Young Pioneer Tours

Can you visit North Korea from South Korea?

Can you visit North Korea from South Korea? This is very much a yes and no answer, with there being a whole heap of technicalities thrown into the mix.

In essence the only way to visit North Korea from South Korea is via the DMZ and not many people have managed to pull that one off.

Can normal people cross the DMZ?

In essence South Koreans cross into North Korea every day at Panmunjom, with the same also happening from the other direction, but these are mere technical crossings, not holiday visits.

In actuality crossing here is very dangerous regardless of the direction, as Travis King recently managed to find out.

One South Korean who did cross the border from North Korea who was a religious man and peace activist, although he found himself arrested on arrival.

As one Korean told me “They should have sent the Moronbong Band to meet him” – rather than the military.

Family Reunification

When family reunification are arranged you can indeed visit North Korea from South Korea, should you be given permission. This sadly happen extremely sparingly, with those who would benefit most now extremely  elderly.

These visits tend to happen in Kaesong, one of the North Korean spoils of the Korean War.

Mount Kumgang Tours from South Korea to North Korea

For a long time visiting North Korea from South Korea was actually really easy, with there being hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting very year, which proved a crucial source of income for North Korea, as well as providing for quality infrastructure to be built.

Sadly a South Korean woman was shot under dubious circumstances and the tours abruptly stopped. Of course people from both of sides of the Korean peninsula would like for these to start again, but it will depend greatly on the political relations between the two countries.

Are there defectors from South Korea to North Korea?

Yes there are, although most are redefectors as in North Koreans essentially going home. There are though South Koreans that also take this journey, although they are not doing a North Korea visit from South Korea.

The same can also be said for those crossing the “Bridge of no Return”, usually long term prisoners, or even spies who are returned to North Korea from South Korea, often as part of prisoner exchange.

And of course one could also include “accidental” defectors, such as those on Crash Landing on You, where a whole show was made about a visit from South Korea to North Korea.

Can you South Koreans visit Mt Paektu

Yes and no, with the better question being can South Koreans visit Changbaishan, or can South Koreans visit Mt Paektu.

Essentially with half of the mountain being in China, south Koreans can visit Mount Paektu from China. So, while this is not a can visit North Korea from South Korea question entirely, it is pretty much the closest most South Koreans will get.

Can you visit North Korea from South Korea in 2024?

As things currently stand no you cannot, but this is largely because North Korea is closed to tourism, rather than South Koreans not being allowed into the country.

So, are South Koreans allowed to visit North Korea? This is a complicated answer, and it essentially involves getting permission from both governments and I have even personally met South Koreans in North Korea.

Some though such as the reverent do not get permission from the South, but are allowed in by the North, which can obviously cause a lot of troubles.

One interesting side note through is that dual citizens of South Korea and other countries, such as Canada can travel to North Korea essentially under their other passport, although there is some other paperwork that also needs to be filled out.

And that is the overall skinny on if you can visit North Korea from South Korea, very much a yes, and no answer.

Want to see the country for yourself? Check out our North Korea Tours.

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