Korea - North

Korea - North: Travel Health Information

For visitors permitted entry into the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, popular destinations include the Tower of the Juche Idea, Tomb of King Kongmin, Monument to the Foundation of the Workers’ Party, and Rajin Market.


The standards for patient care and medical services in North Korea may differ from your home country. North Korea has a public health sector but the quality of care does not meet international standards. Healthcare facilities have limited resources including healthcare workers, medicines, equipment, and in rural areas, clean water and electricity. The risk of acquiring a hospital-related infection is high.

In the event of a medical emergency, contact your travel health insurance company immediately. Hospitals in North Korea typically require upfront payment in cash, regardless if you have travel health insurance. Due to limited healthcare services, medical evacuation to China or Japan is common for serious health emergencies. Ensure that you have accessible funds to cover upfront fees and adequate travel health insurance, including evacuation. Before you depart, check with your insurer and evacuation company about the extent of their coverage in North Korea, as evacuation may be difficult to arrange.

Pharmacies are widely available in cities, but routine medications and supplies may be in short supply or temporarily unavailable. Specific medications may be difficult to find or not available. Be cautious of fake medication as it is commonly sold and produced in North Korea.

If you are travelling with medication, check with North Korea’s embassy, consulate, or Ministry of Health for details on medication allowances and restrictions. Note that these sources may provide incomplete or out-of-date information.

Road safety

Independent local travel is extremely restricted for tourists. Most visitors will be accompanied by a guide or must be with an organized tour throughout their stay. Public transportation is typically not accessible to visitors and taxi drivers may not agree to take you unless you are accompanied by a guide or local interpreter. To drive in North Korea, visitors must get a local driving license. Driving can be dangerous as roads are generally in poor condition.

Travelling to North Korea?

Before you go, check the list of vaccines and relevant health risks for North Korea. For personalized advice, check out our Travel Health Planner to get health information that’s tailored to all the destinations on your itinerary:

Travel health planner

Korea - North At A Glance

Capital: Pyongyang

Population: 25.37 million

Official language: Korean

Time zone: Korean Standard Time (KST)

Emergency #: 199/122

Vaccinations required: Yes

Risk of malaria: Yes

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