Tipping in North Korea is nothing to worry about it and is certainly not overbearing. Nevertheless, it is something to be mindful of. First of all, it should be quite clear that the DPRK is not a wealthy country, as a result the guides and staff rely upon the generosity of visitors to help make ends meet. Whilst in contrast to some countries, North Koreans will never openly ask you for a tip, nevertheless, such are subtly anticipated at the end of the tour.
Usually, visitors will tip the two guides and the bus driver, it is up to you how much you donate. Tips in restaurants, bars, shops and various visitor sites are not mandatory. That’s all there is to tipping in North Korea! Don’t take it for granted, it really helps build our relationship with the locals and in the long run ensures the high quality of the tourist experience
In addition to tipping, gift Giving is also an important tradition in Korean Culture. In contrast to Western nations, gift giving in Korea is used as a means of expressing gratitude, courtesy and respect. You will note these themes are reflected around the country itself, such as the museums dedicated to “gifts” given to the country’s leaders.
Consequentially, as a visitor, it is recommended you bring gifts for your guides at the beginning of the tour, fulfilling this custom will allow you to forge a good relationship with your guides from the beginning, be more in tune with local culture and build mutual trust. The gifts that we recommend are Lambro Cigarettes for male guides and chocolates for the female guides, alcohol is also acceptable.
As a note of caution, please keep your gifts limited to the specified items and things similar to them. Attempting to give “gifts” involving in any literature or media from the outside world, as well as other sensitive items will land you and your guides in trouble.