[TRAVEL ALERT] Pyongyang ( Pyeongyang), with about 2,750,000 inhabitants, is the capital city of North Korea or the capital of the South Korean claimed South Pyeongan Province. It is situated on the Taedong River in the southwest of the country.Nearly all visitors arrive either by plane or train from Beijing. You’ll need a visa before you travel and will need a minimum of 2 weeks to process it.Sunan International Airport (IATA: FNJ) is 24km north of Pyongyang and, as of 2018, has scheduled services to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Vladivostok, Chongjin, Sondok, Samjiyon, and Wonsan.The Air China Beijing flights depart/arrive on Monday and Friday afternoons, with an additional service on Wednesday afternoons in summer (from April 1st). Note that Pyongyang airport does not have Instrument Landing System (ILS), so if the weather is bad, flights are sometimes cancelled, or even turned back. Air Koryo usually never has problems landing in their home base, so if you need to be sure to arrive, better take Air Koryo. However, take into account that Air China is far more modern and safe when compared to Air Koryo (which is banned within the EU due to its planes failing multiple safety checks).If you are in a position to be able to, the tickets to Beijing are almost half price from Pyongyang. They are on sale in the Youth Hotel, in the Air China office, which is situated about 10km north-east of the city. Furthermore, they give a 30kg baggage allowance for free.Trains from China arrive at Pyongyang’s main central train station. Foreigners can join in with the locals and use the main exit. Your guide(s) will be waiting for you outside of the building (Oct. 2013). If you have transported anything via freight on the train, you’ll have to go back the next day to pick it up. The customs office is around the back of the building, and is shut 12:00-14:00. At other times, it’s not very busy at all. There are no charges for collecting customs-cleared goods, and the bureaucracy is fairly simple, especially after the chaos at Beijing railway station.Visitors to North Korea will need to be accompanied by an accredited guide or guides, who will arrange where you can visit and how you will get there.This is true of package tours (the only way tourists can get in). However, personal visitors of foreign residents in Pyongyang are free to go around by themselves, unless explicitly told not to by Korean authorities. This can happen, but is not always the case.Residents are usually free to wander around. However, they cannot use buses. The subway system CAN be used, despite rumours to the contrary. There are two routes, and all the stations are open to foreigners. Despite being old, the trains run quite efficiently, and are phenomenally cheap (5 won a ride, any distance- there are roughly 5000 won to a euro on the black market). The biggest drawback to this form of transport is that the subway is only on the west side of the river, while Munsu dong, where all foreign residents live, is on the east side.Taxis can be taken, but Koreans usually are very nervous about accepting foreigners. One exception might be the Koryo hotel, situated near the railway station. Expect the driver to check with the hotel that he is allowed to take you first. Around 5 will cover a medium distance one way ride.Guided tours of sites in and around Pyongyang are the only way to do things. You are not allowed to wander on your own.One caveat is regarding personal visitors to foreign residents of Pyongyang. They are usually free to wander around, although the Koreans prefer to ‘help’ in these situations. Above all, exercise extreme caution about photography. Monuments and palaces are fine, but Koreans hate having their photographs taken, unless you get permission first. If you come across a street market, it is likely that everyone will run away (including the sellers), as their existence is a tacit admission of the failure of their economic system. This is not, however, always the case. The Koreans will, however, get very nervous, so a lot of smiling is a good idea. You should absolutely NOT take obvious photos in these situations. You are likely to be arrested, and possibly deported. An innocent photo of a market to Westerners is a very serious situation to them at a political level. Not only does it show the shortcomings of the regime, but a picture of abundance in a market will, they worry, lead to the withdrawal of international food aid.There are many places to go shooting, usually with air guns. The Koreans love to see foreigners try their hand at this, as sometimes (unbeknown to the foreigner) they are shooting at images of Americans.More cruelly, you can target live chickens instead for a couple of euros

Airport: FNJ Pyongyang Sunan International Airport Cities in Kenya

Country: Korea, North