20 Interesting And Fun Facts About North Korea [Explained]

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Living in such a transparent and digital world, information about any country is at our fingertips. However, that is not the case with people living in North Korea, as life is very different for them. You can begin to understand this with some of the fascinating facts about North Korea.

It is one of the most mysterious and secretive countries -, making it intriguing and curious to people. Here are some of the interesting North Korea facts that shed some light on the country and its culture.

Historical Facts About North Korea

North Korean history is often considered to be dictated by tyranny and dictatorship. That is because of the ruling family that has been in power for a long time.

Here are some North Korea facts about its history.

Founded In 1948

North Korea was founded in September 1948 as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

At the time, the government was headed by Kim II Sung. However, after he died in 1994, the ruler changed.

One Family Has Ruled North Korea Since 1948

If you think nepotism is rampant in your country, wait until you visit North Korea.

The government has been under the leadership of the same ruling family since the 20th century. Kim II Sung and Kim Jong II were the rulers after the country’s founding, and now Kim Jong-un has taken their place.

Kim Jong-Un Was Not The First Choice Leader

People in the country considered Kim Jong-Nam to be the heir of the ruling family, as he was the older brother of Kim Jong-un.

However, as he did not favor what the family was doing in North Korea, he was exiled in 2003. It is believed that North Korean suspects assassinated him in 2017 in Malaysia.

Cultural Facts About North Korea

The people in power and the ruling family dictate the culture of North Korea. That is because people don’t have much access to the outside world.

Here are some fascinating facts about North Korea and its culture to know.

Holidays Are Not The Same In North Korea

You might think the entire world celebrates some of the same holidays – but life in North Korea differs. People there don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day; even Christmas is not that big of a deal.

The holidays and festivities in North Korea also revolve around the ruling family.

Celebrations Are Banned On Specific Dates

There are dates in the country when no one is allowed to celebrate anything, even if it is their birthday. These dates are July 8 and December 17. That is because these are the death anniversaries of Kim II Sung and Kim Jong II, which the locals respect.

A Meal Is Incomplete Without Rice And Kimchi


Similar to South Kora, rice and kimchi are staples in North Korean cuisine; you will find them at every meal.

If you have yet to try kimchi, this is a traditional side dish of salted and flavorful fermented cabbage and radish – a must-try! You can pair it with almost anything, including noodles, rice, and more.

Simple Facts About North Korea For Kids

There are many facts about North Korea for kids that might interest them.

Access To Free Healthcare


The locals have free access to healthcare, as the government pays for it.

However, North Korea is going through a shortage of medicine and medical supplies. Another problem is that the nurses and doctors don’t know how to use the latest hospital equipment.

Exceptional At Sports


They love playing sports, which is why they excel at them.

The country’s athletes have won many awards for weightlifting, wrestling, Judo, and much more, and have won over nine gold, twelve silver, and seventeen bronze medals.

Bicycles Need Registrations


Yes, even buying a bicycle is not easy in the country because you must register it. These bicycles also have a proper license plate.

Owning cars is not easy because they are costly; hence having a vehicle is a status symbol.

A Unique Timeline

For the rest of the world, the date and day can be seen from the Gregorian calendar.

However, North Korea’s calendar is based on Kim II Sung’s birth. This is the first year for the country, which is 1912.

Fun North Korea Facts For Travelers

Visiting the country will be a huge deal, as tourists have to go through a tedious process.

Even if you enter, here are some rules and fun facts about North Korea you need to know:

Tourists Can’t Freely Talk To Locals

It is illegal to talk to locals without authorization.

Authorities will come after them to know what you were talking about. Even if you attempt to speak with the locals, they will refrain from saying much.

Currency Is Different For Tourists

Keep your dollars because you can’t pay using North Korea’s local currency.

If you make a purchase from local shops, you can pay using dollars, euros, South Korean Won, and Yuan.

One Of The Largest Stadiums: Rungrado May 1 Stadium

North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang is home to one of the latest football stadiums

The Rungrado May 1 Stadium can hold more than 114,000 people. North Korea uses this stadium for its mass games each year.

Limited Access To Some Areas Of North Korea

Whoever travels to North Korea must know you can only access some places.

Registering for guided tours is mandatory because only specific sites and cities will be available. Make sure you plan an itinerary accordingly.

Common Facts About North Korea

There are some general facts about North Korea that are interesting to know about.

Haircut Styles Require Approval

There are controls in place even for getting a haircut.

People have limited choices because they can only select from twenty-eight pre-approved hairstyles. When you roam the country, you will find that most people have similar haircuts.

Split From South Korea

North Korea and South Korea used to be one country until the Korean War took place in 1950.

The main explanation for the two country’s split was to stop the Russian’s advance at the south of the thirty-eighth parallel. Ever since then, the government has been divided.

Locals Are Cut Off From The World

Access to the world outside of North Korea is limited for the locals.

They are not allowed to be on the internet, and they don’t have social media. This is why North Koreans live in their bubble.

Other Interesting Facts About North Korea

Here are other fascinating facts about North Korea that might surprise you.

Authorities Roam To Monitor Citizens

Yes, there are informants that roam the country and monitor citizens. If anyone is found to be breaking the law, they are immediately reported to the government. So, locals have to be careful all the time when they are in public spaces.

Holds Elections Every Five Years

You might wonder how this is possible, but the country does hold political elections. The only problem is that people have no choice because there is only one name on the ballot. In this ballot, they have to let the government know if they are for or against the candidate.

Discovering More Fun Facts About North Korea

Don’t let these strict protocols stop you from visiting and experiencing this country firsthand.

The country has so much more to be seen, such as its nature and history, and see people’s lives through another lens.

It is also good to ensure you are familiar with some of the rules to avoid any issues with the authorities. Plan out your itinerary and uncover more fun facts about North Korea!



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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