Top 19 attractions in North Korea

*Review best according to redakciey. About the selection criteria. This material is subjective in nature, is not an advertisement, and does not serve as a guide to purchase. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

North Korea is one of the most secretive and mysterious countries in the world. The opinions of those who have visited the North are quite contradictory. But recently, the national leader and inspirer of the people, Kim Jong-UN, has begun to make active attempts to attract the interest of foreign tourists. Does he manage to do this and what sights are worth seeing if you once venture to the DPRK? Your attention is drawn to the top 19 tourist sites in the country that deserve attention.

The most closed country in the world: top 19 attractions in North Korea

Category place full name Rating
Rating of attractions in North Korea 1 The area of it. Kim Il Sung 5.0
2 The arc de Triomphe 4.9
3 The monumental dam of the Western sea 4.8
4 Kumsusan memorial Palace of the Sun 4.8
5 American spy ship Museum ” Pueblo” 4.7
6 Palace of pioneers and schoolchildren 4.7
7 The Monument Moncada 4.7
8 Museum of the Patriotic liberation (Korean) war 4.6
9 Peoples ‘ Friendship Palace 4.5
10 A massive show of Arirang 4.5
11 Panmunjom 4.5
12 Quezon 4.5
13 Hamheung 4.5
14 Mountains kymgansan (Diamond mountains) 4.4
15 The Pyongyang metro 4.3
16 Beach Sondowon 4.3
17 Tower Of Juche 4.2
18 Munsu Water Park 4.1
19 The complex of tombs in Goguryeo 4.0

The area of it. Kim Il Sung

Attraction rating: 5.0

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

Pyongyang’s largest and most important square in North Korea is named after the country’s founder. Covering an area of 75,000 square meters, it can accommodate about 100,000 people. It is located near the coastline of the Taedong river. The area of it. Kim Il Sung is an important cultural site for the whole country and a constant venue for impressive parades, conventions, dances, etc.

Often it is shown by all the world’s media. In 2012, portraits of Karl Marx and Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin were removed from the square. The DPRK authorities made this decision in order to make Korean society more open and independent.

The arc de Triomphe

Attraction rating: 4.9

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

The huge gate is located at the foot of mount Moran: anyone visiting Pyongyang can’t help but notice the impressive granite arch in the circular Plaza. The historical and architectural object is dedicated to the heroic Korean confrontation with the Japanese invaders in the period from 1925 to 1954. Each block of the arch is made of white granite, and their number symbolizes the number of days lived by the country’s leader Kim Il Sung – 25,500.

The archway accommodates many rooms, balustrades, elevators, and observation platforms. Azaleas are forged on the girths of the arched gates of the structure. The arch contains the text of the revolutionary anthem in honor of the great commander Kim Il Sung.

The incredible height of 60 meters and convenient location make it possible to freely pass any city transport. Pyongyang’s arc de Triomphe is considered the largest in the world. If you climb to its observation deck, you can enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the city and even see the stadium on the First of may.

The monumental dam of the Western sea

Rating of the attraction: 4.8

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

One of the most significant structures in North Korea is an 8-kilometer road that blocks the mouth of the Taedong river. This road is wide enough for 10 full-fledged traffic lanes. The dam connects the capital and the port city of Nampo. In addition to the impressive size of the route, the dam also has a railway and pedestrian road.

The construction of the dam was an important event for the whole country: the monumental construction made it possible to create a high-quality irrigation system for the land and reliable protection of the port of Nampo from the river’s” whims ” – seasonal tides. The design of the dam provides 3 locks for the passage of river vessels. The island has a lighthouse that visually resembles an anchor. At its base is a Museum dedicated to the large-scale construction of The monumental dam of the Western sea.

The view of the dam is incredibly impressive. Anyone traveling in North Korea should definitely visit this place-useful for the people, beautiful, unique-a real achievement of the country.

Kumsusan memorial Palace of the Sun

Rating of the attraction: 4.8

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

During his lifetime, Kim Il sung quite often liked to work in his country residence, and also received leaders of other countries there. After the death of the North Korean leader, his son Kim Jong Il decided to convert his father’s official residence into his mausoleum. Today, Kim Il Sung’s body is buried behind the granite walls of the Sun memorial Palace.

Every year, the DPRK celebrates the national day of the Sun (April 15), timed to coincide with the birthday of the deceased, but not forgotten leader. Kim Il Sung has always been called the “Sun of the nation”. Guests of the country can enter the memorial complex only as part of an excursion group. For visiting the mausoleum, a dress code is provided – soft, restrained clothing. Taking photos or talking loudly is prohibited here.

American spy ship Museum ” Pueblo”

Attraction rating: 4.7

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

An American warship that has repeatedly invaded the territorial waters of the DPRK has found its last resting place on the banks of the Taedong river. In the distant 70s, the Pueblo ship was captured by the people’s army of the DPRK in the sea latitudes of the city of Wonsan. The United States made an attempt to return the ship to its homeland, but it was not crowned with success. The result of an unpleasant incident between the two countries was an apology made by the United States: the US authorities recognized the fact of committing a hostile act towards North Korea.

Today, the ship is one of the country’s most unusual attractions, surprising its guests and serving as a proud reminder to the Korean people that in any conflict, North Korea will always emerge victorious. A visit to the original tourist site and a colorful story about the valor of Korean military sailors is definitely included in the excursion program around Pyongyang.

Palace of pioneers and schoolchildren

Attraction rating: 4.7

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

A youth center for the younger generation of North Koreans that helps them Express their creative abilities, sports Hobbies, and extracurricular activities. Why the Palace of pioneers? In elementary school, all children are initiated into the pioneers and must wear the well-known red scarves around their necks.

The 3,000-square-meter Palace is located in Pyongyang’s Mangyongdae district. It is considered one of the largest in the DPRK among those dedicated to extracurricular education. Right in front of the building there is an impressive sculptural composition and two fountains, reaching a length of 90-100 m. The Palace has 120 rooms, a swimming pool, a gymnasium and a theater designed for 2,000 spectators. The public complex regularly hosts spectacular performances. Children’s concerts are especially admired by tourists: children here are incredibly diligent.

Important. Not to be confused with the Palace of students of Mangyongdae district with the Pyongyang schoolchildren’s Palace, located on Kim Il sung square.

The Monument Moncada

Attraction rating: 4.7

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

Impressive statues of North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il stand proudly on one of the capital’s hills. Over the past decade, the place where the monuments are located has undergone many changes: it has become cleaner, overgrown with many new buildings. The 20-meter monuments themselves have also changed: formerly serious, today the faces of the leaders are smiling.

During his lifetime, Kim Il sung said that statues should not smile. But, according to Korean traditions, it is customary to portray deceased people with a smile. Therefore, today the monument to the great “Sun of the Korean nation” smiles amiably and points with its hand in the direction of a bright future – in the southern direction.

Those who wish to pay their respects to the North Korean leaders visit the monument with a deep bow and a respectful look. A visit to the monument of Moncada is a compulsory part of any travel program or official delegations.

Museum of the Patriotic liberation (Korean) war

Attraction rating: 4.6

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

The impressive size of the Metropolitan Museum consists of many exhibition halls, presenting expositions dedicated to the bloody war between North and South Korea, which lasted from 1950 to 1953. At that time, the Soviet Union actively supported the North, and the United States was on the side of the South.

Among the exhibits of the Museum you can find many pieces of various equipment, weapons, military clothing, even posters in Russian. Deep patriotism and the spirit of history can be traced literally in every detail of this place. A local guide (usually a girl in a military uniform) tells Museum visitors about the difficult events of those years and offers to watch a movie. The diorama captures a unique picture that should be taken not on a photo, but on video, or simply saved in your memories.

Peoples ‘ Friendship Palace

Rating of the attraction: 4.5

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

The peoples ‘ Friendship Palace is nothing more than a Museum. Located in the mountains, a 2-hour drive from Pyongyang, the Palace looks like a Buddhist temple lost in a dense green Park with a waterfall. The building, with its many long corridors, escalators and rooms, houses a unique collection of more than 165500 different gifts that were presented to the North Korean leader by delegations or leaders of other countries.

All the presents are very expensive, some of them are real works of art. For example, a painting made of 4.5 million butterflies, a government limousine ZIS-110 with bulletproof glass, a train car, a study made entirely of metal, etc. The main task of the Museum is to show the world that North Korea is in solidarity with other States and is open to its people: everything stored in the Palace is a national treasure that can be viewed by any guest.

A massive show of Arirang

Rating of the attraction: 4.5

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

The ariran show is a Guinness book of world records nominee as one of the most popular sports and entertainment events on the planet. An incredibly large-scale and spectacular show is held annually and falls on August-September. Ariran is held at the world’s largest stadium in terms of capacity (it holds more than 150,000 spectators) named after the First of may. The stadium, located on the island of Varna, is also distinguished by an unusual architectural form: the arches that make up the ring visually resemble the image of a Magnolia.

The ariran show is so large-scale that the number of its participants is about 1 % of the total population of the country: this is an opportunity for more than 200,000 talented young people to Express themselves creatively. During the show, guests of the country will be able to enjoy beautifully staged dances, gymnastic numbers, the most difficult acrobatic tricks and incredible scenery. The ariran show is the real pride of North Korea.


Rating of the attraction: 4.5

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

The place where North and South touch each other. The place where a truce was concluded between the warring parties back in 1953: representatives of the two States signed a ceasefire agreement that ended the Korean war. The 38th parallel is living evidence of a violent clash between representatives of one nation: trenches, mines, observation towers, barbed wire.

At the end of 2017, the DPRK government decided to start engineering works to build a ditch to prevent refugees from illegally crossing the demarcation line. A few months later, North Korea made an unexpected decision to change its policy: it decided to establish a large-scale dialogue with South Korea on a number of issues. In the same year 2018 (April), the leader of the DPRK first visited the land of a neighboring state. Although the demilitarized zone is considered quite dangerous, it is a popular tourist destination. When visiting Panmunjom, you should dress strictly and behave with restraint.


Rating of the attraction: 4.5

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

One of the oldest cities in East Asia, the ancient capital of the Korean state in the Goryeo era, the birthplace of ginseng. Modern Kaesong is a city with a developed industry, and one of the most significant cultural and historical centers of North Korea. That is why it is considered the most visited tourist locality in the country.

Here you can see many interesting cultural and historical memorials: ancient pagodas, Confucian colleges, temples, Palace ruins, fortresses, burials of ancient kings, and much more. As for the latter, it is in Quezon that almost all the graves of Korean rulers from the Goryeo dynasty are located. But most of them, unfortunately, are inaccessible to visitors.

One of the most interesting and most fully preserved burials is the tomb of Kongmin and his wife (he was the 31st king of the Goryeo dynasty). The most famous and popular tourist attractions in the city are the Quezon Namdemun gate and the Goryeo dynasty Museum with cultural relics and valuable art objects.


Rating of the attraction: 4.5

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

Hamheung is the birthplace of the founder of the Joseon dynasty (14th-20th centuries) Lee Sung Kyo, famous for his victories over the Mongols and Japanese pirates. It is the second largest city in North Korea (after Pyongyang). It is a developed industrial center of the country. The textile, machine-building, and chemical industries flourish here. Among the interesting places to visit (from the tourist’s point of view) are the local theater, the house-Museum of the first king of the Li dynasty, the mineral fertilizer complex and Tohyskan Park.

Until recently, the city was closed to foreign tourists. Today, you can spend a good day here: take a walk around the city, eat delicious food in local restaurants, enjoy the excellent view of the sea of Japan, which opens in a place not far from the city limits.

Mountains kymgansan (Diamond mountains)

Attraction rating: 4.4

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

The mountain range stretches along the Eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula, reaching 1,638 meters in height. Geumgansan is one of the most beautiful and popular tourist destinations in North Korea. There are many legends and songs about the amazing local mountains. The abundance of lush, bright greenery, many lakes, waterfalls, relief,” hand ” to which erosion has put, and impressive stone formations – a real natural masterpiece.

For each of the seasons of the year, the kumgansan mountain range has a special name. Lush summer green of the mountains is called Bonnesen (“green mountain”). In the autumn mountains kymgansan very pretty: the leaves on the trees gradually change color, and the mountain surface becomes Burgundy tint – Punjaban (“mountain autumn”), and thanks to the morning dew covering the top, the rocks seemed to sparkle in the sunlight. That is why they are called kymgansan (diamond).

Throughout their history, Koreans have had many difficult periods, so the topic of malnutrition is particularly acute. Even these days, when they greet each other, they are first interested: “Have you eaten yet?” There is even a saying on this topic related to mountains: “Even kymgansan need to look after a good lunch.”

The Pyongyang metro

Attraction rating: 4.3

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

The Metropolitan metro system is considered the deepest in the world (reaches 60 meters in depth): it can also be used as a temporary bomb shelter. In addition, the Pyongyang metro is the cheapest among all the functioning ones on the planet: travel on either of the two metro lines will cost only 5 won ($0.04).

It is noteworthy that most of the metro stations are in no way linked to the area, but bear names associated with the national revolution. Many of the stations are decorated with luxurious marble elements. Designed in the style of Stalinist stations of the Moscow metro and the first stage of the St. Petersburg metro.

The Pyongyang metro has its own Museum (near Jongseung station), which provides tourists with the opportunity to get acquainted with the history of the metro, as well as see the layout of the control panel of the first metro station.

Until 2010, only 2 metro stations were accessible to foreign tourists. Since 2014, visitors to the country can visit any of the stations of the Pyongyang metro.

Beach Sondowon

Attraction rating: 4.3

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

One of the largest and most famous beaches in North Korea is located in the area of the equally famous city of Wonsan, on the shore of the East (Japan) sea. In recent years, the government of the DPRK relies on the development of foreign tourism in the country and for this purpose makes attempts to attract visitors from other countries.

The current leader of the Korean nation, Kim Jong-UN, dreams of becoming a global leader in the tourism industry, but he is well aware that everything starts small. Today, Seongdowon beach is large, well – groomed, with a gentle entrance to the water and the opportunity to taste exceptionally delicious ice cream.

Tower Of Juche

Rating of the attraction: 4.2

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

A 170-meter-high granite monument built in 1982 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Kim Il Sung (the second largest in Pyongyang). It is presented in the form of an obelisk with a bronze sculptural group at its foot (height – 30 m): 3 figures representing a worker, a peasant and a working intellectual. Those who want to enjoy a spectacular view of the city can go up to the observation deck using the Elevator built into the monument. Juche tower is the most popular place for North Korean newlyweds.

Not far from the obelisk is a cozy green square. There are several more sculptural groups (3 each from the Northern and southern parts near the monument) depicting labor professions, military personnel, etc. made in the style of social realism. Right in front of the monument on the Taedong river, there are 2 powerful illuminated fountains that emit a water jet to a height of more than 100 m.

Munsu Water Park

Attraction rating: 4.1

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

The most popular place in Pyongyang during the sweltering summer heat. The water Park is also known as the North Korean Alpamare (a famous Swiss water Park-the current leader of the country, Kim Jong-UN, often visited it as a teenager). Pyongyang water Park opened its doors to its first guests in 1994. And in recent years, under the leadership of the people’s leader, it has undergone a total reconstruction.

The amazing water “world” covers an area of 158,000 sq. m. Visiting the Munsu water Park, you can have a great rest, go in for sports, enjoy swimming in the pool (outdoor and indoor pools are available), enjoy excellent Korean cuisine, try your hand at the local climbing wall, visit the Spa, etc.

The complex of tombs in Goguryeo

Attraction rating: 4.0

Top 19 attractions in North Korea

The site was the first on the territory of the DPRK to be included in the UNESCO world heritage List. It is presented in the form of 10,000 ancient tombs Dating back to the early feudal Goguryeo, one of the strongest States in northeast China in the 5th-7th centuries. But at present, a little less than a hundred of them have been excavated (the territory of the DPRK and the PRC). The tomb complex is almost all that remains of the ancient culture. It is believed that the tombs are buried in the rulers of the state and members of the Royal family.

In the tombs there are unique wall paintings that tell about the life of that time – a recognized masterpiece of art. The tombs themselves are an indicator of the high technological development of the ancient state.

Attention! This rating is subjective in nature, is not an advertisement, and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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