19 Weird Facts About North Korea You Probably Don't Know

  • 1. No Religious Books

    Upon arrival, visitors will be checked to see if they have a Bible, a Quraan, or any other religious book. If found, it will be confiscated.

  • 2. No High-End Techs or Movies

    Among the items that visitors can't take with them are GoPro cameras, high-range cameras, movies, or GPS devices.

  • 3. Check Out as You Checked In

    When you first arrive in North Korea, the customs will write down a list of all the items that you have. Upon checkout, you must have the same items or it will be trouble.

  • 4. No ads or billboards.

    Walking down the streets of Pyongyang (the capital), you immediately notice that there are no advertisements or billboards of any sort.

    Obviously, that is not needed in a socialist country. The only posters or billboards that you will see are those of the country leader.

  • 5. Almost impossible to get a car

    Only 3% of North Koreans have cars. Not only people can't afford cars but only those having jobs that require driving can get a license (Taxi drivers for example).

    You can't just apply for a driving license in North Korea.

  • 6. Only one TV channel

    In North Korea, there is only one TV channel and it is controlled by the government of course.

  • 7. No Internet Access

    Only 1% of the population have access to the internet and those who do can only access 23 approved sites.

  • 8. Approved Haircuts

    Koreans can't just have any haircut that they want. Men must choose from a list of 14 haircuts only. The same goes for women.

  • 9. Visitors Can't be Alone

    If you are a tourist, you can't just go and wander around freely. All visitors are assigned tour guides.

    The tour guide takes you into pre-approved locations that are supposed to boost the prosperity and greatness of the country.

  • 10. No Pictures of Construction

    You can't take pictures of buildings being constructed. They believe that such photos will give a bad impression about the country.

  • 11. Only Black Hair

    North Koreans can't dye their hair any color. It has to be black.

  • 12. Very Low Life Expectancy

    Life expectancy in North Korea is 60 years, among the lowest in the world.

  • 13. 10 Consecutive Working Days

    In rural areas, people work 10 days then rest one day. In the capital, it is more relaxed, 6 to one.

  • 14. The Exclusive Capital

    Not anyone in North Korea can live in the capital. They just can't pack their things and move. The government decides who can stay in Pyongyang and who can't.

  • 15. No Store Names

    Stores don't have names. A restaurant is just labeled "Restaurant" (in Korean ofcourse). A grocery store is labeled "Grocery Store". And so forth.

  • 16. Fake Sports Achievements

    It is common for the government to place huge paintings of fake sports achievements to boost the morale of the people.

    Things like winning the world cup or winning gold medals at the Olympics. Of course the people have no way to validate the accuracy of these claims given that the internet and TV are not available, not that they dare.

  • 17. Power Cuts at Night

    Every night, the country goes completely dark to save energy. Everyone is required to turn off the lights in their homes and call it a night at around 10 PM.

  • 18. No Blue Jeans

    Blue jeans are not allowed for anyone including visitors. It is considered to be a symbol of global imperialism.

  • 19. Dedicated Calendar

    North Korea has its own calendar system. It is based upon the birth of the Great Leader Kim Il Sung and they use it exclusively unless they have to deal with the outside world.

    The first year of the calendar is 1912, so for the North Koreans, it is still the year 110.