Contrary to media sensationalism, North Korea is a safe destination and visits are trouble free for non-Americans. Nevertheless, owing to the nature of the DPRK government, precautions should be taken when inside the country and travelers should not take risks or try their luck against established rules, laws and conventions. If the traveler is obedient and respectful to these considerations, nothing will go wrong.
Is there a risk of arrest?
Statistically, the probability of arrest in the DPRK is extremely low and we say that as experienced travelers of the country. Thousands of westerners every year travel to the country without incident. However, for U.S citizens more specifically, the probability of such has been heightened due to ongoing tensions between the countries, as a consequence U.S citizens are no longer permitted to travel to the DPRK
For non-Americans, the risk of arrest is low and unheard of in an organised tour group. However, this does not mean you should take any additional liberties to given instructions.
How to stay safe
You will not experience any trouble in North Korea if you avoid the following:
- Do not bring any religious literature into the country and do not attempt to preach to locals
- Do not bring any Korean language content into the country
- Do not mock, insult, ridicule or show disrespect the country’s leaders
- Do not attempt to wander into the unauthorized area of the hotel (5th floor)
- Do not attempt to meddle or interfere with any signs, banners or political symbols, this is seen as an act of grotesque disrespect
- Avoid consuming excessive amounts of Alcohol on evenings which can limit your judgement
- If you have a background in the U.S military and still insist on going, keep it secret
Due to the nature of North Korea’s society and politics, locals will never attempt to commit a crime against you, in this regards there is no risk. Like you would anywhere, always keep a check over your belongings
No terrorist activity or groups exist in North Korea, this is not a risk.
In North Korea your safety ultimately depends on your own actions and behaviour. The country wants to leave a good impression to its visitors and will not come after you unprovoked. Do nothing wrong and you have nothing to fear. If you are a U.S citizen, this must be applied more cautiously.