Do North Koreans have cars?
The very quick answer to this question is yes, North Koreans have cars, and North Koreans drive. But, and like most things about the DPRK, there are some interesting parts to the story!
Homemade North Korean Cars
Founded in 2000, Pyeonghwa Motors in Nampo is an auto-manufacturing and retail joint venture between South Korea’s Pyeonghwa Motors (owned by Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church). Interestingly this is the ONLY private ad you will see in Pyongyang. For more info on this car, check out our blog.
License plates tell you a lot about North Korean Cars
We have written a blog on what different colours of license plates are used in North Korea, but to give a slimmed-down version. Black license plates mean military, blue means state-owned, yellow means private, and then you have diplomatic ones, and other stuff (read our blog).
Most cars you will see are blue plates, so their state-owned work has assigned people these cars.
Do people own cars in North Korea?
As previously mentioned, yellow plates mean privately owned, and while they are in the minority, North Koreans with money, which may come from work, or from relatives from abroad, can buy, own, and even sell their own cars. Again different to how we do things in the west, but not all that much so.
Private cars are also sometimes gifted by the state for people who have accomplished feats such as winning a gold medal at the Olympics for example.
Are there traffic jams in North Korea?
Ten years ago, not so much so, but these days it happens, Pyongyang gridlock is now a thing! Although to be fair, it is not exactly Manila (yet).
Can I drive a motorbike in North Korea?
Yes, we’ve seen the story about the guys that motorbiked through North Korea, but generally speaking, the answer is no (we are working on it). You can ride a bicycle however!
Can you drive North Korean cars
Foreigners who live in North Korea are allowed to import and drive cars in North Korea, or indeed North Korean cars. Tourists technically cannot, but never say never….
And that is the skinny on driving in the DPRK.
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