A country that is difficult to access and initially uninviting, North Korea has a tourist potential. Let’s discover it through these article.North Korea is still a mysterious country for many of us. Especially known for the various political conflicts it causes, few know the various places and tourist sites that this country can offer!
Visiting North Korea
Tourism in North Korea
when to go: the rainstorm keeps active from June to August and the tropical storm division is for the a lot of allotment from August to September. So yield alternating a continued time of the year.
Public transport is not accessible to non natives except the metro with authorization and guide. To the admeasurement auto biking is concerned, campaign are not acceptable to drive: adjacent agents of biking organizations or specialists are in allegation of the go of guests.
How to get there : Many voyagers fly out through China to North Korea (the North Korean carrier Air Koryo is prohibited from working in lot of countries arround the world ). Pyongyang is served 4 times a week if you take the train from Beijing (around 24 hours).
Travelling within the country: Travel inside North Korea is restricted and checked by nearby specialists; You should be for all time accompanied by a local guide named by the state. Public transport is not allowed for non-corean except the metro with permission and guide. the car trip is also concerned, tourists are not allowed to drive, travel agencies or authorities are responsible for the travel of visitors.
Many tools and activities are prohibed in North Korea, (for example, mobile phones or GPS).To visit North Korea it is obligatory that it is organized by a travel agency recognized by the government in order to obtain a tourist visa! Journalists must have a special visa.It also depends on the state of diplomatic relations between the governments of the countries from which tourists come and North Korea. The reference embassy is China to help facilitate the procedure of obtaining VISA for visitors to certain countries that may enter the North Korean territory.
The main attractions offered by the tourist circuits
Pyongyang: The capital of North Korea is an obligatory stop for tourist tours, this city is home to most of the places devoted to the glory of Kim Il-Sung, but also the symbols of the struggle against the Japanese enemy, Korean or American.The most popular sights are Mansuadae Hill and its bronze statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong Il, the Arc de Triomphe, the Juche Tower, the statue of Chollima, the Palace of Kumsusan, etc.
The Arirang festival: A North Korean cultural event that North Koreans organize from August to September, is celebrated in conjunction with national festivals.
Approximately 100,000 artists rehearse for months to participate in choreographic scenes depicting the history of 20th century Korea. In the stadium you can admire the colorful costumes and accessories of the gymnasts and dancers who illustrate giant paintings and synchronized movements.
Demilitarized zone: Watch out for photos and camerasThe floral exhibition Kimilsungia-Kimjungilia: Organized in Pyongyang, this floral exhibition presents two kinds of flowers called Kimilsungia and Kimjungilia. The first, in honor of Kim II Sung, is a mauve orchid and the second, in honor of Kim Jong II, a variety of red begonias. This event attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The Children’s Palace: located in Pyongyang, this palace teaches the most gifted music and songs, with traditional North Korean music. These songs sing praises of the proletariat. You can attend rehearsals or shows. These shows are impressive because they are annimated by young children.
Mount Geumgang or Kumgang: also called “the diamond mountains”. This mountain range not far from the coastline in North Korea extends 40 km from east to west and its highest peak reaches 1638 m (the peak of Birobong).
Its nickname comes from the fact that in the spring, the peaks of sharp granite burst into the dew of the morning. Here you will find Buddhist relics such as Pyohunsa and Jeongyangsa temples.The controverseThe restriction of tourist circuits in North Korea causes injustices in the tourism sector; the North Korean state controls everything and benefits from economic spin-offs, the citizens are often victims of malnutrition and live in precarious situations.
Big issues: The gouvernement are not showing any interest to preserve the new potential touristic sites against deterioration, which could lead to the destruction of the environment and the local ecosystem.You will remark that many activities and attractions, especially in Pyongyang, revolve around the political regime. However, other places deserve attention and, by doing research, we realize that North Korea has a lot of tourism potential to offer.
Other possible touristic activities in North Korea
Bicycle on Mount Paektu: Mount Paektu is located on the border between China and North Korea, it is the highest point of Korea with 2744 m and consists of a mountain range. At the top there is the largest lake in the world caused by a crater: Lake Chonji.
This mountain is part of UNESCO’s global network of biosphere and a very symbolic place for all the North Koreans as it is the birthplace of the legendary Tangun, the father of Korea.Excursions are organized to admire the sunrise on the lake.
Cruise: A new attraction proposed by the coastal region in the northeast of the country, the cruise leaves from the old port of Rajin for a 21 hour sailing. Attention, do not expect a luxury cruise, Gyong Bong is a former boat also used as a ferry, almost 40 years and rehabilitated to serve tourists! The best cabins are equipped with basic facilities (a table, chairs and toilets). However, it is still a local means of transport that you can add to your list to move within the country.
Skiing on Mount Masik: believe it or not, North Korea also grants a big interest in this kind of sport, A ski resort site has been set up in the northeast of the country, with 110 kilometers of slopes, hotel, heliport and cable cars. Kim Jong-Un wants to make it a world-class ski site.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Set of tombs of Koguryo: dating from the last period of the kingdom of Koguryo (one of the most powerful of the north-east of the country between the 3rd and 4th centuries AD), We speak of dozens of tombs which are adorned with superb mural paintings, it is one of the few remnants remaining by this ancestral culture.
Preserved for members of the royal family and nobility, these paintings testify to the everyday life of this era.
Kaesong Monuments and Historic Sites: Located in the south of the country, the site includes many properties that bear witness to the history of the Koryo dynasty (918-1392). You can see palaces, tombs, walls, etc. of this ancient capital. A site witnessing the transition from Buddhist principles to Confucian principles, not to be missed for history lovers!5 other sites are listed in the UNESCO Tentative List (historical relics, caves, etc.).
You can find more information on the UNESCO website here.( http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1424/)
Now, It is up to you to think about visiting North Korea in the future! to discover this mesterious and controversial part of world, getting your own experience and ideas about it, to explore the cultural and natural heritage of the country and it’s population, your bag on the back!Do not hesitate to discover other destinations through our travel blog!