In response to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) announced on 25 October 2014 that no tourists would be allowed to enter the DPRK until further notice.

On 30 October 2014, the DPRK announced that foreigners intending to enter the country would be subject to 21 days in quarantine, regardless of which country they have travelled from. Under these new measures:

  • travellers to North Korea from regions and countries the DPRK considers may have been affected by the Ebola virus, including Africa, will be put into quarantine for a period of 21 days in a government appointed hotel under medical supervision
  • people coming to entering North Korea from any other country will be quarantined in hotels appointed by their DPRK host organisation
  • diplomats and members of international organisations resident in DPRK will be quarantined in their respective missions

If you’re planning to travel to North Korea, you should contact your sponsor or tour company for further advice. There have been no reported cases of Ebola in DPRK.

In recent months, the political situation in North Korea has been relatively calm, although the situation could change quickly. On 10 October 2014, activists in South Korea released balloons near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) border containing anti-DPRK leaflets. The DPRK responded by firing at the balloons, prompting an exchange of fire between South Korean and DPRK military. This has not been occurring in areas open to tourists in North Korea. See Political situation.

British nationals resident in or travelling to the DPRK who are not with tour groups should inform the British Embassy in Pyongyang about their travel plans prior to, or on arrival.

You can’t enter or leave North Korea through the border with South Korea without special permission.

The British Embassy Pyongyang can provide only limited consular assistance to those visiting parts of the DPRK outside the capital Pyongyang due to restricted access.

Flooding is common in the rainy season (July to August). See Natural Disasters.

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism

Very few British nationals visit North Korea and those that do are usually part of an organised tour. Most visits are trouble-free. However, the North Korean authorities have arrested other legal visitors, including 3 US citizens during recent years.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.