How To Travel To North Korea From Australia

Visa and Travel Documents

Travelling to North Korea from Australia requires a visa and other travel documents. A valid passport and a visa are needed to enter and exit the country. The visa application process is fairly straightforward and should be started as soon as possible. Tourists need to book through an approved tour operator and the trip must be part of a tour package. Tour groups are strictly monitored and officials check passports and visas regularly. Australians who wish to travel independently need to contact a North Korean embassy for a visa if the tour package does not include one.

Travellers who already have a valid North Korean visa may be allowed to travel if their tour group is willing to accept them. However, the visa must be confirmed by the tour operator before the trip and must match the same tour package. Visitors must apply for a Non-Immigration Visitor Visa and must provide a valid passport and other necessary documents.

Australians who are planning to travel to North Korea should also make sure they have the necessary travel documents in order. This includes identifying an embassy or consulate in Australia that can help with the visa process, obtaining copies of the application form, arranging for travel health insurance, and obtaining any other necessary documents such as a visa, travel permit or other identification necessary to enter the country. Most importantly, they should be familiar with the guidelines outlined in the country’s tourist law before travelling.


The easiest way to get to North Korea from Australia is to fly with Air Koryo, the national carrier of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. Air Koryo operates flights from Beijing to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. Other connecting flights from Australia will involve a series of stops. Travellers should check with their preferred airlines before booking to ensure they are aware of the latest rules and regulations regarding travel to North Korea.

Australians who wish to travel by air should also be aware of the flight restrictions in place in North Korea. Several countries have imposed sanctions on North Korea, and these sanctions have resulted in many airlines refusing to fly to or over the country. Moreover, Australians should be aware that flights may not be operating on schedule and may include unscheduled stops, which could mean longer flight times than expected.

The cost of flying to North Korea from Australia is typically expensive. Tourists should budget for long haul flights and should be aware of the high cost of domestically produced food and consumer goods in North Korea.


Travellers to North Korea will typically stay in a guest house or hotel. The price of accommodation can vary depending on the type of guest house or hotel chosen. Most guest houses have basic amenities such as air conditioning, TV, tea and coffee, but limited English language services. Tourists should also be aware that access to the internet is heavily restricted in North Korea and is mostly limited to high-end hotels.

Accommodations in North Korea are usually booked as part of a tour package and typically include meals. Tourists should also be aware of the restrictions in place when travelling in North Korea and should understand that their movements may be monitored.

In addition to booking a guest house or hotel, travellers should make sure they bring enough cash with them for their entire stay in North Korea. Tourists should be aware that credit cards and other forms of payment are rarely accepted in North Korea.

Local Etiquette

Travelling to North Korea demands that travellers respect local etiquette and laws. One of the important things to keep in mind when visiting North Korea is the need to be respectful of the country’s leaders, especially the late leader Kim Il Sung and his successor, current leader Kim Jong Un. This includes bowing and greeting them properly. Visitors should also be aware that speaking out against the government is frowned upon and can result in severe penalties.

Travellers should also be aware of the strict dress codes in place in North Korea. Tourists should dress conservatively, avoiding clothing with offensive or political slogans or insignias. Visitors should also be aware that there is a strict curfew in place in North Korea and that alcohol and smoking are not permitted in public.

Health and Safety

Before travelling to North Korea, Australians should make sure they are aware of the health and safety risks involved. Australians are advised to get vaccinated against certain diseases before travelling. Travellers should also check the latest travel advice from the Australian Government for North Korea and make sure they have comprehensive travel insurance.

Travellers should also be aware that there is a high risk of getting robbed or mugged in North Korea, so it is advised to avoid carrying large amounts of cash, keep valuable items stored securely, and avoid walking alone in deserted areas at night.

Travellers to North Korea should also be aware that access to services such as medical care and emergency assistance is limited. There is also a risk of being arrested, detained and questioned by authorities, so travellers should be aware of their rights and any laws they may have broken.

Food and Cuisine

When travelling to North Korea, visitors can expect to be served the country’s traditional dishes such as kimchi (fermented vegetables), bibimbap (rice with vegetables and meat) and jjigae (a stew made of vegetables, seafood or meat). While these dishes may seem unfamiliar to some, they are generally considered to be safe to eat.

Travellers should also be aware that North Korean food is generally quite salty and spicy. Tourists should also be aware that there is limited access to western-style food in North Korea, so they may want to bring some snacks with them.

Travellers to North Korea should also be aware that alcoholic beverages are expensive and can be hard to find. The country produces a variety of beers, wines and spirits, but travellers should be aware that North Korean beer is generally quite strong. The drinking age in North Korea is 18, and drinking in public is not allowed.

Currency and Exchange

The currency of North Korea is the Korean People’s Won (KPW). Tourists should not attempt to exchange foreign currency in North Korea, as this is illegal and can result in severe penalties. Tourists should also be aware that US dollars, Euros and other foreign currencies are not accepted in North Korea.

Travellers should also be aware that money exchange facilities are limited in North Korea and may not be available in the areas they visit. It is advised that tourists bring enough cash with them for the duration of their stay in North Korea, as credit cards or other forms of payment are not accepted.

Destinations and Activities

Travellers visiting North Korea can expect to see a variety of attractions and activities. Some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country include the demilitarised zone (DMZ), the capital city of Pyongyang, the mountain resort of Wonsan, and the historical site of Kaesong. Tourists are also offered the opportunity to visit the East Sea (Sea of Japan), the Juche Tower, and the Kim Il Sung stadium, along with a number of other attractions. Additionally, tourists can take part in activities such as hiking, skiing, cycling and river rafting.

Travellers should also be aware that some places, such as the DMZ, are off limits to tourists and are heavily guarded by military personnel. Additionally, tourists should be aware that certain activities may be prohibited in certain areas and that certain items such as cameras, binoculars and mobile phones may be confiscated by officials.


Travelling to North Korea from Australia can be a fascinating and rewarding experience, but it is important to be aware of the visa and travel requirements, flight restrictions, local etiquette, health and safety issues, currency and exchange regulations, and the kinds of destinations and activities available. By being aware of the regulations, travellers can be sure they have an enjoyable trip that is also safe and secure.

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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