As a tourist, your options for buying a suit in North Korea are limited for now to a few options. If you’re looking for North Korean suits, you can buy them in Kwanbok Department store or at the Rason Market. For Western-style suits, you are better off going to a more shop, such as Rakwon Department store. However, your best option for both style of suit is, of course, going tailor-made. While the Yanggakdo tailor may be the best known among tourists and there are plenty of articles online about it, we think the best place to get a suit made in Pyongyang is the lesser-known Changwangsan hotel.
The tailor here isn’t the easiest to find, and sometimes even your local guides will have to ask the front desk for directions. The Changwangsan Hotel Tailor shop is located on the second floor. Just past the bookshop, but before the telephone service area is a door to the left, which leads to a hallway, the tailor is down the hallway on the left. The tailor here is exceptionally well priced and in our opinion, makes much better suits than the Yanggakdo Hotel Tailor. For 180 US dollars, I was able to buy a wool suit with two pairs of trousers, a waistcoat and a jacket, the price will vary somewhat depending on how much fabric you require and the quality of wool you choose. On top of this, they provide a hanger and a very cool Changwangsan Hotel suit bag for transporting and protecting your suit.
To make sure you get the best suit possible, we recommend:
- If you’re doing a short tour, go as early as possible to give the tailor more time to work on your suit and hopefully allow for at least a second fitting: this will make a huge difference in the end result of your suit.
- Bring your guides: the tailor doesn’t speak much English, and unless your Korean is almost fluent, you want to make sure you can communicate what you want well.
- Bring a photo of the style of suit you’d like. The tailor here is incredible at taking a picture and making a similar suit without needing a pattern. Of course, if you’d like a North Korean suit made, they will have plenty of patterns, and this isn’t necessary.
- Tell them Troy recommended you and ask if they can embroider your name in Korean as well as the place and date it was made. This is a little favour the tailor has done for me in the past that I think makes your suit super unique!
So if you are looking to buy a suit in North Korea and have the opportunity to visit the Changwangsan Hotel for it, we definitely recommend it; while you’re there, we also recommend you head downstairs for a cocktail or an ice cream sundae in the coffee shop/bar downstairs. They are also among the best you’ll find in Pyongyang!
Check out our current North Korea tour schedule here..