What Not To Do In North Korea

North Korea is an incredibly mysterious, yet important, country to the rest of the world. With the world’s attention growing, more and more people are interested in visiting North Korea and learning more about their culture. For those interested in visiting North Korea, it is important to know what not to do so that you don’t offend the locals, nor get into any kind of trouble with the law.

Do Not Ask Questions

One of the most important things to keep in mind when visiting North Korea is to not ask too many personal questions. Questions regarding politics, religion, or anything else that may be seen as a challenge to the government are off-limits. Even casual comments such as “What do you think about the news?” can be seen as a challenge, so it is important to only ask questions that are relevant and will not cause any issues.

Do Not Criticize the Government

North Korea’s government is incredibly sensitive, and any criticism directed towards their leaders is not appreciated. Even accidental gestures, such as looking away while the national anthem is played or speaking ill of Kim Jong Un, can have serious repercussions. So it is important to be aware of your behavior at all times and make sure that you are not saying anything that could be perceived as a criticism of the country or its leaders.

Do Not Take Photographs Without Permission

Another important thing to keep in mind when visiting North Korea is not to take photographs or videos without permission. The North Korean government has strict policies about who can take photographs and where those photographs can be taken. For example, taking photographs of the military, monuments, or statues can land you in serious trouble with the law. North Korean guides will usually ask permission before taking photographs of landmarks, so it is important to follow their lead.

Do Not Bring Foreign Clothing or Literature

It is important not to bring any foreign clothing or literature into North Korea. The government is incredibly stringent about foreign influence, and they may view anything that is not in line with their standards as a threat. So it is important to adhere to the North Korean dress code, and to leave any foreign books or magazines at home.

Do Not Talk about South Korean Culture

North Korea is incredibly sensitive about its relationship with South Korea, so it is important not to talk about South Korean culture while in North Korea. The government does not appreciate any kind of discussion about reunification between the two countries, and may view it as a challenge to their authority. So it is important to keep your conversations focused on North Korean culture and not to bring up any sensitive topics.

Do Not Disrespect North Korean Customs

It is also important to show respect to North Korea’s customs and traditions. North Korean citizens take pride in their heritage, and any disrespect towards their culture can be taken as an offense. So it is important to research North Korean customs before visiting, so that you know how to act respectfully and not make any faux pas.

Do Not Bring Electronic Devices

The last thing to keep in mind when visiting North Korea is to not bring any electronics with you. North Korea has strict regulations when it comes to devices such as smartphones, digital cameras, and laptops. Any kind of device that could be used to access the internet could be viewed as a threat to their security and could lead to serious problems. So it is important to leave all of your electronic devices at home before entering the country.

Do Not Overstay Visas

The North Korean government is strict about who can visit and for how long. Overstaying a visa can lead to serious consequences, both for yourself and for your traveling companions. So it is important to make sure that you are familiar with the laws regarding visas, and to adhere to them at all times.

Do Not Speak Badly About the Country or Its People

Finally, it is important not to speak ill about North Korea or its people. North Korea is proud of its culture and identity, and any disrespectful comments could be seen as an offense to the country and its people. So it is important to remember to be respectful when speaking about North Korea and its citizens, as this is the best way to ensure a pleasant and safe trip.

Be respectful to North Korean Monuments

North Korean monuments are an important part of their cultural heritage. Visitors should be aware that any disrespect to the monuments or monuments themselves can be considered an offense to the country and its people. Respect should be given to the monuments and visitors should be aware of any restrictions that may be associated with taking pictures.

Follow Appropriate Dress Codes

The North Korean government has very specific guidelines on what is considered appropriate and inappropriate apparel. For example, women are required to wear dresses and skirts, while men cannot wear shorts and must avoid any offensive designs or logos. As such, it is important to adhere to the dress code in order to avoid offending local sensibilities and potentially running into trouble with the authorities.

Do Not Make ANY Political Comments

North Korea is a highly politicised country, and any comments expressing dissatisfaction or opinion on the current political climate may be seen as way of insulting the ruling regime. As such, it is important to be mindful of what is said in public, and avoid making any political statements or comments.

Do Not Discuss Religion

Religion is a sensitive topic in North Korea, and it can be seen as an affront to traditional beliefs. It is important to avoid discussions surrounding religion while in North Korea, as these conversations could be seen as a challenge to established norms and thus warrant punitive action.

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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