Our 8 day north korea tour is meant to introduce you to the best of the DPRK. Over the course of seven nights you will not only experience the adventure of learning about this fascinating culture as you visit famous spots like the Mansudae Grand Monument (the statues), and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), but you’ll also stay at two of the best hotels in the country, the Hyangsan Hotel and Masikryong Hotel, part of Masikryong Ski Resort near the east coast. A packed tour during which you’ll leave with a learning experience you’ll never forget.
- Survey the art and architecture of Pyongyang, visiting some of its most important monuments;
- The DMZ (Demilitarised Zone). Stand at the northern side of the DMZ in Panmunjom, just metres away from South Korea;
- Taste the local brew in a Pyongyang bar;
- Enjoy some of the DPRK’s most beautiful nature while hiking at Mount Myohyang;
- Visit Wonsan, a port city on the east coast, and soak up some of its seaside vibes.
Please note that minor changes in itinerary may apply for reasons beyond the control of Tongil Tours.
ARRIVAL IN PYONGYANG
10 AM (Beijing time) – A Tongil Tours staff member will be ready to meet participants in Beijing International Airport. Assemble at Koryo Air flight counter in Beijing International Airport Terminal 2 for quick briefing session before taking Air Koryo flight JS 152 to Pyongyang.
12:55 midday – (Beijing time) – Estimated flight take off time. Flight time – approx. two hours.
3:30PM – (Pyongyang time, half an hour later than Beijing time) – Estimated time of arrival in Pyongyang.
PM – Meet our Korean guides at Sunan International Airport.
Half hour drive to Pyongyang.
Mansu Hill Grand Monument
The largest and most famous pair of bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il that can be found in each of North Korea’s major cities. They are situated on a hill in the centre of Pyongyang offering magnificent views of the city. The statues are 22 metres high and flanked on both sides by elaborate sculptures, one depicting Korea’s struggle for independence against Japanese colonialism, the other dealing with socialist revolution.
Kaeson Youth Park
Open at night time and located right next to Pyongyang’s Arch of Triumph (“kaeson” means “triumph”) and Kim Il Sung Stadium at the foot of Moran Hill park, Kaeson Youth Park is perhaps Pyongyang’s most popular amusement park. Here you can try out six heart-racing rides including a vertical drop, “belly down” rollercoaster and pendulum. You can also ride the bumper cars, have a snack at a food stall or restaurant, or visit the game centre. A good place to rub shoulders with the locals.
Overnight in the Yanggak Island Hotel.
Guests now have free time to use any of the entertainment facilities in the hotel (pool/billiards room, karaoke, bowling alley, shop etc.) or retire early for the night.
PYONGYANG CITY TOUR & MUSEUMS + PUB VISIT
AM – Breakfast in the hotel.
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun
The mausoleum where the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state. It is a grand, sprawling complex surrounded by a large square and a moat. Visitors see the bodies of North Korea’s former leaders and tour exhibition halls displaying their possessions. On display are also the train carriages and a boat used to the tour the country on “on-the-spot-guidance” visits.
Moran Hill Park
Moran Hill (“Moran” meaning “peony”) in central Pyongyang forms a beautiful park which has been a popular leisure spot for locals since premodern times. Take a leisurely stroll through the grounds and enjoy the wonderful view of the Taedong River and centre of Pyongyang from Ulmildae and other Yi Dynasty pavilions atop the peak. On weekends and public holidays the park is full of picnicking Koreans engaged in drinking, song and dance. These are good opportunities to mix with the locals. Practice your best moves—you may be pulled into a dance!
PM – Lunch.
Mangyongdae Native House
The humble thatched hut on the outskirts of Pyongyang where North Korea’s first leader Kim Il Sung was born and raised. Now a site of revolutionary pilgrimage and prominent North Korean cultural icon, visitors can see his family home and possessions and drink from the well. Usually busy with locals coming to pay tribute and take souvenir photos, especially on occasions such as the leader’s birthday and other public holidays.
Containing 16 stops and two lines, the Pyongyang Metro is one of the deepest subway systems in the world. First constructed in the 1960s, it displays a similar grand style to its predecessor in Moscow, with stops featuring elaborate murals, mosaics and sculptures alongside ornate pillars and chandeliers. Visitors can descend into the subway down an escalator with a vertical depth of over 50 metres, and tour from stop to stop while riding in the subway trains alongside local passengers.
The Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum
The Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum is a museum dedicated to North Korea’s 1953 “victory” over the United States and its allies in the Fatherland Liberation War, commonly known as the Korean War in the West. Learn the history of the Korean War from the North’s perspective through elaborate museum displays and videos in the main hall, and see a grand panorama of the Battle of Daejon. By the entrance are war-themed monumental statues and displays featuring captured and downed American vehicles, tanks, artillery and planes. Visitors can also tour the USS Pueblo, which was in 1968 found in Korean waters and accused of being a spy ship, after which it was captured and taken to Pyongyang where it has been kept as a trophy ever since.
Located along the banks of the Taedong River and opposite Kim Il Sung Square and the Grand People’s Study House in central Pyongyang, the Juche Tower is a monument dedicated to North Korea’s governing political ideology of Juche. The structure features a unique layered stone tower design topped with a torch which glows at night. A bronze statue of a worker, farmer and intellectual holding aloft the Korean Workers’ Party emblem decorates its base. Visitors can view the structure from the outside before entering to see the museum on the inside and taking an elevator to the top to enjoy a stunning view of Pyongyang.
After, we’ll go for a stroll down the Taedong River and cross the Okryu Bridge.
After dinner, we’ll head to a local bar for some drinks.
Overnight in the Yanggak Island Hotel.
KAESONG, DMZ AND SHOPPING
AM – After breakfast, we will begin the two-hour drive to Kaesong and the DMZ.
The Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) at Panmunjom and the Joint Security Area (JSA)
Here tourists can visit the Armistice Talks Hall, the Armistice Signing Hall and Panmunjom Peace Village (also known as the “Joint Security Area”) from the northern side. At Panmunjom Peace Village it is possible to view the south from metres away at the balcony of Panmun Pavilion. Get right up to the border with South Korea, even technically cross it in one of the negotiation huts which lie between the northern and southern sides of the compound and are bisected by the border.
PM- After driving back to Kaesong, we will enjoy a lunch consisting of local specialties.
Koryo History Museum
This museum is dedicated to Kaesong’s past as capital of Koryo Dynasty Korea (which lasted from 919 to 1394 AD). Exhibits are housed in Kaesong’s former Confucian Academy (Songgyungwan), which was established in 992 AD and became the highest educational institution in Korea throughout the Koryo and Yi Dynasties. The present structures were built in the early 17th century.
Next, a quick visit to the postcard and stamp shop across the road.
Constructed in 1290, Sonjuk Bridge is a Koryo dynasty stone bridge located in central Kaesong City. It is well known as the site where famed Confucian scholar and statesman Chŏng Mongju was assassinated in 1392, generally believed to have been carried out under the orders of Ri Bangwon, son of the founder of the Choson Dynasty Ri Songgye because of Chŏng Mongju’s continued loyalty to the previous Koryo Dynasty. The bridge was closed to traffic in 1780 and made into a monument celebrating Chŏng Mongju’s loyalty. After viewing the monument, step out onto the street to get a glimpse of daily activity along one of central Kaesong’s bustling thoroughfares.
Tomb of King Kongmin
Completed in 1372, this is the tomb of King Kongmin, 31st king of the Koryo Dynasty and his wife, Mongolian princess and later Korean queen, Queen Noguk. Consisting of two burial mounds adorned with stone carvings and statues on the top of a hill outside Kaesong, the site offers a splendid scenic view of the surrounding countryside.
Drive to Sariwon, halfway between Kaesong and Pyongyang.
Sariwon Folk Street
A folk culture-themed street in downtown Sariwon adorned with traditional style gates, ponds and pavilions. Visitors can see reconstructions of some of Korea’s most famous traditional structures and cultural artifacts. Usually a popular spot for locals to engage in leisure. Climb the hill behind the park for a great view of Sariwon City.
Drive back to Pyongyang.
Kwangbok Street Shopping Complex
A large, multi-storeyed shopping complex located in the Kwangbok Street Residential District of Pyongyang. This shopping complex is extremely popular among locals and usually buzzing with activity. Here, visitors can exchange foreign currency for the local Korean won, and use it to shop for a wide range of domestic as well as some imported products. Ground floor contains a supermarket, 1st floor clothing and accessories, and 2nd floor a bustling food court. A great place to pick up interesting DPRK-made items and people watch.
Overnight in the Yanggak Island Hotel.
AM – Breakfast.
Drive to Mount Myohyang (approx. two hours).
Mount Myohyang is situated in North Pyongan Province north of Pyongyang. Literally “Mysterious Fragrant Mountain”, Mt. Myohyang is one of the most famous mountains in the Korean peninsula. It is known for its scenic beauty and as a sacred place with various myths and legends surrounding it. Visitors can enjoy hikes here among the mountain’s majestic pine forests, splendid streams and waterfalls and breath-taking peaks which offer splendid views of the mountain range and surrounding countryside. It is also the location of the International Friendship Exhibition, where gifts from foreigners to North Korea’s leaders are stored and exhibited.
PM – Lunch.
Mount Myohyang Manpok Hiking Trail
A mildly strenuous hiking trail that follows graceful mountain streams and waterfalls up through lush pine forests to several successive viewing platforms. Popular among local hikers.
International Friendship Exhibition
Built in Korean neoclassical style and set against the mountainside, with part of the complex actually inside the mountain, this complex is where gifts from foreigners to North Korea’s leaders are stored and exhibited. Exhibitions are divided according to which leader they were presented to (Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il or Kim Jong Un) and region and country of origin. Highlights include a bulletproof limousine from Stalin, a train car from Mao Zedong, and a stuffed alligator holding a cocktail tray and glasses from the Sandinistas of Nicaragua. After viewing the exhibitions visitors can enjoy a beautiful mountain view from the balcony.
Overnight in the deluxe Hyangsan Hotel.
AM – Breakfast.
An expansive cave network located near Mount Myohyang in North Pyongan Province. Abounds with weird and fantastically shaped rock formations and underground rivers and waterfalls. The local guides here love to indulge in a bit of adult humour when describing the shapes of some of the stalactites and stalagmites!
Drive back to Pyongyang (approx. two hours).
PM – Lunch.
Next, we will view a performance at Pyongyang Schoolchildren’s Palace.
We will then visit a local Middle or High School, where we will be given a tour of the grounds and then drop in on an English lesson where we will be able to chat and interact with the students.
Korean Art Gallery
The DPRK’s main art gallery situated in the heart of Pyongyang on Kim Il Square. Features permanent exhibitions of both premodern and modern art, divided into sections according to style (oil painting, Chosonhwa, sculpture etc.), and arranged chronologically, as well as temporary exhibitions, all covering three floors.
After this, we will go for a walk down Victory Street.
Overnight in the Yanggak Island Hotel.
EAST SEA PORT CITY OF WONSAN
Drive to Wonsan (three and a half hours).
Sinpyong Rest Stop
A rest stop located in the middle of the Pyongyang-Wonsan Highway. A good place to get out, stretch one’s legs and enjoy the lovely scenery. The rest stop is set against a beautiful lake surrounded by lush green mountains. The rest stop building contains a shop, toilet, and other amenities.
PM- Lunch in Wonsan.
Kangwon Province Art Gallery
A small art gallery located by the seaside in central Wonsan. Consists of two rooms displaying locally made art in various styles: oil paintings, chosonhwa, calligraphy and sculpture. Some of the works can be purchased.
Wonsan’s central square located right on the sea. Wonsan’s bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il can also be viewed here.
Wonsan Agricultural University
Established in 1948, Wonsan Agricultural University’s 5 year program is the DPRK’s largest among agricultural universities. Tour the grounds, including the early 20th century constructed main building, lush outdoor areas and greenhouses. Pick-up soccer games can sometimes be arranged with the students.
Jangdok Islet and Pier
An island in Wonsan Bay with a small lighthouse. Walk up the long, snaking pier and rub shoulders with local fisherpeople, and see the stalls selling freshly caught seafood. Good views of Wonsan Bay.
Overnight in the premium Masikryong Hotel.
Drive to Pyongyang.
Grand People’s Study House
Located on Kim Il Sung Square opposite the Juche Tower in the heart of Pyongyang, this monumental building constructed in the Korean neoclassical style is North Korea’s national library. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the inside, the grandly-built lobby, reception, reading and study rooms, and finish off with the balcony which offers a wonderful view of central Pyongyang.
People’s Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
An ice skating rink attached to Ryugyong Health Complex and adjacent to the Roller Skating Rink along the Eastern bank of the Taedong River. Rent a pair of skates and enjoy ice skating with locals here all year around.
Pyongyang Roller Skating Rink
A roller skating rink located by the People’s Outdoor Ice Skating Rink and Ryugyong Health Complex along the Eastern bank of the Taedong River. Rent a pair of skates and enjoy some roller blading with the Koreans. A good place to mix with locals, and especially popular among children.
After dinner, we’ll go on a boat cruise on the Mujigae (“rainbow) Ferry down the Taedong River.
Overnight in the Yanggak Island Hotel.
RETURN TO BEIJING
AM – After breakfast, we drive to Sunan airport for Air Koryo JS151 back to Beijing.
9:00AM (Pyongyang time) – Estimated departure time. Flight time – approx. two hours.
10:30AM (Beijing time, half an hour earlier than Pyongyang time) – Estimated arrival time.
We conclude our journey in Beijing Capital Airport, Terminal 2.
To ensure the best possible experience for all involved, we’ll have a dinner in Beijing the day prior to tour departure when we will go through some important points relating to the tour and allow an opportunity for any final questions. For anyone who can’t make it, we can quickly brief you before departure in Beijing.
Before departure, we will send out a pre-departure email with general information to note for the trip such as what to pack, and other important information.
Optional reading list
With all of our tours, we send our participants an optional reading list (consisting mostly of items either free for view on the internet, or that will be shared with participants) to assist travellers in contextualising their North Korea travel experience. This is sent to travellers after a booking has been finalised.
Optional academic briefing
As specialists in educational tourism to the DPRK, we firmly believe in delivering an experience that is not only fun, but also allows travellers to learn a little about the country. We can arrange for academic experts in North Korean studies to conduct a 90 minute academic seminar over Skype. Contact us for more information.
Included in the tour fee:
- Round trip air ticket from Beijing to Pyongyang (Pyongyang-Beijing return by train surcharge – €65 euro, also payable in AUD, USD, or RMB)
- DPRK visa fees and handling
- Twin room lodging and accommodation in the DPRK (single room surcharge- €40 euro per night, also payable in AUD, USD, or RMB)
- Three meals a day in the DPRK (excluding optional meals in out of pocket restaurants)
- All transportation in the DPRK
- Local English-speaking DPRK guides
- Korean-speaking Western academic guide from Tongil Tours
- Most admission fees
Not included in the tour fee:
- Round-trip airfare to Beijing from home country
- Beijing hotel accommodations
- Chinese visa fees and processing (if necessary)
- Travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance (required)
- Gifts, souvenirs, snacks, hotel services, miscellaneous purchases
- Extra drinks during meals (one complimentary beer and bottled water included with most meals)
- Out of pocket expenses (see below)
Out of pocket expenses
These expenses are not included in the tour fee. It will be necessary to bring a little extra in cash – either Chinese yuan, Euros, or US dollars, into North Korea to pay for these expenses on the day. Prices are listed in euros, but may also be payed in USD or RMB. Note that prices are subject to change.
- Kaeson Youth Funfair ticket, €20 euro. Entry without going on the rides, €5 euro
- Tips for the guides and driver (in total from each traveller), €5 euro per night stayed
- Juche Tower elevator ticket (for those wishing to see the view at the top), €5 euro
- Micro-brewed beer (a pint) – €2 euro approx.
- Possibility for a visit to a café, Italian, hamburger, or other special restaurant – €7- €14 euro approx.
- Ryongmun Caves entry, €4 euro
- Skate park fee (for those wishing to skate) – €4 euro. Includes skate rental
- Ice skating fee (for those wishing to ice skate) – €4 euro. Includes skate rental
- This tour can be customised for any private group or delegation
- Starts & ends in Beijing
- BOOKING DEADLINE: four weeks prior to tour commencement
8 DAYS 7 NIGHTS in DPRK
- February 10-17, 2018
(Kim Jong Il Birthday / Kwangmyŏngsŏngjŏl – February 16)
- March 17-24, 2018
EUR €1800, also payable in AUD, USD or RMB.
Deposit due at time of application. EUR €500.
All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you’re travelling on your own, we’ll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travellers. Prices are subject to change based on North Korean rate changes. Prices do not include airfare to and from Beijing.
During your trip, sometimes it’s just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That’s why we offer the “My Own Room” option – a single room all to yourself. €40 euro per night, also payable in AUD, USD, or RMB.
6-STEP BOOKING PROCESS
Travelling to North Korea and China with Tongil Tours is easier than you think.
INTERESTED IN THIS TOUR?
Even if you are not sure if you will be able to attend this tour, we would like to hear from you if you have interest or might book this tour later. This enables us to continue planning appropriately.