North Korea Transportation
Puhung Metro Station
Puhung Metro Station
On the metro in P'yongyang
Disembarking at Yonggwang station
Metro System map
Reviews from VirtualTourist Members
Getting into DPRK
As many of the other tips have commented on, there are a few weekly flights to P'yongyang via Beijing, Shenyang, Russia and Macau. All flights are operated by Air Kyoro.There is also a train that comes from China, passing through Dandong boarder over the Yalu River.But you will need an invitation Visa to enter into DPRK. Processing time can be ~1 month or longer. Contact the North Korean travel agency, "KITC" - Korean International Travel Company for details. You will have to spend a day or two in Beijing in order to pick up your Visa at the DPRK Consulate, therefore additional time and two-entry Chinese Visa will be required.KITCJungsong-dongCentral DistrictPyongyangD.P.R. of KoreaTel: (+850-2) 18111 ext. 8901, 8574, 8283Tel: (+850-2) 3818859, 3817201, 3817202, 3818901Fax: (+850-2) 3817607, 3814645http://www.kitc.or.kr/Or as most do, since you will enter and tour as a group, go through...
Pyongyang to Beijing train
We left Pyongyang on a train bound for Beijing at shortly after 10am in the morning. The last two carriages on this train where going all the way while the rest of the train would terminate at the Chinese border at Dandong. There were 12 people in my tour party, so we had three 4-berth compartments. Just before we departed, we said our goodbyes to our two tour guides who gave us back our mobile phones which were taken off us when we went through security checks after we had arrived at Pyongyang airport. The train itself was fine and it seems to be OK to take photos from it as long as you're not too blatant. The train has a buffet car we tried out where the food was OK - fish, rice, veg etc. We arrived at the border at about 4pm, after going through mostly flat and plain landscapes of rice paddy fields, and this is where the fun began. North Korean border guards got on border and took our...
This was one of the main things I was looking forward to in Pyongyang - a ride on the city's metro. Firstly, we entered down some steps off a street into Yonggwang station which is located just to the north of the main overland railway station. We hung around by some ticket barriers waiting for our guides to get coin tokens which cost 5 won each (about 4 US cents). We were shown an electrically operated map on the wall which showed us 2 lines - the north-south Chollima line (named after a mythical flying horse, the Korean Pegasus) and east-west Hyoksin (Renovation) line. When you pressed a certain button at the button of the map, the relevant station would light up to tell you its location - futuristic stuff! There are 17 known stations altogether, although it is believed that more lines and secret stations exist for military and government officials. Stations have names like Paradise...
Trolleybuses & trams
Both the trolleybuses and trams are just like the ones I saw in St Petersburg. The tram system runs for 53km (33 miles) whilst the trolleybus system runs for 150km (93 miles). One thing that I noticed is that waiting passengers seem to face in the opposite direction to where the tram or trolleybus was coming from, which I didn't understand and thought was a bit strange. Also, given the power shortages that happen in the city, they must have plenty of delays. Of course, you're not allowed the opportunity to ride of them.
Our tour bus
This was our rather inconspicuous tour bus throughout our tour around North Korea. It stands out like a sore thumb doesn't it?! We were allowed to open the windows in order to take photos from it which I thought wouldn't be possible to do and as a consequence, I took some 600 photos of Pyongyang alone. Funny thing is, given that the Japanese occupied Korea and the hardships that they brought on the people, the bus is actually Japanese and right-hand drive. It even had Japanese Yokohama tyres.
Flight from Beijing
Apart from Air China, the only other way in to North Korea by air is with their national carrier - Air Koryo - infamous for being the only airline to be rated 1 star currently by Skytrax. As part of my trip itinerary, I flew in from Beijing with Air Koryo on an old looking Russian plane called an Ilyushin II-62M that, I think, was built in the 1970's. The first photo of it is at Beijing whilst the 2nd and 3rd are at Pyongyang. I sat next to two German ladies, one of which has been working in North Korea for the last couple of years helping them out with agriculture as they have suffered from bad floods in recent years. The plane was surprisingly fairly full with a mixture of western and Chinese tourists and businessmen and North Koreans allowed out on good behaviour in order to do business with the Chinese. I got given two pieces of reading material - the first was called "The Pyongyang...
Train to Beijing
We took the train leaving the DPRK from Pyongyang to Beijing. The train leaves at 10:00 AM and takes about 22-23 hrs. The cabins were quite comfortable and there is a dining car. The train stops in Sinuiju (DPRK side) for immigration around 3PM. We were able to get off the train here for an hour and had a beer at a microbrewery in the station. The train then crosses the Yalu river to Dandong for Chinese immigration and they attach more cabins and a Chinese dining car. Altogether it took about 3 hrs for immigration on both sides. The train continues overnight and arrives at the Beijing main station around 9AM.
You can't take local transport
Buses are usually overcrowded. Trams often stand in one place due to electricity shortage. People just sit outside and wait. Or sitting inside and wait. Or walk. You'll see so many people walking.Local transport is just for your camera, not for you.
When you are touring through the cities or the country side, you will no doubt notice a sever lack of vehicles on the road.Reasons are simple mostly... economics. Only a select few can afford cars, and even fewer can afford fuel. Fuel is the most common concession during negotiations with foreign countries.However, if you thought there were few cars on the road on most days, Sunday will truly show you the possibilities. It is illegal to drive on Sunday in DPRK, unless you have prior authorization. That means that only the rich and/or influential people will be on the roads on Sunday.As another point of control over the masses, DPRK institutes a 6-day work week. The one day they have as holiday (Sunday) is limited due to the fact that they cannot freely travel anywhere. Buses are full on these days and times required for a day trip negate most of the options.
Your guides will take you everywhere
Regardless of what DPRK government publications say, or the tourist maps say, there is no way that you will use any public transportation.Your tours in P'yongyang will likely include a visit to the city Metro, where you will ride only one section and see the stations on both ends.Buses for locals are common and relatively cheap (less than $0.05), but you will not be allowed to use these. Taxis must exist, because I saw one at the airport during my five days in DPRK (but there was no driver, only the parked car).Anywhere that you go will be escorted and coordinated by your guides. You will not even be able to walk the city without escort.The upside to the transportation in DPRK, is that you will likely have the road all to yourself. Extremely few people can afford cars, even fewer the fuel (we even saw a truck that ran by means of a wood-fired steam engine). Pedestrians and bicycles will...
Top 3 Hotels in North Korea
Reviews and photos of North Korea transportation posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for North Korea sightseeing.