13 Interesting Facts about North Korea

The People’s Democratic Republic of North Korea was founded under Kim Il Sung on September 9, 1948. The current head of state is Kim Jong Un, the founder’s grandson.

While South Korea enjoys watching their Kdrama series, you can read here some exciting and shocking facts about North Korea.

Own time zone

North Korea has its own time zone, Pyongyang time. They introduced the time zone on August 15, 2015. All the clocks were put back half an hour. There is also its calendar, the so-called “Juche calendar.” Their calendar begins in 1912, the year of birth of the “eternal president” Kim Il Sung.

Military first

The so-called Songun policy – ‘military first’ – is an integral part of the Juche ideology that prevails in the country. This means that the Army and other aspects of the Armed Forces’ development are the North Korean government’s priority.

North Korean society’s militarization is shocking: North Korea has 1.2 million active military personnel, a more significant number than the Russian Federation. Keep in mind that North Korea’s population is only about 25 million, compared to 146 million in the Slavic country. 

While you need strong reasons to enroll in the army in western countries or the USA, here you have no choice. The military’s ratio to the total North Korean people is the highest in the world: 47.8 active soldiers per 1,000 people.

Women serving in the army and police

Isolated country

North Korea is considered the most isolated country globally and is difficult to access for tourists. A control person must always accompany vacationers. If tourists want to visit regions outside the capital, they need a permit.

Human rights violation

North Korea is heavily criticized for violating human rights. Locals are strictly prohibited from crossing the border to South Korea. You will mostly like be shot if you get caught. The fundamental freedoms of the citizens are disregarded, and people are systematically suppressed. Only local media that are often permeated with propaganda may be used. Besides, there is still the death penalty. The executions are mostly held in public.

Country’s elite

Approximately three million inhabitants of the capital Pyongyang are considered the country’s elites. People with disabilities are prohibited from living in the capital. Also, the authorities determine the place of residence of the citizens. They are not allowed to leave this without state permission. In contrast to the capital cities, the rural population is impoverished.

Limited hairstyles

As you can see in South Korea entertainment, where there are K-Pop fashion and Korean Drama Series, only 28 limited hairstyles in North Korea have been “approved” by President Kim Jong Un. Everyone else is reluctant to be seen.

There are 18 variants of hairstyles for women, while men can choose between ten of the styles. Male students must wear Kim Jong Un’s hairstyle. 

Religion is forbidden

 All North Koreans are “officially” atheists. It is strictly forbidden to introduce religious scriptures such as the Bible.

Mandatory accessories

It is mandatory to wear a pin with the heads of founder Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on it. Even the police control it.

USA the main enemy

The US is considered an enemy in North Korea. People will fight for their country, but not all North Koreans are eager to bomb the United States.

It is forbidden for American citizens to travel overland, for example, by train. Also, locals cannot use American brand gadgets such as Apple iPhone, Mac Laptops, and even to wear jeans. These are considered the enemy’s invention.

If you are a tourist on the way to North Korea, don’t be surprised if you will see propaganda posters there everywhere.

Electricity is luxury

Electricity is considered a luxury in North Korea. Many movie scenes depict the country’s lack of electricity if you watch the South Korean romantic comedy-drama “Crash Landing on You”.

No taxes

North Korea is one of a few countries that don’t require its citizens to pay taxes. If American citizens pay up to 39.6% tax, then you read it right North Korean residents are not paying any tax.

Women in the Army

Unlike most countries, Women are required for military service in the shorter term. After graduating from high school, women are required to serve until 23 years of age. No wonder they are 4th in the world with the most active military personnel.


Tourists are not allowed to pay in the local currency, won. You are only authorized to make cash payments in euros, US dollars, or yuan. There are no ATMs, and credit cards are not accepted.