It has become possible to travel to North Korea from India, although tourists are expected to adhere to rules and regulations. Travelers must plan the trip with an approved tour operator and must travel as part of a guided tour. One should also register their trip with the Indian embassy located in Pyongyang before departure.
A tour guide is assigned to each group, and they must remain with the group at all times, even in the case of an emergency. Tourists are required to obtain a visa in advance, which is valid for 30 days upon arrival. North Korean visas for Indian citizens can now be applied for through the Indian embassy in Pyongyang. It is important to note that tourists are not allowed to travel independently and must remain with their assigned tour at all times.
When travelling to North Korea from India, travelers should also be aware of any restrictions on the type of items they can take with them. Items such as books, magazines, articles, and images that promote western ideas, or anything that can be deemed offensive to the Korean culture, are not permitted. In addition, travelers will not be allowed to bring any type of wireless communication devices, such as cell phones, satellite phones, or computers, including tablets and laptops. Any such items will be confiscated by authorities upon arrival.
For those wanting to take photographs, it is important to remember that photography is heavily regulated in North Korea. Tourists are only permitted to take photos in specific areas and should avoid any activity that could be perceived as political in nature. Taking photos of military personnel is strictly forbidden, and failing to comply could result in severe penalties.
Costs and Visa Requirements
In order to travel to North Korea from India, tourists must obtain a valid visa from the Indian Embassy in Pyongyang. The costs associated with obtaining a visa vary depending on the duration of stay. For example, a one-week visa for a single traveller is estimated to cost around $300 USD, whereas a 30-day visa for a family of four is estimated to cost around $1200 USD.
The cost of the trip itself is also important to consider when planning a journey to North Korea. Due to the limited access to the country and strict regulations, costs tend to be on the high side. Prices will vary depending on the type of accommodation, type of transport, activities, and other expenses such as food and drinks. On average, a one-week trip is estimated to cost around $3000 USD.
Another important factor to consider is the currency exchange rate, which is not always stable. Plus, foreign currency is not widely accepted, except for a select few hotels. Tourists should be aware of these factors and budget accordingly.
When travelling to North Korea from India, it is essential to take into account the local laws and customs, as the country is well known for its tight regulations and restrictions. Tourists are expected to adhere to certain social guidelines, such as avoiding public displays of affection, respecting the North Korean government and its policies, and dressing modestly.
Travelers should also be aware of the potential safety risks associated with their trip. According to the US State Department, travelers should “exercise increased caution” when visiting North Korea, as “unauthorized travel can result in arrest, detention, or the imposition of a fine”. Therefore, tourists should verify that they are travelling with an authorized tour operator.
Additionally, travelers should take precautions to ensure that they remain safe while in the country. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), medical treatment can be limited, and tourists should ensure that they are up to date on all necessary vaccinations and medications. Tourists should also ensure that they have adequate travel insurance and that their passports are valid for six months after their intended departure date.
When travelling from India to North Korea, it is important to be aware of the limited means of communication that the country offers. Due to its isolationist policies, communication with the outside world is restricted, so tourists will be unable to access the internet or to make international phone calls. Tourists should be aware of these restrictions and should plan accordingly.
In addition, it is important to note that North Korea has its own language, called Korean. Visitors should familiarize themselves with the language and learn a few phrases before the trip, in order to communicate with locals more easily. Tourists are also advised to bring a pocket-sized dictionary or phrasebook.
Using Local Transport
When travelling to North Korea from India, tourists should be aware that the forms of transport available are limited. Tours are largely conducted on foot or by bus and most major cities and sites are accessible by train or by plane. Additionally, tourists may be able to hire a driver and car to explore more remote regions and tourist sites.
The country’s infrastructure is outdated, so visitors should be prepared for long journeys and delays. Tourists should also be aware that driving is on the right side of the road, and seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers.
Moreover, the roads can be crowded and difficult to navigate, so tourists should be prepared for a bumpy ride. Travelers will also be expected to pay a “toll fee” when travelling to some tourist sites, which can add to the cost of the trip.
Food and Drink
When travelling to North Korea from India, travelers should also consider their food and beverage options. Tourists will be able to find food and drink at most tourist sites and restaurants, although tourists should be aware that most meals are designed to match North Korean tastes, so may not be to everyone’s liking. North Korean cuisine features a lot of fish, vegetables, and rice.
Moreover, if tourists are travelling with a tour operator, meals will usually be included in the cost of the trip. Tourists should also be aware that tap water is not safe to drink, as it is contaminated with heavy metals, so bottled water is recommended. Additionally, alcohol is widely available, although it is expensive and tourists are advised to drink in moderation, as public intoxication is frowned upon.
When travelling to North Korea from India, one should consider their options in terms of accommodation. Hotels are available in all major cities, although they are often expensive and may not be up to western standards. Tourists should also be aware that electricity is unreliable and the internet is not available, so they should be prepared for limited amenities.
If travelling with a tour operator, accommodation will usually be arranged for you. However, for independent travelers, camping is an option, although camping gear is not widely available and must be brought from India. Tourists should also be aware that camping outside designated areas is strictly prohibited.
When travelling from India to North Korea, it is important to consider the local culture and customs. North Korea is a very traditional society and many of the customs will be unfamiliar to foreign visitors. Tourists should be aware of local etiquette, including speaking respectfully and avoiding physical contact with locals. Tourists should also avoid discussing any topics related to politics, religion, or the Korean War.
Gift-giving is a common practice in North Korea and is considered an important gesture of friendship. Tourists should always bring a small gift to their host, such as candy, tea, or a personal item. Tourists should also be aware that religious sites must be respected, with no talking or laughing while inside.
For those who are considering a trip to North Korea from India, it is essential to take into account the restrictions, regulations, and safety considerations associated with travel to the country. Tourists should research their options thoroughly to ensure that their journey is safe and enjoyable. By following the necessary steps and staying informed about the country’s rules, tourists can enjoy a unique experience in this fascinating and isolated country.