of statues is located in the capital city of Pyongyang and features large, bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. It is considered a symbol of North Korea’s devotion to its leaders and is an important propaganda site for the government.

Tourism in North Korea

Pyongyang Metro: The metro system in Pyongyang is a popular tourist attraction, as it boasts some of the most ornate and impressive subway stations in the world. The metro stations are decorated with mosaics, artwork, and other decorative elements that reflect North Korea’s political and historical themes.

While North Korea’s tourism industry is highly controlled, these and other attractions offer a glimpse into the country’s political and cultural history and provide visitors with a unique travel experience. However, as the country remains heavily sanctioned, travellers must be cautious and research their travel plans carefully.

North Korea is one of the most reclusive nations in the world, and its tourism industry is tightly controlled by the government. Nonetheless, it offers a unique travel experience for visitors who are curious about the country’s political and cultural history. Here are some popular types of tourism in North Korea:

Political tourism: This type of tourism is the most common in North Korea, as many visitors are interested in learning about the country’s political history and ideology. Tourists can visit institutions and monuments that reflect the government’s various beliefs on work, social order, and loyalty.

Military tourism: North Korea is known for its strong military presence, and tourists can witness it firsthand at various sites across the country. Visitors can tour military facilities, watch parades, and observe the numerous monuments and plaques that pay homage to the various weapons and personnel.

Natural tourism: North Korea boasts some beautiful natural landscapes, including the Mount Kumgang national park, which offers scenic hiking trails, waterfalls, and hot springs. Other places to visit include the Ryongmun Cave and the Mount Chilbo area.

Architectural tourism: North Korea is home to many impressive structures and monuments that reflect the country’s political and historical themes. Visitors can take in the sights of the Capital Tower, May Day Stadium, and the Juche Tower, which illustrates the country’s key ideology of self-reliance.

Tourism in North Korea

Urban tourism: Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, is home to much of the country’s cultural and political institutions. Visitors can take guided tours of the city’s museums, monuments, and squares.

While tourism in North Korea is strictly controlled, visitors can expect to gain a unique perspective on the country’s history and culture. However, it is important for travellers to be aware of the country’s many restrictions and to follow them accordingly.

North Korea’s tourism industry is a relatively small sector of the country’s economy, but it has the potential to generate significant revenue and create jobs. However, given the political nature of the industry, many of the direct and indirect economic impacts are difficult to gauge. Here are some potential economic impacts of tourism in North Korea:

Revenue generation: Tourism is potentially a significant source of foreign currency for North Korea’s economy. By generating revenue through tourist expenditures, the government can finance economic development and other political priorities.

Job creation: By nature, tourism in North Korea requires a significant amount of human capital, such as tour guides, hotel staff, and transportation providers. Therefore, tourism has the potential to create jobs for North Koreans, especially those who may not have other employment options.

Infrastructure investment: To support the tourism industry, the North Korean government has been investing in the development of tourist infrastructure, such as new hotels, tourist trains, and even an international airport in the city of Wonsan. These investments also have broad spillover impacts on other sectors of the economy, such as construction and transportation.

Improved standards of living: In recent years, the North Korean government has recognized the importance of improving its tourism quality to attract more visitors. By improving the standard of living in the country, tourists may have a more positive experience, and this can attract even more visitors to the country.

Overall, while tourism in North Korea has the potential to generate economic benefits for North Korea, its geopolitical and economic status makes it difficult for the country to see significant growth in the industry. Still, the North Korean government continues to invest in the tourism industry, suggesting that it sees tourism as a critical tool for economic development.

Tourism in North Korea can have social impacts on both the host community and the tourists, given the highly controlled nature of the industry. Here are some potential social impacts of tourism in North Korea:

Exposure to other cultures: The limited number of tourists allowed into North Korea each year presents an opportunity for North Koreans to be exposed to different cultures and perspectives. Through interactions with tourists, they may learn new ideas, practices, and behaviours.

Promotion of cultural heritage: Tourism in North Korea can also help promote the preservation and celebration of North Korean cultural traditions. The government encourages tourists to visit sites such as temples, museums, and monuments highlighting North Korea’s customs and arts.

Reinforcement of nationalist ideology: Given the highly controlled nature of tourism in North Korea, visitors are likely to be exposed mainly to carefully selected sites and narratives chosen by the government, portraying a selective version of the country’s history and culture. This can reinforce the nationalist ideology espoused by the state.

Limited social interaction: Because of the highly regimented structure of tourism in North Korea, tourists generally have limited opportunities to interact with locals outside of their approved guides, mostly in formal settings. As a result, tourists may not experience North Korean society and culture in its entirety.

Tourism in North Korea

Unequal distribution of benefits: While tourism does generate revenue and employment opportunities, the limited number of people directly involved means that the benefits are not widespread. This can lead to uneven distribution of wealth and further inequalities in the society.

Overall, the social impacts of tourism in North Korea are mostly positive on a superficial level. Nonetheless, given the strong political nature of the industry, the full range of social impact is unclear.

Tourism in North Korea has the potential to have significant environmental impacts, especially given the country’s limited infrastructure and resources. Here are some potential environmental impacts of tourism in North Korea:

Resource consumption: As visitors come to North Korea, they require resources such as water, fuel, and other materials that can put a strain on the country’s limited infrastructure. The high consumption levels of tourists could lead to depletion of resources and environmental degradation.

Waste generation: With an increased number of visitors, the amount of waste generated from the tourism industry could also increase. It is uncertain how effectively the country manages waste, and without proper waste management systems in place, waste could pollute the environment.

Impacts on natural resources: North Korea already faces significant pressures on its natural resources, particularly given the country’s limited land suitable for agriculture. An increase in tourism could further strain these resources. Some popular tourist destinations, such as Mount Kumgang, could be particularly fragile ecosystems that require careful management and protection.

Transportation emissions: Transportation, particularly air travel, is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. As the tourism industry in North Korea grows, the number of flights and other modes of transportation will increase, further contributing to emissions.

Propaganda and environmental narrative: Given the nature of the North Korean regime, it is unclear how accurately the country would choose to portray its environmental initiatives to tourists or address potential environmental issues. The tourist offerings may sustain environmental protection or provide green counsel as part of the broader, historical socialist propaganda.

Crime rates in North Korea are reported to be very low, and violent crime is uncommon. However, given the highly controlled nature of the country, there are significant restrictions on personal freedom, and activities that are legal in other countries may be illegal in North Korea. Additionally, it is worth noting that the North Korean government is known for enforcing its laws with strong consequences, including the possibility of imprisonment or capital punishment. Therefore, while overall crime rates may be low, visitors are still expected to follow the country’s strict laws and avoid any activities that could be considered suspicious or linked to political activities.

When it comes to safety, visitors to North Korea are generally accompanied by government-approved guides at all times, and independent travel is not allowed. The government heavily regulates the tourism industry, including hotel stays and transportation, to ensure visitor safety and avoid any potential incidents. Despite this, tourists are still advised to exercise caution, be aware of their surroundings, and avoid any behaviour that could be considered disrespectful or politically sensitive.

It is worth noting that the U.S. The Department of State has issued a travel advisory for North Korea, warning U.S. citizens against travelling to the country due to the risk of arrest and detention, as well as the possibility of arbitrary arrest, long-term detention, and execution for activities deemed unacceptable by the North Korean government. Many other countries have issued similar travel advisories, and any visitor to North Korea should be aware of the risks involved and take precautions accordingly.

Overall, while crime rates may be low in North Korea, visitors should be aware of the strict laws and regulations in place, as well as the risk of detention or other repercussions for behaviour deemed inappropriate by the government. Visitors should carefully consider the risks and benefits of travelling to North Korea and take necessary measures to ensure their safety while in the country.

Given the tightly controlled nature of the North Korean tourism industry, only a small number of tourists visit the country each year. These visitors generally fall into a few distinct categories, including:

Political tourists: This group makes up the bulk of visitors to North Korea, as many are interested in exploring the country’s political history and ideology. They visit institutions and monuments that reflect the government’s various beliefs on work, social order, and loyalty.

Adventure tourists: North Korea’s natural landscapes and hiking trails have garnered attention among adventure tourists. Although the number of these travellers is low and requires advanced planning, some visitors come to climb the sacred Mount Paektu or hike across the border to the Demilitarized Zone.

Academic and research tourists: North Korea’s political and economic system piques the interest of several academic and research institutions globally. They often visit in organised groups to research various topics such as the economy, geopolitics, socialism, and international relations.

Ethical tourists: A small number of visitors feel it is their moral obligation to travel to North Korea to understand the country and its people better. They may seek out opportunities to meet locals, learn about human rights, and see how non-governmental organisations are supporting communities.

Curiosity tourists: There is a small group of tourists who are mostly driven by curiosity or an interest in visiting a place most of the world has never visited. Given the restrictions and novelty of the travel, visiting North Korea can be both an exciting and challenging opportunity to explore the unknown.

While North Korea’s tourism industry remains heavily regulated, these groups of visitors come with a unique perspective and interest in the country’s political and cultural history, helping to sustain the tourism industry. However, regardless of the purpose of their travel, all have to adhere to strict guidelines, so touring in North Korea will suit only specific tour groups with certain interests, requiring extensive preparations to ensure their safety during the tour.

Visiting North Korea is not as simple as booking a standard holiday. The government controls much of the tourism industry in the country, and tourists must follow strict guidelines and pay for pre-packaged tours that have been approved by the government. Here’s an overview of the required budget for a trip to North Korea:

1 – Flights: Depending on where the visitor is travelling from, flights to North Korea can be expensive. Flights are usually booked through a travel agency or a tour operator and are not included in the tour fee.

2 – Insurance: All tourists visiting North Korea are required to have travel insurance, which can cost around $50 USD for a five-day trip.

3 – Souvenirs: Visitors may want to purchase souvenirs or other items during their trip. However, it is essential to note that many items imported to the country could be seized, and visitors must respect local laws and customs.

Tourism in North Korea

Now that we know a bit more about tourism in North Korea, lets answer some of the most common questions on this topic:

1 – Is tourism allowed in North Korea?

Yes, tourism is allowed in North Korea, but it is heavily controlled and regulated by the government.

2 – Do North Koreans have access to the same tourist attractions as foreign tourists?

No, local residents are not allowed to visit the same tourist sites as foreign tourists. In North Korea, tourism is used primarily as a way of showcasing the achievements of the country’s leaders and political system.

3 – Can I travel to North Korea independently?

No, independent travel is not allowed in North Korea. All tourists must be accompanied by official guides at all times.

4 – Can I bring my mobile phone or laptop to North Korea?

Yes, tourists are allowed to bring mobile phones and laptops, but these devices may be subject to inspection by authorities at any time.

5 – Can I take photos in North Korea?

Photography is heavily restricted in North Korea, and tourists are not allowed to take photos of military installations or local people without permission. Tourists are only permitted to take photos in designated areas.

6 – Can I pay for things in North Korea with foreign currency?

Yes, tourists can pay for things in North Korea with foreign currency, such as US dollars or euros. However, it is best to bring small denominations and to exchange money at banks or official exchange bureaus.

7 – What is the best time of year to visit North Korea?

The best time to visit North Korea is from April to October when the weather is mild and there are several major cultural events, such as the Mass Games.

8 – Can I visit North Korea as a US citizen?

Yes, US citizens are allowed to travel to North Korea with a tour group, but the State Department has strongly advised against doing so due to the potential risks involved.

9 – What is the cost of tourism in North Korea?

Tourism in North Korea is relatively expensive, and tourists should expect to pay several thousand dollars for a week-long tour. Prices vary depending on the length of the tour and the level of comfort.

10 – Is it safe to travel to North Korea?

The US and other countries have issued travel warnings for North Korea due to the country’s political situation and the potential for arbitrary detention. Tourists are advised to carefully consider the risks before travelling to North Korea.

As you can see, tourism in North Korea is a very important industry that brings many benefits to the local area and community. However, in order to ensure that tourism is sustainable, it must be carefully managed.

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Top 10 Tourist Attractions in North Korea

Maybe tourist attractions isn’t the right word for the following ten momunments in North Korea since tourists aren’t welcome in the country, at least if your not Dennis Rodman … However, it would be cool to check out these massive monuments:

Table of Contents

Mansudae Grand Monument

Mansudae Grand Monument

In honour of his 60th birthday, Kim Il-Sung, otherwise known as the ‘Great Leader’, had this huge bronze statue (to the left) erected to commemorate his rule even during his own lifetime. His statue has been looking down over the capital since 1972, and it did so alone until eventually being joined by a similarly impressive statue of the ‘Dear Leader’, Kim Jong Il. In the case of Kim Jong Il, his commemorative statue wasn’t erected until after his death in 2011, being put into position in 2012. You’ll notice that there are many floral tributes placed at the base of the statues. It’s common practice here for people to commemorate their leaders by laying flowers down in this way.

Juche Tower

Juche Tower

Just opposite Kim Il Sung Square is the impressive Juche Tower which was made to honour Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday. From the viewing platform located just beneath the torch on the top of the tower, there are impressive views overlooking Pyongyang. The viewing platforms can be accessed via an elevator. An interesting fact about its construction is that it is composed of 25,500 blocks which correspond to the days of Kim Il Sung’s 70 years (up to his 70th birthday). At the tower’s base is a 30 metre high statue of three figures united at the point of their triumphantly upheld arms. Each figure is holding a different implement, one a hammer, one a sickle, and the other holds a writer’s brush. These tools are the emblems that collectively represent the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun

Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, formerly known as the Kumsusan Memorial Palace, was built in 1976 and acted as Kim Il-Sung’s official residence and the Kumsusan Assembly Hall. It now is the mausoleum for him, the founder of North Korea. After his father’s death, Kim Jong-Il had the building altered to suit the purpose of serving as a mausoleum, where Kim Il-Sung’s body lies embalmed inside a transparent sarcophagus. The palace now houses Kim Jong-Il as well who died in 2011. The Palace of the Sun may only be accessed by tourists on Thursday and Sundays, and then only with an official government approved tour. Photography of any kind is not permitted inside. Just in front of the palace is a large square and impressive moat.

Monument to the Foundation of the Workers Party

Monument to the Foundation of the Workers Party

These 50 metre tall towers depicting the emblems of the Worker’s Party of Korea, the hammer, the sickle, and the writing brush, were erected on the 50th anniversary of the formation of Korea’s Workers Party. These symbols are representative of Korean workers and their various roles in the workforce. It’s no coincidence that these monuments are each 50 metres high and is also 50 metres at its diameter, as this number signifies the 50 years of the party’s existence at the time of their being built. Emblazoned around the circular base are the words, “Long live the Workers’ Party of Korea which organises and guides all victories for the Korean people!” The monument can found just across from the Mansudae Grand Monuments.

Arch of Triumph

Arch of Triumph north korea

There are many arches commemorating one triumph or another around the world. North Korea’s very own arch distinguishes itself in that it is the world’s tallest standing victory arch standing an impressive 60 metres high and 50 metres wide, that’s 10 metres taller that the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It opened in 1982 to commemorate Korea’s resistance to Japan between 1925 and 1945. The arch was inaugurated on the 70th birthday of Kim Il-Sung in recognition of his role in the resistance. Significantly, the Arch of Triumph is built of 25,500 blocks, which in a similar manner to the Juche Tower, signifies each day of the leader’s life up to his 70th birthday. Inside there are rooms and observation platforms.

Ryugyong Hotel

Ryugyong Hotel

This impressive rocket shaped structure, Ryugyong Hotel, towers into the sky with its 105 floors and unsurprisingly forms a dominant part of the skyline. Sometimes referred to as the 105 Building, it was finally completed in 2012 after various stops and starts throughout its construction history. It comes as no surprise that the hotel is easily the tallest building in North Korea. The structure is topped by a cone 40 metres wide which is said to be able to rotate.

Three Charters for National Reunification Monument

Three Charters for National Reunification Monument

This huge monument overlooking the Tongil Expressway was built in 2001. The two women facing each other are designed to embody the reunification of North and South Korea. Not surprisingly, being a construction of Northern design, it is built to express the wish that a united Korea would be ruled under North Korea’s leader. The Three Charters, which were formalised by Kim Il Sung in 1972, are a reference to the principles of independence, a peaceful reunification, and national unity.

Rungnado May Day Stadium

The Rungnado May Day Stadium was completed on May 1, 1989. It has a huge capacity of 150,000, making it one of the largest in the world and is the 12th largest sporting venue on the planet. It has been recognised by the Guiness Book of Records as hosting the largest event in the world, namely the Arirang mass games. It also pays host to football matches and other athletic games. The stadium is also used to pay host to huge performances in honour of Kim Il-sung and in celebration of the nation. During June and July, 2002, the stadium held the aforementioned Arirang games, sometimes referred to as the Mass Games, consisting of masterfully choreographed artistic and gymnastic performances, which involved the participation of a staggering 100,000 plus participants. This has become an annual event, usually being held in August and September.

Pyongyang Subway

Pyongyang Subway

Pyongyang’s metro system opened in 1973 and is reported to have several hundred thousand commuters daily. This subway system is one of the deepest in the world and is beautifully decorated with sparkling chandeliers, marble columns, pictures of the ‘Great Leader’, and depictions of the city and other sights throughout North Korea.

DMZ: Demilitarized Zone


The Demilitarised Zone attracts a large number of visitors from around the world. It manages to do so in spite of being one of the most heavily armed borders in the world. The benign and unspoilt natural surroundings completely belie the nature of this man made political boundary that has been here since after the Korean War, although it must be said that it is a rare event for hostilities to take place. It’s good to see that this onetime battleground has reverted back to its default setting of a place of natural beauty, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it is one of the most unspoilt areas in all Asia. The Demilitarised Zone serves as a natural habitat even for endangered species such as white-naped and red-crowned cranes. Lynxes and black bears are also to be found here as are a many species of fish, not to mention wetlands and forests.

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Menno, from the Netherlands, is an expert in unearthing fascinating facts and unraveling knowledge. At Top10HQ, he delves into the depths of various subjects, from science to history, bringing readers well-researched and intriguing insights.

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Top Things to Do in North Korea

Places to visit in north korea.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Good for Kids
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Adventurous
  • Hidden Gems
  • Good for Couples
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

north korean tourist attractions

1. Demilitarized Zone


2. Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum


3. Tower of the Juche Idea


4. Geumsusan Memorial Palace


5. Kim Il-sung Square


6. Mansudae Grand Monument


7. The State Circus


8. Kim Il Sung Stadium

north korean tourist attractions

9. Concrete Wall

north korean tourist attractions

10. Triumphal Arch

north korean tourist attractions

11. Arch of Reunification

north korean tourist attractions

12. Masikryong Ski Resort


13. Tanjun Mausoleum


14. Rungrado May Day Stadium


15. Monument to the Korean Workers Party


16. Mount Kumgang


17. Daedong River (Taedong River)


18. Grand People's Study House

north korean tourist attractions

19. Munsu Water Park

north korean tourist attractions

20. Pyongyang Metro


21. Paektusan


22. Koryo Museum

north korean tourist attractions

23. Mansudae Art Studio Gallery


24. Koguryo Tombs


25. International Friendship Exhibition

north korean tourist attractions

26. Chollima Statue


27. Tomb of King Kongmin


28. Kaeson Youth Park


29. Kwangbok Department Store

north korean tourist attractions

30. Pohyonsa

What travellers are saying.

Jordan H

North Korea Attractions Information

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north korean tourist attractions

A Tourist’s Guide to Visiting N Seoul Tower


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north korean tourist attractions

Namsan Tower , also called Seoul Tower, is an iconic Seoul landmark with panoramic views of the city. It provides a breathtaking view of the Seoul cityscape and the Han River day and night, making it Korea’s number one tourist destination. It’s a tower that rises above the city of Seoul, both an observation and communication station located on Namsan Mountain at the city’s geographical center. Topped by its observation deck, N Seoul Tower is a highly visited tourist attraction and one of Korea’s most popular sights. It is also a hotspot among locals for meeting up.

N SEOUL TOWER: An Overview

N Seoul Tower was built in 1969 as Korea’s first transmission tower to help with television and radio broadcasts. The communication function is no longer relevant as most broadcasting has gone digital, but the tower remains a popular tourist destination for its incredible cityscape views. The tower is also home to a number of restaurants, cafes, and shops.

The N Seoul Tower observation deck is open to the public and offers 360-degree views of the city. It is possible to see Incheon in the west and Bukhansan Mountain in the north. The view at night is just as stunning, with the city’s lights twinkling below. You can take some great photos from N Seoul Tower. It is one of the best vantage points for seeing the city from above.

How to get there?

Namsan Tower is a quick trip from the city that it’s easy to tack on to any excursion. As you zip from place to place, seeing what there is to see in Seoul, do NOT miss this lovely location as you flit from one sightseeing spot to the next.

By Cable Car

Take the subway to Myeong-Dong station. When you come upon the Pacific Hotel, walk for about 15 minutes keeping to your right. Take the elevator to reach the boarding station. The cable car operates from 10 am to 11 pm, with a journey time of around 7 minutes.

You can reach the Seoul Tower by bus, which runs every 15-20 minutes. On the other hand, the buses do not stop in front of the tower. Depending on how quickly you walk, you’ll have to climb up for up to 5-10 minutes uphill.

You may depart from Subway Line 3 at Dongguk University Station, exit through Exit 6 and take the bus 02 or 03 or 05.

Take the subway line 4 to Seoul Station, exit at Exit 9, and catch bus number 03.

Take subway line 4 to Myeongdong Station, then depart on exit 3 and ride bus number 5.

Reach Chungmuro Station on Subway Line 3 or 4, take Exit 2, which is directly in front of the Daehan Cinema, and take the bus number 5/2.

N Seoul Tower: What to See and Do?

LED Lights of Tower : The tower is lit up with different colors every night. The N Seoul Tower also includes a distinct cultural art experience within, such as the 3D experience. The N Seoul Tower changes color at night according to air quality, which the general public may view from afar.

north korean tourist attractions

360° view from the top observation deck:  The N Seoul Tower is one of Korea’s most popular tourist destinations for a reason – the views are spectacular. From the top of the tower, you can see all the way to Incheon in the west and Bukhansan Mountain in the north. The view at night is just as stunning, with Seoul’s lights twinkling below. 

Love locks:  Legend has it that your love will be everlasting if you write down your love story and lock it to the tower. You can see hundreds of locks at the foot of the tower.

north korean tourist attractions

Namsan Park:  The tower’s base is surrounded by Namsan Park, a great place to take a stroll or have a picnic. It offers various services, including a botanical garden, a library, a pond, a snack bar, and many sports activities.

Namsangol Hanok Village:  If you’re a fan of traditional Korean culture, be sure to check out Namsangol Hanok Village, which is just a few minutes’ walk from the tower. The village features restored hanoks (traditional houses), a traditional garden, and a folk museum.

What to eat?

There are a number of restaurants and cafes located in the tower, offering everything from traditional Korean food to Italian pasta. If you’re looking for something sweet, be sure to check out the dessert cafe on the observation deck.

Take in a spectacular 360-degree view from this beautiful revolving restaurant located at the top of Seoul Tower. Relish the finest full-course French dinner or lunch with premium delights. This Korean restaurant allows you to soak up some of life’s finer pleasures as you enjoy the stunning views. One complete revolution takes approximately 48 minutes.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by 최은주 (@unlove12088)

In HANCOOK, a historical Korean restaurant, you may sample a blend of contemporary and traditional Korean dishes. It is located on Tower 3F and offers guests 30 distinct types of Korean buffets, so they may pick from a wide range of options while enjoying some of the city’s finest views. The goal of this establishment is to spread awareness about Korean culture.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by 남산서울타워 (@namsanseoultower)

N burger is is the best place for eating American-style burgers. You can savor some of the original American burgers from the 1930s at this location on Tower 1F.

Several Koreans consider N Seoul Tower to be one of the top tourist destinations in the country. The views are simply amazing! Whether you’re interested in traditional Korean culture, want to snap some great photos, or enjoy a good meal with a view, the N Seoul Tower is worth a visit.

Haneul is passionate about sharing her love of Korean with the world. She loves to help people connect with Korean culture through her insights about the country.

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Top Things to Do in North Korea

Things to do in north korea.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Good for Kids
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Adventurous
  • Hidden Gems
  • Good for Couples
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

north korean tourist attractions

1. Demilitarized Zone


2. Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum


3. Tower of the Juche Idea


4. Geumsusan Memorial Palace


5. Kim Il-sung Square


6. Mansudae Grand Monument


7. The State Circus


8. Kim Il Sung Stadium

north korean tourist attractions

9. Concrete Wall

north korean tourist attractions

10. Triumphal Arch

north korean tourist attractions

11. Arch of Reunification

north korean tourist attractions

12. Masikryong Ski Resort


13. Tanjun Mausoleum


14. Rungrado May Day Stadium


15. Monument to the Korean Workers Party


16. Mount Kumgang


17. Daedong River (Taedong River)


18. Grand People's Study House

north korean tourist attractions

19. Munsu Water Park

north korean tourist attractions

20. Pyongyang Metro


21. Paektusan


22. Koryo Museum

north korean tourist attractions

23. Mansudae Art Studio Gallery


24. Koguryo Tombs


25. International Friendship Exhibition

north korean tourist attractions

26. Chollima Statue


27. Tomb of King Kongmin


28. Kaeson Youth Park


29. Kwangbok Department Store

north korean tourist attractions

30. Pohyonsa

What travellers are saying.

Jordan H

North Korea Attractions Information


North Korea Prepares For First Foreign Tourists Since Pandemic — Here’s What They’ll Do

Posted: January 12, 2024 | Last updated: January 12, 2024

North Korea will welcome its first foreign tourists since closing its borders during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to news reports , a hint the isolated nation may be considering a revival of its small tourism industry amid growing tensions on the international stage.

A group of Russian tourists are expected to visit North Korea in early February, according to an advertisement by Vostok Intur, a travel agency based in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok.

The four-day trip will include time in the capital Pyongyang, visits to local monuments, museums and temples, and skiing at the Masikryong Ski Resort, according to an online itinerary, with overnight stays in four and five star hotels.

The tour will cost travelers $750, the website said, which covers accommodation, entry tickets for planned excursions and transport, including direct flights from Vladivostok, but not ski passes or meals beyond breakfast at the hotel.

Travelers will be accompanied by Russian-speaking guides from the time they land in North Korea to the time they depart, the travel agency said.

The tour will depart Russia on Feb. 9 and will mark the first known time foreign tourists have visited the country since it closed its borders in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is not clear how many tourists will be on the trip or whether follow up visits are planned.

The trip comes amid growing military and political ties between Moscow and Pyongyang, including a rare trip abroad for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. It was arranged after Oleg Kozhemyako, the governor of Russia’s far eastern Primorsky Krai region bordering North Korea, visited the country with a delegation in December to discuss elevating economic ties. He reportedly visited the Masikryong Ski Resort as part of the trip and afterwards the region said it wants to create more travel routes between the two nations. Many Western countries advise citizens against travel to North Korea due to the risk of wrongful arrest and long-term detention by the oppressive ruling regime. The U.S. State Department said U.S. passports are invalid for travel in or through the country.

Crucial Quote

Simon Cockerell, general manager of Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based company specializing on travel to North Korea that is not involved with this trip, told Reuters news of the upcoming trip “is a good sign” for tourism in the country. “Given that no tourists have been for four-plus years, any tourism trip can be viewed as a positive step forward,” he said. However, Cockerell cautioned against reading too much into the trip as a signal for a “broader opening” of the tourist trade, pointing to the “special circumstances” behind it.

What To Watch For

North Korea is slated to host a football match for the Paris 2024 Olympics on February 24 at Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Stadium. The match is a qualifying game against the Japanese women’s team. Should the game go ahead, it would mark the big international sporting event hosted in the country since the pandemic and the first time Pyongyang has allowed foreign athletes into the country since closing its borders.

Further Reading

Growing North Korean Tourism Knocked Out By COVID-19 (Forbes)

North Korea hints at tourism reopening, but doubts remain (CNN)

North Korea Prepares For First Foreign Tourists Since Pandemic — Here’s What They’ll Do

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Top North Korea Attractions

Things to do in north korea.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Good for Kids
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Adventurous
  • Hidden Gems
  • Good for Couples
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

north korean tourist attractions

1. Demilitarized Zone


2. Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum


3. Tower of the Juche Idea


4. Geumsusan Memorial Palace


5. Kim Il-sung Square


6. Mansudae Grand Monument


7. The State Circus


8. Kim Il Sung Stadium

north korean tourist attractions

9. Concrete Wall

north korean tourist attractions

10. Triumphal Arch

north korean tourist attractions

11. Arch of Reunification

north korean tourist attractions

12. Masikryong Ski Resort


13. Tanjun Mausoleum


14. Rungrado May Day Stadium


15. Monument to the Korean Workers Party


16. Mount Kumgang


17. Daedong River (Taedong River)


18. Grand People's Study House

north korean tourist attractions

19. Munsu Water Park

north korean tourist attractions

20. Pyongyang Metro


21. Paektusan


22. Koryo Museum

north korean tourist attractions

23. Mansudae Art Studio Gallery


24. Koguryo Tombs


25. International Friendship Exhibition

north korean tourist attractions

26. Chollima Statue


27. Tomb of King Kongmin


28. Kaeson Youth Park


29. Kwangbok Department Store

north korean tourist attractions

30. Pohyonsa

What travelers are saying.

Jordan H

North Korea Attractions Information

Top Things to Do in North Korea

Things to do in north korea.

  • Budget-friendly
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Good for Kids
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Adventurous
  • Hidden Gems
  • Good for Couples
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

north korean tourist attractions

1. Demilitarized Zone


2. Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum


3. Tower of the Juche Idea


4. Geumsusan Memorial Palace


5. Kim Il-sung Square


6. Mansudae Grand Monument


7. The State Circus


8. Kim Il Sung Stadium

north korean tourist attractions

9. Concrete Wall

north korean tourist attractions

10. Triumphal Arch

north korean tourist attractions

11. Arch of Reunification

north korean tourist attractions

12. Masikryong Ski Resort


13. Tanjun Mausoleum


14. Rungrado May Day Stadium


15. Monument to the Korean Workers Party


16. Mount Kumgang


17. Daedong River (Taedong River)


18. Grand People's Study House

north korean tourist attractions

19. Munsu Water Park

north korean tourist attractions

20. Pyongyang Metro


21. Paektusan


22. Koryo Museum

north korean tourist attractions

23. Mansudae Art Studio Gallery


24. Koguryo Tombs


25. International Friendship Exhibition

north korean tourist attractions

26. Chollima Statue


27. Tomb of King Kongmin


28. Kaeson Youth Park


29. Kwangbok Department Store

north korean tourist attractions

30. Pohyonsa

What travellers are saying.

Jordan H

North Korea Attractions Information


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  2. Must-see attractions North Korea, Asia

    Top Choice Tower of the Juche Idea This tower honours the North Korean philosophy of Juche and was unveiled to mark President Kim Il-sung's 70th birthday in 1982. Indeed, the tower is made… Top Choice International Friendship Exhibition This exhibition hosts a massive display of gifts given to Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un.

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    Mount Kumgang Tourism in North Korea is tightly controlled by the North Korean government.

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    Asia. There is quite simply nowhere on Earth like North Korea. Now on its third hereditary ruler, this nominally communist state has defied all expectations and survived the collapse of the Soviet Union to become a nuclear power. A visit to North Korea offers a glimpse of the world's most isolated nation, where the internet and much of the 21st ...

  5. North Korea Landmarks

    1. Kim Il Sung Square Landmarks of North Korea - Kim Il Sung Square, Pyongyang One of the most famous North Korea landmarks is Kim Il Sung Square. You will likely recognize the square from news reports showing marching North Korean soldiers and displays of weaponry.

  6. Must-see attractions Pyongyang, North Korea

    Discover the best attractions in Pyongyang including Tower of the Juche Idea, Monument to the Foundation of the Workers' Party, and Mansudae Grand Monument. Search. My trips. Saved lists; ... This tower honours the North Korean philosophy of Juche and was unveiled to mark President Kim Il-sung's 70th birthday in 1982. Indeed, the tower is made…

  7. Best Places To Visit In North Korea (If You Make It There!)

    1. Pyongyang Metro Photo by Random Institute on Unsplash Location At the top of our list of the best places to visit in North Korea is the metro system at the heart of Pyongyang. Opened to the Korean public in 1971, the Pyongyang Metro is the world's deepest subway system to date.

  8. THE 10 BEST North Korea Sights & Landmarks to Visit (2024)

    THE 10 BEST North Korea Sights & Historical Landmarks North Korea Landmarks Enter dates Attractions Filters • 1 Sort All things to do Category types Attractions Tours Outdoor Activities Concerts & Shows Shopping Transportation Types of Attractions Sights & Landmarks Nature & Parks Museums Water & Amusement Parks Classes & Workshops Zoos & Aquariums

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    We were straight on a bus to go see some North Korea tourist attractions. My first views of this city were fascinating. There are so many grand monuments, some big plazas and impressive buildings. The infamous, huge pyramid hotel makes for quite a site as well. Then there were all the propaganda posters.

  10. 10+ Best North Korea Tourist Attractions & Places to Visit

    +91 8368513675 *Select Destination Get Quotes Home Countries North Korea North Korea is an enigmatic tourist destination that offers unfamiliar territories to explore. This majestic country boasts cultural heritage and North Korea tourist attractions, making it more fascinating to tourists.

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    North Korea Tourism: Tripadvisor has 3,881 reviews of North Korea Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best North Korea resource.

  12. 10 Beautiful and Amazing Tourist Attractions in North Korea

    10. North Korea Peace Museum, Panmunjeom North Korea Peace Museum is an important part of historical places in North Korea. The museum is located in North Hwanghae Province's Panmunjeom, a former village. On July 27, 1953, the Korean War Armistice Agreement was signed between two nations, North Korea and South Korea.

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    North Korea is a fascinating place to visit and the food is one of its best attractions. As a tourist, I had the chance to experience some of the local cuisine and it was truly amazing! The first dish I tried was Pyongyang Naengmyeon—a noodle dish that originates in North Korea's capital city.

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    Here are some of the most popular tourist attractions in North Korea: Kumsusan Palace of the Sun: This large and impressive palace is located in Pyongyang and was the residence of Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea. Today, it houses the preserved bodies of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and is a popular destination for tourists who want ...

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    Juche Tower Just opposite Kim Il Sung Square is the impressive Juche Tower which was made to honour Kim Il Sung's 70th birthday. From the viewing platform located just beneath the torch on the top of the tower, there are impressive views overlooking Pyongyang. The viewing platforms can be accessed via an elevator.

  17. Places to Visit in North Korea

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    So, where are the North Korean tourist attractions that tourists can visit? 1. Paektu Mountain. Paektu Mountain North Korea also has mountains, Mount Paektu, you can go trekking there. This mountain is located on the border between North Korea and mainland China. Mountain as high as 2,744 m (9,003 ft) has a beautiful tourist destination.

  19. How to Visit North Korea's DMZ Border (Updated 2023)

    To the left corner (not pictured) is a barricade to the bridge. The Freedom Bridge connects North and South Korea, though a massive barricade blocks entry to the connecting point over the river. If the two sides are ever connected, this bridge could be used to enter and exit North Korea. Step 2. Select a tour.

  20. A Tourist's Guide to Visiting N Seoul Tower

    360° view from the top observation deck: The N Seoul Tower is one of Korea's most popular tourist destinations for a reason - the views are spectacular. From the top of the tower, you can see all the way to Incheon in the west and Bukhansan Mountain in the north. The view at night is just as stunning, with Seoul's lights twinkling below.

  21. North Korea Set to Allow First Tourist Visit in About Four Years

    January 11, 2024 at 11:20 PM PST. Listen. 2:20. North Korea is set to allow the first group of tourists to visit the country since it shut its borders at the start of the pandemic in 2020, in a ...

  22. THE 10 BEST Things to Do in North Korea

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  23. North Korea Prepares For First Foreign Tourists Since Pandemic

    North Korea is slated to host a football match for the Paris 2024 Olympics on February 24 at Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Stadium. The match is a qualifying game against the Japanese women's team.

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