A Day And A Night North Korea

Travel and Accommodation

North Korea is a densely populated country, with little international tourism. Despite the strict rules regarding entry, there are a few ways to enter the country as a tourist. While North Korea is perhaps best known for its military and its dictatorial form of government, outside of the big cities you will find little sign of either. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and the nature is stunning. The best way to explore North Korea is on an organized tour, as the country has the infrastructure and services to accommodate such trips.
Accommodation in North Korea is generally clean and comfortable, and the country provides many options for visitors, from luxury resorts to basic lodging. Most hotels will have basic amenities like air conditioning, wi-fi access and a pool, as well as plenty of room for visitors. Whether you are searching for a traditional hotel or a hostel with budget-friendly prices, North Korea has something for everyone.

Restaurants and Food

When it comes to North Korean food, there are two main types: North Korean and Korean. North Korean cuisine is more likely to feature dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, while Korean dishes contain more international flavors. Both types of cuisine feature specialties such as dumplings, noodles, and BBQ. North Koreans also enjoy drinking tea, beer, and soju (a traditional drink). If you are looking to sample local fare, some restaurants specialize in North Korean cuisine, while others specialize in Korean.
Some restaurants offer a variety of specialties, including seolleongtang (a beef stew dish), bibimbap (a Korean rice bowl), and calbinar (a savory pancake). These dishes are usually garnished with generous portions of kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage). You can also find plenty of traditional snacks like hotteok (a sweet fried dough pocket) and odeng (a fishcake broth). Regardless of what type of food you’re looking for, North Korea has something to offer.

Cultural Sightseeing

One of the main attractions in North Korea is the opportunity to explore its unique culture. North Korea is home to the world’s oldest walled city, Pyongyang, which was founded around 3,000 years ago. It is known for its striking architecture and is the starting point of all touring to North Korea. Many temples and monuments are tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the city, and visitors are encouraged to explore them.
The parks and gardens of the city are also worth a visit. They tend to be tranquil and peaceful, and visitors can take some time to appreciate their beauty. These gardens are often the site of important official events, and visitors are likely to witness them taking place. Some of the most popular attractions include the Koryo Museum, where you can learn about the nation’s history, the Moranbong Park near the Taedong River, and the revolutionary sites of Kumsusan Palace, which is the resting place of North Korea’s former leaders and a popular spot for sightseeing.

Tourist Activities

For those who are looking to engage in fun activities, North Korea has a multitude of options. Visitors can take part in a variety of sports such as basketball, football, and running. The beaches close to Pyongyang also provide great opportunities for sunbathing and swimming, although there are also many parks where visitors can ride bicycles.
Cultural activities such as calligraphy lessons and karaoke can also be enjoyed. Additionally, North Korea has a thriving music and arts scene that visitors can explore, including operas and performance art. There are also plenty of cultural events and festivals throughout the year where visitors can get a feel for North Korean traditions.


North Korea doesn’t offer much in terms of nightlife, however there are a few places where visitors can experience some culture and entertainment. In Pyongyang, you can find a few venues like Arcadia where you can enjoy live music as well as traditional North Korean dancing. Bars and nightclubs like the Kaesong Bar and the Black Boy Pub also provide tourists with a place to socialize and sample local beer. There are also a few cabaret shows that visitors can attend, although they can be hard to access due to their sensitive nature.

Safety and Security

Due to North Korea’s strict laws and the high levels of censorship, tourists should always exercise caution when visiting the country. Certain activities are strictly forbidden, such as taking unauthorized photos, drinking alcohol during certain times, and entering restricted areas. Visitors should also be aware of the possibility of being monitored by the state, especially if they are engaging in activities that could be perceived as suspicious.
However, visitors should also be reassured that North Korea is generally a safe country to travel in. Tourists are largely left alone and there is a strong police presence, especially in the large cities. All visitors must have a permit in order to travel within the country, and these can usually be obtained with the help of an accredited tour provider.

Currency and Exchange

The official currency of North Korea is the North Korean Won, which is not accepted outside of the country. Tourists are typically expected to exchange their currency for the local won before they arrive in North Korea, as it is not possible to do so after you have arrived. Exchange rates are set daily by the government, so they can fluctuate. The local currency can also be used to buy goods and services in the country, although it is not always easy to find places that accept it.
Generally speaking, US dollars or euros are the preferred currencies for international transactions. There are a few ATMs in the country that accept these currencies, however these are usually reserved for use by diplomats and cannot be used by tourists. The main way to obtain cash is by exchanging your currency in a designated exchange center or bank. It is important to note that banks tend to have higher exchange rates than the designated exchange centers.

Shopping and Souvenirs

Shopping in North Korea is limited, however there are still a few places where visitors can find souvenirs and local items. The main shopping street in Pyongyang is the Chollima Street, which is lined with shops and stalls selling souvenirs, snacks, and other items. Tourists can also find traditional woolen and silken fabrics, as well as antiques and traditional art pieces.
The Mangyongdae Souvenir Shop near the Juche Tower is also popular with visitors. Here you can get souvenirs like stamps, postcards, North Korean coins, and textiles. There is also the Pyongyang Department Store, where visitors can buy basic necessities like shampoo, soap, and toothpaste. While prices in North Korea tend to be quite low, visitors can expect to pay a premium for any items that need to be shipped outside of the country.

Getting Around

Navigating North Korea can be a challenge for visitors and many of the roads have poor quality. The best way to travel is usually on an organized tour or private charter that includes an experienced driver. Public transport is notoriously unreliable and taxis can be hard to come by. Roads are also poorly lit at night, making nighttime travel more difficult.
The best way to get around Pyongyang is on foot, as it is generally very safe and easy to navigate. Visitors can also take the metro, which runs from 6am to 11pm. Larger cities also have bus networks that offer affordable travel around the city. However, it is important to note that some areas are restricted and it is important to be aware of where you are going at all times.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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