Young Pioneer Tours

Top 20 things to do in North Korea (part 1)

20. The DMZ

A visit to the DMZ is essential to any trip to North Korea and in understanding the tragic split of the Korean Peninsula for more than 70 years. With all our regular tours visiting this historical border, we also offer special DMZ extensions to all ultra-budget tours.

19. Take the train into North Korea

Without question, the best way to enter North Korea is via train from China. There’s something about the build-up of seeing the Chinese landscape transform into North Korean countryside while getting your first taste of North Korean food in the dining cart, not to mention watching the world go by, that’s the perfect introduction to any North Korea trip.

18. See the Pyongyang Metro

Whether it’s the usual three stations visited on any tour to Pyongyang or the entire metro system as part of our Unseen DPRK & Enter Metro tour, the mysterious Pyongyang Metro is one of the best ways to mingle with local Pyongyangites. Many of the stations act as mini-museums filled with opulent chandeliers, socialist-realist mosaics, and artworks. 

17. Visit Munsu Water Park

Whether you’re swimming with the locals or riding on the many outdoor waterslides, Munsu Water Park is an essential visit during summer in Pyongyang. Once you’ve had your fill of water slides there’s a myriad of indoor and outdoor bars and cafés to relax in and one of the most kitsch 1950s style salons for both men and women to experience their very own North Korea haircut. 

16. Use the local currency at Kwangbok Department Store

Only recently opened to tourists in the last few years, Kwangbok Department Store is the only location in Pyongyang (and most of the country) where tourists are permitted to exchange their foreign currency for the local Korean won to spend inside the store. With a range of local products available within three levels of the supermarket, pharmacy, clothing and homeware departments, the top floor food court has some of our favorite Korean food available.

15. Learn the Korean language at a local university

Without a doubt our most immersive tour is our studying at Kim Chol Ju University for one month on our Pyongyang Language Study Tour. This is as deep as you can go into North Korean culture by immersing yourself in the culture and language of the DPRK. Truly a life-changing experience.

14. Join a Mass Dance

If you’re visiting North Korea during any national holiday it’s a sure bet you’ll witness one the revolutionary celebrations of mass dance. After taking your mandatory photos of the sea of colored traditional Korean dresses and observing the dance moves, finding a willing dance partner and joining in is an experience you’ll never forget. Don’t be intimidated! Once you’ve observed a few dances it’s all very simple, repetitive line dancing and extremely fun to be a part of.

13. Kumsusan Palace of the Sun

Without question, the most sacred and important site in all of North Korea is Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the resting place of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il. This is a place unlike anywhere in the world and one of the most unique experiences to be had in the DPRK.

12. Take a helicopter joy ride with aerial views of Pyongyang

While the 360 views over Pyongyang from the Juche Tower are a sight to behold, taking a joy ride over Pyongyang in a Soviet Mil Mi-17 helicopter takes the cake here.

11. Pyongyang Marathon

Running through the streets of Pyongyang before running into a packed Kim Il Sung Stadium with over 50,000 cheering Koreans for your final victory lap. Enough said. The Pyongyang Marathon is likely the closest thing you’ll get to experience what it’s like to compete in the Olympics.

Find out the top 10 in part 2!

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