Mass Games in North Korea
this September: frequently
asked questions

The Mass Games are back in Pyongyang after a five-year break. Have questions? Here are some answers. FAQs first published on 19 June 2018; last updated on 30 August 2018.

How can I see the Mass Games?

Sign up for one of our groups tours between 1 September- 30 September (now extended to 10th October!) to see the Mass Games. We can also arrange private tours for small groups.

I want to book one of your tours, but it says ‘Tour Full’ — how can I join this tour?

The capacity of certain tours over this period are limited by the number of seats available on the planes and trains scheduled to enter North Korea during this time. Once those methods of getting to Pyongyang have gone it's impossible to add any more.

As such, if you were looking at a particular tour that is now full your options are to either (a) see if one of the other Mass Games tours that are still available work for you, and to join that; or (b) contact us to be placed on the waiting list for each of our fully booked tours in the hope that someone else drops out.

I’m already booked on one of your tours — can I go to the Mass Games?

We've had confirmation from our partners in Pyongyang that this year's Mass Games will run from 9-30 Sep (2018) with the potential that it might extend into early October. If you are booked on to one of our tours during this period then, yes, you can go to the Mass Games. Even if a trip to the Mass Games is not currently on your advertised itinerary we will ensure that all our tour groups travelling to the DPRK (North Korea) during Sept 9 - Oct 10 will have a chance to attend one of the Mass Games performances.

If you are booked on to one of our tours that falls outside Sept 9 - Oct 10 then, no, you cannot go to the Mass Games — you would have to move to one of our Mass Games tours. All of our tours that offer the chance to see this year's Mass Games are listed here.

How much will it cost to attend the Mass Games?

Our partners in Pyongyang have now confirmed with us that the cheapest ticket to attend this year's Mass Games will cost 100 euros (1150 seats available), and be classified as a '3rd Class Ticket'. The other tiers of ticket above this are '2nd Class' (270 seats) for 300 EUR, '1st Class' (70 seats) for 500 EUR, and 'VIP' (30 seats) for 800 EUR.

Please note that the cost of this entry ticket is not included in our Mass Games tour packages as different people in the group may want to sit in different sections (with the higher-class tickets being more central, and having better views). Members of a tour group do not all have to sit in the same section.

What is the difference between the seating classes?

In years past, the largest difference between seating classes has largely been proximity to the Mass Games even on the stadium floor below. The stadium has undergone extensive renovations since the last Mass Games, so this year may be different from before.

We are currently waiting for a final seating chart and will post it here when it is confirmed.

I'm American and would like to travel to Pyongyang to see the Mass Games. Can US citizens go to North Korea?

There is currently a restriction on US citizens travelling to North Korea. This is due to legislation put in place by the US State Department on 1 Sep 2017, which essentially prohibits the use of an American passport to travel to the DPRK (North Korea).

As such, Koryo Tours currently can not and will not take anyone on a tour to North Korea if they intend on travelling there with an American passport. This includes our Mass Games tours in September 2018.

Of course, if and when this travel ban is lifted we will announce the news via our newsletter and social media channels, and accept American passport holders on our tours once more.

You can read more about the details of this travel restriction at the US State Department website.

When will the travel ban on Americans be lifted?

The decision on whether or not to lift the travel ban rests with the US State Department. Should you wish to try and influence American government policy you can write to your senator or contact your representative. Alternatively, why not send a tweet to President Trump? Or perhaps just wait and see when this piece of legislation is changed or elapses.

When the travel ban is lifted we will once again accept American-passport holders on our tours. You're probably more likely to follow us on social media than the US State Department so rest assured that, as soon as we have it, we will announce any news on this via our newsletter and social media channels. You can subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

I'm not an American. Can you guarantee that I’ll definitely get to go to the Mass Games?

We've now been specialising in tourism to the DPRK (North Korea) for 25 years, and have successfully taken people to every single Mass Games performance season to have taken place since 1993. In our experience, over a quarter of a century of working with the same people in Pyongyang, we have always been able to take tourists to see the Mass Games once our partners there have confirmed that we have secured access. This confirmation has now been given to us.

The only time in our 25-year history when we've been unable to take tourists to a Mass Games performance is when a political leader has been in attendance on a particular evening, such as when China's then-President Hu Jintao went to one of the shows in 2005. But this is either made known to us in advance, and/or the itinerary is rearranged so that our tour group are able to attend a performance on a different evening during their time in the country.

However, as you know, it turns out that black swans do exist, and in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. But as a company we have successfully taken tourists to every Mass Games to have taken place since our first year of operations in 1993, so you can rest assured that you're in safe hands with Koryo Tours.

Can I secure tickets in advance?

Tickets to each show have to be bought in person and on the spot. Ticketmaster is yet to break in to the North Korean live-event market. However, it's thought that this year's Mass Games will be held in Pyongyang's May Day Stadium, which the Koreans say can hold 150,000 people — so there is plenty of capacity. As a company, we also let our partners in Pyongyang know how many tickets to each show we need, and they make sure to reserve tickets for us so we are able to pick them up in person when at the stadium.

The only way to "secure" your ticket to the Mass Games in advance is to book one of our Mass Games tours, and we will notify our partners in Pyongyang how many people will be travelling with us and how many tickets we will need. We are, of course, unable to request event tickets for people who have not made a solid booking to join one of our tours travelling to the Mass Games.

Will there be performances every night of the week? Will they all be the same?

The exact schedule of this year's performance season is yet to be 100 per cent confirmed, but, based on previous years and our past experience, it's our understanding that there will be shows three or four times a week during the event's entire run.

Yes: every show will feature the same content, narrative, choreography and routines. This is a performance involving thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people. Who have been rehearsing for at least the last three months. So spontaneous changes in the performance or an unplanned sprinkling of free-jazz improvisation are beyond unlikely.

That said, the story and content of this year's performance will differ from the former Arirang Mass Games.

Updated 30 August 2018

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