North Korea Country Facts

North Korea is located in East Asia and covers the northern part of the Korean peninsula. It borders China and Russia in the north and South Korea in the south.

North Korea is still a young travel destination and little developed by tourism. There is a lot to discover for visitors to North Korea. Landscaped by bizarre mountains, picturesque valleys and rice fields, royal graves and elaborately restored temples are scattered all over North Korea.

The starting point of every North Korea tour is the monumental capital Pyöngyang, which is divided by the Daedong River. One of the numerous sights here is the Great Study Palace of the People and Mansudä, the large monument with the bronze statue of the founder of the state, Kim Il Sung. The royal tombs of Kings Kongmin and Wanggon in the city of Käsong are also famous.

Paektu-san, Chilbo-san and Kumgang-san are the names of the great mountains of North Korea. Hiking, trekking and mountaineering is possible in the region of the Päktu volcano, which is revered as a sacred mountain.

Like almost all life situations in North Korea, the planned economy is tightly centralized and organized. All farms and the main industries are subordinate to the state. Political leadership is particularly important as heavy industry is needed to manufacture weapons for the military. Even agriculture and the production of consumer goods have to lag behind the military complex.

Tourism is also regulated by the state. The state tourism organization is responsible for all international trips to North Korea. Anyone visiting North Korea in a tour group will be accompanied by at least two tour guides who normally speak the language of the tourists. The predefined travel program cannot be changed and is carried out meticulously. Most visitors come from China and Japan. Tourists from western countries, however, are rarely found in North Korea.

North Korea Country Facts

Area: 120,538 km² (land: 120,408 km², water: 130 km²)

Population: 24.5 million people (July 2011, COUNTRYAAH.COM). The population is ethnically very homogeneous, there is a small Chinese population and few Japanese.

Density: 203 people per sq. Km

Population growth: 0.538% per year (2011, CIA)

Capital: Pyongyang (about 3 million inhabitants, 2006)

Highest point: Paektu-san, 2,744 m

Lowest point: Japanese Sea, 0 m

form of government: North Korea has been a People’s Republic since 1948. The constitution dates from 1972, the last constitutional changes were made in 1992 and 1998. The parliament (Supreme People’s Assembly, Choe Ko In Min Hoe Ui) is made up of 687 members.

Administrative division: 9 provinces: Chagang-do (Chagang), Hamgyong-bukto (North Hamgyong), Hamgyong-namdo (South Hamgyong), Hwanghae-bukto (North Hwanghae), Hwanghae-namdo (South Hwanghae), Kangwon-do (Kangwon), P’yongan-bukto (North P’yongan), P’yongan-namdo (South P’yongan) and Yanggang-do (Yanggang)
3 Special administrative units: Kaesong Kong-op Chigu, Kumgang-san Kwanwang Chigu and Sinuiju T ‘ ukbyul Haengjonggu
2 cities under direct government administration: Pyongyang and Rason (Rajin-Sonbong)

Head of government: Chairman of the National Defense Commission: Kim Jong-un (since December 29, 2011), Chairman of the Council of Ministers: Pak Pong Ju (since April 1, 2013)

Head of state: de jure: Kim Il-sung (died July 8, 1994), Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong-nam (since September 5, 1998)

Language: The official language in North Korea is Korean. Russian and Chinese are sometimes spoken as commercial languages.

Religion: Buddhists and Confucians, some Christians and Chondogyo.

Local time: CET + 8 h.
In North Korea there is no changeover between summer and winter time.
The time difference to Central Europe is +8 h in winter and +7 h in summer.

International dialing code: +850

Internet (but is rarely used)

Mains voltage: 110/220 V, 60 Hz


North Korea is located in East Asia in the north of the Korean Peninsula. In the extreme north-east, along the Tumen River, there is a 19-kilometer border with Russia, China borders the northern and northwestern parts of the country along the Yalu River. In the south there is demilitarized zone to South Korea. Coastal waters are the Yellow Sea and the Korean Bay in the west and the Japanese Sea in the east. 130 square kilometers of the country’s area of ​​120,540 square kilometers are covered by water.

There are 3,579 islands in the coastal region of North Korea, most of them off the southern and western coasts.

Most of North Korea (around 80%) is dominated by mountainous and hilly countries with deep valleys, numerous mountain ranges run through the entire Korean peninsula. Extensive coastal plains, where the majority of North Koreans live, are on the western coast, while the plains on the eastern side are relatively small.

Heights of over 2,000 m are reached in the north of the country, the highest point at 2,744 m is the Paektu-san, on the Chinese border.
The region around the Paektu-san was created by volcanic activity, the basalt lava plateau is between 1,400 and 2,000 m high. In addition, the Kangnam Mountains rise on the Chinese border.

In the northeastern part of the country is the Hamgyŏng Mountains, with the Kwanmosan as the highest elevation (1,756 m). The Nangnim Mountains extend in a north-south direction, a significant disruptive factor in the connection between the eastern and western parts of the country. The Kŭmgangsan Mountains are located on the eastern coast, in the border region with South Korea.

In the Vegeich to the mountain and hill country, the plains take up relatively little space. The largest and most significant are the Pyongyang Plain and the Chaeryŏng Plain, both of which are around 500 square kilometers in size. In the east the mountains drop steeply into the sea, the plains here are much smaller than in the west.

Most of the rivers in North Korea flow into the Yellow Sea or the Korean Bay. The longest in the country is the border river with China, the Yalu. It is navigable for 678 of its 790 km total length. The second longest river is the Tumen (border river with Russia). It is one of the few North Korean rivers that flow into the Japanese Sea. Due to its mountain course, only 85 of the 521 km long are navigable. The third largest river, the Taedong, flows through the capital Pyongyang. The North Korean lakes are mostly small.

In contrast to neighboring Japan and China, North Korea is hardly at risk from earthquakes.

Population in North Korea

This map of population distribution in North Korea was created by the Worldmapper team. Densely populated areas appear bloated, the area of ​​sparsely populated areas is reduced. The shape of the grid has been preserved; an underlying map with the original geographical extent helps interpret the map. The distorted map should help to present abstract statistical information clearly.

North Korea Population by Year (Historical)