How To Get To North Korea From Uk

North Korea is widely seen as one of the most isolated countries in the world, which makes getting to it from the UK a daunting proposition. Though there is no direct air route connecting North Korea to the UK, there are still a few reliable ways to get to your destination. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to get to North Korea from the UK.

Availability of Charter Flights

The most direct route that UK citizens choose to take to North Korea is by using charter flights. These can cost more than regular commercial flights, but they are still one of the most affordable options. Charter flights can be arranged through multiple companies, such as Korean Air, which operates flights from London Heathrow to Pyongyang International Airport. Crucially, these flights typically offer more flexible schedules than the other routes, allowing travellers to fit in with their plans better.

The flight duration from London to Pyongyang is about seven hours, though this may vary depending on various factors such as weather conditions. Passengers must also bear in mind that as charter flights can be subject to change due to low passenger numbers. Therefore, it is important to consider the risk before booking a flight. Additionally, passengers should make sure to check the latest rules and regulations on the Pyongyang International Airport website.

Train Route

Another way to get to North Korea from the UK is via the Trans-Siberian railway and connecting trains. This is a more time-consuming route, so it is usually only chosen by those looking to save money or who want to experience the journey itself. Taking the Trans-Siberian railway will also grant passengers a chance to explore some of the most captivating cities in Eastern Europe on the way.

To travel via this route, passengers will first need to take a direct flight to one of the main European stops, such as Berlin or Warsaw. From there, they must take a direct train to Moscow or St Petersburg, followed by a crossing to Vladivostok and then a connecting train from there to Pyongyang. The entire trip is estimated to take around four days in total, but this will depend on the various connections and timetables.

Furthermore, travellers should bear in mind there is a much stricter visa process for those travelling via this route. As such, it is very important to research the visa requirements thoroughly before booking any connecting trains.

Getting the Visa

Regardless of whether passengers opt for charter flights or the train route, they must first secure the appropriate visa. To do this, they will need to contact a specialised North Korean travel agency and submit the necessary documents, such as a valid passport, a completed application form and proof of circular travel.

Given the North Korean government’s highly guarded and secretive nature, the visa process can take some time and can be complicated to navigate. Therefore, it is essential to contact a dedicated agency who has a good understanding of the process. It is also worth researching the visa rules and requirements to make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork and information to hand.

Safety and Security

In terms of safety and security, North Korea does not have the best reputation. With this in mind, it is important for travellers to make sure that they plan their journey carefully and factor in all potential risks.

The UK government advises regular travellers to North Korea to research the area that they are travelling to thoroughly in order to ensure their safety. Additionally, there have been multiple reports of travellers to North Korea facing arrests and detainment. Therefore, it is important to always carry a hard copy of the visa and travel insurance documents with you at all times.

Finally, travellers should be aware of North Korean internet regulations. Although North Korea has some of the most restricted internet regulations in the world, visitors to the country should still avoid accessing websites that are blocked or are considered to be sensitive by the North Korean government. Additionally, WiFi connection is difficult to find anywhere in the country and is generally unreliable.

Cost of Visiting North Korea

It is important to bear in mind that North Korea is a very expensive destination. Prices in the country are typically higher than in other parts of the world, particularly when it comes to accommodations and food. Additionally, North Korea requires its visitors to exchange their currency into North Korean Won at designated exchange centres. As such, it is important to budget accordingly when travelling to the country.

To get the best deals, travellers should consider booking a package tour. These typically include the cost of the visa and a guide, usually someone from the North Korean tourist agency. Furthermore, they usually come with additional benefits, such as transport from the airport and fixed prices for hotels and meals.

Requirements of Touring North Korea

Tourists to North Korea are expected to adhere to certain protocols to ensure a pleasant stay in the country. As a general rule, visitors should avoid taking photos of the military or sensitive areas such as military sites and government buildings. Additionally, when travelling with a guide, it is important to bear in mind that the guide is responsible for your safety and security. This means that all their instructions must be followed at all times, even when it may seem inconvenient.

Furthermore, visitors should always try to be respectful and courteous when interacting with locals, paying particular attention not to do anything that may be offensive or insensitive to North Korean culture. While travelling in North Korea, visitors should also be aware that they are not permitted to take part in any political activities.

Alternative Ways to See North Korea

Although travel to North Korea is restricted and highly regulated, there are other ways to experience the country without actually going there. Options include online courses, documentaries and virtual trips, which can all offer insight into North Korean culture and everyday life. Additionally, many tour operators offer guided virtual tours which provide a realistic, interactive experience.

Moreover, there are various platforms which host stories from real North Korean citizens, giving people a unique window into life inside the country. Finally, Western authors have also written books about the country, offering a rare look into one of the least understood nations in the world.

Pros and Cons of Visiting North Korea

Though travelling to North Korea offers a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, there are a few points to consider before embarking on the journey. On one hand, it offers a chance to forget the everyday stress of life and experience a different culture. At the same time, North Korea is well known for its oppressive regime and lack of freedom of speech.

To travel there safely and comfortably, it is important to make sure to adhere to all the instructions of the guides and be aware of the local laws to avoid any potential issues. As such, while travelling to North Korea is an option, it is essential to research and plan the trip adequately before embarking on the journey.

Cultural Etiquette To Keep In Mind China

As with any country, there are certain cultural etiquette points that visitors should bear in mind before travelling to North Korea. For example, travellers should always be aware of the country’s strict dress code, which typically sees people wearing colours in line with North Korean culture, such as olive green or black. Additionally, visitors must always be respectful when interacting with locals, avoiding any offensive or insensitive behaviour.

Furthermore, it is important to conduct oneself in a proper manner especially when visiting important public places, such as shrines and monuments. North Korean culture also requires visitors to be respectful when invited to someone’s home and to always take off their shoes before entering a house. Finally, visitors should always remember to greet each other using the proper salutations in North Korean.

Essential Items To Pack

When travelling to North Korea, visitors must bear in mind that the country has strict travel and visa requirements, as well as very specific items which must be packed in order to secure entry. In particular, visitors should make sure to pack a valid passport, their visa documents, their travel insurance policy and a medical kit, which must include malaria tablets, a thermometer and other essential items.

Additionally, it is important to pack essentials that can be used in case of emergencies. This can include items such as an emergency phone number card, a flashlight and a Swiss Army knife. As with any trip, travellers should also remember to pack warm and waterproof clothing, as the North Korean weather can be unpredictable.

Finally, visitors should also remember to pack currency in the form of North Korean Won, as foreign currency is typically not accepted in the country. Usually, 20-30 USD worth of North Korean Won is enough for day-to-day expenses.

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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