Yes, during your trip you will have many chances to encounter regular people in city squares and streets, villages and farms, schools and kindergartens, and metro. North Koreans are very friendly but shy people. If you master a couple of Korean words it will greatly improve your chances to find a common ground with them
Your group itinerary is set in advance. Even though the itinerary for the whole group can be changed on spot due to various reasons please make sure you follow the group. As a rule of thumb in the group tour you cannot visit places which are not included in your group itinerary, and you cannot have your personal itinerary different from the group's one.
At the same time if there is a consensus within the group and your Korean guides agree with the proposal to change the itinerary the whole group can visit unscheduled place
Generally speaking No, you should follow the group. If you want to have your own itinerary you should arrange an individual tour
Your 2 Korean tour guides will accompany you all the time during your tour. It is their responsibility to guarantee your safety and make sure you visit all places in your itinerary.
You cannot leave hotel and go to the city by yourself. If you have any plan please talk to your guides and follow their instructions
If the bar is not in your itinerary for the day then you cannot go. You cannot leave hotel and go to the city by yourself. If you have any plan please talk to your guides and follow their instructions. There will be several bars in your hotel, you may check them out
If it is not in your program then you should talk to your guides, you cannot visit other hotel by yourself. In case of group tour your guides may want to bring you to your friend's hotel after the group finishes its day program and returns back to the hotel. In case of an individual tour your guides may change the itinerary and bring you to your friend's hotel during the day. In any case please note that if it is not in the program then it will be your guides decision whether to grant your request or not
While staying in Pyongyang you can call back home from your hotel, most probably even from your room. Please be noted that it is very expensive to call overseas from North Korea, 4~5 Euro / minute, but it is always recommended to check at the reception the exact minute cost to your country
There will be some extra expenses during your trip to North Korea. These expenses will not be very large because the bulk of the expenses (hotel, meals, excursions, and guide) are already included in the price of the tour. However, you should expect some additional costs and should bring some cash(Euro, USD or RMB) for out of the pocket expenses.
• Tickets for Mass Games show (~80 Euro), circus performance (~20 Euro), orchestra concert (~20 Euro), football game (~30 Euro)
• Ascending to the tower of Juche idea. You can take the elevator to the top and enjoy a fantastic view on Pyongyang (~ 5 Euro). It is definitely worth it.
150-200 Euro per week should be enough for most travellers
The exchange currency in DPRK is Euro, USD and Chinese Yuan (Renminbi). All transactions are made in cash. Foreign nationals are not allowed to pay with or buy any local currency (North Korean Won)
• Bring cash in small denominations (Euro coins, one or five Dollar bills); sometimes it is difficult to get change in the souvenir or book shops
• American cents (coins only, you still can pay by Dollar bills) or Chinese coins CANNOT be used in the DPRK
• Travellers’ cheques are impossible to cash in the DPRK
• Credit cards are not used, there are no ATMs in the DPRK and thus you won’t be able to withdraw cash or pay by credit cards
If you travel to Free Economic Zone Rason please note that Chinese Yuan is the most popular currency in the region followed by USD. In Rason you can hardly use Euro to pay for goods and services.
Yes, in every hotel there will be a post office from where you can send a postcard or mail to your friends or relatives. Usually it takes a couple of weeks for your message to be delivered to the destination
If you stay in major hotels in Pyongyang such as Yanggakdo you can send and receive e-mail from the hotel e-mail box (you cannot use your private mail box).
If you buy mobile 3G Internet for your smartphone then you can freely use most of Internet services such as Skype or mail almost in every corner of Korea.
WiFi Internet is also available in opened in 2013 Masikryong hotel near Wotsan
There will be many opportunities to buy souvenirs during your stay in the DPRK
o North Korean ginseng (5 ~ 50 Euro)
o Local liquors (10 ~ 40 Euro)
o Various pins with North Korean symbols, stamps, and postcards (1~5 Euro), hand-painted propaganda posters (~40-Euro)
o t-shirts (15 Euro)
o Professional oil paintings and handicrafts (10 ~ 1000 Euro)
o Books (1~20 Euro) and CD (5~10 Euro) with North Korean music and movies
o The local flowers of Kimjongilia and Kimilsunglia (8 and 10 Euro) are the two flowers that represent the North Korean leaders. You can buy these flowers in the form of potted plants
All meals are provided and inclusive on the tour, the quality of meals served is quite fair. Most of the meals consist of traditional Korean or fusion Chinese foods: “Bibimbap” (rice with fresh vegetables and fried egg), “Pyongyang Naengmyon” (cold buckwheat noodles), “Bulgogi” (barbecued pork or beef which you cook yourself), “Kimchi” (spicy pickled cabbage), “Ojingno” (dish of sautéed squid and vegetable).
There is a rather limited menu for vegetarians. If you are a vegan contact us before traveling. Unfortunately we will not be able to serve you with vegetarian menu but we will help to arrange simple meals without meat or fish. We would recommend for vegetarians bringing to North Korea nutritious bars, peanuts, canned and packaged foods to diversify basic rice-kimchi diet.
In Pyongyang there will be served buffet breakfast. Local beer (half a bottle per person is included, extra can be ordered at very reasonable price) and Ginseng wine are available at meal times. If you feel uncomfortable with Asian style food you may consider bringing with you some snacks.
The mausoleum is a very important place for Koreans and tourists are expected to show respect when visiting. No shorts, blue jeans and mini-skirts, T-shirts and alike are allowed. Wear ‘Smart casual’ - pants with a shirt or blouse
In Pyongyang there is a foreigners’ hospital which provides better service than the other hospitals in the country. If you need any medical treatment you would end up in this hospital. Please note that Korea Konsult cannot be held responsible for any medical costs.
We recommend bringing to Korea a simple first aid kit with painkillers, medicine for diarrhea, aspirin or a plaster/band etc
Electric voltage in North Korea is 220 V and electric plugs are of the same type as in Western Europe. Electricity shortages can occur from time to time, so it is recommended to bring a pocket lamp with batteries or an electric torch
• An universal adapter can be rented at the reception in your hotel in Pyongyang
• Digital cameras, laptops, tablets, MP3, E-book readers are ok to be brought to the DPRK
• You can bring amateur small-size video-camera
• Bring set of spare batteries for your gadgets
Yes, you can apply for the Chinese visa while in North Korea but since 2015 tourists must personally submit application to the Chinese Embassy. We recommend to get your Chinese visa before you go to North Korea
Yes, we would advise to tip your guides. Korea has well established tipping culture and even though your guides may look emberassed to accept your gift nevertheless they appreciate your it. We suggest bringing some little presents/souvenirs from your country for the Korean guides and local children. Men appreciate cigarettes (most Korean men smoke) and women like inexpensive cosmetics. Children like chocolate, ball-point pens.
Cash is obviously well appreciated by all, and should be included in your "farewell gift" to your guides, usually given privately at the end of your trip: as a baseline we recommend 25 Euro for the senior guide, 15 Euro for junior, and 10 Euro for your driver.
In general you are not required to tip service staff but it is accepted.