North Korea Travel Guide

North Korea Adventure Travel Guide: Ideas and Inspiration

PureTravel Says: "North Korea is one of the tourist destinations that may not be on the mind of an average tourist. Situated between the Sea of Japan in the East and the Korea Bay in the west, North Korea shares its northern border with China and southern border with South Korea. North Korea has opened up a bit in the last decade and much credit goes to Hyundai."

Tour Highlights

Baekdu Mountain is home one of the highest volcanic lakes in the world with a circumference of 12 to 14 kilometers. The Baekdu Mountain is sacred to Koreans due to the belief that this mountain is the place of origin for their race. This mountain is also believed to be the place from where the Korean Kingdom began.

Rock Climbing - Baekdu Mountain, a volcanic mountain situated in the northern part of the North Korea, is a popular holiday destination especially South Korean tourists. For visitors this mountain offers many opportunities for rock climbing. Paektu spa is a source for mineral water and the water from this spa is used for bottling.

Campsites - Watching camping sites in the Pegae Hill is a quite popular activity among the tourists. These campsites revive the memories of the times of the colonial Japanese rule. There are many secret camps that are now open to public for display. Pegae Hill region also has many waterfalls. Hyongie waterfall offers a spectacular view and is popular among the tourists.

Trekking – Rugged scenic mountains close to the border of North and South Korea, have been developed as a special tourist destination. In English this region is popularly known as “the Diamond Mountains”. This region is accessible to South Korean citizens without special permission. These mountains have some interesting tracks, which will test the skills of any trekker.

Arirang Festival - This festival commemorates the birthday of the late Kim II-sung. It is one of the grand events recognized by the Guinness Book of world records. The games last for two months and the opening ceremony is a grand spectacle worth watching. Thousands of well-trained children perform along with thousands of gymnasts and dancers. The festival is held in the capital city of Pyongyang.

Skiing - The tourist area in the Diamond Mountain is progressively being developed by the Hyundai Corporation with the help of the North Korean Government. There is a ski resort and visitors can enjoy the facilities of a sleigh course. There is also a golf course being developed in the area.

Pyongyang Central Zoo - While in the capital of North Korea, you could visit the Pyongyang Central Zoo.

When to Go

Spring and autumn are the best times to visit North Korea. Summer is mainly humid and muggy and winter in North Korea can be harsh. The most important thing to remember is that you may only visit when approved by the government agency. Be sure your visit is scheduled only during these times.

Top Tips

- Be aware of and follow the local rules and regulations
- Taking photos from busses is prohibited
- Cell phones, laptops and cameras with telephoto lenses are not permitted
- Taking photos is not allowed in the DMZ
- Avoid political bickering
-Do not try to venture out without your guide

Classic Itineraries

- Visit the Diamond Mountain area
- Visit Arirang Festival in Pyongyang
- Rock climbing in Baekdu Mountain
-Trip to Crater Lake in Baekdu Mountain

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Latvia

- Complex of Koguryo Tombs
- Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong

Public Holidays

Many of the annual holidays, events and festivals are based on the based on the Korean calendar:

1 January - New Year's Day
14 February - Generalissimo Day
16 February - Kim Jong-il's Birthday
2 March - Tree Planting Day
8 March - International Women’s Day
last day of 12th lunar month - Seotdal Geumeum
1st day of 1st lunar month - Seollal
15 April - Kim Il-sung's Birthday
21 April - Kang Pan-sok’s Birthday
25 April - Military Foundation Day
15th day of 1st lunar month - Daeboreum
1st day of 1st lunar month - Meoseumnal
3rd day of 3rd lunar month - Samjinnal
105th day of after Winter Solstice
8th day of 4th lunar month - Chopail
1 May - Labour Day
5th day of 5th lunar month - Surinal
27 July - Victory Day
15 August - Liberation Day
25 August - Day of Songun
9 September - National Independence Day
15th day of 6th lunar month - Yudu
7th day of 7th lunar month - Chilseok
15th day of 7th lunar month - Baekjung
15th day of 8th lunar month - Hangawi
10 October - Party Foundation Day
9th day of 9th lunar month - Jungyangjeol
2nd Saturday in November - Mother's Day
20 December - Dongji
24 December - Kim Jong-suk's Birthday
27 December - Constitution Day
31 December - New Year's Eve

Travel Resources

By Julie Bowman

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