North Korea

Quick Facts

Region: North & Central Asia



Both Koreas share a Buddhist and Confucian heritage and a recent history of Christian and Cheondoism ("religion of the Heavenly Way") movements. The North Korean constitution states that freedom of religion is permitted. According to the Western standards of religion, the majority of the North Korean population could be characterized as irreligious. However, the cultural influence of such traditional religions as Buddhism and Confucianism still have an effect on North Korean spiritual life. Nevertheless, Buddhists in North Korea reportedly fare better than other religious groups, particularly Christians, who are said to face persecution by the authorities. Buddhists are given limited funding by the government to promote the religion, because Buddhism played an integral role in traditional Korean culture


North Korea shares the Korean language with South Korea. There are dialect differences within both Koreas, but the border between North and South does not represent a major linguistic boundary.

Area (sq. km):
120,540 square meters


Korea Time Zone (UTC+09:00)

When To Travel

North Korea has a continental climate with four distinct seasons.Long winters bring bitter cold and clear weather interspersed with snow storms as a result of northern and northwestern winds that blow from Siberia. Average snowfall is 37 days during the winter. The weather is likely to be particularly harsh in the northern, mountainous regions. Summer tends to be short, hot, humid, and rainy because of the southern and southeastern monsoon winds that bring moist air from the Pacific Ocean. Typhoons affect the peninsula on an average of at least once every summer. Spring and autumn are transitional seasons marked by mild temperatures and variable winds and bring the most pleasant weather. Natural hazards include late spring droughts which often are followed by severe flooding. There are occasional typhoons during the early fall. North Korea's climate is relatively temperate. Most of the country is classified as type Dwa in the Köppen climate classification scheme, with warm summers and cold, dry winters. In summer there is a short rainy season called changma.

Useful Travel Facts


Sunan International Airport, Pyongyang.


Mobile phones are now allowed to be brought into the country, however please remember that they won’t work.  Passengers will have the option of leaving their phones in China if they wish.


 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.



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. And if you are very lucky you might be able to get hold of some socialist realism paintings, although customs officials are not keen on these things going out of the country, so do beware. On the tour to Kaesong tourists are warned not to purchase anything that could be construed as North Korean propaganda including any images of North Korean leaders such as stamps or postcards. No biographies or books are permitted back into South Korea. This is a South Korean restriction. It does not apply to border crossings with China. If you are leaving the country via flight to Beijing or train via Dandong you should encounter no problems bringing home any North Korean merchandise for your own personal enjoyment. You are, however, allowed to buy post cards and send them to yourself in any country except South Korea which apparently will not deliver them. Some excellent paintings on silk or linen were available in Kaesong directly from the artist. Haggling for price is not permitted but the prices are very low


The DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) visa fee is 50 Euros.

Please provide the following Documents to your booking agent no later than 60 days prior to departure. Please note any forms listed below will be given to you by your booking agent for you to complete and return.

• Colour passport copy

• Colour passport photo x4

• Completed Application Form

• Completed Journalist Form

• Please make sure you have a double entry Chinese visa and valid insurance which can cover their trip to the DPRK.

• Unfortunately US citizens can not travel on our itinerary due to the fact that we depart North Korea via train and US citizens can only enter/exit North Korea via plane. It’s a 11 night itinerary and US citizens can only travel for 10 nights in North Korea.

• For Applicants based in Hong Kong, we need a reference letter from his/her company as well as a scan of the person’s HK ID card is required to process the application.

• For applicants based in France, please include an email address as the DPRK consulate in Paris will need to contact them.

Please understand that information and processes can change so for the most up to date information please check with your local Consulate or Embassy.

Useful Words & Phrases