What to See in North Korea for First Time Travelers?
North Korea has been mysterious to the rest of the world with beautiful natural and cultural sites. It boasts geographical advantages as there are lush mountains and crystal clear waters across the country. North Korea has a long and complicated history so it's rich in historical attractions where visitors can look into the past of the country. In addition, from its rich history many local festivals and cultural activities developed. It gives visitors a great opportunity to know the culture and communicate with local people.
Top Destinations & Attractions:
Pyongyang: Kim Il-sung Square, Arch of Triumph, Mount Myohyang, Former Residence of Mangyongdae
Sinuiju: Yalu River Bridge, Tonggun Pavilion
Kaesong: Panmunjom, Koryo Museum, Tomb of King Wanggon
Juche Tower, Pyongyang
China-Korea Friendship Bridge
How to Get to and Travel Around North Korea?
Nowadays, Beijing, Shenyang, Shanghai, and Harbin of China, as well as Vladivostok and Khabarovsk of Russia have international flights to North Korea. In addition, there are also international trains to Pyongyang from Beijing and Shenyang of China, and Moscow of Russia.
The public transportation system in the country is not very developed, but the condition in Pyongyang is relatively better with subways, buses, and trains available.
North Korea Travel Tips
Foreign visitors are not allowed to travel to North Korea independently. They are required to join organized group tours. Due to historical and political reasons, tourists will face some limitations during the journey. It is recommended you pay close attention to the local rules and mind your words and behaviors. Many stuff and behaviors are prohibited such as making inappropriate comments about the North Korean leaders.
You don't need to exchange for North Korea Won. Foreign visitors are only allowed to use Chinese Yuan, Euros, and US dollars in shops especially opened for foreigners. What's more, visitors should memorize some contact information in case of emergency.
History & Geographical Features
Before the cold war, the North Korea and South Korea used to be a unified feudal country on the Korean Peninsula. The first recorded feudal dynasty was Gija Joseon (1120 - 194 BC) and Pyongyang was its capital. Japanese came in and took control of the whole country since 1910. After the WWII, the Korea was divided into North Korea and South Korea ruled by the Soviet Union and the US respectively. At the end of Korean War, the North Korea, led by Kim Il-sung, gained its independence and established a socialist system. Many monuments were built to commemorate his leadership, such as Kim Il-sung Square and Arch of Triumph.
North Korea occupies the northern portion of the Korean Peninsula, sharing land borders with China and Russia on the north, and bordering South Korea along the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Yellow Sea and Korea Bay are on its west while the Sea of Japan is on the east. The longest river is the Amnok (Yalu) River which flows for 490 miles (790 kilometers).
The majority of the landscape of the country is hills and mountains separated by deep and narrow valleys. The highest point is Paektu Mountain, a volcanic mountain with an elevation of 9,003 feet (2,744 meters) above sea level. Mount Kumgang in the Taebaek Range, which extends into South Korea, is famous for its scenic beauty.
The coastal plains, where most North Korean people live, are wide in the west and discontinuous in the east. According to a United Nations Environmental Program report in 2003, forest covers over 70% of the country's land area, mostly on steep slopes.