Visa and entry requirements North Korea:
Passport required
German citizens need a visa to enter the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), which is usually issued by the Embassy of the DPRK in Berlin
Visa costs: 20 euros

Information from the Foreign Office about your trip to North Korea:

North Korea is a country in Asia with around 25 million inhabitants. The country borders South Korea to the south, the Yellow Sea to the west, China to the north, Russia to the northeast and the Sea of Japan in the Pacific Ocean to the east.

The official language of the East Asian state is Korean and the national currency is the North Korean won, with 1 euro equaling around 150 KPW.

The largest cities in North Korea include Pyongyang, Hamhüng, Namp'o, Kaesong, Hüngnam, Wönsan, Chongjin, Sinüiju, Kanggye and Haeju.

The territory of the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is predominantly mountainous, with the 2,744 meter high Mount Paektusan as the highest point. The majority of the largely Buddhist population therefore lives in the flat coastal regions.

North Korea is the most isolated country in the world, with no foreign television, no internet and a dedicated telephone network.

North Korea is the only country in the world that still has a socialist planned economy, so all industries and agriculture are in state hands. Almost half of the employed population works in agriculture, and another large part works in services.

One of the few sources of Western foreign currency income is state-controlled tourism. Nowadays, 300 international visitors are admitted to the country every day, most of them from China. The main tourist attractions in the country include the demilitarized zone with the famous concrete wall, the tomb of King Kongmin and the local history museum in Kaesong, the ski resort in Wonsan, the Pohyonsa Temple in Hyangsan and the Diamond Mountains around Mount Kumgang.

The capital and by far the largest city of North Korea is Pyongyang with around 3.5 million inhabitants in the urban area and almost five million people in the entire metropolitan area.

Pyongyang, located on the Taedong River, is located in the west of the country and is the country's political, economic and cultural center.

The major attractions of Pyongyang include Kim Il Sung Square, May Day Stadium - the largest stadium in the world, the 150 meter high TV Tower, Kumsusan Palace, Grand Opera House, Korean Art Gallery, History Museum, the Triumphal Arch, the Grand Monument with the double statue of the two former rulers Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il, the Moranbong Theater, the Juche Idea Tower, the Military Museum, the Geumsusan Sun Palace, the Arch of Hope - the symbol of reunification with South Korea, the Korean Workers' Monument, the State Circus, the Study Palace and the Water Park.

In September 2016, I visited North Korea for four days. The trip to the last socialist country completely isolated from the outside world was of course one of my strangest and most mentally exhausting country visits ever.

During my entire stay in North Korea, I had to be careful at all times not to do anything wrong. My completely organized trip, with a driver, a tour guide and an interpreter, had a tight schedule and was therefore quite strenuous at times.

The afternoon of my arrival and the following day were reserved for the capital Pyongyang with its most important attractions and cultural buildings. Throughout the city I constantly had the feeling that everyone there was walking around as if remotely controlled. Every resident, but also every single citizen of North Korea, wore a pin with the national flag or the face of the ruler on their heart side. By the way, every time I visited a statue with someone from the ruling family, I had to buy flowers for $5 to $10 and then leave them there later.

The next day the program took us to Kaesong, around three hours away, to the world-famous demilitarized zone. It has always been a great wish of mine to see the famous light blue barracks up close. The border section, with all its historical history, was a very impressive place, and the controls and surveillance were also quite relaxed. Because I was born near Berlin and in eastern Germany, I know exactly what I'm talking about.

There are a total of two hotels for the 300 tourists allowed in North Korea per day. My hotel, unfortunately a bit old, was on a peninsula right in front of the center of Pyongyang, separated only by the river. However, the bridge to the city area was around two kilometers away from the hotel, and there was nothing on the way in between except police and military. It was forbidden to go outside the hotel entrance, perhaps to smoke a cigarette.

The leisure facilities in the hotel, such as a bowling alley, billiards or table tennis, were also a bit outdated. Thanks to the in-house brewery and the associated bar, at least it didn't get boring.

After a surprisingly pleasant and eventful stay in North Korea, I returned to Beijing the next morning with the local airline Air Koryo.