If you are a female solo traveller like me, I am sure you have been accustomed to questions or comments such as “Why do you travel on your own?” “Can’t you find someone to go together with you?”” It’s not safe to go travelling on your own.” I have been a solo traveller since 2013 and safety has always been a top priority when travelling to different countries – especially as a female. I am sure we have all read stories of how certain countries are notoriously known for scams, pickpockets etc. I have been asked by people I have met if travelling to the DPRK on a private tour as a solo traveller was safe. My answer has always been a resounding YES! Contrary to the reports from the media, travelling to the DPRK is extremely safe as not only will you, as a tourist, be well taken care of by your guides, but the DPRK is in many ways an extremely safe country.
This can be substantiated by my actual experiences. Each time I arrived in Pyongyang, I was greeted by my two lovely guides who were constantly with me throughout the whole trip. Should I have any questions as to whether I could travel to a certain place, I would ask my guides and they would usually try their best to accommodate to my request. Even if the request could not be granted, the guides would explain why. Throughout my trip, I did not have to worry about getting lost or encountering any danger; in fact, I actually felt very pampered and grateful to the guides for the efforts undertaken to make my private tour a pleasant one.
Apart from safety, another question I often encounter is that of “Why must we follow the regulations and rules? We are tourists and we want to do what we deem fit”. My answer would be the simple saying: respect begets respect. As tourists travelling to the DPRK, one would have already known beforehand that rules and regulations are something to be abided by. It is totally understandable that as tourists, one would want to do what one wants, especially since he or she is on a private tour. You can still certainly do what you want. All you need to do is have respectable fun which means not doing things that are disrespectful to the culture of the DPRK and checking with your guides if you are unsure if certain things can or cannot be done. Remember, your guides are your best friends during your trip and they are there to help. When having enjoyable times such as having a few glasses of maekju (beer), do invite your guides to join in. In doing so, not only can you have a good time together but this will also give you the opportunity to bond with your guides.
With the DPRK being a safe country and one in which you can create lifelong memories and experiences, I hope that you will visit the DPRK through one of the amazing tours because as a solo female traveller, I know I will definitely return yet again!
Guest post by Vania Teo. The views expressed herein are Vania’s own and are not necessarily representative of the views or beliefs of Young Pioneer Tours..