A recent incident at a hotel in Pyongyang has highlighted a culture of low safety awareness. Tourists may wish to check hotel fire procedures or consult tour operators.
Tourists can normally only travel to North Korea as part of an organised tour. Independent travellers will need a sponsor and permission from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. This is normally only possible for business travellers.
Travel within the country is severely restricted. Whether you are visiting on business or as a tourist, you will almost always be accompanied by a guide and will only be allowed to go where your guide is content for you to go. For travel outside Pyongyang, it is your guide’s responsibility to get the necessary permissions. Military checkpoints at the entry and exit to all towns usually include ID checks.
In 2008 a South Korean tourist who strayed into a restricted military area was shot dead. Take care to remain in permitted areas and move away immediately if asked to do so by North Korean officials.
Foreigners living in Pyongyang are usually able to travel freely within the city, but permission is often required for travel outside Pyongyang.
It is not possible to travel directly to South Korea from North Korea, unless you are making an official visit to the Kaesong Industrial Complex.