Transportation in North Korea

Transportation in North Korea - When travelling around North Korea you may be able to use different forms of transportation.


Currently, if a US citizen you may not enter or exit North Korea by train and will have to do so plane. Below is a description of the forms of transportation available to foreigners in North Korea.

Special forms of transportation in North Korea - we are able to charter trams and trolley buses in Pyongyang. If interested in these options please contact us.

The trolley bus route is from Pyongyang Central Train Station to the Arch of Triumph

If interested in taking the tram this runs from Mangyongdae to the Central Train Station.

Planes

Air Koryo and Air China fly into and out of North Korea. Many travellers see the Air Koryo flight as a key part of the beginning of their DPRK experience and this is tangible as soon as they step on the aircraft. Listening to propagandistic music, seeing the retro decoration and mystical fog and reading a copy of the Pyongyang Times stating the recent achievements of the DPRK while enjoying some kimchi is the ideal way to the begin this adventure!

Air Koryo flight, North Korea

Trains in North Korea

If you have the chance to either enter or exit by train, we strongly recommend to hop on and enjoy the ride! The train ride to and from China is around 25 hours but not as daunting as it sounds! The overnight leg of the ride is spent in China, meaning that travellers have the chance to ride through second tier cities, counties and villages in North Korea seeing parts of the country that are completely sealed off to tourists and allowing them have a glimpse of life in some of the more isolated areas of North Korea.

Train ride in North Korea

Please note that we will have a bed on the train

Taking pictures from the train was initially not permitted, although there has been some slight flexibility regarding this. Train stations are considered military stops so pictures should not be taken of these outside of Pyongyang. Pictures will be checked by border guards when you exit North Korea and they will not hesitate to delete any pictures they find inappropriate. We will fully brief you regarding taking pictures and behaviour in North Korea before your trip, regardless on whether you go with a group or individually.

You will actually have a sleeper berth on the train. We always point out that taking the train offers an excellent chance to be able to mingle with North Koreans of all walks of life who will be going to or returning from China. Having small sized groups too also means that the chances of sharing your compartment with local North Koreans are much higher which offers a unique chance to make North Korean friends!

Insider's tip: Once on the train on the way back to China a Korean train staff member will ask if you will like lunch sent to your compartment. If you would like to be completely surrounded by North Koreans, and don't mind a bit of a smoky environment, kindly ignore the lunch request and directly go to the canteen in the Korean train carriage! Meals cost 5 Euros but don't go too late after noon as they may have sold out. You will be surrounded by North Korean soldiers, families, people getting off on the way... trains are a common means of transportation in North Korea.

Lunch on a North Korean train

Transportation in North Korea: Cars

If going on a private trip and only consist of one or two people you may be assigned a car for your local transportation. Please note however that sometimes these are not available and you may end up using a coach even if only one traveller!

Car in North Korea

Buses, coaches and Vans

These tend to be used for larger groups. Our group sizes tend to be relatively small, with an average of less than 10 people. However, sometimes we are offered larger coaches regardless of the amount of travellers in a group. Several of the coaches and buses used are from former East Germany, giving the trip an extra retro touch to it.

DPRK tourism bus

North Korean bus

Above are two images of the largest buses used for tourism in North Korea. We use them for groups of over 10 people though they are sometimes used for smallers sized groups. Our groups in general have less than 10 people.

North Korean bus

Above a former East Germany bus. This type of bus is usually used for a group of no more than 8 travellers.

DPRK van

This coach is usually used for a group of 5 to 6 travellers

Transportation in North Korea: Pyongyang Metro

You will have the chance to get on the metro with locals and enjoy a ride in the world's deepest subway. We offer extended rides which allow travellers to see several stops and explore several metro stops. Please check our Pyongyang Metro section for more details regarding this.

Extended ride on the Pyongyang metro

Charter Flights in North Korea

If going to Mt. Paekdu or Chilbo you will take a charter flight with Air Koryo. Before we needed to have a minimum number of travellers these options but are glad to say that there are regular domestic flights in North Korea now! Please contact us for more information if this option may be of interest to you.

Air Koryo plane, North Korea

Boats

Boats are not the most common form of transportation in North Korea, but it is possible to take a boat ride around the Taedong River, cruising through the middle of Pyongyang. Restaurant boats are available. This is used as part of exclusive tours in North Korea. Please do let us know if you may be interested in this option! We can also arrange cruise trips in the Northeast part of the DPRK. Please do let us know if you would like more information regarding this.

boat trip North Korea

 

Go to our Transportation in North Korea section to our North Korea Tourism page for information on departures to the DPRK.

 

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