North Korea is opening its doors to Russian tourists, promising them "full immersion" in the country's culture and a holiday that is "safer than an evening walk in London".

With a ban on US citizens travelling to North Korea due to come into effect next month, Pyongyang has started courting Russian tourists by opening its first travel agency in Moscow.

NKOREAN.RU, a Russian agency licensed by the North Korean government, is offering group tours "to show the travellers the multi-faceted life of this most closed of countries".

Guests will be "checked" before their trip and always accompanied by a guide who will monitor whether the behaviour of the tourist is "adequate" to"guarantee his safety".

Tourists are prohibited from taking photos of military facilities and long talks with local residents are "not recommended".

The most expensive tour, which offers Russian tourists "full immersion in the culture of North Korea", costs 118,090 roubles ($2,000, £1,550). The tour lasts 15 days and includes visits to a farm, mineral water factory and Buddhist temple, as well as several walks in the mountains.

The opening of the agency on Thursday (24 August) was attended by the head of Russia's tourism agencies and an adviser to Pyongyang's ambassador in Moscow.

"I hope that the NKOREAN company will make a breakthrough," Sergey Golov, president of tourism agencies, said at the launch press conference. "I think that the odds of growth look good."

Embassy advisor Kim Sung Hoon reassured tourists that the "People's Democratic Republic of Korea is one of the safest countries in the world".

"We guarantee the comprehensive safety of tourists who follow the law and order of the country," he said, adding that the country's nuclear capabilities "totally guarantee security and peace on the Korean peninsula."

North Korea has ratcheted up its nuclear capabilities in recent months by conducting two nuclear tests and dozens of missile tests. The US slapped sanctions on several companies and individuals with ties to the Pyongyang regime earlier this week following a unanimous United Nations resolution last month.

Russia North Korea
Russian soldiers patrol by the Druzhby bridge (Bridge of Friendship) that straddles the country's border with North Korea REUTERS/Igor Onuchin