Travel Advisories for Families Traveling to Korea, Democratic People's Republic of

Traveling to Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is not that much easy,since it is risky considering the political and geographical conditions of North Korea.However, if you are very particular in visiting North Korea, a week long tour is

Travel Advisories for Families Traveling to Korea, Democratic People's Republic of

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) remains one of the most isolated countries of the world. In fact, North Korea’s present position and its destiny was entirely shaped and molded by history. The Korean War that began in the year 1950 and ended in an armistice in 1953 changed the entire course of Korean history. When Korea came under the occupation of allied countries, the Korean peninsula was divided into two separate countries namely North and South Korea along the 38 degree North parallel.. While North Korea came under the occupation of Russia, the South Korea came under the occupation of US. Guided by Russia and China, North Korea became a communist country under the leadership of Kim Il Sung and after his death under the leadership of his son Kim Jong Il. Till date it remains under a strong totalitarian dictatorship with a huge army, besides possessing nuclear power. South Korea guided by US became a democratic country.

Again the geographical position of North Korea also largely influences its political, social and economic conditions. It is bordered by China in the North, South Korea in the South, Korean Bay and China in the West and Sea of Japan in the East. The people of North Korea are largely and ethnically Korean and only a few thousands of people are foreigners.

Since North and South Korea are technically at war with each other, you cannot enter North Korea through South Korea. Besides, most of the western countries including US do not have any diplomatic relations with North Korea. Only a few select countries like China, Russia, India, Switzerland and Sweden have diplomatic ties with North Korea. Therefore, naturally you have no other go but to enter North Korea only through the main land of China.

Being a country under a totalitarian dictatorship, the idea of visiting the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is not that much easy nor it would be an enjoyable journey. You can have only a limited package tour for a period of 7 days as allowed by DPRK, mostly between August and September, every year. Besides, DPRK has an inflow of roughly around 2000 people from the western countries as tourists every year. Now you can very well imagine how far tourism is a flourishing industry in DPRK. However, North Korea has its own geographical beauties and places of interest.

Tourist spots of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) (DPRK):-

  • There are some worth sight seeing sites in Pyongyang, the capital of DPRK.
  • Visiting Panmunjom situated in the demilitarized zone of North and South Korea. All diplomatic consular offices are located here.
  • Visiting Mt. Myohyang in North Korea for its scenic beauty.
  • Having a glimpse of North Korean Children’s art performance and circus and seeing the world famous mass games of North Korea.
  • There is a highest mountain known as Paekdu, with 2750 meters high, situated on the northern border of China and the lake Chonji known as sky lake since it is located at the higher altitude. It is also a worth seeing place. However, you have to take special steps to visit this site besides being prepared to spend extra amount as a tourist.

Considering the above tourists spots situated in DPRK, a week long tour of DPRK is ideal and sufficient. However, you require a highest degree of caution and planning before visiting DPRK and the following advisories will be more helpful, if you are very particular in touring DPRK:

  • For getting a visa to visit DPRK, you have to apply to the DPRK embassy having its office located in Beijing, China. If you are hailing from US, you may contact the permanent UN representative of DPRK stationed in New York.
  • US citizens traveling to DPRK, in case of any difficulty during their stay in DPRK may contact the Sweedish embassy there,with whom US has reached an understanding.They will provide limited assistance to US citizens to get over their difficulties,if any.
  • You cannot obtain individual visa to visit DPRK. However, there are certain Government approved agencies in DPRK and China through which you can travel DPRK as a group. You can visit DPRK only when you are permitted and it is mostly during the months of August and September every year.
  • You can enter DPRK only through China. Hence, you should have multiple visas to enter china and then DPRK and then return through China. Air Korean is the official air line through which you can fly into Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Arrange and confirm your travel through the approved travel agencies. Always have sufficient Xerox copies of your travel documents like passport, visa etc.
  • By consulting a travel agent have a travel insurance policy which is adequate to meet all your unexpected travel and medical expenses in DPRK before traveling to DPRK. Please take note that you will not have adequate and standard medical and hospital and evacuation facilities and not even x rays in DPRK. It is also advisable not to have a surgery there since the medical facilities are outdated and the hospitals are ill-equipped and you will not have required medicines.
  • Always get inoculated for malaria and H1N1 etc, before traveling to DPRK.
  • Always travel in group and do not try to go lonely anywhere else and you will be suspected for espionage and please do not forget according to the local laws of DPRK harsh punishments are awaiting for you.
  • Public crimes are rare in DPRK. However, in cities like Pyongyang, you can encounter petty thefts.
  • In DPRK, you can stay in decent and clean hotels, though they may not meet international standards. Inform in advance about the requirement of your food and beverages to your travel agent. Otherwise, you may suffer.Also note that your telephone, fax and other forms of communications are being monitored by the secret agents of the government. Hence, always be careful and have sufficent cash with you to meet any eventuality.
  • In DPRK you cannot avail advance banking facilities like debit or credit cards or ATM facility.etc You have no other go but to use the local currency called Korean Won in required denominations. But it is a crime to possess Korean Won with you while leaving DPRK.
  • Always be hygienic and drink packed water.
  • While visiting any scenic beauty or interesting place, don’t be tempted to take a photograph without consulting your travel agent or guide. Otherwise, your cameras will be seized and you may even be punished.
  • In 2008, a 3G mobile service has been introduced in DPRK in select cities. To avail this facility, you must have the special 3G mobiles, SIM card etc in the specific international counters only, by duly providing your personal details.
  • While traveling in DPRK, always get your doubts cleared through your guides or travel agent and do not try to speak with the local people directly; otherwise, you may be suspected for espionage.
  • Always quench your tongue or temper. Never pass any remark or comment that may be considered derogatory against the ruler of DPRK. Please note the leader of DPRK is an unquestionable leader and being revered by the local people.If you pass any unwarranted comment or derogatory remark against their revered leader, very harsh punishments are awaiting you.

By scrupulously following the above mentioned advisories during your travel in DPRK, you can safely travel in DPRK and need not unduly worry about anything.

Sources:

http://www.travel.state.gov/

http://www.fitfortravel.phs.uk/home.aspx/

http://wilkitravel.org/en/North_Korea/

http://www.smarttraveller.gov.au/

http://www.voyage.gc.ca/

http://www.fco.gov.uk/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/korea-dpr-north-korea/

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/north-korea/paekdusan/

http://www.foxnomad.com/2008/02/12/the-quick-guide-to-visiting-north-korea/

http://www.uritours.com/

3 comments

Add a comment

0 answers +0 votes
Post comment Cancel
Rama lingam
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Aug 29, 2011
john doe
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Aug 29, 2011
Roberta Baxter
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Aug 28, 2011