To go to North Korea, Singaporeans must get a visa and permission from the North Korean authorities. Normally, tourists may only visit North Korea as part of a pre-arranged trip. There are no direct flights between Singapore and North Korea, so people usually first fly to Beijing or Shanghai and then take a local flight to Pyongyang.
Yes, you can visit North Korea as a tourist if you have a Chinese passport and are traveling with a group registered with a travel agent. The group must contain at least one Canadian citizen or resident alien canada. You need a visa for North Korea and should apply for it at a diplomatic office in your home country or through an agency such as Koryo Tours.
North Korea is a country very much under the thumb of China so many things are done according to what China wants. Thus, unlike South Korea which has a very free market system, North Korea is a one-party state that controls almost all aspects of citizens' lives. However, this does not mean that there is nothing to see or do in North Korea; far from it. If you're a fan of history and culture, then you'll find plenty to enjoy.
It is not possible to travel to North Korea on your own. All visitors must plan a package tour through a specially licensed travel operator, which will arrange for the North Korean Foreign Ministry to approve a visa. For inhabitants of the Philippines, a tourist visa to North Korea is necessary. It can be obtained at any Philippine embassy or consulate in Seoul, South Korea.
Filipino tourists can stay in North Korea for up to 30 days. They are allowed to enter four provinces: Pyongyang, North Hamgyong, South Pyongan and Kangwon.
There are no direct flights to North Korea from the Philippines, but there are flights to Seoul and then another flight to Pyongyang. The total cost of this route is about $1050. A more affordable option is to take a flight to Beijing and then cross the border into North Korea. There are regular buses between Beijing and Pyongyang that take about 20 hours. The price is about $60 per person.
North Korea is a very isolated country with few opportunities for tourism. However, it is becoming more accessible due to a growing number of Chinese travelers visiting the DPRK. In addition to Manila and Seoul, the only other foreign cities with embassies in Pyongyang are Beijing and Rome.
The Philippines does not have an embassy in North Korea, but its mission in Seoul handles all of its affairs with the country.
To begin with, if you are a citizen of the United States, South Korea, or Malaysia, you are now unable to enter North Korea. The only option for the rest of us to visit North Korea is through a registered and certified travel company offering state-sanctioned tours. You cannot visit North Korea on your own.
Getting into North Korea is not difficult. There are two ways to do this: by plane or by train. A tourist flight from Beijing takes about eight hours and costs around $1,000. The North Korean airline Air Koryo offers only one tour per week, to Chinese tourists at that. In order to take advantage of this offer, you need to reserve your place in advance at www.airkorea.co.jp.
The train journey from Seoul to Pyongyang takes about five days. The ride is interesting for its own sake but also because there are many changes of train en route, which makes for an exciting adventure. The price for this tour is about $3,500 per person.
Both options require a visa. These can be obtained from any embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting. It is advisable to start applying for these visas at least six months before your trip so as not to miss out on the possibility of getting approved.
Holders of diplomatic or service passports issued to nationals of the following countries are exempt from visa requirements to visit North Korea:
Joining a trip to North Korea is simple; the paperwork is low, and anybody, with the exception of South Korean passport holders, is welcome to visit the nation. I'd want to point out that US citizens, Japanese citizens, and Israeli citizens are all welcome to visit North Korea. However, there are no visas required for American or Japanese tourists, and only a visa is needed for Israeli visitors.
Japan has had good relations with North Korea since the 1970s, when they restored diplomatic ties after years of frozen relations. In 2001, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made a special trip to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong-il, then leader of North Korea. Since then, annual trade between Japan and North Korea has increased significantly, reaching $1.5 billion in 2011. Also, in 2010, the first Japanese tourist visited North Korea, marking the start of a new era in relations between the two countries.
In addition to trade and tourism, there are also efforts being made to promote cultural exchange. In 2011, a joint project was launched between Tokyo's National Museum and the Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang, with the aim of putting together an exhibition focusing on modern art from both countries. The exhibition will be the first of its kind and is expected to open in September 2012.
North Korea and Japan have much to offer each other, but it's important to remember that both countries remain politically unstable.