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General facts / Usefull hints

Useful information to assist your preparations

What time of the year to travel  

In Korea, as in central Europe, the year is divided into four well-defined seasons. However: nowhere in the world are so many differences in climate and weather to be observed within such a small area as on the Korean peninsula. This relatively small peninsula, which has the gigantic landmass of Asia as its hinterland, is influenced on the one hand by the harsh continental climate of central Asia, and on the other hand by the mild maritime climate of the Pacific. In North Korea the winters are considerably harsher than in central Europe, while the summers are significantly warmer and above all wetter, thanks to the monsoon rains (summer rains) brought by the south-westerly trade winds. This is also reflected very clearly in the quite different vegetation zones to be found within a very small area. The best times of year to visit North Korea, with the best weather for taking photographs, are from April to early July and from the end of August to mid/late October. Excursions to the Paektu-San massif are possible in the period from mid-June to mid-September. But visiting Pyongyang and its surroundings in the winter has its attractions too.

Visa application  

A visa is required; however, the formalities have been simplified and the processing accelerated in recent years. Korea Reisedienst will send you all the necessary forms when you make your booking. Once permission has been given for you to enter the country, we will require your passport for a few days in order to have the visa entered into it. After that, your passport will be returned to you as soon as possible. Before you enter the country the usual forms are to be filled in on the plane or in the train; entry and exit procedures are completed rapidly and smoothly.

Journalists are generally not granted permission to enter the country at present.

Arrival and departure  

The DPRK can be reached by train or by air from China. It is also possible to fly to Pyongyang via Vladivostok. It is up to travellers themselves to ensure that they arrive in Beijing, Shenyang or Vladivostok in good time to embark on their prearranged their journey to the DPRK.

Customs regulations  

Mobile phones have to be surrendered at Pyongyang airport when you enter the country by plane; you will get your telephone back when you leave the country. Travellers arriving by rail are urgently recommended to leave their mobile phones at home. In general, your phone will be sealed into a plastic bag which will be given back to you when you depart. Radios and other electronic devices have to be declared at customs, and must be taken out of the country again. Printed matter that shows disrespect towards the DPRK is prohibited and will be confiscated.

Health care / Insurance

As is the case whenever you travel abroad, you are recommended to take out travel medical insurance, and to take your own personal medicines with you. If you should fall ill in North Korea, you will receive devoted medical attention; doctors and nursing staff will do their very best to ensure that their foreign patient recovers quickly. In addition, we recommend travel cancellation insurance and baggage insurance. The level of insurance cover required is at the discretion of each individual traveller.

Money changing  

The national currency is the won; one won is divided into 100 chon. US dollars, euros and other freely convertible currencies can be exchanged into won without difficulty at the bureaux de change of the larger hotels. Some credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted in the hotels; there is also a bank in Pyongyang where a credit card can be used to draw cash, although high charges are incurred. As a rule, it is advisable to bring cash with you. As all the costs of your package tour are covered by the payment you have made in advance, you should only take as much cash as you know from experience you require for your personal needs (presents to bring home etc.).



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