Pyongyang has changed its time zone again – you should read this before traveling there.
Some say that a journey to the North Korea is like traveling back in time. However, recent visitors to the country recently time traveled slightly to the future. Back to the future, so to speak.
The DPRK just moved its clocks forward by half an hour on May 5th, joining the time zone of its southern neighbor (and Japan) after nearly three years of maintaining its own time zone. This marks one step on the way to a more peaceful situation on the peninsula.
Back in 2015 North Korea had decided to create its own unique time zone. Then changing from GMT +9 to GMT +8.5, hence going back half an hour, in fact going back to a time zone that a then united Korea had used between 1908 and 1912. The change back in 2015 came with celebrating independence of Japanese colonial rule 70 years earlier in 1945. Namely to distance itself from Japanese colonial rule which had “deprived Koreans” even of their time zone. Back in 1912 two years after Japanese colonial rule in Korea began Japan integrated Korea into its own time zone. Interestingly South Korea had done the same thing going back to the old Korean time zone of GMT+8.5 in 1954 and joining back into GMT+9 in 1961.
Long story short both Koreas are now in GMT+9 (together with Japan and West Papua) - Korea is one (time zone)! More importantly for our North Korea tours, Pyongyang time is now one hour ahead of Beijing and Shanghai time and two hours behind Vladivostok time.