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Money and duty free for North Korea

Currency and Money

Currency information

Won (KPW; symbol ₩) = 100 chon. Notes are in denominations of ₩100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of ₩1, and 50, 10, 5 and 1 chon.

Hotels tend to only accept cash payments in local currency whilst shops prefer US Dollars.

Credit cards

Main hotels in Pyongyang will accept credit and debit cards such as Mastercard and Visa. However, American Express is not usually accepted.

Travellers cheques

Generally not accepted. However, US Dollars are often accepted as an alternative method of payment.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is prohibited. The import and export of foreign currency is unrestricted, subject to declaration on arrival.

Currency exchange

Currencies may be changed at the Trade Bank (Mon-Sat 0900-1200 and 1400-1700) or at some hotels. Convertible currencies include Australian, Hong Kong and US Dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling and Yen.

North Korea duty free


Information on quantities of cigarettes, alcohol etc is unavailable at the time of writing.

You must declare items such as cameras and MP3 players at the border. Mobile phones and video recorders may be confiscated upon entry and returned when you leave.

Banned Imports

Arms, drugs and pornography. It is inadvisable to bring books about North Korea printed in the West or South Korea.

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