Koryo Tours — the experts in travel to rather unusual destinations.
Our mission: to facilitate responsible tourism to the world’s most isolated and least understood countries while encouraging people-to-people engagement through travel, culture, sport and humanitarian projects.
Koryo’s co-founder was a lecturer at a Beijing university in the early 1990s when he met a DPRK citizen, and took his first trip to Pyongyang . The experience inspired him to set up Koryo in 1993, and he’s been travelling there ever since. Nick’s unprecedented approach in North Korea has resulted in three documentaries, and a feature film. His work on the award-winning Korea pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale broke new ground by uniting creatives from both sides.
Comrade Kim Goes Flying (2012)
Crossing the Line (2006)
A State of Mind (2004)
The Game of Their Lives (2002)
'Made in North Korea: Graphics From Everyday Life in the DPRK' (Phaidon, 2017)
Simon is from the south west of England. He moved to Beijing in 2000, becoming Koryo’s General Manager two years after. Having traveled to North Korea more than 175 times — check out Simon's Instagram to see which trip he is on at the moment — he has probably been to the country more than any other westerner. He is a respected speaker on the country and appears regularly in international media . Simon’s tireless work, alongside our partners in Pyongyang, has been essential in opening up new territories within the DPRK to tourists. Apart from the DPRK he designs and leads tours in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and the Russian Far East.
Featured Blog Posts
My First Trip to North Korea
My First Mass Games - 2002
License plates of North Korea
Rebecca is a native Beijinger who has worked and studied in Singapore. Alongside fluently speaking two languages, she also has two degrees (one each from China and Singapore). At Koryo she is responsible for dealing with agents – other companies that use our expert services to help them deliver tours of the DPRK. Rebecca has successfully planned trips with close to 100 agents. She regularly travels to the DPRK to ensure she is providing the best information possible for our partners.
Please contact us if you are an agent and would like to work with Koryo to offer North Korea trips to your own customers.
As a teenager, rather than join friends at Disneyland Paris, Rich saved up for his first trip — from England to The Gambia. A career in travel beckoned, and in 2001 he became a tour leader with Explore, a British adventure travel company. He has since led tours to more than 40 countries. In 2012, Rich joined Koryo, where he uses his ten years of DPRK travel to help customers plan private independent tour itineraries. His extensive global experience has led him to develop other exciting destinations for Koryo Tours, such as Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Mongolia. Follow Rich on Instagram
Featured Blog Posts
My First Tour to North Korea
Dandong on the Yalu
Air Koryo: Vegetarians Welcome
My First Trip to Mongolia
In the Soviet Sanatorium
Elinor was born in Beijing, and completed her undergraduate at the city’s Wuzi University, where she studied English and business administration. Before joining Koryo in 2016 she worked for an international trading company. Elinor now uses her well-developed administrative skills as Koryo’s business assistant. Perhaps most importantly, her keen eye for detail, not to mention her mastery of difficult documents, means she is a perfect match for the key role of managing the thousands of DPRK (North Korea) visa applications we process each year for our tours.
Greg grew up in post-socialist Hungary and has lived in the Netherlands, Israel, and China. He holds a degree in Sociology and Anthropology and worked as a Maintenance Assistant in a US summer camp, on the banana plantations of an Israeli kibbutz, taught Social Statistics in Budapest, and English in rural China. He first traveled to North Koreas as a tourist in 2016 following in the footsteps of his grandparents, who visited in 1988. This trip of a lifetime that made him to dust off his Tour Guide Certificate, and join the Koryo team in 2017. He has been working since managing Koryo's North Korea group tours, developing itineraries, and leading tours.
Greg studied Korean for a month in Pyongyang at the Tourism College in October 2018.
Featured Blog Posts
Ostalgie: Looking Back on a 1988 Hungarian Family Vacation to the DPRK
Profile coming soon!
Featured Blog Posts
Hotels of North Korea: The Sea Kumgang Hotel
James first travelled to North Korea in 2007 and joined Koryo Tours in 2015. He has lived in North Korea as a resident teacher, worked on humanitarian projects in-country, and accompanied cultural delegations. James speaks Korean and has an interest in the culture of North Korea, particularly the country's Koguryo and Koryo-era UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the 16th century poetess Hwang Jin I, as well as baseball and basketball in colonial-era Pyongyang. He also leads tours to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Captions for 'D.P.R. Korea Grand Tour' (2018)
Featured Blog Posts
A Short History of Baseball in Northern Korea, Part I and Part II
The 1921 Pyongyang Marathon
Yanggak Island Discs: North Korean Music Blog Series
Jessica is a graduate student in East Asian Studies and regularly visits North Korea as a tour leader. Before pursuing her graduate degree, Jessica worked for two and a half years at the Koryo Tours office in Beijing where she organised the 2017 Pyongyang Marathon, the largest event in North Korea open to foreigners since 1989. In 2018, Jessica became one of the first foreigners to study at the Pyongyang Tourism University. Follow her on Instagram for a kind of different perspective on all things North Korea.
Featured Blog Posts
Cycling in North Korea: Pyongyang
Cycling in North Korea: Wonsan by the Sea
With her international intentions, Arielle first traveled to North Korea in 2015, and has visited the country almost every year since. In 2017, she lived in Japan to study Japanese and finish her degree in Politics, with a focus on North Korean politics and history. Arielle has visited almost all 9 of the provinces in North Korea, and in 2018, became one of the first foreign students to study Korean at the Pyongyang College of Tourism. Prideful of her karaoke skills, she has an interest in North Korean music, and will happily teach you some popular Korean songs when you catch her on tour.
Zoe has been an avid traveller since her teens and hasn’t stayed in one place for much longer than a year since then. Due to her love of meeting new people and exploring new cultures, she has the habit of constantly trying to learn new languages. At university, she studied German, Japanese, and Dutch, and picked up Chinese after moving to China. She has since started her next challenge; Korean. Originally from the UK, she has lived in Austria, Zimbabwe, and Japan before coming to Beijing. She first went to the DPRK for travel 4 years ago, and knew straight away that it wasn’t going to be her last time!
Find out more about Zoe
Ian first travelled to North Korea in 2008, crossing the DMZ from South Korea. He has been visiting the country ever since, initially as a tourist with Koryo (of course), and later as a tour guide. He is a keen runner and never misses the Pyongyang Marathon each April. Ian travels to North Korea several times a year as a Koryo Tour guide and also in his capacity as programme manager for Choson Exchange, a charity which teaches business skills to North Korean entrepreneurs. Ian is based in London.
Andray is the 2018-2019 Koret Fellow at APARC, Stanford University. He is an Affiliate Researcher at Korea University and an Adjunct Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Working for a non-profit, Choson Exchange, has taken him to the DPRK 30 times; he has also lived in Myanmar. He has published extensively on the two countries.
Jeroen’s love for the art of photography started in 1988 when he received his first camera during a family city-trip in Amsterdam. Since 2000 he has been working as a freelance fashion photographer. As a reaction to his daily work as a portrait and fashion photographer, Jeroen travels the world and explores local life in all its facet’s. In 2013 Jeroen first visited the DPRK with Koryo. The trip left an unforgettable impression. His travel stories have been published in many magazines and newspapers. This duality attracted the attention of Leica, and since 2009 there is a close collaboration that resulted in workshops where Jeroen shares his passion for photography and his way of working with eager students of all levels. Join professional photographer Jeroen on the Leica North Korea Photography Tour.
Ben left the UK in 2018 after finishing school to move to Seoul and start studying Korean. After 6 months he came to Beijing to start working at Koryo Tours. He has spent his spare time researching North Korea since he was 12 and always knew he wanted to do something related to the country. As well as working at Koryo Tours, Ben also runs his own website, Mansudae Korea, focused on the DPRK.
Koryo’s co-founder, Nick Bonner, was a lecturer at a Beijing university in the early 1990s when he met a DPRK citizen, and took his first trip to Pyongyang. The experience inspired him to set up Koryo Tours in 1993, and he’s been travelling there ever since. Koryo is now the world's leading travel specialist to DPRK (North Korea), and takes more than 2,000 people to this extraordinary destination every year.
Koryo Tours, its staff and its trips frequently feature in the media — whether that be as experts discussing travel to the DPRK, or coverage of one of our exciting tours. Please see below for a selection of stories about what we've been up to.
This railway route passes through towns and villages historically closed off to foreigners.nationalgeographic.com
2018 has been a landmark year. So is the 'hermit kingdom' finally opening up?vice.com
Koryo Tours took Michael Palin to North Korea for a Channel 5 travel series.telegraph.co.uk
Explore the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in this intriguing time-lapse of a city rarely seen by foreigners.video.nationalgeographic.com
A British expat who leads tours to the isolated DPRK explains why there are things to like about it.telegraph.co.uk
Meet the Beijing-based Briton seeking to promote ties with DPRK (North Korea) via travel and film.ft.com
A Beijing-based tour company specializing in North Korea tours is offering a rare train journey that goes far beyond the country's "already exposed" capital.edition.cnn.com
Simon Cockerell, general manager of Koryo Tours, tells the BBC about why tourists want to go on holiday to North Korea.bbc.co.uk
A group of tourists have become the first to complete a cycling tour of North Korea — on a trip organised by a British-run travel company.