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Travel Insurance North Korea


North Korea Country Guide

  1. Country Facts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Capital City: Pyongyang
Language Spoken: Korean

North Korea Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

40 00 N, 127 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Sea of Japan 0 m highest point: Paektu-san 2,744 m

Land boundaries

total: 1,673 km border countries: China 1,416 km, South Korea 238 km, Russia 19 km

Natural hazards

late spring droughts often followed by severe flooding; occasional typhoons during the early fall

Natural resources

coal, lead, tungsten, zinc, graphite, magnesite, iron ore, copper, gold, pyrites, salt, fluorspar, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 22.4% permanent crops: 1.66% other: 75.94% (2005)

Environmental current issues

water pollution; inadequate supplies of potable water; waterborne disease; deforestation; soil erosion and degradation


Moderate with four distinct seasons. The hottest time is July to August, which is also the rainy season; coldest is from December to January, winters in the far north can be very severe. Spring and autumn are mild and mainly dry. Required clothing Lightweight cottons and linens are worn during the summer. Light- to mediumweights are advised in the spring and autumn, and medium- to heavyweights in the winter. Waterproofs are advisable during the rainy season.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+9


23,113,019 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 23.8% (male 2,788,944/female 2,708,331) 15-64 years: 68% (male 7,762,442/female 7,955,522) 65 years and over: 8.2% (male 667,792/female 1,229,988) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 32 years male: 30.7 years female: 33.4 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

0.84% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

15.54 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

7.13 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.54 male(s)/female total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 71.65 years male: 68.92 years female: 74.51 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.1 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Soviet-style business practices continue to predominate in North Korea. Business meetings are formal affairs and suits are expected. Meetings are generally held after normal hours in restaurants or clubs as outsiders are typically not permitted to visit government office buildings. Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched.


Expatriates residing in Pyongyang report that while street crime is rare, petty theft is increasing, especially at the airport in Pyongyang. Worsening economic conditions in North Korea may result in increased crime rates.


Pyongyang has five first-class hotels where foreigners stay, although groups cannot know in advance which one will be used. All other towns have one first-class hotel for use by groups.


Telephone IDD service available, although there is a very sparse internal network. Country code: 850. Outgoing calls must be made via the International Operator. Telex and telegram services are available in all Pyongyang hotels. Postal services are extremely slow and limited outside the capital. Post office hours: 0900-2100 Monday to Saturday.


is 110/220 volts AC, 60Hz. Electricity 110/220 volts AC, 60Hz.

Plug Types


Food And Dining

Reasonable restaurants can be found in the main towns and cooking is usually based on the staple food: rice. In hotels and restaurants it is better to stick to the Chinese, Japanese or Korean items on the menu as experience of Western and Russian cooking is limited. Eating out is arranged by the guide. Tipping : Officially frowned upon although some hotel staff may expect a tip.

A night at the revolutionary opera provides a unique experience. There are also circuses and musical events of a high quality.

Entry departure requirements

Note Tourism in Korea (Dem Rep) is currently permitted only in officially organized groups of minimum one person. Visas can be obtained through officially recognized travel companies or the nearest Korea (Dem Rep) embassy.

Visa immigration information


Valid passport required by all, including nationals of Korea (Dem Rep).


Required by all, including nationals of Korea (Dem Rep).

Types of visa and cost

Ordinary and Tourist: US$52

Application to

Consular section of the General Delegation of the DPRK or of the nearest Korean (Dem Rep) Embassy. Applications should be made by an officially recognized tour operator.

Application requirements

(a) Valid passport. (b) One passport-size photo. (c) One completed application form. (d) Tour confirmation from recognized travel company. (e) Proof of sufficient funds to cover stay. (f) Copy of applicant's passport.

Working days required

Approximately 20 days.


For stays of over 24 hours registration with the MFA is required, although most hotels and travel agents will automatically do this for the visitor. It is advisable to contact the nearest embassy prior to departure for further details.

It is not possible to enter the Korea (Dem Rep) from the Republic of Korea (South Korea).

The threat from terrorism in Korea (Dem Rep) is low, but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

Travellers should register with their embassy in Pyongyang on arrival.

Travel within Korea (Dem Rep) is severely restricted.

This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office


US Department of State


HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax



British Embassy

Munsu-dong Diplomatic Compound


Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Telephone: +850 2 381 7980 International dialling

(0) 2 382 7980 Local dialling

There is a Duty Officer rota for out of hours emergencies - to contact use international dialling

Facsimile: +850 2 381 7985 International dialling


Office Hours: GMT:

Mon-Fri: 0000-0830

Local Time:

Mon-Fri: 0900-1730


Currency Won (KPW) = 100 chon. Notes are in denominations of KPW100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of KPW1, and 50, 10, 5 and 1 chon. Note Hotels tend to only accept cash payments in local currency whilst shops prefer US Dollars.

Currency exchange

Currencies may be changed at the Trade Bank (Mon-Sat 0900-1200 and 1400-1700) or at some hotels. Convertible currencies include Australian, Hong Kong and US Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling and Yen.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is prohibited. The import and export of foreign currency is unrestricted, subject to declaration on arrival.

Banking hours

Currency exchange

Credit cards

Main hotels in Pyongyang will accept credit and debit cards such as Mastercard and Visa. However, American Express is not usually accepted.

Travellers cheques

Generally not accepted. However, US Dollars are often accepted as an alternative method of payment.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Hamchon(0)9+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Pyongyang(0)2+ 3/9 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreaks
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment in North Korea as the standards of care are low and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

There is little medication available in North Korea

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe in North Korea

Medical facilities

Although foreign visitors who become ill in North Korea are usually provided with the best medical care available in the country, medical facilities do not meet Western standards. There are no Western-style pharmacies which stock drugs common in the West. Medications should be carried in hand luggage packed in their original labeled containers, accompanied by duplicate prescriptions--each prescription bearing an original doctor?s signature. Persons traveling to North Korea carrying medication that must be taken daily may wish to consult the North Korean Mission to the United Nations or a North Korean embassy or consulate in a third country to attempt to confirm that they will be allowed to bring that particular medication into North Korea.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. The blood type of the general Asian populace is Rh positive; Rh negative blood may be difficult to obtain.


Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Japanese Encephalitis: Data regarding transmission are unavailable, but location and geography suggest risk is similar to northern China and southeastern Russia. Consider vaccination if staying a month or more from May to October when transmission may occur, especially if travel includes rural areas. Also consider if staying less than 30 days during that period and at high risk (in case of epidemic outbreak or extensive outdoor exposure in rural areas). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Rabies: Preexposure vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 30 days who are expected to be at risk to bites from domestic and/or wild animals (particularly dogs), or for persons engaged in high risk activities such as spelunking or animal handling. Need for vaccination is more important if potential exposure is in rural areas and if adequate postexposure care is not readily available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Dengue fever - occurs Encephalitis (Japanese type) - occurs (sporadic/endemic) Hemorrhagic fever (with renal syndrome) - occurs Food-borne and water-borne illness: diseases such as the diarrheal diseases and viral hepatitis are common. Other hazards: High levels of immunization coverage have reduced the incidence of diseases such as measles and diphtheria. Polio is still considered a possible risk, although no cases have been reported in recent years. Influenza risk extends from November to April.

Entry requirements


Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

Family Medical PracticeNuclear Avenue 12, Grondong Pyonyang Korea People?s Republic


Press: Rodong Sinmun (Labor Daily) is the organ of the Korean Workers' Party; Other publications include Joson Inmingun (Korean People's Army Daily), Minju Choson (Democratic Korea), which is Government-owned and Rodongja Sinmum (Workers' Newspaper), the organ of the trade union federation.
TV: Korean Central TV is the TV channel of the Korean Workers' Party; Mansudae TV is a cultural channel.
Radio: Korean Central Broadcasting Station is the radio station of the Korean Workers' Party; Voice of Korea is a state-run external service, via shortwave.