Frequently Asked Questions

We know that upon pondering about travelling to North Korea, you might have a lot of questions or concerns. This FAQ page hopefully contributes to answer the most urgent ones. Some possible questions that we could think of are displayed below. However, what seems almost routine for us already, is for our customers a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, please feel free to write us more emails with your questions and we will answer them quickly.

Is it allowed to travel to North Korea?

Yes and we can get you there. As a tourist, you are very welcome to travel to the DPRK. Getting a tourist visa is quite easy, so it is not true that the country is closed for western tourists. The North Korean Government actively promotes tourism. However, journalists and professional photographers are not allowed to travel to the DPRK as tourists. Moreover, the South Korean govermnent forbids its own people to travel to North Korea. All other nationals, even Americans, can travel to North Korea.

How are the guides like?

Our North Korean guides are friendly, highly professional, respectful and very nice people who have excellent foreign language skills. They are human beings with families, a personal life, various types of humor and different tastes from each other. The guides know that foreigners have other cultural backgrounds and that their political views may differ from their own beliefs. They will not try to convince you of anything or indoctrinate you. What they will be pleased to experience from the guests to their country is a certain amount of respect for their life, beliefs and customs. If you do so, you will most likely find it it not difficult to talk to the guides on a personal level, make friends with them, toast with them and laugh with them.

What are the rules about photography in North Korea? Can I take photos of all that I want?

Contrary to what is often being said in media reports, the photo rules on the tours are not absolutely strict. There are some no-goes, such as military equipment, soldiers, military stuff in general. Concerning everything else, you have almost unlimited opportunities to take pictures. The very pleasant and experienced KITC tour guides will tell you shortly after arrival about what is not allowed to be photographed. Usually, if you by mistake make a photo of a soldier or a military vehicle, nobody will be very angry at you. You might be asked to delete the picture, though. What can be problematic are people who absolutely do not want to follow this rule. Usually, this will lead to disadvantages for the whole group, which means less to see, less communication with the guides, less to gain out of your trip.

Who exactly counts as a journalist and cannot visit the DPRK as a tourist?

Definitely people who work for major media companies. If you want to visit the DPRK and you think you could fall under this category, please say so. Journalist are occasionally allowed to travel to the DPRK, but never as tourists. We might help and assist you in getting an appropriate visa. However, journalists on our tourist tours are a no-go and we may have no choice but to hold liable any journalist who circumvents this rule and makes false declarations upon application for the tours.

What happens if my visa gets rejected?

This won’t happen, unless you are a journalist or professional photographer and make false declarations during visa and tour applicaion. In the absolutely unlikely case that North Korea won’t let you in because of political tensions (even during the recent tensions in April 2013 it wasn’t a problem at all to Travel to North Korea), we will of course give you a full refund of the tour fee. We can however not refund your expenses in China such as your flight to Beijing or accomodation, since this is not part of the tour that we offer. We suggest that you have a travel insurance that would compensate if you have to cancel your flights between Beijing and your home country.

Can I post the photos and experiences of my trip on facebook?

Of course you can share your photos and experiences with your friends on facebook or other social media.

Can I write an online blog or travelogue about my trip?

Yes, you can write an online blog about the excitement of your trip as long as you are not a professional journalist. However, we require that you inform us in advance about what you want to write about. We may give you some tips as well. Due to the country’s isolation, people in the DPRK are very worried about how their country is seen by the outside world, so we kindly ask you to keep this in mind. If you are writing a blog about North Korea and the political situation already, although not for a major media company, this may be regarded as journalism by the DPRK authorities. If you do, please be honest and say so, as we may check together with the embassy and clarify your status.

Can I travel to North Korea with a South Korean stamp in my passport?

This is not a problem at all (neither vice versa). Although you may have been to South Korea before, you are very welcome to visit the DPRK. If you have a North Korean stamp in your passport and travel to South Korea, the immigration officer might look at you in a strange way, but that’s all.

Will there be bugs in my hotel room?

Of course we don’t know for sure, although it is highly unlikely that an ordinary tourist is of such interest to the North Koreans, that it would actually make sense surveiling him/her. We can only speak from our own experience in North Korea. Although it is certainly true that tourist cannot move around as freely as in other countries, we never had the feeling of being surveiled. We don’t know a 100%, but hey, that’s part of the excitement and mystery of such a journey as well!

Can I take my laptop, tablet, mobile phone, music player into the country?

Yes, no need to surrender mobile phones anymore. Laptops, tablets and music playes can be taken in as well. You can even buy a simcard to call your friends and family abroad during your trip. Even 3G-Internet-Access is possible. However, such luxuries are not cheap. Please contact us if you want to know about the exact prices.

Will the food be okay?

You will be surprised, the food in the hotels is generally of very high quality compared to other parts of Asia. The only problem might be that the food could turn out as a bit too spicy for some peoples’ stomaches. Just as a precaution, we adivise our customers with sensitive stomachs to cary with them a first aid travel kit providing medication against diarrhoea.

I’m a vegetarian or vegan. Do I have to eat meat?

No! Just tell us your special food requests upon the time of booking and we will pass it on to our Korean partners from KITC who will ensure you get the food you want and that you don’t have to compromise on that issue.

What if I get sick?

In the highly unlikely case that you get seriously sick or have an accident during the tour, there is a dedicated hospital for foreigners and diplomats in Pyongyang, where you can get good medical treatment. However, to avoid that you don’t have to pay for the cost of such treatment, make sure that you have an appropriate medical insurance in place when coming to the DPRK. This insurance should also cover a worst case scenario, such as the transport to your home country if you have to terminate your tour early due to health issues.