How Safe Is North Korea for Travel?

North Korea
Safety Index:

North Korea, officially referred to as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a country located in East Asia covering the northern half of the Korean Peninsula that is situated between Korea Bay and the East Sea.

It shares its borders with China to the north, Russia to the northeast and South Korea to the south.

This country is under a totalitarian dictatorship and after its complicated history, travelers generally are a skeptic when it comes to visiting this country.

Tourists that do travel to North Korea will be immediately met by a tour guide from a local state-owned travel company who will decide what they can and cannot see.

Traveling independently isn’t possible, and you can see North Korea only as part of a guided tour.

When traveling to this county, your movements, freedom, and behavior will be severely limited.

As soon as you step out on the street, you will be accompanied by one or more guides.

Usually, the sightseeing is limited to war memorials, monuments to the Great Leader and the Workers Party of Korea, and war-related museums.

Another popular landmark for tourists is The Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

Warnings & Dangers in North Korea

Overall Risk


Generally speaking, North Korea isn't safe and some governments advise their citizens against traveling to this country. If you're already in North Korea and if you don't abide by its strict rules, you can be faced with imprisonment, torture, and death.

Transport & Taxis Risk


The fact that all your traveling is completely controlled by the state is also helpful when it comes to transport, as all your transport needs will be dealt with by your tour company. Using any other form of local public transport is generally impossible.

Pickpockets Risk


The good thing in North Korea is that the crime levels are close to zero. There is no petty crime on the streets at least to tourists, and as it's been said, there is no individual traveling in North Korea either way, so your risks of having an experience with a pickpocket are close to none.

Natural Disasters Risk


The biggest natural threats for North Korea are devastating floods. Typhoons have also been known to cause damage. In 2002, a flood occurred that killed 170 people and left 84,000 homeless.

Mugging Risk


The same goes for violent crimes, like muggings, robberies, and kidnappings. Even the nightlife in Pyongyang is extremely safe and non-violent.

Terrorism Risk


There haven't been recent terrorist attacks in North Korea, but they shouldn't be ruled out, so you should remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk


There aren't many known scams in North Korea. Generally speaking, ways of crossing over tourists are limited given the fact that traveling independently is impossible in this country and everything is strictly controlled by the state.

Women Travelers Risk


Women are safe when it comes to crime in North Korea, but you should know that if you have any needs as a tourist, or won't help, the assistance from your embassy will be limited and due to strict dictatorship in this country, your actions and behavior here will be limited and in that sense, North Korea can be dangerous.

So... How Safe Is North Korea Really?

North Korea’s history and political situation are complicated and extremely strict, being that this country is under a totalitarian dictatorship.

Due to this and the uncertainty caused by North Korea’s nuclear weapons development program and related tension in the country, some governments strongly discourage traveling to North Korea.

If you go to North Korea and do not abide by its strict laws, be prepared to face imprisonment, torture, and even death.

North Korea and the US have had a complicated history and relationship for decades.

As of September 2017, all American residents with a US passport will not be allowed to travel to North Korea without having special permission from the US State Department.

You should keep in mind all the time that North Korea in general places blames on America for starting the Korean War, and you should, under no circumstances, disagree with that viewpoint as you might get yourself in trouble.

Also, the country is covered in landmines and dotted with minefields so you mustn’t stray from your group as it may have deadly consequences.

Do not take photographs as this is a huge issue in North Korea and only some places are allowed to be photographed, like the “peace village” Panmunjom.

Useful Information

  • Visas - All countries do need a visa in order to enter North Korea, and the visa must be acquired from one of the North Korean diplomatic missions. If you're traveling for tourism, you will also require an authorization from a North Korean travel agency. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
  • Currency - North Korean Won is the official currency in North Korea. There are no ATMs in this country and credit cards are completely useless here, so make sure to bring lots of cash.
  • Weather - North Korea has a combination of a continental climate and an oceanic climate, characterized by four distinct seasons. For the most part, North Korea has a humid climate, with warm summers and cold winters, without much precipitation.
  • Airports - Pyongyang International Airport, also referred to as the Pyongyang Sunan International Airport is the main airport of North Korea. It is located in the Sunan District, in Pyongyang, capital of North Korea.
  • Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to North Korea, since it covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

North Korea Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -5° C
Feb -3° C
Mar 4° C
Apr 12° C
May 18° C
Jun 22° C
Jul 25° C
Aug 26° C
Sep 21° C
Oct 13° C
Nov 5° C
Dec -3° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Where to Next?

23 Reviews on North Korea

  1. L
    Lionheart says:

    Extremely safe when sensible

    It’s ridiculous that, according to this site, North Korea is as dangerous as Libya.

    Yes, North Korea has strict rules with potentially huge consequences for a serious breach of them, but if you stick to them, it’s probably the safest country in the world for tourists. Any incidents are extremely rare and pretty much always result from someone choosing to break the rules in a serious way. The risk from crime and terrorism is practically non-existent.

    I went to North Korea in August 2018 and it’s an amazing experience and surprisingly laid back. The guides will politely tell you if you do anything inappropriate so, as I said above, it takes a really serious breach to get you into trouble with the law.

    1. A
      Anonymous says:


      U support that v evil region? Get lost! NK is bad as south sudan bruh!

      1. Have you even been to North Korea?

    2. No thanks

      You obviously didn’t have any objections during your visit to anything they said. “I disagree” could cost you your life. That’s super dangerous. They teach the little kids to hate Americans. I’ll pass. Visiting South Korea will do just fine.

      1. self awareness

        to be fair, we teach little kids to hate north korea.

  2. T
    The Western world says:

    Tourists have died and been tortured here. Any misstep can get you detained or even killed. Look at Otto Warmbier, Kenneth Bae, Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim, Kim Dong-chul, Alek Sigley, Jeffrey Fowle, John Short, Lim Hyeon-soo, Euna Lee, Laura Ling, and many more. They have camps torturing their own citizens, and for the ones not in camps, their life is grim. Low quality of life with a leader who is cold and calculated, I think it’s best to spend money in a country that actually cares for its people.

    1. off

      because the people didn’t. follow rules cause they are dumb idiots like one guy did

      1. V
        Vichu2005g says:


        U support that v evil region? Get lost! NK is bad as south sudan bruh!

        1. V
          Vichu2006g says:


          U support that v evil region? Get lost! NK is bad as south sudan bruh!

          1. F
            FU Vichu2006g says:

            Vichu2006g loves NK

            You’ve gone absolutely mental if you’re comparing NK to South Sudan bruh!

        2. A
          Anonymous says:

          Saying a country is safe doesnt mean that they support an regime. Get lost.

    2. S
      Samuel Allan says:

      I believe Uganda would be the best option

  3. D
    Dave Johnson says:

    Great Food and Country!

    The McDonald’s there were awesome and the staff there were extremely polite and friendly!

    1. A
      Anonymous says:

      There isn’t McDonald’s in north korea.

  4. Amazing

    Excellent, follow the rules in North Korea and you will be fine.

  5. N
    NUclear says:

    Boi is not safe at all

    Is horrible for all the news I read they may start WW3 they are treating US with that Washinton is a good tourist place and with NY if the bombs NK plans to detonate in there there will be no NY an DC and much more in US even parks and don♥9t get me your screaming WHY you are dumb idoit who just goes with everone choices so f yourself, I know my grammar is bad so dela with it and f you who will swear at me.

  6. This page is 100% wrong

    North Korea is safe so why is it so dangerous in this page? Typhoons are rare in NK because of the cold waters offshore.

  7. A
    Anonymous says:

    Not safe at all even if crime is extremely low

    North Korea may seem safe but the fact it is the most brutal dictatorship in the world and the people have faced communist oppression for over 60 years not knowing what the outside world is like except through the eyes of the Kim dynasty the only rich people in North Korea whilst everyone else is poor and afraid of being put in concentration camps for having an opinion what à sad place to live in I feel sorry for the people hopefully one day they get freedom like there southern neighbours but it seems unlikely even China and Russia seem democratic compared to the likes of North Korea….

  8. Q
    Qiao Qingsheng Wan Huizhong says:

    Great country very good nice place here👍😃

  9. comical ratings boost

    looking through these comments are funny, i see a bunch of 5 star reviews from what im assuming are North Korean travel agents. “North Korea very good! very nice very safe visit now!”

  10. A
    Anonymous says:

    Hermit Kingdom

    It’s safe for Kim Jong Un only.

Rated 2.87 / 5 based on 23 user reviews.

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