Directions to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
How to Get to and From Korea by Air Koryo, China, and Russia
Only China and Russia are regularly visited by North Korean transportation. Although flights from Thailand and Malaysia to Pyongyang do occur occasionally, they are not frequent.
There is currently NO WAY to cross the DMZ between North and South Korea. In order to reach the DPRK from South Korea, you must first reach either China or Russia.
AirKoryo flights between Beijing and Pyongyang are the fastest, most direct route to and from North Korea. The majority of our tours start and end in Beijing and feature a round-trip flight between the two capitals, Pyongyang and Beijing. There is also the option to take the train from Pyongyang back to Beijing, and from there continue on to the rest of your trip.
With our budget tours, you can take the inexpensive Dandong-Pyongyang-Dandong train to and from North Korea. Since Dandong is located right on the coast of the West Sea of Korea, taking a ferry to Incheon (South Korea) is a quick and easy option.
Traveling to and from the DPRK via Russia is another option. You can take a flight from Vladivostok to Pyongyang, or take a train from the Khasan / Tumangang border. From Moscow, Irkutsk, or other cities along the route, you can take the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Khasan. Those taking the train from Vladivostok will have to make a connection in Ussuriysk. The train option through Russia is suggested for parties of at least three.
The Air Koryo airline is the state-run carrier for North Korea.
The North Korean government owns and operates the Air Koryo airline. Air Koryo replaced its aging international fleet a few years ago by purchasing new Tupolev TU-204 aircraft. Official delivery of Air Koryo's first Tupolev Tu-204-300 took place on December 27, 2007. Sixteen seats are designated as "business class," while the remaining 150 are "economy." Now, these planes regularly fly between Beijing and Pyongyang (and during peak times, they may be joined by another plane). Aircraft of the type TU-204 have been outfitted with the necessary instruments to meet all applicable international regulations. With the passage of a 2010 law, Air Koryo's use of these planes in European Union airspace was authorized once again. Since 1983, Air Koryo has had perfect safety.
Pyongyang unveiled shiny new domestic and international terminals in 2015. Given that there are only a handful of international flights per day, you shouldn't have to worry about long lines or missing your flight.
To and from North Korea via China
For those who wish to visit North Korea, China serves as a great launching point. Many Chinese cities have direct flights and train connections. The Namyang and Wonjong checkpoints also allow foot traffic to enter North Korea.
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Taking a train trip
Commuter trains connect the two countries frequently:
- The train runs four times a week between Beijing and Pyongyang. A soft sleeper compartment can accommodate four passengers on this international train. You can use the on-board restaurant for the duration of your trip.
- Day in and day out, Dandong-Pyongyang-Dandong runs. There are no soft seats available; only the hard sleepers, with 6 to a section.
Northern areas of the DPRK (around Rason) can be reached by bus from China. On request, a bus will transport you from Yanji (the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in China) to the North Korean border or vice versa.
- Yanji-Quanhe/Wonjong, enter the DPRK via the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge
- Yanji-Namyang/Tumen, enter the DPRK via the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge
Traveling to and from North Korea via Russia
Vladivostok, the capital of the Russian Far East, provides a convenient connection to and from North Korea.
The use of airplanes for transportation
A flight from Vladivostok to Pyongyang and back to Vladivostok is available every Monday and Friday.
Timetable for Flights
Taking a train trip
Tumangang, a city on the Russian–North Korean border in the Rason Free Economic Zone, is currently the only destination open to tourists from abroad. If you were planning on taking the train from Tumangang to Pyongyang, you should know that this is NOT possible. Get off the train in Tumangang, drive for five or six hours to Chongjin, and then take a domestic flight to Pyongyang (available on Tuesdays and Fridays) to reach your destination.
Also, the Rason Free Economic Zone's minimum tour charge begins at 3 people, so it's best to avoid the Tumangang route if you're a part of a smaller group. As a result, if you take a trip with just one other person, even if there are only two of you, the three-person rate will apply.
There is no train that goes directly from Vladivostok to Tumangang, so anyone making the trip will have to switch trains in Ussuriysk. The Moscow-Tumangang Highway connects the two cities.
Schedule for Trains
Join one of our group tours, which includes a trip to the Rason Free Economic Zone, if you're interested in taking the train from the DPRK to Russia.
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