Shops in North Korea offer the most bizarre and exotic shopping experience a visitor will ever have, but also a very good value for money. North Korea has a number of “gift shops” especially for tourists (and not locals) which sell a range of locally themed, eccentric goods. A few of these shops are situated in the Yanggakdo hotel, others found around Pyongyang and others are largely at various sites and museums. Unlike in some Asian countries, the staff in shops in North Korea are reserved and not pushy. They will never try and “force” a product upon you, rip you off or scam you.
Although North Korea is not a “shoppers paradise”, their shops offer the opportunity for you to buy a range of rare and bizarre North Korean items not found in the outside world. They are high in their value as souvenirs and keepsakes, but to be honest if “shopping” is your main priority when going abroad you probably won’t be considering North Korea anyway!
What is sold in North Korean stores?
propaganda postcards, available for purchase in most stores
- An enormous range of propaganda Books about the North Korean leaders and politics (in a range of languages- the German translation of a book on Kim Jong Il had translated the “Great Leader” into “Der Fuhrer” which sparked amusement!)
- Books about North Korea’s Juche “ideology”
- Anti-American postcards (which you can post from there!)
- North Korean alcoholic drinks- local beers, wines, spirits, etc
- Traditional Korean dress and costumes
- Traditional Korean made pottery
- Jade and various precious stone items
- Traditional Korean chopsticks and cutlery
- North Korean Music CDs
- Traditional Korean herbal medicines and Ginseng
- North Korean “films”
- local made snacks, soft drinks and food products