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Can You Still Travel To North Korea?

October 18, 2006 at 4:35 PM | by | ()

Yes, and with all the current nuclear testing strife, we are sure this year's low season (November - March) will be, um, low.

If you are American, South Korean, or of South Korean origin, forget it. Without some sort of super special exemption you will have to holiday elsewhere.

One important exception to this rule, a handful of Americans do get to attend the world famous Arirang Festival, which is held between August 10 and October 10 every year. However, tour organizers are still awaiting word from the DPRK on if this will be the case in 2007 and beyond, so stay tuned.

Journalists, or those suspected of being journalists will have to obtain special permission to visit North Korea. Regardless of who you are, if you want to tour the DPRK you will need to book through a North Korean travel agency--no exceptions. Travel to North Korea is only possible as part of a guided tour, which is organized by the Korean Friendship Association--we kid you not--who kindly answer many questions about touring their country here.

The semi good news for North Korean visitors:
·Don't worry about the food shortages, your guide will order food for you. Oh, and as a tourist, your food will be better than what 95% of the population eats.

·The local speciality is insamju, Korean vodka infused with ginseng roots is readily available to tourists.

Our big sister site has you covered as far as North Korean hotels go.  Yeah, you can count on one hand the number of operational hotels tourists are permitted to stay at.

Big time travel warning:

Under no circumstances whatsoever are you to say something that could be perceived as an insult to Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-Il, communism, or the North Korean people or government. You and your guide are likely to face serious trouble, although your guide will bear the worst of it. Assume at all times that you will be under constant surveillance throughout your trip. Your hotel room, bathrooms, telephones, faxes, emails and even modes of transportation will probably be bugged.

If any travel journalists want to give it a go, email Special Delegate Mr. Alejandro Cao de Benos at korea@korea-dpr.com and let him know the purpose of your journalistic visit. It goes without saying, but if anyone travels to North Korea, tell us about it, will ya?

[Photo: johngoodman]

Related Stories:
· Korea DPR FAQ [Jaunted]
· North Korea [WikiTravel]

Archived Comments:

Sorry peeps

I just think it's a little sick that anyone would want to travel to North Korea as a tourist. On a lighter note, that website rocks and is a staple on my bookmarks. HAVE YOU SEEN the "brief" biographies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il you can download?! Kim Il Sung's is OVER 1000 PAGES OF PDF!!! I have it somewhere on my computer at home...

Did you see?

You can get an autographed photo of Kim Jong through the Korean Friendship Association.  Whoa.

All Visas cancelled this year

I was supposed to go to North Korea in August, originally we were given one-week visas but in late June they were reduced to only 3-day visas, finally, about two weeks before we were set to depart the North Korean government cancelled our visas all together. I think it's nearly impossible for Americans to get there now, they only released 50 visas this year (before they cancelled them). From the stories I've heard the food you get is better than what 99% of the population eats.

Can American go to North Korea?

As American tourists go traveling to North Korea only during Arirang Festival before. Right now North Korea open to American tourists any time in 2010. North Korea is an interesting country to go traveling. But a lot of people don't have idea how to go traveling to North Korea. And some tourists found out that go traveling to North Korea is very expensive. But if you could find out some agencies in Dandong where is the city of China just Next to North Korea. You could found some agencies are much more cheaper. But a lot of agencies can not give English service except http://www.explorenorthkorea.com they can give English service and the price is very cheap as well. Dandong is also a good place for traveling. It is a very special city mixed with Chinese and Korean culture. From Dandong you can see Sinjuzhu the city in North Korea from the bank of the Yalu river on Chinese side. You can also go to HeKou for a boat ride along the river. you can see North Korea closely.