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Customer Reviews

Average Rating: Red-stars

Total number of reviews: 2,720



Reviews for Inside North Korea 4.5 out of 5 based on 4 ratings.

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Tour notes

Each departure date has it's own dedicated tour note, detailing all you need to know about that tour. Whether you've already booked, or weighing up your options, please choose carefully the relevant itinerary for you.

We have the following different versions of the Inside North Korea tour available at present.

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5 StefanB, 12/08/14

What was the highlight or most memorable moment of your tour?

Arirang Mass 150 Euro I spent in my life...I think about this trip everyday since September should be on everyone's bucket list

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4 , 27/11/13


Sarah W

Tour Name

Inside North Korea

Tour Code


What Was The Highlight Or Most Memorable Moment Of Your Tour

Inside North Korea is a unique trip within a unique country, quite like no other. We were fortunate to be in Pyongyang during the Arirang Mass Games at the huge May Day Stadium (late September). If you can time your trip to coincide with this festival and secure tickets you will not be disappointed.

How Was Your Explore Tour Leader

We travelled with a European tour leader and three local guides from KITC (the government owned travel company). If surrendering your independence and freedoms for a little over a week sounds like a high price, in my opinion it is well worth it. The guides we had were very experienced and so relaxed and wonderful people prepared to answer all the questions they were able to and share with us political and social information on their country.

What Tips Would You Give To Someone Else Booking This Tour

To North Koreans, North Korea is the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea).
The most striking aspect of travel in DPRK is the restriction on freedom of movement in that there isnt any. Opting out is not an option. Due to the need to keep the group occupied, the days are long.
The locals, especially outside of Pyongyang, often waved as our bus passed through villages and towns, children bow and adults are generally friendly though, sometimes, wary and suspicious. At no point in our journey did we feel threatened or in any danger. We were treated like guests but you must be prepared to obey the guides and frequently bow at monuments.
Hotels were largely of an acceptable and clean standard but there was one night stop in Lake Sijung that was basic and filthy. Take a barrier like a cotton or silk sleep sheet.

Do You Have Anything Else To Add

If you have a sweet tooth, take some chocolate and sweets. With the exception of the odd slice of apple, we did not see any fruit during our trip - buy some in Beijing and take it with you. Vegetarians will find they have plenty of choice. They brew their own beer, which is flavourful and cheap. Spirits (with the exception of mind blowing rice wine) are expensive and limited. Coffee is expensive and so not widely available and, where it is, it is freeze dried. If you are a coffee addict, take caffeine tables or you'll be in trouble!
Ibuprofen is very hard to obtain and is very expensive, if you take a surplus please leave it with the guides. Pens, from China, are readily available and cheap so taking them is a waste of time. Cigarettes are practically a form of currency and make very good tips.

0 Anne van der Salm, 17/05/12
I have recently been on the trip to North Korea. Having never been on an Explore trip previously, I was a little apprehensive about how the trip would pan out. We had a wonderful holiday full of jam-packed interesting days. The tour programme was excellent and there was a lot of variety in the itinerary, hotels and meals. Our tour manager, Rich Beal, was a tremendous fount of knowledge. I was a little concerned about the security arrangements in North Korea but from the outset Rich re-assured us that he had been there several times previously and was able to pass on his knowledge about what was and what wasn’t permitted. He was extremely helpful throughout the tour, giving us pointers on the culture and helpfully fore-warning us about what to expect when we arrived at the airport, departure by train and what to expect from the customs officials, and helping us fill in a variety of forms. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he certainly went the extra mile repairing spectacles, diagnosing camera problems and offering medical advice on minor ailments. He even had a welcome supply of coffee and cups for the long train journey when there was no restaurant car. As well as seeing the major sights and monuments in Pyongyang, the North Korean hosts were generous in allowing us to travel additional stops on the Metro, meeting children in the nursery on the co-operative farm, and participating in May Day celebrations in Wonsan. I found your advance information very helpful, especially taking a torch which was essential in some of the more remote areas where the power supply was limited. I was surprised that all the hotel rooms had a supply of hot drinking water, and had I known, I would have taken supplies of tea and coffee especially as coffee isn’t readily available in North Korea. We had a lot of wonderful experiences and I would rate it as one of my most interesting holidays.
0 EC, 27/10/11

Sitting at Beijing Airport waiting for our flight, it dawned upon me that some of the people dotted around the departure lounge wore matching red pin badges. That was when it finally sunk in that I was on the way to North Korea.

Pyongyang was as I imagined, with tower blocks and huge communist statues, best viewed from the 31st floor of our hotel on an island (which also boasted a revolving restaurant). I found the DMZ not nearly as tense as I expected and the countryside beautiful and mountainous - travelling through it involved many tunnels and bridges. A fascinating tour, topped off with brilliant tour leader and lovely, knowledgable local guides. However many guide books you read, this trip will surprise you, so just go with an open mind and open eyes, and respect for the local people. (KO -19th September 2011)

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