Traveling to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is not for everyone. The United States has prohibited travel to US passport holders to North Korea, while Canada strongly advises against. Since 2017, three American citizens have detained without an apparent reason, and one even died after being in a coma. To say that a trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is challenging to say the least, but about 1500 people go there every year. Most of them want to visit the last frontier of the Cold War.
As you can imagine, all nationalities must apply for a visa to enter the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the document is issued only if the trip is planned in advanced and the authorities give the green light. What you must know is that the requirements can change overnight without a heads-up. The trip can be organized only through a travel agency and you can never travel alone. There is the option of exploring the country independently, but even then you are accompanied by an escort.
In some cases, an interview with North Korea’s embassy is necessary, just to confirm your identity and your job. In most cases, these interviews are friendly. As long as you are not a journalist or of political status, you will be granted entry. The approval is given a day or two before your departure. Refusals do not happen as often as you may think, contrary to popular belief.
What you should know is that journalists are not allowed to enter the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on a tourist visa. If you are one or if you are suspected of being one, you need a special permit. However, North Koreans do not allow journalists to visit the country, which is why most of the smuggle photos out of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the job is a very risky one. You can face long imprisonment if you are caught taking pictures.
Most tourists who visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea do not experience incidents. As long as you follow the rules on where to go and how to behave, your trip does not come with unpleasant surprises. Before you decide to apply for a visa for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, you need to acknowledge the fact that you must go where you are told and behave as you are told. The consequences can be severe. If you do not abide by the rules you will face imprisonment before deportation. Plus, all due diplomatic procedures are complicated, and they can take a very long time.
Everything from routes, accommodation, and food are taken care of a provided by the travel agency. The agency will also take care of transportation during your trip. Buses will be put at your disposal since you travel with a tour. The tour can last for 5 days, and you will be shown precisely what you are allowed to see. You cannot wander alone under no circumstance, and if you do, you are in danger of facing prison and deportation.
The language used in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is Korean. It is their official language. The tour guides speak decent English, and some of them may be able to translate in German, Russian, Spanish, and Mandarin. However, you should not interact with the locals. You are not prohibited from doing so but they are discouraged from having conversations with tourists. Your best chance of interacting with locals is if your trip takes place around holidays. Other than that, we recommend that you do not cause them trouble by forcing them to speak to you. The government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has eyes and ears everywhere. Surely you are all familiar with their political regime.
The bottom line is that a trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is challenging. Ever since you start planning and until you get out of the country. You must be very careful to follow the rules you are told before your tour begins. Otherwise, your trip to North Korea may be extended for a long time in a prison cell. As long you are aware of that, and you commit to abiding by the rules, your trip will be without incidents.