The best time to visit North Korea entirely depends on which season best suits your needs and your level of comfort during your travel. Since 2014, North Korea is opened to tourism all year round and has the most distinctive seasons throughout the year. Below is our list of perks and recommendations for each season to help you decide when is the best time to visit North Korea.
Summer (June to August)
Summer kicks off with a brief wet season which sees most rainfall around the Pyongyang and northwest region along the Chinese border. Due to the rainfall tourists can benefit with rivers and waterfalls overflowing with their natural beauty.
As things begin to warm up summer becomes in full effect with hot and humid days, with mostly sunny skies with temperatures reaching up to 35°C. The weather encourages both visitors and locals to wear light clothing, crack open a cold drink and stay cool.
- North Korea has some of the cleanest beaches in the world. We take up on this advantage by running classic summer getaways to the beach on both the east and west side of the Korean peninsula.
- The days are longer with the sun rising at 5am and setting around 8pm. This leaves you more to see and explore during the day.
- We’re able to include more outdoors activities such as hiking, swimming, cycling, picnicking and outdoor BBQ.
- Summer is cool – whilst the heat is turned up, we keep you cool with AC in your vehicle, hotel, and restaurants. Most of the buildings in the DPRK have AC, or if they don’t, they’re made from concrete and granite which help keeps the inside naturally cool.
- The heat encourage light packing which makes your travelling easier and lighter!
- Air Koryo add more flights to their regular schedule to help cope with the increase of tourism
- The mass games performances begins
Summer tour highlights
All Koreas: Part 2: North Korea tour – Explore the rarely visited rural northeast of the DPRK in North Hamgyong province, then jump aboard a Air Koryo domestic flight to explore the capital Pyongyang
Pyongyang Language Study tour – Be a part of an exclusive group of foreigners to study the Korean language at the Kim Hyong Jik University and live a local expat life in Pyongyang
Victory Day & Mt. Paektu tour – Join in on the Victory Day celebrations in Pyongyang and jump aboard your very own chartered flight to Mt Paektu – North Korea’s most spectacular mountain with stunning views.
Pyongyang Bicycle Ultra Budget & DMZ extension tour – Ditch the bus and hop on a North Korean bicycle – what we believe to be the best way to explore Pyongyang and its hidden alleyways
Liberation Day & Summer tour with Mass Games – Be apart of every significant celebration event in Pyongyang for the Liberation of Korea from the Japanese after World War II – and head to North Korea’s beaches to soak up the sun, challenge a local at beach football and enjoy the best BBQ the DPRK has to offer.
Autumn (September to November)
Although September is technically autumn, it is still well and truly summer for the North Korea national day holidays, and it doesn’t begin to cool down until the beginning of October. Although Autumn in North Korea is very brief, it brings cool dry air which usually sits around a perfect 22°C temperature. The foliage within the country turns a mystic brown, purple, red, orange, and yellow colour which is incredibly memorising and makes your visit during this cool season extra special. By early November the feeling of winter has arrived and first signs of snow begins to appear.
- The tourist rush begins to slow down allowing more flexibly with train and flight tickets
- Very comfortable weather for all ages
- Incredible photo opportunities of foliage, landscapes and nature
- Pyongyang Autumn Marathon & Pyongyang International Film Festival take place
Autumn tour highlights
Unseen DPRK & Entire Pyongyang Metro tour – this tour takes you to the less visited east coast of the Korean peninsula to Hamhung – the second largest DPRK city and to Wonsan beach whilst the weather is still hot and perfect for a dip. You also have the chance to explore the entire Pyongyang metro network and partake in National Day celebrations.
Grand National Day North East tour – Jump aboard a North Korean domestic flight to the rural and less visited province of North Hamgyong and join in on the National Day celebrations in Pyongyang.
Pyongyang Autumn Marathon tour – the cheapest and most thrilling marathon event in Pyongyang
Party Foundation Day & Mt. Kumgang tour – Take well advantage of autumn and explore Mt. Kumgang and the incredible foliage that happens along the sea and the mountain range top whilst spectating the celebration events for the Workers’ Party of Korea
The Real Deal tour – enter North Korea on an old Cold War-esque bridge and into the heart of the rural northeast, explore the North Korean bordertown cities and domestic flight down to Pyongyang. There’s a reason why we call this the Real Deal.
Winter (December to February)
Winters in North Korea are cold. Very cold. We highly recommend bringing your warmest winter gear such as beanies, gloves, and thermals to help keep you away from that frosty feeling and enjoy the clean white snow that blankets the country. If the cold doesn’t shy you away from travelling you can take well advantage of the cheapest tours to even run to North Korea during this time and practically no tourists, giving you the true feeling of being in a very unique country. Whilst January is by far the coldest month of the year with temperatures going as low as -10°, our vehicles, hotel accommodations and restaurants are all equipped with heating and hot water to defrost you. Visiting some older sites may require you to keep on your snow jacket and scarf inside.
- The cheapest season to travel with hardly any tourists visiting the DPRK
- Masik Ski Resort opens for the skiing and snowboarding season
- Experience a white (very snowy) Christmas in Pyongyang
- The most unique way to celebrate your New Year’s with live performance from Moranbong Band
- Scenic countryside covered in snow
- Snowball fights at the DMZ
Winter tour highlights
Christmas in Pyongyang – although technically the North Koreans don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s not going to stop us from hosting one of the most unique Christmas vacations in the world.
New Year’s Party tour – We believe there’s no better way to start your New Year’s than watching fireworks in Kim Il Sung Square with a live performance by North Korea’s most famous singers and an ice and snow sculpture competition.
New Year’s Ultra Budget tour – The same as above but cut down for those short on travel time and budget. The cheapest way to celebrate your new year’s in North Korea.
Spring Festival tour – As else where in most parts of Asia get seriously busy, the best way to avoid these festive crowds is to head to North Korea and enjoy your time off.
Kim Jong Il Birthday tour – Considered one of the most important holidays of the year, mass dances, fireworks and snow!
Spring (March to May)
As the snow melts and the trees and flowers bloom, North Korea is transformed from an icebox to a vibrant colourful scape. Although March is still well and truly cold, April holds the largest celebration of the year, Kim Il Sung Birthday on April 15th and with another huge holiday May Day taking place on the 1st of May. These holidays see local North Koreans emerge from their homes and out to the open, firing up their BBQs, heading to the parks, and basking in the sun that was very much missed. Temperatures average around a steady 19°C so best to bring your jacket for those early mornings and late evenings during the tour.
- Warmer weather with more activities to do outside
- Cherry blossoms are native to North Korea and make quite the photography for the classic Spring snap
- Comfortable travel weather for all ages
Spring tour highlights
St. Patrick’s Day tour – We bring this Irish holiday to Pyongyang celebrating the only St. Patrick’s Day events in the hermit kingdom
Pyongyang Marathon tour – a marathon event for all professional and amateur runners, takes place just before Kim Il Sung birthday.
Kim Il Sung Birthday – the most celebrated holiday of the year, Kim Il Sung was the founding president of the DPRK and respected deeply by the North Koreans.
May Day tour – a non political holiday involving good times and a visit to Mt. Taeson Funfair to for you to partake with the locals in games, competitions and trying local food.
Moscow to Pyongyang train tour – we are the only tour operator to arrange the longest passenger train journey in the world from Moscow direct to Pyongyang. The most epic train journey you’ll ever do.