Best hotels and hostels in North Korea

  • Lodging in Pyongyang

    Yanggakdo Hotel

    The tallest building in the country, this mid-'90s tower on its own island right in the middle of Pyongyang is where nearly all tour groups stay. The rooms are showing their age, but they are spacious and comfortable, with great views over the city from most and hot water in the mornings and evenings.

  • Lodging in Rajin-Sonbong

    Nansan Hotel

    In the middle of Rajin, the Nansan Hotel is the most common choice for visitors to the area. Its rooms are clean and spacious, with some wonderfully garish furnishings and newly installed boilers in each bathroom, ensuring you can get hot water most of the time.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Kaesong

    Minsok Folk Hotel

    If you stay over in Kaesong, you’ll normally be based at this wonderful hotel consisting of 20 traditional Korean yeogwan (small, well-equipped en suite rooms), all off small courtyards, and featuring a charming stream running through it. There’s no electricity during the day, but there’s usually light in the evening and hot water.

  • Lodging in Chilbosan

    Mt Chilbo Homestay Program

    This World Tourism Organization–pioneered project is some way from what you might imagine of a ‘homestay’ – a purpose-built village of large traditional and modern-style houses where one family lives in part of the house, and guests in the other. There’s a restaurant, a shop and a nearby beach with another squid-barbecue restaurant on it.

  • Lodging in Pyongyang

    Koryo Hotel

    This striking 1985 twin-towered structure is commonly used for business travellers and NGO staff, although some tour groups stay here, too. Each of its twin towers has a revolving restaurant on top, though only one of them is open – in a spectacular failure of forethought, the other overlooks the ‘forbidden city’, home to the country's highly secretive political elite.

  • Lodging in Pyongyang

    Pyongyang Hotel

    Popular with international residents in the capital mainly for its excellent Arirang restaurant (supposedly one of the city’s best, though tourists aren’t usually taken here), the Pyongyang Hotel is basic, though some floors have been redone to a good standard. It's mainly used by overseas Koreans visiting the country and has a coffee shop and lots of bars.

  • Lodging in Chongjin

    Chongjin Tourist Hotel

    Accommodation in Chongjin is limited to this imaginatively named hotel, which has a very friendly manager and a team of frustrated singers working in the restaurant as waitresses who love to sing and dance for guests after dinner. There’s usually no hot water in the rooms, but there’s a communal sauna for a wash and a highly unexpected on-site microbrewery.

  • Lodging in Pyongyang

    Potonggang Hotel

    Famously the only hotel in North Korea to get the CNN news channel, the pink-painted Potonggang was owned by the late Unification Church leader Reverend Moon and has Pyongyang's best rooms. However, it’s rare for groups to stay here as it’s about 4km from the city centre. It nevertheless offers some good restaurants, a bar, pool, karaoke and indoor golf.

  • Lodging in Pyongyang

    Sosan Hotel

    This hotel with decent, renovated rooms is used mainly by visiting sports teams. It's generally held to be the best of the budget hotels in Pyongyang (although both terms are, of course, relative). There's a small garden outside where a bar and food stalls are set up in summer, as well as a restaurant, coffee shop, billiards and golf range.

  • Lodging in Pyongyang

    Chongnyon Hotel

    The ‘Youth’ Hotel is in the bizarrely empty sports district around Chongchun St, and while it boasts an outdoor pool, its rooms are damp and depressing. There's a hamburger restaurant just outside, which is an interesting quirk in a neighbourhood otherwise given over to Olympian physical perfection.

  • Lodging in Hamhung

    Majon Beach Guesthouse

    Rather isolated some way out of town, this place nevertheless enjoys access to a lovely beach where swimming is possible; the guides will sometimes even arrange a clam barbecue. The hotel rooms themselves are modern and comfortable, while the public areas boast some spectacularly dated interiors.

  • Lodging in Nampo

    Ryonggang Hot Spring House

    Some way outside the city, this former guesthouse for government officials boasts 20 well-appointed villas, with several bedrooms in each, spread out through attractive gardens. Each room contains its own spa bath, allowing you to enjoy the hot springs in total privacy.

  • Lodging in Paekdusan

    Pegaebong Hotel

    Just outside the resort town of Samjiyon, this hotel is a decent option, with modern rooms and hot running water in its newest wing. The staff sometimes lays on a potato barbecue for the guests, a charming local treat using potatoes from the surrounding fields.

  • Lodging in Wonsan

    Tongmyong Hotel

    This large '70s hotel in a lurid shade of green is right on the harbour and has decent, spacious rooms, many with sea views. There's a good restaurant and sometimes hot water. Don't miss the hilarious lift instructions.

  • Lodging in Kumgang Region

    Kumgangsan Hotel

    In the village of Onjong-ri, the Kumgangsan Hotel is a large and modern affair, consisting of a main building and several outer buildings that include chalets, a shop, a dance hall and bathhouse fed by a hot spring.

  • Lodging in Pyongyang

    Ryanggang Hotel

    Located in the sports district of Chongchun St, this place is one of the cheapest hotels in the city and it shows: there’s a revolving restaurant that doesn’t revolve, beds are hard and rooms are rather dusty.

  • Lodging in Sinchon

    8th March Hotel

    There is no hotel in Sinchon, but it's possible to stay at this hotel in the nearby small town of Sariwon. Weirdly, the furniture here is donated by a South Korean furniture magnate with the tastes of Louis XIV.

  • Lodging in Wonsan

    Masik-Ryong Hotel

    Those overnighting in Masik-Ryong have the option of staying at this luxury hotel. Facilities include a sauna and pool, a great bar on the 9th floor and even in-room internet access (US$10 per hour).

  • Lodging in Wonsan

    Songdowon Tourist Hotel

    A 2nd-class hotel right on the waterfront in the centre of the city, the Songdowon nonetheless boasts absolutely 1st-class '70s socialist interiors and a better-than-average souvenir shop.

  • Lodging in Hamhung

    Sin Hung San Hotel

    On the city’s main drag is Hamhung's main hotel, which is rarely used to house travellers. The rooms are basic but clean, there’s running water and more unique interiors to enjoy.