Pyongyang (North Korea)

Pyongyang Travel Guide and Trip Resources

Clay Gilliland

An interesting one-size-fits-all experience

Pyongyang is the capital of North KoreaStill, a visit is strictly controlled and you won't have freedom of movement
Fascinating place to get a glimpse ofA special destination, but every tourist gets to see the exact same things!
Less bad than made out to be in western mediaYou won't be seeing much of everyday life, it all feels orchestrated

Writing a proper travel review about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (or North Korea) is easier said than done. This is far from a normal country where tourists can just hop in and out, and your experience going there will be far out of the ordinary too.

There are lots of horror stories around traveling to the DPRK (your hotel room being bugged, your memory cards checked when you leave, the subway and people on the street forming part of a huge facade, etc.) but as a lot of that is western "exaggeration" or shall we call a spade a spade and say propaganda, you won't really find it all that extreme here.

Of course Pyongyang feels a bit "off" and with the constant presence of guides everywhere you go, as a tourist here you will surely not get to the core of what makes the country tick. But at least you will have a better and more objective idea when leaving than you had before you came, and that in itself is quite a valuable experience. Not to mention that the possibility of the DPRK opening up, or the regime at some point collapsing is a real one, and you never know when the current weird state of the DPRK will cease to exist.

Tourists get in here by arranging a tour through one of the 10+ travel agencies that are accredited by the North Korean government to do so (see below). The typical point of entry is by airplane from Beijing, as a daily flight operates between the two cities. Depending on your travel agency you will end up staying in one of the different designed-for-foreigners hotels in the city, and from there your mobility will be limited and involve guides at all times. When you do get out, you will most likely be paying homage to the Kims through a series of statues, monuments and ominous looking towers and buildings. It is no wonder that most visitors here return with nearly identical looking pictures.

The one place that is consistently mentioned as being a place where the locals seem to act more "natural" is Moranbong Park, so if you can make sure to check that out. [Review by travelindicator]

Key info

  • Pyongyang is a city in North Korea's region of P'yongyang-si. It has a population of 2,514,692, is situated at an altitude of 16ft and the best airport to fly into is FNJ (Sunan International, Pyongyang)
  • The main spoken language here is Korean, and the average English skill is low
  • The currency used in North Korea is the North Korean won (KPW)

Pyongyang Weather

Historical average maximum temperature per month (℉):

30 37 48 63 73 81 84 84 77 66 48 34

Historical average rainfall per month (inches):

0.6 0.8 1 2.2 2.9 3.7 11.3 8 3.5 1.7 1.5 0.6

Other notes

More Pyongyang travel resources

Our friends at Lonely Planet wrote their piece, as did our brothers at Wikitravel. At CNN they tell you how to travel to North Korea, while Wandering Earl did a much better job than we did at eplaining that things aren't all *that* weird here. Finally, the Telegraph did something quite similar to the CNN article we mentioned just now.

Pyongyang Attractions (Foursquare)

Browse: Most Similar Cities (Travelindicator algorithm)

Browse: Nearest Destinations (89mi-185mi)

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