North Korea Travel Guide

Browse 143 travel reviews, 24 travel blogs and 3,493 travel photos from real travelers to North Korea.

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North Korea Overview

Isolationist, awkward and a feather in any hardcore traveller’s hat, North Korea is a harrowing Asian experience. A far cry from the modernity of the South, the North is largely bereft of electricity, completely lacking in advertising and a little like stepping back in time. It’s a pricey experience, and one that will give you little freedom to explore on your own, but equally it’s an utterly unforgettable one.

With the cheaper, backdoor route across the DMZ from South Korea now shut down, you’re talking a bill of thousands of dollars to come in over the northern border from China. While you’ll have some say over your itinerary (at a cost) before you arrive, your stay in the North Korea will be strictly controlled. You’ll find yourself quarantined in your bedroom at night, your photography heavily restricted, some corners firmly blocked from view and your interaction with the locals limited to an absolute bear minimum. You’ll even have to show due reverence in front of the statues of Mr. Kim (senior and junior), which can be an uncomfortable experience. The pay off? This is one trip you’ll probably never stop talking about.

A typical jaunt, depending on its length, is likely to incorporate capital Pyongyang, along with trips to the hills of Kumgangsan (The Diamond Mountains) and Paekdusan, while a longer trip might include the southern town of Gaeseong, too. In Pyongyang you’ll be isolated in your hotel for long periods of time; when you do escape it will be to explore the ‘modernity’ of the city, examining its mammoth monuments or dipping down into the regal (but almost certainly unused by locals) subway line. Pictures of the ruling Kims seem to stare down on you from the peak of every building.

Gaeseong, meanwhile, used to be the gateway to the South, and hides numerous archaeological treasures (from museums to the locations of legendary Korean stories), as well as surreal, backwards street scenes. Visit the DMZ and experience their view on the Korean War, while being watched by South Korean military police. Head for the hills of Kumgangsan and Paekdusan and you’ll find a striking side to the country, with craggy, soaring views. All in all, though, it’s the surreal vibe of North Korea that fascinates tourists, and it really is unforgettable.

Pyongyang #1 most popular location
An eerie capital that fits in well with its somewhat surreal political outlook and backwards surroundings, Pyongyang is a city that will set you back thousands to visit, but you’ll be talki…
36travelers 94reviews 10blogs
Kaesong #2 most popular location
Most tourists visit Kaesong as an overnight stop when visiting Panmunjom and the Demilitarized Zone at they are not doable as a day trip from Pyongyang. That said, there are quite a few attra…
3travelers 17reviews 4blogs
Sariwon #3 most popular location
Haeju #4 most popular location
The city of Haeju lies closely to the West Sea and is the capital of the South Hwanghae Province. Very little is known about this city, as it's only been open to forgeiners since 2008. Like o…
Panmunjom #5 most popular location
Panmunjom was a city in Korea, but became really famous during the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. This was the place where the peace talks were taking place for months. Eventually a cease …
1travelers 3reviews
Rimyongsu waterfalls #6 most popular location
Kuryong waterfall #7 most popular location
1reviews 1blogs
Seaside Chilbo homestay #8 most popular location
Phyongsong #9 most popular location
P'yŏngsŏng is a city in North Korea, the capital city of the province South Pyongan in western North Korea. The city is located about 32 kilometres northeast of Pyongyang, and was formally …
1reviews 1blogs
Ryonggang #10 most popular location
Myohyang #11 most popular location
Nampho #12 most popular location
Sinuiju #13 most popular location
Kijong-dong #14 most popular location
Chongsan-ri #15 most popular location
Wonsan city #16 most popular location
Wŏnsan is a port city and naval base that was opened by the occupying Japanese in 1880. It is located in the Kangwon Province of North Korea, on the westernmost part of the Sea of Japan (Eas…
Mount Paektu #17 most popular location