Are you planning to visit North Korea in 2023? Do you want to experience the shopping culture of the most isolated country in the world? Do you wonder what kind of malls are available in the land of the supreme leader?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this article is for you. In this article, we will explore the top shopping malls in North Korea 2023, based on their location, size, variety, and popularity. We will also give you some tips on how to shop safely and legally in this country.
North Korea is not known for its shopping scene, but that does not mean that there are no malls in the country. In fact, there are several malls that cater to the needs and tastes of the elite and the foreign visitors. These malls offer a range of products, from local handicrafts and souvenirs, to imported luxury goods and electronics. Some of these malls are even equipped with modern facilities, such as cinemas, restaurants, and amusement parks.
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What are the best malls in North Korea?
The best malls in North Korea are:
This is the only place where you can exchange for local North Korean won and shop with the locals. It offers a range of products, from local handicrafts and souvenirs, to imported luxury goods and electronics. It also has a cinema, a restaurant, and an amusement park on the top floor.
2. Mansudae Art Studio Gallery:
This is a place where you can see and buy the artworks of the famous Mansudae Art Studio, which is responsible for creating many of the statues and monuments in North Korea. You can also meet with some of the artists and have a friendly discussion about their art.
3. Foreign Language Book Shop:
This is a place where you can find books and magazines in various languages, such as English, Chinese, Russian, and French. You can also buy posters, stamps, postcards, and other souvenirs featuring the images of the North Korean leaders.
4. North Korea Gift Shop:
This is a place where you can buy special gifts and antiques from North Korea, such as ginseng, porcelain, lacquerware, and paintings. You can also find some rare items that are not available elsewhere
How to shop in North Korea 2023?
Shopping in North Korea in 2023 presents unique challenges, but it is possible with careful planning and adherence to specific rules and guidelines. Here’s a list of essential information and tips for shopping in North Korea:
1. Visa and Tour Package:
To visit North Korea, you must obtain a visa and book a tour package through a licensed travel agency, such as Young Pioneer Tours or Visit North Korea. Independent travel is not allowed, and you’ll be accompanied by a guide throughout your visit.
2. Designated Shopping Locations:
Foreigners can shop only at specific places, including the Kwangbok Department Store, the Foreign Language Book Shop, the Mansudae Art Studio Gallery, and the North Korea Gift Shop. These stores offer a wide range of products, from local handicrafts and souvenirs to imported luxury goods and electronics.
3. Currency Exchange:
When shopping, you can exchange your money for local North Korean won at the Kwangbok Department Store. Ensure you spend all your North Korean won before leaving the country. Some places also accept Chinese yuan, US dollars, or euros, but exchange rates may vary.
4. Special Souvenirs:
North Korea offers unique items like stamps, currency, wine, ginseng, porcelain, lacquerware, paintings, and propaganda posters. Be cautious about what you bring back to your home country, as some items may be prohibited or subject to restrictions by customs
5. Visit the Joint Security Area (JSA):
For a remarkable experience, consider booking a tour to the Joint Security Area (JSA) at the DMZ border. Here, you can stand in North Korea and capture a photo as proof. However, advance booking is necessary, and you must adhere to a strict dress code and security rules.
Where to exchange money for North Korean won?
The only place where you can exchange money for local North Korean won is the Kwangbok Department Store, which is located in the Kwangbok Street in Pyongyang . This is a large shopping mall that offers a range of products, from local handicrafts and souvenirs, to imported luxury goods and electronics. It also has a cinema, a restaurant, and an amusement park on the top floor.
The Kwangbok Department Store’s basement floor has a currency exchange station where you may exchange your cash for North Korean won. North Korean won can be exchanged into Chinese yuan, US dollars, or euros at a fixed rate of 100 won for every 1 yuan, 8,000 won for every 1 dollar, or 10,000 won for every 1 euro. A receipt with the amount you exchanged and the exchange rate will be given to you.
This receipt must be kept on hand at all times because you’ll need it to prove your identity when you leave the nation. Additionally, since you cannot take the North Korean won you traded outside of the country or exchange it back into international currency, you must spend it all before leaving. Only the Kwangbok Department Store and a few other locations that accept local money, like street markets and public transportation, accept North Korean won.
What products can you buy in North Korean malls?
You can buy a variety of products in North Korean malls, depending on the type and location of the mall. Some of the products are:
1. Local handicrafts and souvenirs:
These include traditional Korean dress and costumes, pottery, jade, chopsticks, cutlery, paintings, stamps, postcards, and propaganda posters . You can find these products in most malls, especially the Foreign Language Book Shop and the North Korea Gift Shop.
2. Imported luxury goods and electronics:
These include watches, jewelry, cosmetics, perfume, clothing, shoes, bags, smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras, and TVs. You can find these products in some malls that cater to the elite and the foreign visitors, such as the Kwangbok Department Store.
3. Local food and drinks:
These include snacks, biscuits, candy, chocolate, coffee, tea, liquor, wine, beer, soda, juice, milk, yogurt, cheese, bread, noodles, rice, kimchi, tofu, meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and fruits . You can find these products in most malls that have grocery stores or supermarkets.
4. Local medicines and health products:
These include ginseng, herbal medicines, vitamins, supplements, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, face masks . You can find these products in some malls that have pharmacies or health stores.
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What are the facilities and attractions in North Korean malls?
Some of the facilities and attractions in North Korean malls are:
Some malls, such as the Kwangbok Department Store, have a cinema that shows local and foreign movies. You can watch films from North Korea, China, Russia, and other countries, but you need to buy tickets in advance and follow the rules of the cinemas.
Some malls, such as the Kwangbok Department Store and the Mansudae Art Studio Gallery, have a restaurant that serves local and international cuisine. You can enjoy dishes from North Korea, China, Japan, Vietnam, and other countries, but you need to pay in foreign currency and make reservations in advance.
3. Amusement park:
Some malls, such as the Kwangbok Department Store, have an amusement park on the top floor that offers various rides and games. You can have fun with roller coasters, bumper cars, shooting games, and other attractions, but you need to pay in local currency and follow the safety instructions.
4. Art gallery:
Some malls, such as the Mansudae Art Studio Gallery, have an art gallery that displays the artworks of the famous Mansudae Art Studio. You can see and buy the paintings, sculptures, mosaics, and other artworks of the studio that is responsible for creating many of the statues and monuments in North Korea. You can also meet with some of the artists and have a friendly discussion about their art.
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