Fascinating North Korea Hotel Reviews

There are few visitors to North Korea, and even fewer hotels open to foreigners. And for foreigners, those hotels might be what you would expect from a time capsule mixed with a dystopian novel.

Fascinating North Korea Hotel Reviews

Check out these surreal experiences found in North Korea hotel reviews:

North Korea hotel choices

There are 8-9 hotels in Pyongyang, North Korea that foreigners can stay in, but usually only 2-3 are available at a given time. And if that’s still too many choices, don’t fret, because the most popular way to visit North Korea is via a tour group, which simplifies your options to the one the tour picks.

Here are a few review snippets to give you a feel for some of the more popular hotels:

Yanggakdo Hotel

3.5 / 5 on Tripadvisor, the most popular hotel in Pyongyang.

What can you say about one of the only 2 hotels you can stay at in Pyongyang? As far as worldwide hotels go, it wouldn’t even scrape a 2 star.

the Yanggakdo gets 5 stars, because IT’S THE DPRK and you’ll never stay somewhere so surreal in your entire life, and the excitement of that alone means that all of the above becomes inexplicably endearing.

—Grace86London

It’s not as if you have a choice where you can stay when you travel to the DPRK. Having said that, it is widely regarded as being the best of the (very limited) options open to foreign tourists in Pyongyang, so count yourself lucky if your tour group is staying here.

—mattkM1826XO

Not that you’ll have any choice in where you stay, but the Yanggakdo is the best hotel available, despite its very dated design.

—freecandy

Koryo Hotel

3.5 / 5 on Tripadvisor, probably second most popular.

It’s difficult to give a star rating here – compared to any other country’s hotels, this is 3 star, but for what we may expect in DPRK, it’s probably a 4.

—KeithR903

You can experience any hotel you like as a tourist in Pyongyang… as long as it’s the Koryo Hotel. A veritable Wonderland (according to the Karaoke sign) with rooms overlooking glamourous downtown Pyongyang, friendly service, interesting guests, and bottles of beer available all night.

—Gareth B

Sosan Hotel

3.5 / 5 on Tripadvisor

The Sosan Hotel is, to be honest, not a great hotel. Built in the 1980s for the World Student Games (which was the DPRK’s answer to the 1988 Seoul Olympics) it sits in isolated, brooding splendour – what’s the opposite of splendour? – in the middle of a large and empty sports complex

—AndyH74

If you’re one of those rare visitors to the DPRK (aka North Korea), you’re probably not looking for luxury lodging, nor do you have many options. I hear the Yanggakdo Hotel is the really high-class choice, but I didn’t want to waste money on a room so I picked Sosan.

—David N

Pyongyang Hotel

3.5 / 5 on Tripadvisor

Pyongyang Hotel is certainly one of the better places to stay while in Pyongyang and when there’s a blackout, you can still easily use the stairs vs staying at 40-store Koryo etc. where you rely on elevators.

—aisingioropuyu

If you have a choice which one of the 3 hotels in Pyongyang you stay in I think this one has the most character and intrigue, Its Built in the 80’s and the interior decoration is utterly mindblowing.

—Colin O

Youth Hotel

3 / 5 on Tripadvisor

I spent most of my time in Pyongyang staying at the Yanggakdo Hotel, which has nicer rooms and a lot of activities to do (karaoke, bowling, ping pong, etc.). The Youth Hotel is the more budget option, and unfortunately you get what you pay for.

—Mike G

We stayed at Koryo, Yanggakdo and Youth hotel and they were all pretty much the same with shops/services, but the Youth hotel was notably worst for age!

—Mark C

Basically you go there for budget reason, otherwise go to the Yanggakdo!

—Etienne1979

Ryanggang Hotel

2.5 / 5 on Tripadvisor

Classic Soviet style hotel. Dismal, poorly lit, rock hard beds, miserable food, and intermittent hot water- and these are the good points! All part of the DPRK experience.

—RestlessTravelBaron

If you pick the cheaper NK tour, you are more likely to be allocated to this hotel.

—ForeverGypsy

Hot water and electricity

Consistent availability of hot water and electricity is a real concern when visiting North Korea, though you generally don’t need to worry much in the nicer hotels.

It has hot water available for 24 hours, which is rare in other hotels in North Korea. So far, there wasn’t any power outrage in the hotel.

—terlunche (Yanggakdo Hotel)

Hot Water? Well I had hot water in my sink but it was freezing cold in the bath tub and shower.

—london_ozgal (Youth Hotel)

The reception were quick to assure me that there was 24 hour hot water – from their evident pride in his fact, I suspected that there might be nights when this was not the case – but I had to tell them when I wanted it.

—AndyH74 (Sosan Hotel)

The fact that the electricity works 24/7 and that there’s always hot water is something you’ll treasure if you stay at hotels in the DPRK away from the main city.

—ChrysT717 (Yanggakdo Hotel)

Bring a flashlight as there are some power outages (this happens all over, so is not related to the hotel). Twice I had to walk down 5 flights of stairs to get to a floor where the power was working and take the elevator.

—Chris R (Youth Hotel)

Food

The consensus was food was not fantastic, and restaurants were eerily empty.

There is a Chinese restaurant, a European restaurant, and a Korean restaurant on site but they all serve the same food… a Korean attempt at western food. And it was weird being the only ones in the restaurant even though it was fully staffed.

—Neil_and_Family_5 (Yanggakdo Hotel)

The food in the breakfast room is uninspiring. Likewise all other meals I ate at the hotel were bland. They were engineered to Western tastes. As Westerners have no taste anyway, the Korean facsimilie of Western food was pretty dire. However the alcohol made up for it. The local beer is very good as is the local Pyongyang soju.

—Talamo (Sosan Hotel)

The bar shown in the photos sells craft beer for around $1.50 and the yellow beer is tasty – like a weiss beer. They didn’t have black beer when we were there.
Only thing that really let the hotel down was breakfast – not up to “our” expectations. Though freshly fried eggs (or omlette) and toast are available.

—KeithR903 (Koryo Hotel)

The people

When you travel enough, you’ll find people are still people elsewhere in the world, and you’ll run into a variety of types anywhere.

I saw a people as interested in us as we are in them. The fact that their system pretty much forbids it is an irrelevance. You can never subdue human curiosity. Who knows what they really think as they bat away critical questions but then who knows what anyone’s thinking!

Go there with a patronising scowl and you’ll only see unhappy people. Go there with a smile and that’s exactly what you’ll get back in North Korea.

—Rob W (Yanggakdo Hotel)

The staff were quite unwilling to talk to westerners. I do not know if it is because thay are not allowed, or if it is general shyness.

—Pål H (Pyongyang Hotel)

All the staff that we met (and the North Koreans in general) were really friendly and this seemed to be a genuine trait. We were always made to feel welcome by the few locals we met

—Giddi (Koryo Hotel)

The food was pretty bad but the staff were generally very friendly and attentive. If you can manage a few words of Koreans (assuming you’re a westerner) the waitresses will look at you in amazement and might even get chatty – it’s well worth it.

—AndyH74 (Sosan Hotel)

However, you are not allowed to leave the hotel unaccompanied, so it’s possible the people you meet have been carefully selected.

Visitors were not allowed to leave the hotel without a guide, and even with the guide we were restricted to the hotel area. I specifically asked if I could film around the hotel, which I was told was no problem.

—MartinfromDenmark (Yanggakdo Hotel)

We were not allowed to leave the hotel, so the location doesnt really matter

—Jeblin (Sosan Hotel)

Unfortunately, due to tense situation on Korean Peninsula, we foreign visitors are not allowed to wander out of the hotel by ourselves. While it is possible to ask our local guide to accompany us, she thought it was a bad idea to walk around after dinner time. Thus, after coming back from our daytime tours and dinner, I was practically trapped in the hotel.

—Saricie_Q (Koryo Hotel)

Other conveniences

There’s not much in the way of WiFi and cell reception, but how about phone calls, TV, or entertainment?

you can apparently make international phone calls and even send emails here too (although I hear it is expensive). You can also post all those lovely propaganda postcards you brought in the DMZ, just don’t expect them to reach the US!

—mattkM1826XO (Yanggakdo Hotel)

The rooms are large and have TVs which have access to some foreign channels. CNA, RT and I think France24 were all available. Internet in the room is also available but the fee is quite high, €4 per half hour if I remember correctly.

—Talamo (Sosan Hotel)

the lifts were jammed full, most people had to struggle down the stairs… I was on the 30th floor.

—Mark C (Youth Hotel)

Parting words

the vast majority of citizens in this impoverished nation live with no heat or hot water, very little electricity and squat toilets while we lavished ourselves in our opulent hotel taking hot showers and eating till we were stuffed

—Neil_and_Family_5

Honestly I felt ashamed to stay in such a luxury hotel knowing that 95% of DPRK local people have to face daily with electricity shortage! For me, it was like if the hotel where we stay used all the electricity of the city while its inhabitants did not have enough of it.

—incahueca

Keep in mind that most of these hotels are luxurious in comparison to how the average North Korean lives, so you may need to recalibrate your standards. Traveling is about experiencing new things and learning how people live around the world.

We hope these reviews gave you an insightful peek into the surreal experience of staying at a North Korea hotel.

Reviews are sourced from Tripadvisor.com

Want to get a peek into North Korea but can’t get into the country?

Take a tour from Seoul, South Korea to see the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to learn about North Korea and get a glimpse over the border.

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