For many, a North Korea tour really does represent the final frontier in terms of extreme travel. It’s an isolated and reclusive country, and a great deal of what you might hear about it is either unfounded rumors or just untrue. For instance, many people are not even aware that it’s actually possible to travel to North Korea!
So we ask, can you travel to North Korea and what do you need to do?
To travel to North Korea, you’ll need to join a guided tour run by an approved North Korea tour operator (such as Rocky Road Travel). This could either be a group tour or a tailored independent tour (which we can also arrange). You’ll also need a North Korean visa. Luckily, we can handle applying for and obtaining this once you book with us!
Who is allowed to travel to North Korea?
Many more people than you think! Almost all nationalities are welcome in North Korea, with the exception of South Koreans, Malaysians, and Americans. The latter nationals are not, in fact, banned by the North Korean government, but by their own. In addition, journalists and professional photographers are not allowed to visit the DPRK.
Are there any exit/entry stamps or visas that will affect my ability to enter the DPRK?
No. The DPRK does not factor visits to any other country into your North Korean visa application. This even includes countries with which they historically do not have good relations, including South Korea, Japan and the USA.
Will having a North Korean visa affect my ability to visit other countries?
The North Korean visa generally does not get inserted into your passport, but is a separate document that is retained when you exit the country. This means it does not impact your ability to visit other countries.
That said – the US State Department last year announced that anyone who has visited North Korea since 2011 is no longer eligible for their ESTA visa waiver program. This means that you are obliged to disclose this to the US authorities and apply for a full visa.
How can I get to North Korea?
There are only two countries that offer direct entry to North Korea – Russia and China. Flights are possible from both, and it’s easy and convenient to take a train from China (either from Beijing or the border town of Dandong). Although theoretically possible to take a train from Vladivostok or Ussuriysk, in practice this is quite difficult. A train from Beijing to Pyongyang takes around 24 hours, and a flight around 2 hours. If taking the train from Dandong, it will take around 7 hours.
Where can I go in North Korea?
Although the lion’s share of tours to North Korea visit only Pyongyang & the DMZ, it’s possible to visit many other places, including Rason, Nampo, Wonsan, Kaesong, Sariwon, Mount Kumgang, Sinuiju, Mount Chilbo, Chongjin and many more!
Can I travel independently in North Korea?
Although it’s possible to do an independent tour in North Korea (meaning that you won’t be with other travellers), it’s not possible to travel completely independently. All foreign visitors to the DPRK must be accompanied by two local guides.
If you prefer travelling at your own pace, we can arrange a tailored, independent tour for you!
Is it safe to visit North Korea?
As with any country, it’s important to abide by local laws and respect local customs. If you bear this in mind, then North Korea is one of the safest places you can visit. Crime is virtually unheard of, and you’ll find locals friendly and accommodating. Some of North Korea’s laws, however, such as its strict lèse-majesté laws, may not be immediately intuitive to Western travellers to the country. Fear not – we will give you a full pre-tour briefing before entering the DPRK.