I finally decided to go to North Korea first instead of South Korea. I thought I could go to the south anytime since there are no any issues about independently travel to the country.
At the time I lived in Japan. Far away from my family in Indonesia. My parents must be overwhelmed if in the future they hear me want to go to North Korea. So, it was the perfect time.
Before Going to North Korea
I browsed and thought a lot before buying ticket. My concern was not only about security, but also finance since it must go with travel agency.
To visit North Korea, you have to go on tour which I know most of the travel agencies base in Beijing, China. Though I heard there was company managing this trip from Russia. Then recently, you can arrange the trip from Indonesia as well.
At the time I went with Koryo Tours, an experienced company organizing trip to DPRK located in China. The person in charged was very nice to answer my non-stop emails. I asked about many things before I confidently sent my application, then transferred money.
I recommend you to pay as soon as possible once you are sure to go. The agency needs the money to prepare your documents and accommodation in DPRK. It was excluding your needs during in Beijing
I was quite nervous for about two weeks waiting for confirmation of my payment. I didn’t have any experience transferring money abroad. Then I was so relieved once they emailed me telling they received my money afterwards.
I booked return ticket to Beijing immediately. I also made itinerary during in Beijing. One day before leaving to and two days after coming back from North Korea. One of my bucket lists was stepping on the Great Wall.
About Trip to North Korea
About summer time in 2014, while waiting for my master graduation day, I flew to Beijing from Japan. I must be there a day before leaving to North Korea or officially called DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).
A day before leaving there was a briefing from the agency about do’s and don’ts during in North Korea. All travelers must attend it. Here, I saw my travel mates for the first time. They were from different countries.
Besides leaving as a group with random people, you may take private tour by yourself or with your own buddies. Its price is definitely different, you can choose which place you wanna go though.
The main point about visiting North Korea is visitors must act respectful to the leader of the country even though you only see his photo or statue. If you do that, nothing to worry at all. We may even bring whatever devices we had, except stuffs had to do with religion and journalism.
One more thing! Except tons of photos, there will be not any evidence on your passport telling you have been in DPRK. The officer didn’t stamp your passport and revoked your tourist card once you left. So, no need worries about your travel plans to other countries.
My suggestion then… take as many as picture you want during in the country!
What to Bring to North Korea
After no worries about gadgets, definitely you need money to visit DPRK. You need it for:
- the tour itself, it was about 1400 euro for a short trip (6 days). Yet I got 10% discount because I was student;
- visa (tourist card). It was around 50 EUR excluding the tour package, and will be arranged by the agency;
- cash (EUR, USD, or RMB) for your own expenses, such as souvenirs, karaoke, beers, books, or games. Tourist had no access to local currency;
- travel insurance. If you don’t have any, ask the agency to issue it (mine was about 40 EUR);
- tip for the guides and driver. It’s not only to show your appreciation for their work but also to financially help them as they don’t make much money from this job. Aside of that you are suggested to give them some gift such as chocolate, sweets, drinks, or souvenir from your country.
This trip is not cheap, but for the once life time travel experience, it’s worth it for me. Honestly, the main reason my visit to North Korea because I am excited to feel the atmosphere of the country rather than only visiting tourist attractions.
Any thing you need to know? Feel free to ask me below!