If you are always complaining about your country, let me just stop you right here. Because after reading these bans restrictions in North Korea, I am pretty sure you are going to be so thankful for the freedom your country gives you!
1. You can’t wear blue jeans in North Korea.
If the North Koreans love wearing jeans, they can, however there is a little twist – They can only wear black jeans because blue jean is forbidden! Blue jeans are illegal to wear because they symbolize “American Imperialism”.
However, if you are a tourist on holiday, nobody is going to stop you from wearing blue jeans but you have to change your jeans if you are going to visit North Korea.
2. There are no coca-cola sold in North Korea.
North Korea has been free from Coca-Cola since the 1950s. Wondering why? For political reasons of course! As I’ve already mentioned before.
However, there is a footage of Coca-Cola being served to tourists visiting a restaurant in Pyongyang, the country’s capital.
Nevertheless, a Coca-Cola spokesperson has said:
““Coca-Cola does not currently do business in North Korea. Any products sold in the market have been purchased by unauthorised third parties and imported into the country from other markets where they were sold. No representative of The Coca-Cola Company has been in discussions or explored opening up business in North Korea. Coca-Cola could only consider entering the market in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations governing US relations with North Korea. We cannot enter the market at this time.”
3. It is almost impossible to buy condoms/ female hygiene products in North Korea.
Forget buying condoms as most North Koreans have said that while growing up they have not even heard the word “condom” or know what it even means or how to use it.
Ji-Min Kang, a North Korean said that during his high school days, his classmate brought a bag full of condoms to school which he took from his father who was working in a hospital. All of their classmates thought they were balloons and started blowing them as balloons. However, they did realize that it was slippery and longer than the usual balloons. He continues to think that the condoms were strange balloons but it was only when he left North Korea, he realized what they actually were!
Further, he also said that he was shocked to know that their neighbor, South Korea study about sex in school. It was mind-boggling to him when he saw the female students were being taught how to use a condom in a classroom.
He also stated that North Koreans aren’t taught about birth control or safe sex in schools. In North Korea, sex is another form of hedonism (the pursuit of pleasure) which their people are not allowed to know or experience.
You won't be able to find sanitary pads and tampons in the shops either – for the local North Koreans at least. This might sound shocking, but Korean women still use normal fabric on the period days which they reuse after washing.
4. If you are a North Korean, you can’t travel out of the country.
The citizen from North Korea can’t buy an airplane ticket to travel to a different country for holidays. It’s not that they are broke and they can’t afford it, but it is because it is banned by the government.
If you think, they can travel inside their country only, you are wrong! There are travel restrictions inside the country as well. In order for them to visit their relatives or friends in a different village or town, they need to get permission.
However, only selected North Koreans can travel to China or Russia but only for the purpose of earning money.
5. Tourists are not allowed to take photos/speak to the locals.
A local citizen may not be imprisoned or executed for conversing with a tourist. However, the lawbreaker will have to go through some “serious talk” with special service representatives.
Besides, if you are a tourist visiting you are not only banned to take photos with the locals but you also can’t take photos of the surroundings. A tourist guide accompanying you will keep a close eye on you to avoid you from sneaking any photos, especially any military objects (which is almost all of it) and the life of people there.
The North Korean government is afraid of photos of the poverty scene or situation leaking which can give a negative impression of their country! And, don’t even bother bringing your drones because it's a big no-no!
If you don’t believe me, try approaching a local to talk and watch them run frantically for their lives as if they have just encountered a ghost!
6. You can only get government-approved hairstyles.
If you want to get a haircut locally, I’m sorry to break this to you but you can only pick from the 28 government approved hairstyles as any other hairstyle is banned. The North Korean government has 28 official hairstyles in total for both men and women. This law was introduced by the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un in 2013.
Spiked hair is exclusively forbidden because the government thinks it is rebellious. They are also not allowed to dye their hair.
If you visit a local hair salon, you will find images of the recommended men and women haircuts on their walls. A famous haircut for the woman in North Korea is the chin-length bob, all credit goes to Kim Jong-Un who mentioned that the haircut looks amazing on Korean women.
Korean girls with chin-length bob haircut
7. North Korean can’t take hot showers at home.
Public bath in North Korea
There is no hot water supply in North Korean houses hence no warm showers. They usually visit public baths. The government said it is costly to provide it at every home.
Besides, there is no central heating. In order to warm their houses, they use furnaces that work with wood. Some may object saying that other Asian countries don’t have central heating in their homes, however, they do have electrical heaters.
8. You can’t buy a car without the government’s approval
Only few cars are seen on the road's of Pyongyang
In North Korea, you will only see the rich and powerful people owning a car. If you want to purchase a car, you will first need to get the government's permission. Even if you get it, the price of a car costs a fortune (approximately 40,000 USD).
Buying a bicycle is also hard as it is not affordable. You will rarely encounter bikes outside of the country’s capital, Pyongyang. All bicycles have a license plate too, just like a car.
Have you heard of any of these restrictions in North Korea before? Do you know any other “odd” restriction? Feel free to share it in the comments!