North Korea

The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in North Korea as it does not have diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea.


Being the capital of the DPRK, Pyongyang is by far the largest city in the country with a population over 3 million. Pyongyang is also the site of the largest museums, leisure facilities, sports grounds and monumental architecture. The city has developed a lot in recent years with places such as coffee shops becoming increasingly popular, and a much wider range of consumer goods and services being available. Recent additions to the city include a riding club, microlight flights, a dolphinarium, funfairs, shooting range, fitness centres, a sci-tech centre, and more.                                                                  


Nampo is a specially administered North Korean city due to its importance as the major port on the West Sea. The highway between Pyongyang and Nampo is the best in the country, which is a good indicator of its importance as the major center of trade by sea between China and the DPRK. The city has a population of around 370,000 and major industrial complexes such as the Tae’an Friendship Glass Factory, the Chollima Steel Complex and the Nampo Shipbuilding Factory. It also is the site of the famous West Sea Barrage. The city also hosts one of our favourite hotels the Ryongsong Spa Hotel, with famous spa waters and the option of world-famous in Korea petrol clams.


Hamhung is the second-largest city in the country with a population of over three-quarters of a million people, the city is also the capital of South Hamgyong Province. The city is open to tourists now but there is not a great variety of sites available with the main highlights for most being the Hungnam Fertiliser Factory and the Majon Beach Resort. A key centre of industry both before and after the Korean war the city also produces Vinalon, machinery, chemicals and more. Due to its distance from the capital, we visit Hamhung quite rarely but if you’re keen to see what North Korea’s other big city is like then join our Unseen DPRK tour.


Chongjin is the third biggest city in North Korea with a population of approximately 700,000. It’s the capital of North Hamgyong located in the North East of the country and is known as the city of Iron with the Kimchaek Steel complex being one of the major industrial factories in the city. The city is opening up more and more for tourists and currently has three hotels for foreigners. The city also has textile factories, a shipbuilding yard, a dual-use civilian/military airport and is the only city except for Pyongyang that has a tram system.


The city has a population of around 375,000 and is a popular tourist site for locals, western tourists, especially during the summer. Sites of interest include the beaches, Songdowon Children’s Union Camp and the Chonsam-Ri Co-operative farm. The city has two dual-purpose airports- Wonsan and Kalma which at the moment only cater for domestic flights. The city also has two hotels that accept foreigners the Tongmyong hotel and the Songdowon Hotel. There is a new hotel on the Kalma Peninsula but this has yet to begin accepting general tourists.


Sinuiju is located on the North Korean border to China, opposite Dandong city with the Yalu River (Amnok River for Koreans) being the natural border. The city is the capital of North Pyongan province with over 400,000 residents, and first opened to beyond mainland Chinese tourists in 2014 and is a rare stop with only 200 western tourists visiting the city in 2019. The city is significant in the DPRK for being the major hub for all trade done with their Chinese neighbours.

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