Individuals on North Korean Tours should understand that some activities are simply not tolerated in the country they are visiting.

  • The locals support the government or are sent to an educational camp, which is basically a prison. Opinions different to the government are not tolerated.
  • Alcohol is drunk on some occasions but never on other occasions. This is more to do with official occasions than the actual drink. When mourning the passing of the former president a person caught drinking alcohol was executed. Then again, propaganda claims that North Korean has invented the hangover free Ginseng Alcohol drink.
  • People cannot watch foreign TV. Individuals are executed for watching South Korean programmes.
  • There is local music and little else. Local music is supported by the government only if it supports the government. Everything else is banned.
  • You basically cannot phone outside the country. Don’t even try.
  • Despite proclaiming religious freedom you cannot distribute Bible.
  • Adult material (pornography) is illegal, punishable by execution. This includes media on phones or computers.
  • You cannot use Facebook, Twitter or YouTube or almost any social media site. As there are already very few locals with internet access this hardly makes any difference anyway; the few with access can only see the local government intranet. But the North Korean government doesn’t want the people seeing foreign opinions or news about the country, so there is no social media.
  • You cannot leave the tour group. The official guides will show you only what they wish you to see.
  • Some clothing items, such as jeans, are never used.
  • Locals cannot leave the country. They cannot even express a desire to do so.

Tours of Japan require some knowledge of local customs. But the Japanese favour polite hospitality. Offending someone is lousy, but you probably won’t cause an international incident. North Korea is less about politeness and more about the official truth and anything that threatens it. Behaviour is less about breaches of social etiquette and more about illegal acts. Mistakes are very serious.





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