Is North Korea safe to visit? Contrary to media sensationalism, the DPRK is a safe destination and visits are overwhelmingly trouble free. That does not mean of course, that there not some things to be mindful of. Visiting North Korea is of course a different experience with political considerations which do not come to play in other countries. There is for example, standards of conduct requested which visitors should be mindful of. Still, for travellers who are sensible conscientious and respectful, nothing will go wrong. Here we outline our guide to safety in North Korea.
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. Despite what the media claim, the risk of arrest is extremely low and unheard of in an organised tour group for non-Americans.
When visiting to North Korea, you often hear a lot about restrictions and rules. But what exactly are they? The general rules are in fact quite simple and nothing to panic about, they may be outlined as follows:
- Avoid bringing religious literature into the country and do not attempt to preach to locals
- Don’t bring any Korean language content into the country
- Show simple reverence and respect- don’t mock or ridicule the country’s leaders (doesn’t mean you have to agree)
- Don’t meddle or interfere with any signs, banners or political symbols, this is seen as an act of grotesque disrespect
- Don’t photograph soldiers or military checkpoints (except when given permission)
- Don’t wader off without your guides
- The last is not a rule, but a matter of common sense: Drink sensibly, avoid consuming excessive amounts of Alcohol on evenings which can limit your judgement and get you into unintended trouble
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.
Is North Korea safe to visit? Absolutely! The danger element is above all, exaggerated by the media and more often tends to be the judgement of those who have never been, than those who have. Ultimately, all tourists who go to North Korea with common sense, maturity and a mindfulness of the boundaries will have an enjoyable and trouble free experience!