North Korea

Description

North Korea, Mount Paekdu

North Korea, or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as it is called officially, is an intriguing destination but hardly accessible for the independent hiker. Traveling to North Korea is not difficult, but you need to book your tour (including visa) in advance. Once inside North Korea, you cannot travel around freely. Whether in a group or on a private tour, you are always accompanied by one or two guides who determine where you can and cannot go. Your itinerary is fixed in advance, although changes are frequent, and often for reasons which will remain unclear to you. But don't be discouraged: you can travel there!

If you intend to go hiking, do not expect anything more than 1-day hikes. Multi-day treks, with camping or staying at local families, are out of the question so far. If you are into true climbing and mountaineering, expedition-type arrangements are possible, theoretically anyway...

Best places for a day hike are the Kumgang mountains in the southeast near the border with South Korea, or Mount Paekdu area in the far north if you are lucky enough to catch a flight there. Less strenuous options are Mount Myohyang area to the northeast of Pyongyang, and in the southwest: Mount Changsu between Haeju and Sariwon, and Mount Suyang near Haeju.

Geographically North Korea has considerable potential as a hiking and trekking destination. The country is largely mountainous, particularly in the north and northeast. There is a main granite mountain ridge running uninterrupted from north to south along the entire length of the Korean Peninsula called Baekdu-Daegan, or White Head Great Ridge. It starts at North Korea's highest peak, the volcanic Mount Baekdu (2744 m), on the Chinese border in the north. It ends in South Korea at Jirisan. The ridge is the watershed of the Korean Peninsula, and never once crossed by water. Numerous subsidiary ranges extend from the main ridge to form a landscape of mountains, waterfalls and river valleys. Worth mentioning is an interesting project called Baekdu-Daegan Trail, meant to one day cover the entire length (1700 km) of the ridge through both North and South Korea. Until now only the 735 km South Korean section is actually hikable (more info under South Korea). Initiator Roger Shepherd, from New Zealand, has made several exploratory trips over the past years into North Korea to climb the ridge. To get an impression, check the link below.

Books

Stanfords
United Kingdom
  • See You Again in Pyongyang: A Journey into Kim Jong Un`s North Korea
  • In See You Again in Pyongyang, Travis Jeppesen, the first American to complete a university program in North Korea, culls from his experiences living, traveling, and studying in the country to create a multifaceted portrait of the country and its idiosyncratic capital city in the Kim Jong Un Era.Anchored by the experience of his five trips to... Read more
De Zwerver
Netherlands
2019
  • Reisgids North Korea - Noord Korea | Bradt Travel Guides
  • Er bestaat geen Lonely Planet van North Korea. Daarom vermelden wij de enige goede gids van North Korea, die van Bradt Guides. Net zo goed, zo niet beter dan de Planet. Beduidend soberder uitgevoerd, maar ook met veel informatie voor backpackers en met veel kaartmateriaal. Een aanrader! This new edition of Bradt's North Korea has been... Read more
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • Moonlight Over Korea
  • This journey into the heart of South Korea takes the reader from the birth of democracy and the hosting of the Olympics Games in 1988 to the brash, sophisticated, highly creative Korea of today. On the way, the writer pauses atKorean temples, mountain hermitages, the border with North Korea, romantic islands and ancient capitals to evoke a... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • Moonlight Over Korea
  • This journey into the heart of South Korea takes the reader from the birth of democracy and the hosting of the Olympics Games in 1988 to the brash, sophisticated, highly creative Korea of today. On the way, the writer pauses atKorean temples, mountain hermitages, the border with North Korea, romantic islands and ancient capitals to evoke a... Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • The Rough Guide to Korea
  • The Rough Guide to Korea is the ultimate travel guide to this fascinating peninsula, with clear maps and detailed coverage of all the best tourist attractions. Discover Korea's highlights with stunning photography and insightful descriptions of everything from Seoul's wonderful palaces and hectic nightlife scene to the fishing islands of the... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • The Rough Guide to Korea
  • The Rough Guide to Korea is the ultimate travel guide to this fascinating peninsula, with clear maps and detailed coverage of all the best tourist attractions. Discover Korea's highlights with stunning photography and insightful descriptions of everything from Seoul's wonderful palaces and hectic nightlife scene to the fishing islands of the... Read more
» Click to close
Bol.com
Netherlands
  • Axis of Evil World Tour
  • "Axis of Evil World Tour" goes beyond the superficial coverage found in much of the media to bring a boots-on-the-ground look at three of the most enigmatic, difficult-to-enter countries on the planet-Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. North Korea: Visit the tense yet quiet DMZ that divides North from South, one of the eeriest places on earth. Spend... Read more
  • Also available from:
  • Bol.com, Belgium
» Click to open
Bol.com
Belgium
  • Axis of Evil World Tour
  • "Axis of Evil World Tour" goes beyond the superficial coverage found in much of the media to bring a boots-on-the-ground look at three of the most enigmatic, difficult-to-enter countries on the planet-Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. North Korea: Visit the tense yet quiet DMZ that divides North from South, one of the eeriest places on earth. Spend... Read more
» Click to close
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