East Asia Tours

Why should you choose Koryo Tours?

Choosing to travel to unusual destinations such as North Korea is a big decision, and choosing the right people to take you is an incredibly important part of that. Learn about how we facilitate tourism responsibly in some of the most interesting and unique destinations on our planet, and at the same time ensure you get the most out of your once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Koryo Tours East Asia; A Different East Asia.

Extraordinary adventures to handpicked destinations that have captivated our hearts, and will yours, too.

Each tour has been inspired by our staff’s personal experiences with the country.

These gems, often nestled in remote corners, are a logistical challenge and often too expensive to arrange independently; Relax as we meticulously handle all the details for you.

With over 30 years of experience in the East Asia region, specially curated Koryo Tours East Asia tours are truly like no other; helping you to immerse yourself in the captivating landscapes and cultures that define East Asia.

Discover your next journey below. Reach out with any questions, and join us in the joy of introducing you to our friends, family, and the wonders of these incredible places.

Mongolia

South Korea

North Korea

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Mongolian Eagle Hunters

North Korea Mass Games

North Korea Pyongyang Marathon

Mongolia Gobi Desert

July 2024 — 1 tour

July 13 - July 20 2024

The Gobi Explorer

Mongolia Gobi
Desert Explorer

This tour into the vast Gobi Desert offers
a great insight into local life, geology
and scenery.

From 1600 USD per person

Please apply by 1st July, 2024.

The Gobi Explorer

Mongolia Gobi
Desert Explorer

This tour into the vast Gobi
Desert offers a great insight
into local life, geology and
scenery.

From 1600 USD per person

This tour is managed by...

Rich Beal

Rich Beal is our International Tours Manager.

Rich is one of our most experienced tour leaders. He has led tours worldwide since 2004, specialising in Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the surrounding area. Currently living in Mongolia, he leads multiple specialised trips annually and has over 20 years of experience running and designing tours of the region. 

  • Overall

    A short adventure for those who wish to see the great Gobi Desert in a short space of time. During this short but intensive tour, we delve deep into the Gobi Desert and become true explorers. Our first stop is at Mandalagovi.

    This desert town was once home to factories during the Soviet Union period. Heading further south, we will check out the Yol Am Valley. This is located in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountain range. Before setting off on our hike, we will pay a visit to the small local natural history museum which includes strange exhibits and 10 million-year-old dinosaur eggs. During this Gobi Desert tour, we also visit the Khongor Sand Dunes, also known as the ‘Singing Dunes’ for the eerie noise they make when swept by the wind, as well as visiting Bayanzag.

    This is otherwise known as ‘Flaming Cliff’s due to the rich red colouration of the clays and rocks which have been pushed up to form this landscape. All this, whilst checking out the herds of camels as we go, hiking through untouched and unexplored areas, enjoying breathtaking sunrises, and experiencing life in a Mongolia Ger tent. 

    Tour leader Rich Beal has 15 years of experience leading tours to Mongolia, including remote areas of Mongolia’s far west and Gobi Desert. If you’re looking for an even more unique experience, head to Mongolia for the Naadam Festival which directly precedes this Gobi Desert Explorer Tour.

    See below for the Gobi Explorer Tour highlights, itinerary, and notes.

    Highlights

    • The Gobi desert, one of Mongolia's must-see locations - enjoy the peace and tranquillity in this rugged yet beautiful terrain.
    • Visit the awe-inspiring Khongor Sand Dunes some of the biggest in Asia.
    • Hike through the exciting Vulture Gorge Visit Bayanzag this once home of dinosaurs such as the T-rex is now their encased in its beautiful red cliffs.
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 8
    1. Saturday, 13th July

      Ulaanbaatar
       
      No matter your arrival time, as with all our tours, the Koryo representative will be there to meet you and escort you to your hotel.

      Once you’ve had a chance to relax, we’ll head out into the city for a bit of light exploration before heading to our first group meal.

      Meals | Dinner

      Overnight | Hotel 9, Ulaanbaatar. A local hotel situated in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, within a 5-minute walk from the main square. This hotel offers a great location from which to walk out and explore the city.

    2. Sunday, 14th July

      Into the Gobi Desert

      • We’ll start our adventure early as we have a long drive south towards the Gobi Desert. On the journey, we will see the lush green rolling hills of Ulaanbataar open up to the semi-arid middle Gobi region.
         
      • Mandalagovi | For lunch, we will stop at a local restaurant in the regional capital, Mandalagovi. This desert town expanded and grew during the Soviet Union period becoming a centre of manufacturing and industry, which unfortunately declined following the collapse of the Union. These days the town is home to a large agricultural college with farming also providing the primary income regionally.
         
      • Continuing our drive southwards, we will see more signs of desertification and herds of camels roaming the desolate desert plains.
         
      • White Stupa Cliffs | We’ll cross from the middle Gobi region into the south, turning off the main highway and heading out across the desert scrub to our destination, the White Stupa Cliffs (Tsagaan Suvarga). The White Stupa Cliffs are located in the rocky Tsagaan Suvarga National Park; they are an impressive geological rock formation. Millions of years of wind, rain, and tectonic shifts have sculpted this ancient sea bed. The cliffs that have been formed, as the name suggests, resemble crumbling white Buddhist pagodas (stand even further back, and they look like a deserted city).
         
      • Not far from the fantastic White Stupa Cliffs, we find our ger camp accommodation tonight, out in the desert; once we have checked in, you’ll be able to enjoy a welcome drink and view your first Gobi sunset.

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Tourist Ger Camp. We stay in gers out in this desert region. We have access to the restaurant area as well as bathroom facilities with hot showers and Western-style toilets.

    3. Monday, 15th July

      An Adventure in Eagle Valley

      • For those who watched the sunset the previous day, you may wish to complete the set and wake for the desert sunrise; alternatively, snuggle up in your duvet and enjoy the warmth of your ger.
         
      • Dalanzadgad | After breakfast, we’ll depart the camp and continue southwards to the city of Dalanzadgad. Dalanzadgad is the regional capital at the heart of South Gobi Province and the region where we will be spending much of the following days.
         
      • Dalanzadgad has a population of around 70,000, although it never feels like it since this settlement in the desert always appears empty with a wild west frontier feel to it. We’ll stop for a spot of lunch and stock up on road snacks before driving on to our main highlight of the day Yol Am Valley.
         
      • Yol Am Valley | A relatively short drive from Dalanzadgad finds us at the famed Yol Am Valley (Vulture Valley); this narrow canyon is located in southern Mongolia’s Gurvan Saikhan Mountain Range. Before beginning our hike, we will visit the small local natural history museum; this quirky museum is quite interesting as it houses some of the region’s paleontological finds in the shape of ten million-year-old dinosaur eggs.
         
      • We begin our adventure at the valley’s wide entrance, following the small river into the canyons, narrowing cliffs eventually. As the step-sided walls cut the sun from the canyon’s bottom, we will catch a glimpse of the locally famous frozen river. Over the winter months, the river builds up a thick layer of ice, which thaws slowly and, at times, remains long into the summer months. As you follow the winding path, eagles rise to circle in the thermals high above the canyon whilst wild goats can be seen perched on the high valley walls and picas scurry amongst the rocky terrain.
         
      • For those who may have used all of their energy climbing the dunes yesterday, there are plenty of horses for rent at the entrance of the canyon.

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Tourist Ger Camp. 

    4. Tuesday, 16th July

      The Singing sand dunes of Khongoryn Els

      • Khongor Sand Dunes | The adventure continues as we board our vehicles and journey onwards through the wilds of the Gobi Desert heading deeper into its sandy clutches to the Khongor Sand Dunes (Khongoryn Els), also known as the Singing Sands. We pass some of the typical Gobi terrain along the route, a mix of loose pebbles, gravel, and fine sand. As we journey, we will cross a fertile area of the steppe where we’ll be sure to visit one of the traditional nomadic families who call this desolate region home.
         
      • The Khongor Sand Dunes, as the name suggests, are a dune system found within the Gobi; as only around 3% of the Gobi desert is covered in sand, the sight of these 300-metre-high gigantic dunes is something to behold. The shifting sands of Khongoryn Els stretch out for over 180 km, although we arrive in the most impressive area and stay at a Ger camp with views across these giants.
         
      • Once we have eaten lunch and waited for the day to cool a little, we’ll continue our adventure and visit one of Khongor’s resident camel herder families. Although most of these herder families are now in this region to supply camels to tourists, we can think of no better way to approach these monstrous sandy giants. After arriving, we will have time enough to climb and explore the dunes; it may take a little longer than you think to climb the impressive dunes.
         
      • If you are fortunate, you may also experience why they have been named the singing dunes, as when the wind blows across the sand’s surface in the right direction, an eerie sound is emitted, sounding like an aircraft to some and a hidden being to others.
         
      • Another day nearing its end, but as with much of the Gobi Desert’s natural scenery, the Khongor Dunes come alive at sunset. Perhaps view the area from the top of the dunes or the comfort of our relaxing Ger camp while enjoying a cold drink after dinner.

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Tourist Ger Camp 

    5. Wednesday 17th July

      To the Flaming Cliffs

      • Aimags | The Gobi Desert is vast and our foray onto its plains today only gives us a snippet of its actual size; the Gobi Desert reaches into six Mongolian provinces (Aimags) and even crosses into China. The Gobi is the sixth-largest desert globally and the second in Asia. A wide-open place of extremes; our stop for today is perhaps one of the most well-known.
         
      • Flaming Cliffs | Our main destination for today, Bayanzag – (the Flaming Cliffs), is stunningly beautiful with its flame-coloured sandstone cliffs and canyons. Aside from its obvious wow factor, Bayanzag is also where American palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews first discovered the world’s first-ever fossilised dinosaur eggs and a mightly haul of various other fossils. A walk along the cliffs here is a walk in the footsteps of the man whom Indiana Jones was modelled on!
         
      • Bayanzag | We will also take a walk amongst the lower regions of Bayanzag, nicknamed by some as Mongolia’s answer to the Grand Canyon; they haven’t visited the canyon however since Bayanzag doesn’t resemble the Grand Canyon but is truly a marvel in its own right. The lower areas of the cliffs offer us breathtaking views of the enflamed rock face and reflect the cliff’s more local name, Bayanzag. Bayanzag translates to “rich in saxaul shrubs” which sounds a little odd until you find these peculiar spindly shrubs sprouting from the desert floor, creating a strange and otherworldly feel to the area.
         
      • Once we have finished our exploration, it’s off to the nearby Ger camp where we can relax, drink, and maybe return to the cliffs to catch the changing colours as sunsets, making a perfect end to an exciting day.

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Tourist Ger camp

    6. Thursday 18th July

      A Nomadic drive 

      • For those early risers today, you may wish to view the changing colours of the flaming cliffs once again; this time, sunrise offers the opportunity and is said to be the best time, to see the true beauty of this famous geological formation.
         
      • Baga Gazriin Chuluu | Following breakfast, we make our way across the country, continuing our journey to an area known as Baga Gazriin Chuluu. The trip will take us across typical Gobi scrub, transitioning into the more famed and well-known traditional Mongolian steppe.
         
      • As we approach Baga Gazriin Chuluu, it comes as a real surprise a red granite outcrop of rocks rises to 1768 metres above sea level in the middle of the flat, featureless Mongolian steppe.
         
      • Baga Gazriin Chuluu is designated a national park home to 20 rare species of plant, ibex, marmot and mountain sheep. The area offers us impressive geology and the chance to explore this and more with some good hikes, which also encompass some of the ancient petroglyphs and burial mounds found in the area.
         
      • Nomadic Herders | Should time permit on our journey, we will also have time to interact with a few more local nomadic herders who will also be passing through the region (just on a longer journey). Time permitting, we’ll stop for the ubiquitous cup of milky tea before continuing on our own adventure.
         
      • Once at the ger camp, for those who wish, there may be the opportunity for some optional horse riding, a great location to experience a ride out on a true Mongolian steed.

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Tourist Ger camp

    7. Friday 19th July

      Return to Ulaanbaatar

      • Drive to Ulaanbaatar | After an early morning start, we say a fond farewell to Mongolia’s southern region and drive back to the bustling capital Ulaanbaatar.
         
      • Gandan Monastery | However, our tour isn’t over as we’re off into the city to explore some of Ulaanbaatar’s must-see sites, the first stop at Gandan Monastery.
         
      • Gandan Monastery is Ulaanbaatar’s largest and most impressive Buddhist monastery; the complex is comprised of varying temples from different periods; one of the highlights is viewing the 26-meter-high gold-coated indoor Buddha.
         
      • National Museum of Mongolian History | From temple to museum, we’ll head further into the city and stop at the National Museum of Mongolian History to see artefacts from Mongolia and Central Asia dating as far back as the Stone Age to the present day. From there, it’s a short jaunt back across the square to the comfort of our hotel, where you’ll have the chance to wash the Gobi sand from your hair before relaxing, shopping and preparing for our last group meal together.

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Hotel in Ulaanbaatar.

    8. Saturday 20th July 

      Departure day

      We end our adventure in the morning, with transfers to the airport for international flights. Pack your souvenirs, your dirty clothes and your memories, and have a safe trip home!

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • 2 nights hotel in Ulaanbaatar
    • Transportation in Japanese 4X4 airconditioned vehicles
    • 5 nights Ger camps
    • Entrance fees and national park taxes
    • All meals included
    • English speaking local guides
    • Airport Transfer (only on trip start/end dates)

    NOT INCLUDED

    • International flights
    • Any alcoholic beverages
    • Meals (specified)
    • Medical insurance
    • Visas (if needed)
    • Items of personal nature
    • Airport Transfer (outside of trip start/end dates) 30 USD
  • Notes

    Please note! This tour has been designed to visit not only a few of the more remote areas but also those must see sites that are firmly on the tourist trail. Although with any tour to Mongolia there is still an element of nature and ruggedness of the terrain. Due to this, any change in itinerary at the time cannot be helped. We will do our best to keep to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible. However, please be aware that things are subject to change, especially if we encounter any extreme weather conditions.

Please apply by 1st July, 2024.

August 2024 — 3 tours

August 12 - August 23/24 2024

The Liberation Day and Mt. Paektu Tour

11 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Take this chance to visit North
Korea's stunning Mt. Paektu!

From 2095 EUR per person

Please apply by 24th July, 2024.

The Liberation Day and Mt. Paektu Tour

11 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Take this chance to
visit North Korea's
stunning Mt. Paektu!

From 2095 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Join Koryo Tours on an adventure through North Korea (DPRK) that includes highlights such as partaking in Liberation Day national holiday celebrations, taking a domestic chartered Air Koryo flight, and seeing the beautiful and sacred mountain of Mt. Paektu - the highest peak in Korea.

    This tour begins in the North Korean capital city, Pyongyang, where we will visit all of the must-see sights, and more! This includes the Juche Tower, the Arch of Triumph, and a stop at the Kwangbok Supermarket, a local North Korean supermarket. Spending our first few days touring Pyongyang means we can enjoy the Liberation Day celebrations with the locals.

    Liberation Day 2024 marks the 79th anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation, and the local North Koreans spend this day dancing in the park, playing games, and eating and drinking. After a few days of Pyongyang city touring, this comprehensive North Korea tour takes you out of the capital and into the North Korean countryside for a tour of areas rarely visited by foreigners. This includes visiting Wonsan, Mt. Kumgang, and Mt. Paektu. You will be staying at the Yanggakdo Hotel, one of the deluxe standard hotels in Pyongyang.

    If this tour is too long then consider these shorter Liberation Day Options – The Liberation Day Tour for 5 nights in the DPRK, or the Liberation Day and East Coast Tour.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Liberation Day Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Liberation Day celebrations on August 15th!
    • Mt. Paektu, surrounded by alpine forests and topped by Lake Chon, Paektu is the highest mountain in Korea
    • Mt. Kumgang: the 'Diamond Mountain'. Breathtaking views and the best hiking in the DPRK
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. August 11 | Sunday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. August 12 | Monday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 12:20. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
         
      • Flight arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 15:20. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides and transfer to the city.
         
      • Grand People’s Study House | Huge national library and public university housed in a large neo-traditional Korean building overlooking Kim Il Sung Square and the downtown Pyongyang.
         
      • Victory (Sungni) Street | Walk from Kim Il Sung Square to the Pyongyang Grand Theatre along one of post-war Pyongyang's oldest streets.
         
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. August 13 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 miles) horse’ - a symbol of speed - commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
         
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower on the Taedong River dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy. Take the elevator to the top for 5 EUR for great views of the city.
         
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which make up the emblem of the Worker’s Party of Korea and represent workers, farmers, and intellectuals.
         
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okgyuwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. We’ll ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.

      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A beer bar serving seven types of beer. Popular with locals after work and on weekends. Best place to drink pints with local people.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. August 14 | Wednesday

      Historic Kaesong and the DMZ (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Panmunjom and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | Perhaps the most famous place in the entire country. The iconic manifestation of the tragic division between North and South Korea. The ‘truce’ village where several huts straddle the Central Military Demarcation Line (de facto border) with soldiers from each side standing guard. A tour here starts with a briefing at the edge of the DMZ, a visit to the Armistice Negotiation Hall and Armistice Signing Hall, seen as symbols of victory over foreign aggression on this side of the line. Then to Panmunjom itself – cross the border inside one of the blue huts, experience the uncanny feeling of crossing the front line of a sad and needless division of one society, and then take a higher view from the Panmun Pavilion looking over the line from above. A Korean People’s Army officer will be there to explain their side of things and will willingly pose for some photos too. A completely and utterly unmissable place.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum (Songgyungwan Academy) | A former Confucian school and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from the time. One of Kaesong’s many UNESCO World Heritage Site. The buildings are in Koryo Dynasty style but date back to the early 17th century following their destruction in the Imjin War.
         
      • Stamp Shop | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more. One of the best postcard collections in the country.
      • Traditional Korean Royal Lunch | Also known as pansanggi, the meal is made up of different dishes served in small brass bowls. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest!

      PM

      • Drive to Sariwon the provincial seat of North Hwanghae Province and a centre of agriculture and industry. A 2-hour drive.
         
      • Migok Co-Operative Farm | Learn about rural life in the DPRK at this farming community on the bucolic plains of Sariwon. Visit the farm's museum, viewpoint, and local home.
         
      • Return to Pyongyang.
         
      • Kaeson Funfair | We’ll take on the rides of Pyongyang’s newest funfair with the locals: pirate ship, vominator, rollercoaster, bumper cars, arcades, and more. Tickets purchased on the spot (1 EUR entry, 2-7 EUR for rides).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. August 15 | Thursday

      Liberation Day – the 78th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule. On August 15th there will be holiday celebrations in Pyongyang. We expect student-organised mass dances at prominent locations throughout the city, people heading to parks for a leisurely picnic, and performances in the afternoon. 

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery | Hilltop cemetery with dozens of bronze busts of those who took part in the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. It is customary to present flowers here.
         
      • Mt Ryonggak | Enjoy a picnic lunch in this park on the outskirts of Pyongyang and popular with locals. Stretch your legs after lunch witha short hike to the top of Mt Ryonggak itself.

      PM

      • A ride through Pyongyang from Kwangbok Street to Pyongyang Station on one of the city’s municipal trams.

      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) | We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance.

      • Mass Dance | As it's a national holiday, we expect to see large student-organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!

      • Dinner and sunset boat cruise along the Taedong River | We will take a cruise on the Taedong River while having dinner with live music performance and waiting for the fireworks.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. August 16 | Friday

      Wonsan

      AM

      • Drive east across the width of the peninsula to Wonsan, a major port city on Korea’s East Sea. A friendly and relaxing stop and gateway to Mt. Kumgang. One of the DPRK’s two ‘Hero Cities’ for the strategic role the city and its populace played on the frontlines in the Korean War. Now the focus of investment projects in the DPRK. A 4-hour drive with rest stops at Sinpyong Lake and Ulim Waterfall hidden amongst the mountains on the road to Wonsan. ‘Echo’ Waterfall is a scenic stopover to enjoy lunch, stretch your legs, or go for a dip in the pool beneath.

      PM

      • Wonsan Agricultural University | The DPRK’s premier agricultural university set among beautiful hillside scenery. Tour the grounds and the neo-Romanesque teaching hall, originally built by German monks living in the area in the early 20th century.
      • Songdowon International Schoolchildren’s Camp | A classic socialist summer camp where Korean and international children can spend two weeks learning socialist values and teamwork. Tour the recently renovated dormitories, aquarium, birdhouse, gymnasium, and more!
      • Wonsan City Centre and Docks | Central square and ship terminal in downtown Wonsan. The Mangyongbong-92 ferry/cargo ship which one shuttled Koreans living in Japan back and forth across the East Sea of Korea is moored here.
         
      • Kangwon Province Art Gallery | Small art exhibition selling artwork by local artists, where you can purchase paintings.
         
      • Jangdok Island and Lighthouse | Take a stroll on the breakwater to a small island in the middle of Wonsan harbour (1 EUR/USD entry fee). Local fishermen flock to this area, chat with them along the way. Also good for romantic evening walks.

      Overnight: Songdowon Hotel, Wonsan | Large seaside building. Basic but clean and with an excellent bookshop often stocking titles long sold-out in Pyongyang. Great interior decorating.

    7. August 17 | Saturday

      Mt. Kumgang

      AM

      • Drive south along the East Sea coast to the scenic Mt. Kumgang, the ‘Diamond Mountain’ noted in East Asian history and famous in Korean legend. Home of some of Korea’s most spectacular natural landscapes and best hiking. A 2.5-3 hour drive.
         
      • Samil Lagoon | A charming green-water coastal lagoon lined by pine forests. Named for the ‘three-day’ stay (sam-il) of a king in days-gone-by to take in the full beauty of the area.

      PM

      • Spend the afternoon hiking in the Mt Kumgang area | ‘The Diamond Mountain’ – a series of peaks and canyons rising above Korea’s eastern seaboard and regarded since time immemorial as one of the most scenic regions in East Asia. An 8 km (round-trip) hike to a scenic ‘Nine-Dragons’ waterfall will take us through forests, along mountain streams and by emerald pools.
         
      • Kumgangsan Hot Spa | Relax in the facilities of Kumgangsan's hot spa or treat yourself to a massage (approx 10-15 USD).

      Overnight: Mt. Kumgang Hotel, Mt. Kumgang | A comfortable hotel with good hot water supply and clean rooms. Top floor bar and karaoke, outdoor balcony barbeque, billiards, gift shops, and small sauna facilities.

    8. August 18 | Sunday

      Back to Wonsan

      AM

      • Drive back north to Wonsan. A 2.5-3 hr drive.
         
      • Former Wonsan Railway Station Revolutionary Site | Preserved Japanese colonial-era train station, waiting room, guesthouse, and the train which future President Kim Il Sung rode to Pyongyang during the liberation of the country in 1945.

      PM

      • Time to relax and swim on the beautiful beaches of Wonsan!

      Overnight | Songdowon Hotel, Wonsan

    9. August 19 | Monday

      Flight to Mt. Paektu!

      AM

      • Charter flight to Samjiyon Town, the gateway to Mt. Paektu from Wonsan Kalma International Airport that is not yet used for any international flights but a fascinating talking point for looking at the plans to develop this area. The US Marines landed here during the Korean War.
      • Mt. Paektu crater rim and Lake Chon | Ascend to the highest point in all of Korea (on foot, or by funicular railway) for amazing views of the highest crater lake in the world, sitting in the caldera of the volcano. A breathtaking and remote place of stunning and unique scenery – unforgettable in fact. From the top one can either walk down or cable car (weather permitting) to the lake itself to sample the crystal-clear waters. Basic facilities on site with a picnic lunch to maximise the time here.

      PM

      • Mt. Paektu Secret Camp | The guerilla headquarters of General Kim Il Sung during the anti-Japanese struggle set in a hidden alpine valley lined by towering peaks and said to be the birthplace of leader Kim Jong Il. See the reconstructed camp telling of how the guerillas lived year in and year out.
      • Rimyongsu Waterfall | A scenic waterfall which never freezes due despite chilling alpine winters. The waterfall also provides hydroelectric power to neighbouring villages.

      Overnight: Pegaebong Hotel, Samjiyon | The only option in this area. Located on the edge of Samjiyon Town. A well-maintained place offering hospitable service, a range of potato-based dishes (spuds are the main crop in this area) as well as billiards and a very nice garden area.

    10. August 20 | Tuesday

      Samjiyon Town and flight back to Pyongyang

      AM

      • Samjiyon Grand Monument | Vast complex of bronze statues, including one of President Kim Il Sung, and stone monuments next to a scenic alpine lake. One of three ‘grand monuments’ in the country and a truly impressive scenic/propaganda wonder. On the site that the army paused before their first major military engagement. Look for Mt. Paektu in the background on a clear day.
      • Samjiyon Schoolchildren’s Palace | Centre of extracurricular activities in the arts, music, and sports for local children with a performance.

      PM

      • Charter flight back to Pyongyang Sunan Airport.
         
      • Local Beer Bar | For this beer bar visit we'll be heading to somewhere very special - a true local beer bar in Pyongyang that is off-limits to foreigners. The perfect way to finish our tour and toast our local Korean hosts!
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.

      Overnight | Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

    11. August 21 | Wednesday

      Nampo and Pyongyang City Tour

      AM
      • Drive to Nampo (approx. 1.5 hrs drive)
         
      • West Sea Barrage | An 8 km concrete, steel, and earthen barrage constructed between the Taedong River estuary and the West Sea for land reclamation, irrigation, flood prevention, and power generation. It also acts as a ship lock and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.
         
      • Pi Island | A local beach next to West Sea Barrage. Go for a swim or join the locals for a karaoke.

      PM

      • Tae’an Glass Factory | Factory producing glass and glass products for the domestic market. Watch the glass-making process from smelting to sheet-cutting and even try to break a sheet of strengthened glass.
         
      • Chongsan-ri Co-Operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung (there is a bronze statue of him and various farm workers here), the place where the ‘Chongsam-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse and the local shop & kindergarten, see the fields and greenhouses.
         
      • Return to Pyongyang on the ‘Youth Hero Highway’.
         
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    12. August 22 | Thursday

      Pyongyang, including Full Metro Tour

      AM

      • Ride the full Pyongyang Metro | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride the full length of both lines, stopping at every station to get the full experience!
         
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Larger than its counterpart in Paris. Ascend to the roof of the arch for a rare birds-eye view over this part of the city

      PM

      • Ri In Mo Monument | Bronze statue of Ri In Mo, a long-term unconverted prisoner who spent decades in captivity in the south after being captured during the Korean War. Located on modernist Tongil Street. Ri In Mo is known in the DPRK as 'the incarnation of faith and will'.
         
      • Pyongyang by foot | A rare chance to see Pyongyang from street level as we take a long guided stroll around the centre and some of the most fascinating parts of the city. The best way to bring a tour to an end and to get some extra mingling and interaction in with locals. Try a spot of street food, gaze up at the towering Ryugyong Hotel, check out some side streets and shops along the way - a special treat for adventurers to close out this epic tour!
      • Farewell dinner at Arirang Restaurant | Considered one of Pyongyang's best restaurants serving fantastic Korean food. They also happen to make what some people in the know consider to be the best Makkoli in Pyongyang and served the traditional way.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

    13. August 23 | Friday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking.

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS251 at 10:15 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 11:35.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Friday, August 24 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Standard)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance (10 to 13 night)

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED 

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour except the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Koryo Tours tour leader
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; round-trip: 299EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit North Korea regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 24th July, 2024.

August 12 - August 20/21 2024

Liberation Day and East Coast Tour

8 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Take this chance to visit Korea's
stunning Diamond Mountains!

From 1645 EUR per person

Please apply by 24th July, 2024.

Liberation Day and East Coast Tour

8 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Take this chance to
visit Korea's stunning
Diamond Mountains!

From 1645 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Join Koryo Tours on an adventure through North Korea (DPRK) that includes highlights such as partaking in Liberation Day national holiday celebrations, and seeing the beautiful and stunning Mt. Kumgang.

    This tour begins in the North Korean capital city, Pyongyang, where we will visit all of the must-see sights, and more! This includes the Juche Tower, the Arch of Triumph, and a stop at the Kwangbok Supermarket, a local North Korean supermarket. Spending our first few days touring Pyongyang means we can enjoy the Liberation Day celebrations with the locals.

    Liberation Day 2024 marks the 79th anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation, and the local North Koreans spend this day dancing in the park, playing games, and eating and drinking. After a few days of Pyongyang city touring, this comprehensive North Korea tour takes you out of the capital and into the North Korean countryside for a tour of areas rarely visited by foreigners. This includes visiting Wonsan and Mt. Kumgang. You will be staying at the Yanggakdo Hotel, one of the deluxe standard hotels in Pyongyang.

    Looking for something shorter? -  The Liberation Day Tour.
    Looking for something longer and including even more of the DPRK? - The Liberation Day and Mt. Paekdu Tour.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Liberation Day Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Liberation Day celebrations on August 15th!
    • Wonsan the DPRK's 'Hero City' for its experience at the front of the Korean War along with Pyongyang
    • Mt. Kumgang: the 'Diamond Mountain'. Breathtaking views and the best hiking in the DPRK
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. August 11 | Sunday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. August 12 | Monday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 12:20. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
         
      • Flight arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 15:20. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides and transfer to the city.
         
      • Grand People’s Study House | Huge national library and public university housed in a large neo-traditional Korean building overlooking Kim Il Sung Square and the downtown Pyongyang.
         
      • Victory (Sungni) Street | Walk from Kim Il Sung Square to the Pyongyang Grand Theatre along one of post-war Pyongyang's oldest streets.
         
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. August 13 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 miles) horse’ - a symbol of speed - commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
         
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower on the Taedong River dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy. Take the elevator to the top for 5 EUR for great views of the city.
         
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which make up the emblem of the Worker’s Party of Korea and represent workers, farmers, and intellectuals.
         
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okgyuwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. We’ll ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.

      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A beer bar serving seven types of beer. Popular with locals after work and on weekends. Best place to drink pints with local people.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. August 14 | Wednesday

      Historic Kaesong and the DMZ  (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Panmunjom and DMZ | Perhaps the most famous place in the entire country. The iconic manifestation of the tragic division between North and South Korea. The ‘truce’ village where several huts straddle the Central Military Demarcation Line (de facto border) with soldiers from each side standing guard. A tour here starts with a briefing at the edge of the DMZ, a visit to the Armistice Negotiation Hall and Armistice Signing Hall, seen as symbols of victory over foreign aggression on this side of the line. Then to Panmunjom itself – cross the border inside one of the blue huts, experience the uncanny feeling of crossing the front line of a sad and needless division of one society, and then take a higher view from the Panmun Pavilion looking over the line from above. A Korean People’s Army officer will be there to explain their side of things and will willingly pose for some photos too. A completely and utterly unmissable place.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum (Songgyungwan Academy) | A former Confucian school and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from the time. One of Kaesong’s many UNESCO World Heritage Site. The buildings are in Koryo Dynasty style but date back to the early 17th century following their destruction in the Imjin War.
         
      • Stamp Shop | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more. One of the best postcard collections in the country.
      • Traditional Korean Royal Lunch | Also known as pansanggi, the meal is made up of different dishes served in small brass bowls. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest!

      PM

      • Drive to Sariwon the provincial seat of North Hwanghae Province and a centre of agriculture and industry. A 2-hour drive.
         
      • Migok Co-Operative Farm | Learn about rural life in the DPRK at this farming community on the bucolic plains of Sariwon. Visit the farm's museum, viewpoint, and local home.
         
      • Return to Pyongyang
         
      • Kaeson Funfair | We’ll take on the rides of Pyongyang’s newest funfair with the locals: pirate ship, vominator, rollercoaster, bumper cars, arcades, and more. Tickets purchased on the spot (1 EUR entry, 2-7 EUR for rides).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. August 15 | Thursday

      Liberation Day – the 79th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule. On August 15th there will be holiday celebrations in Pyongyang. We expect student-organised mass dances at prominent locations throughout the city, people heading to parks for a leisurely picnic, and performances in the afternoon. 

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery | Hilltop cemetery with dozens of bronze busts of those who took part in the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. It is customary to present flowers here.
         
      • Mt Ryonggak | Enjoy a picnic lunch in this park on the outskirts of Pyongyang and popular with locals. Stretch your legs after lunch witha short hike to the top of Mt Ryonggak itself.

      PM

      • A ride through Pyongyang from Kwangbok Street to Pyongyang Station on one of the city’s municipal trams.

      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) | We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance.

      • Mass Dance | As it's a national holiday, we expect to see large student-organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!

      • Dinner and sunset boat cruise along the Taedong River | We will take a cruise on the Taedong River while having dinner with live music performance and waiting for the fireworks.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. August 16 | Friday

      Wonsan

      AM

      • Drive east across the width of the peninsula to Wonsan, a major port city on Korea’s East Sea. A friendly and relaxing stop and gateway to Mt. Kumgang. One of the DPRK’s two ‘Hero Cities’ for the strategic role the city and its populace played on the frontlines in the Korean War. Now the focus of investment projects in the DPRK. A 4-hour drive with rest stops at Sinpyong Lake and Ulim Waterfall hidden amongst the mountains on the road to Wonsan. ‘Echo’ Waterfall is a scenic stopover to enjoy lunch, stretch your legs, or go for a dip in the pool beneath.

      PM

      • Wonsan Agricultural University | The DPRK’s premier agricultural university set among beautiful hillside scenery. Tour the grounds and the neo-Romanesque teaching hall, originally built by German monks living in the area in the early 20th century.
      • Songdowon International Schoolchildren’s Camp | A classic socialist summer camp where Korean and international children can spend two weeks learning socialist values and teamwork. Tour the recently renovated dormitories, aquarium, birdhouse, gymnasium, and more!
      • Wonsan City Centre and Docks | Central square and ship terminal in downtown Wonsan. The Mangyongbong-92 ferry/cargo ship which one shuttled Koreans living in Japan back and forth across the East Sea of Korea is moored here.
         
      • Kangwon Province Art Gallery | Small art exhibition selling artwork by local artists, where you can purchase paintings.
         
      • Jangdok Island and Lighthouse | Take a stroll on the breakwater to a small island in the middle of Wonsan harbour (1 EUR/USD entry fee). Local fishermen flock to this area, chat with them along the way. Also good for romantic evening walks.

      Overnight: Songdowon Hotel, Wonsan | Large seaside building. Basic but clean and with an excellent bookshop often stocking titles long sold-out in Pyongyang. Great interior decorating.

    7. August 17 | Saturday

      Mt. Kumgang

      AM

      • Drive south along the East Sea coast to the scenic Mt. Kumgang, the ‘Diamond Mountain’ noted in East Asian history and famous in Korean legend. Home of some of Korea’s most spectacular natural landscapes and best hiking. A 2.5-3 hour drive.
         
      • Samil Lagoon | A charming green-water coastal lagoon lined by pine forests. Named for the ‘three-day’ stay (sam-il) of a king in days-gone-by to take in the full beauty of the area.

      PM

      • Spend the afternoon hiking in the Mt Kumgang area | ‘The Diamond Mountain’ – a series of peaks and canyons rising above Korea’s eastern seaboard and regarded since time immemorial as one of the most scenic regions in East Asia. An 8 km (round-trip) hike to a scenic ‘Nine-Dragons’ waterfall will take us through forests, along mountain streams and by emerald pools.
         
      • Kumgangsan Hot Spa | Relax in the facilities of Kumgangsan's hot spa or treat yourself to a massage (approx 10-15 USD).

      Overnight: Mt. Kumgang Hotel, Mt. Kumgang | A comfortable hotel with good hot water supply and clean rooms. Top floor bar and karaoke, outdoor balcony barbeque, billiards, gift shops, and small sauna facilities.

    8. August 18 | Sunday

      Back to Wonsan

      AM

      • Drive back north to Wonsan. A 2.5-3 hr drive.
         
      • Former Wonsan Railway Station Revolutionary Site | Preserved Japanese colonial-era train station, waiting room, guesthouse, and the train which future President Kim Il Sung rode to Pyongyang during the liberation of the country in 1945.

      PM

      • Time to relax and swim on the beautiful beaches of Wonsan!

      Overnight | Songdowon Hotel, Wonsan

    9. August 19 | Monday

      Back to Pyongyang

      AM

      • Drive back to Pyongyang (approx 4 hours drive) with a stop at Masik Pass Ski Resort, the DPRK’s largest ski resort. Opened in 2013, Masik Pass features nine main runs, two beginner slopes, and a lodge with full amenities.

      PM

      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
         
      • Pyongyang by foot - a rare chance to see Pyongyang from street level as we take a long guided stroll around the centre and some of the most fascinating parts of the city. The best way to bring a tour to an end and to get some extra mingling and interaction in with locals. Try a spot of street food, gaze up at the towering Ryugyong Hotel, check out some side streets and shops along the way - a special treat for adventurers to close out this epic tour!
         
      • Farewell dinner at Arirang Restaurant | Considered one of Pyongyang's best restaurants serving fantastic Korean food. They also happen to make what some people in the know consider to be the best Makkoli in Pyongyang and served the traditional way.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    10. August 20 | Tuesday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking.

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 09:00 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 10:20.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Saturday August 20 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Standard)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance (7 to 9 nights)

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED 

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour except the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Koryo Tours tour leader
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; round-trip: 299EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit North Korea regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 24th July, 2024.

August 12 - August 17/18 2024

The Liberation Day Tour

5 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join us for North Korea's Liberation
Day celebrations in Pyongyang!

From 1205 EUR per person

Please apply by 24th July, 2024.

The Liberation Day Tour

5 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join us for North Korea's
Liberation Day celebrations
in Pyongyang!

From 1205 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Head into the DPRK during Liberation Day for what promises to be one of the best travel experiences you’ll have ever had!

    During this short but action-packed tour, we have a city tour of Pyongyang, visiting all of the must-see attractions, including the Juche Tower and Mansudae Grand Monument.

    Liberation Day 2024 marks the 79th anniversary of the end of Japanese occupation. It is a major public holiday in North Korea and we give you the chance to spend the day joining in the celebrations by hanging out and dancing with the locals in Moranbong Park. As well as the Liberation Day festivities and a city tour of Pyongyang, this tour also includes a day-trip to Kaesong, the North Korean city south of the 38th Parallel on the North-South border.

    Got more time to spare? Stay a couple of days longer for either our Liberation Day and East Coast Tour or our even longer Liberation Day and Mt. Paektu Tour and more of North Korea including remote areas, little-visited cities, and some stunning scenery.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Liberation Day Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Liberation Day celebrations on August 15th!
    •  
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. August 11 | Sunday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. August 12 | Monday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 12:20. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
         
      • Flight arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 15:20. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides and transfer to the city.
         
      • Grand People’s Study House | Huge national library and public university housed in a large neo-traditional Korean building overlooking Kim Il Sung Square and the downtown Pyongyang.
         
      • Victory (Sungni) Street | Walk from Kim Il Sung Square to the Pyongyang Grand Theatre along one of post-war Pyongyang's oldest streets.
         
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. August 13 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 miles) horse’ - a symbol of speed - commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
         
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower on the Taedong River dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy. Take the elevator to the top for 5 EUR for great views of the city.
         
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which make up the emblem of the Worker’s Party of Korea and represent workers, farmers, and intellectuals.
         
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okgyuwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. We’ll ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.

      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A beer bar serving seven types of beer. Popular with locals after work and on weekends. Best place to drink pints with local people.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. August 14 | Wednesday

      Historic Kaesong and the DMZ  (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Panmunjom and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | Perhaps the most famous place in the entire country. The iconic manifestation of the tragic division between North and South Korea. The ‘truce’ village where several huts straddle the Central Military Demarcation Line (de facto border) with soldiers from each side standing guard. A tour here starts with a briefing at the edge of the DMZ, a visit to the Armistice Negotiation Hall and Armistice Signing Hall, seen as symbols of victory over foreign aggression on this side of the line. Then to Panmunjom itself – cross the border inside one of the blue huts, experience the uncanny feeling of crossing the front line of a sad and needless division of one society, and then take a higher view from the Panmun Pavilion looking over the line from above. A Korean People’s Army officer will be there to explain their side of things and will willingly pose for some photos too. A completely and utterly unmissable place.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum (Songgyungwan Academy) | A former Confucian school and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from the time. One of Kaesong’s many UNESCO World Heritage Site. The buildings are in Koryo Dynasty style but date back to the early 17th century following their destruction in the Imjin War.
         
      • Stamp Shop | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more. One of the best postcard collections in the country.
      • Traditional Korean Royal Lunch | Also known as pansanggi, the meal is made up of different dishes served in small brass bowls. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest!

      PM

      • Drive to Sariwon the provincial seat of North Hwanghae Province and a centre of agriculture and industry. A 2-hour drive.
         
      • Migok Co-Operative Farm | Learn about rural life in the DPRK at this farming community on the bucolic plains of Sariwon. Visit the farm's museum, viewpoint, and local home.
         
      • Return to Pyongyang
         
      • Kaeson Funfair | We’ll take on the rides of Pyongyang’s newest funfair with the locals: pirate ship, vominator, rollercoaster, bumper cars, arcades, and more. Tickets purchased on the spot (1 EUR entry, 2-7 EUR for rides).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. August 15 | Thursday

      Liberation Day – the 79th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule. On August 15th there will be holiday celebrations in Pyongyang. We expect student-organised mass dances at prominent locations throughout the city, people heading to parks for a leisurely picnic, and performances in the afternoon. 

      AM

      • Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery | Hilltop cemetery with dozens of bronze busts of those who took part in the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. It is customary to present flowers here.
         
      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Mt Ryonggak | Enjoy a picnic lunch in this park on the outskirts of Pyongyang and popular with locals. Stretch your legs after lunch witha short hike to the top of Mt Ryonggak itself.

      PM

      • A ride through Pyongyang from Kwangbok Street to Pyongyang Station on one of the city’s municipal trams.

      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) | We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance.

      • Mass Dance | As it's a national holiday, we expect to see large student-organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!

      • Dinner and sunset boat cruise along the Taedong River | We will take a cruise on the Taedong River while having dinner with live music performance and waiting for the fireworks.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. August 16 | Friday

      Pyongyang

      AM

      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
         
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Larger than its counterpart in Paris. Ascend to the roof of the arch for a rare birds-eye view over this part of the city

      PM

      • Ri In Mo Monument | Bronze statue of Ri In Mo, a long-term unconverted prisoner who spent decades in captivity in the south after being captured during the Korean War. Located on modernist Tongil Street. Ri In Mo is known in the DPRK as 'the incarnation of faith and will'.
         
      • Pyongyang by foot - a rare chance to see Pyongyang from street level as we take a long guided stroll around the centre and some of the most fascinating parts of the city. The best way to bring a tour to an end and to get some extra mingling and interaction in with locals. Try a spot of street food, gaze up at the towering Ryugyong Hotel, check out some side streets and shops along the way - a special treat for adventurers to close out this epic tour!
      • Farewell dinner at Arirang Restaurant | Considered one of Pyongyang's best restaurants serving fantastic Korean food. They also happen to make what some people in the know consider to be the best Makkoli in Pyongyang and served the traditional way.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

    7. August 17 | Saturday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking*

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:55.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Sunday, August 18 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Standard)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED 

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour except the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Koryo Tours tour leader
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; round-trip: 299EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit North Korea regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 24th July, 2024.

September 2024 — 8 tours

September 7 - October 1 2024

The North Korea Mega Tour | Kaesong to Mount Paektu & Beyond

24 or 25 nights in North Korea
+ Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

An epic life-changing journey and the longest North Korea tour
of the year! Travel from Pyongyang to Kaesong, Mount Paektu
and far beyond!

From 3995 EUR per person

Please apply by 15th August, 2024.

The North Korea Mega Tour | Kaesong to Mount Paektu & Beyond

24 or 25 nights in North Korea
+ Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

An epic life-changing journey and the longest
North Korea tour of the year! Travel from
Pyongyang to Kaesong, Mount Paektu and far
beyond!

From 3995 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Koryo Tours' annual Mega Tour every September is the ultimate journey to North Korea, and our longest and most comprehensive tour to North Korea.

    We'll travel from Pyongyang, and to the most visited sites of the country to stunning Mt Paektu, Mt Chilbo, and Mt Kumgang as well as the rarely-visited industrial cities of Chongjin, Hamhung, and Wonsan, plus much more!

    The trip covers thousands of kilometres from the capital Pyongyang to the country's far north, south, east, and west by bus and internal flights. On the way, we’ll stop by all the must-see tourist attractions - from massive political structures and monuments to pristine mountains, forests, and beaches to the socialist industry and agriculture that are the backbone of the DPRK economy.

    We'll also be in Pyongyang for National Day, a major North Korean holiday, and see how North Koreans celebrate the 76th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK (North Korea). Get to know one of the least-understood countries in the world and its people as it stands at a crossroads in its relations with its long-time adversaries: South Korea and the United States.

    The best way to get to know and understand North Korea is to spend time in the country and meet and interact with local North Koreans through activities, sports, games, and serendipitous encounters.

    A new addition to this tour is the possibility of extending your stay in the DPRK for two more nights to visit the Rason Special Economic Zone to see North Korea to its fullest like nobody before. This trip offers a unique chance for an overview of much of the country.

    Take it from us; we've been travelling to North Korea for more than 30 years! Join us for this unforgettable trip of a lifetime.

    Looking for something shorter? You can also book just the first 9-nights or second 14-nights of this tour. See our National Day Long Tour and Unseen North Korea tours, respectively.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Mega Tour North Korea National Day Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Front Image credit: Christian Petersen-Clausen

    Highlights

    • Pyongyang for DPRK National Day on September 9
    • Full tour of the Pyongyang Metro to rarely-visited stations 
    • Four of the Eight Views of Korea (Mt. Kumgang, Pujon Highlands, Pyongyang, and Mt. Paektu) and Four of the Five Mountains of Korea (Mt. Paektu, Mt. Kumgang, Mt. Myohyang, and Mt. Kuwol)
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. September 6 | Friday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. September 7 | Saturday

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 13:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. September 8 | Sunday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery | Hilltop cemetery with dozens of bronze busts of those who took part in the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. It is customary to present flowers here.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museum and The Grand People’s Study House, Korea’s national library. See the centre of it all!
         
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Grand People's Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city.
         
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for 5 EUR for great views of the city.
         
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which make up the emblem of the Worker’s Party of Korea and represent workers, farmers, and intellectuals.
         
      • Golden Lane Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix (2.5 EUR per person per game). Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range (approximately 6 EUR per 20 round cartridge) and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang.
         
      • Taedonggang Seafood Restaurant | Dinner tonight will be at the Taedonggang Seafood Restaurant (10 EUR per person).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. September 9 | Monday

      National Day, the 76th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK (North Korea)

      AM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Here we will also see the Chollima, or ‘thousand ri [400 mile] horse’ – a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950’s following the Korean War.
         
      • FULL Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride both lines and stop off at smaller stations, rarely visited by tourists.
         
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
         
      • Moranbong Park | We’ll take a stroll and have picnic lunch in Pyongyang’s central park popular with locals for picnics, dances, and sports. The park is filled with historic pavilions, walls, and monuments- modern and ancient, a few of which are among the traditional ‘Eight Great Sights of Pyongyang’.

      PM

      • Tram Ride | A ride through Pyongyang on one of the city’s trams from Kwangbok Street. A Koryo exclusive!
         
      • Mass Dance | We'll watch as hundreds of locals, many in brightly coloured national dress, join together in a beautiful choreographed dance in the heart of the city (and maybe even join in ourselves!)
      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) | We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance.

      • Dinner and sunset boat cruise along the Taedong River | We will take a cruise on the Taedong River while having dinner with live music performance and waiting for the fireworks.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. September 10 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang and Nampo
       
      AM
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and USS Pueblo | We’ll tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guides. Renovated in 2012 and its exhibits of Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artifacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captures equipment from the US military, including the spyship USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in beautiful natural surroundings.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
         
      • Mt Ryonggak | Enjoy a picnic lunch in this park on the outskirts of Pyongyang and popular with locals. Stretch your legs after lunch witha short hike to the top of Mt Ryonggak itself.
      PM
      • Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to Nampo (45 minutes to 1-hour drive), the port city of Pyongyang at the mouth of the Taedong River on the West Sea.
         
      • Chongsam-ri Co-operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung, the place where the ‘Chongsam-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse, the local shop, kindergarten and see the fields and greenhouses.
         
      • Tae’an Glass Factory | Factory producing glass and glass products for the domestic market. Watch the glass-making process from smelting to sheet-cutting and even try to break a sheet of strengthened glass.
         
      • Pi Island | A local beach next to West Sea Barrage. Go for a swim or join the locals for a karaoke.
         
      • Nampo Clam BBQ | Nampo's famous clam BBQ - cooked in petrol and washed down with Korea's national drink, Soju.

      Overnight: Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel, Nampo | Compound with holiday houses and a main building for dinner and entertainment. Bring a torch! Spa bath in every room with mineral water from the Sindok Spring- the most famous mineral spa in the DPRK. Billiards, karaoke, and ping pong.

    6. September 11 | Wednesday

      Drive from Nampo to Kaesong via Mount Kuwol, the 'September Mountain', the scenic Chaeryong Plains, and Sariwon. We'll cross the West Sea Barrage at the mouth of the Taedong River in the morning.

      AM

      • West Sea Barrage | An 8 km concrete, steel, and earthen barrage constructed between the Taedong River estuary and the West Sea for land reclamation, irrigation, flood prevention, and power generation. It also acts as a ship lock and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.
         
      • Mt. Kuwol | A scenic mountain area on the West Coast of Korea. We’ll pass through this region on a full-day drive between Nampo and Kaesong after crossing over the West Seat Barrage in the morning.
         
      • Woljong Temple | Buddhist temple established in the middle of the 9th century and later rebuilt at the start of the Ri Dynasty.
         
      • Sinchon Town and Museum of US War Crimes (*Currently closed for foreign visitors) | Museum dedicated to ‘crimes committed by the US imperialists’. Located on the site of a civilian massacre, the museum has an array of harrowing exhibits, displays, and panoramas on the haunting events that took place in this region during the war. Not for the faint at heart and sensitivity is called for here. Please note that this location was closed to foreign visitors in 2018 following the DPRK-US Summit Meeting. If the situation changes, we will visit this site.
      PM
      • Sariwon Folk Village and City View | Mock-up of a traditional Korean town which includes a history museum, food street, and pavilions. There is a small tavern selling Makkoli, traditional rice wine. Climb a nearby hill for a view of Sariwon City and the surrounding plains.
         
      • Unjong Livestock Farm and Mask Dance | See the facilites of this livestock farm and then be treated to a traditional Korean mask dance.
         
      • Continue south to Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.
         
      • Traditional Korean Royal Meal with Kayagum Performance | Also known as pansanggi, the meal is made up of different dishes served in small brass bowls. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest!

      Overnight: Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong | Traditional style hotel where guests sleep on heated floors in Korean style. Housed in beautiful courtyards of Kaesong’s old city, structures date back to the Ri Dynasty. Basic bathroom facilities. Hot water not guaranteed and erratic electricity supply – please bring a torch.

    7. September 12 | Thursday

      Historic Kaesong and Panmunjom (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM
      • Old City Walk and South Gate | A stroll from the hotel through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the Ri Dynasty from the city’s historic South Gate.
         
      • Panmunjom Truce Village (*Currently suspended) | Located in the middle of the 4 km wide Demilitarised Zone, Panmunjom is the site of the signing of the 1953 armistice at the end of the Korean War. This is the only location where visitors can directly view soldiers from both sides and the demarcation line dividing Korea. On some days it is possible to enter the hut straddling both Koreas and there cross temporarily into the south.
         
      • Sonjuk Bridge | Small stone bridge built in 1290, which in 1392 was the site of the assassination of the last loyal Koryo Dynasty minister Jong Mong Ju by a son of Ri Song Gye (founder of the next, and final, dynasty). This bloody act extinguished the Koryo which had ruled over Korea for 474 years and is said to have left a permanent mark on the bridge that can be seen to this day.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum & Stamp Shop | A former Confucian education school, now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from the time. One of Kaesong’s many UNESCO World Heritage Site.

      PM

      • Pakyon Waterfall | Light walking with a picnic lunch in a relaxing wooded area. Local people commonly visit here for picnics and sometimes swimming in the series of pools above the falls.
         
      • Gwanum Temple | Located a 30-minute hike, above Pakyon Waterfalls, the temple dates back more than a thousand years and is dedicated to the Buddhist Bodhisattva of Mercy. There is an ornate marble Bodhisattva statue the nearby cave. The current building dates back to the Ri Dynasty and has an interesting tale associated with its construction.
         
      • Tomb of King Wanggon | Resting place of the founder of the Koryo Dynasty, who died in 943. The tomb is largely reconstructed after looting by the Japanese occupiers and general disrepair. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Concrete Wall and view of DMZ (*Currently suspended) | View of a complex fortification system erected on the southern boundary of the DMZ accompanied by a military guide. The wall is seen as evidence of intent to permanently divide the nation. A 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
         
      • Janam Hill | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.

      Overnight: Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong

    8. September 13 | Friday

      Haeju, and onto Pyongsong

      AM
      • Drive to the rarely visited town of Haeju (approx. 2 hrs drive, very dependent on road conditions but a guaranteed adventure), the provincial seat of South Hwanghae Province and a port city on the West Sea.
         
      • Picnic lunch at Sokdam Ravine | Made up of 9 valleys spread over a large area the Sokdam scenic area is a worthy place to visit for the views alone. Sokdam ravine means the scenic spot which was seated on the 9 ravines with mountains, rocks and streams.
      PM
      • Haeju Central Square and Statues
         
      • Puyong Pavilion | The largest pavilion in the whole DPRK and the only one in Korea built on footstalls in water, originally built in 1500.
         
      • Koryo Fortress | A major military base in its day, this fortress is situated above the magnificent Suyang Waterfall.
         
      • Drive to Pyongsong, the capital of South Pyongan Province. A 4-hour drive.
      Overnight: Jangsusan Hotel, Pyongsong | The only hotel in Pyongsong open for tourists and one of the most fun in the whole country! Basic facilities with fairly reliable electricity and hot water. One of the best bartenders in the country mans the bar. Billiards, karaoke, hairdresser, and outdoor eateries in summer.
    9. September 14 | Saturday

      Pyongsong and Mt Myohyang

      AM

      • Kim Jong Suk Higher Middle School | One of the DPRK’s top middle schools for gifted students, tourists are encouraged to help teach an English class!
         
      • Paeksong Revolutionary Site | Location of Kim Il Sung University during the Korean War. Tour the renovated buildings and learn about life there during the war.
         
      • Drive to Mt Myohyang via Anju a mid-sized industrial city located on the road and rail line north of Pyongyang on the Chongchon River. During the Korean War, major battles were fought near here between North Korean-Chinese forces and UN-South Korean forces. Coal is mined nearby. Rarely visited by foreigners.

      PM

      • Paeksang Pavilion and Anju City Walls | The greatest pavilion in Kwanso (Pyong’an Province) which overlooks the Chongchon River. Rebuilt after destruction in the Korean War.
         
      • Manpok Valley Hike | Various options for hikes of a range of distances/difficulties. Passing waterfalls, hermitages, interesting rocks, lovely wooded areas, and viewing points.

      Overnight: Huichon Hotel, Chagang Province | Basic but clean hotel located 30 minutes north of Mt. Myohyang. Very good local food much different from the lowlands, on-site sauna, and limited electricity.

    10. September 15 | Sunday

      Mt Myohyang and Return to Pyongyang

      AM

      • International Friendship Exhibition | A semi-subterranean exhibition hall displaying gifts of all kinds given to the DPRK leaders by foreign states, leaders, and organizations. The exhibition is a fascinating look into material culture in the second half of the 20th century. Highlights include a plane given by the Soviet Union, basketball signed by Michael Jordan from the US State Department, and vodka given by Dennis Rodman. The visit takes most of the morning. Presentable dress required.
         
      • Pohyon Buddhist Temple | A peaceful temple dating back to 1042 CE with stone pagoda and repository of print blocks and historic text of the Tripitaka Koreana, Buddhist scriptures first produced to invoke divine assistance from foreign invasions during the Koryo Dynasty.
         
      • Lunch at local hotel.

      PM

      • Drive back to Pyongyang (2.5-3 hours) with a stop at Ryongmun Caves | A subterranean complex of limestone caves and grottoes. Led by an experienced local guide, you will see weirdly (and suggestively) shaped rocks and stalactites/stalagmites and hear a wealth of stories and legends about each - some not appropriate for young audiences.
         
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A traditional standing bar serving seven type of beer (1 EUR a pint). Popular with locals after work and on weekends!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    11. September 16 | Monday

      Slow day in Pyongyang. This morning we'll allow everyone to sleep in for some much-needed rest. For those who want to can go and learn a bit about Korean history.

      AM

      PM

      • National Gift Exhibition Hall | One of North Korea’s two gift exhibition halls, this one houses all of the gifts given to North Korea’s leaders from Koreans in North Korea, South Korea and from all over the Korean Diaspora, including items gifted by many well known Koreans.
         
      • Korean Central History Museum | Located on Kim Il Sung Square, this is North Korea's national museum dedicated to the history of the Korean peninsula.
         
      • Helmut Sacher Coffee Shop | Relaxing afternoon stop at this coffee shop tucked away near Kim Il Sung Square. Good coffee here, cost around 3-5 EUR per cup.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    12. September 17 | Tuesday

      Drive to Hamhung, the DPRK's second largest city and centre of heavy industry, stopping at sights along the way.

      AM

      • Hamhung | Drive east across the width of the peninsula before heading north to Hamhung (6-7 hour drive), the second-largest city of the DPRK and major centre of industry.
         
      • Tomb of King Tongmyong | Largest of the UNESCO listed Koguryo Tombs spread through the area, this is the beautiful tomb complex of the founder of the Koguryo Dynasty two thousand years ago. Statues, a Buddhist Monastery, and lovely wall paintings make this a fascinating visit for history buffs.
         
      • Sinpyong Lake Rest Stop | Known as ‘Little Kumgang’ this scenic lakeside rest stop, a great opportunity to stretch your legs.
         
      • Ulim Waterfall | Hidden amongst the mountains on the road to Wonsan, ‘Echo’ Waterfall is a scenic stopover to enjoy lunch, stretch your legs, or go for a dip in the pool beneath.

      PM

      • Hamhung Grand Theatre and Central Square | Exterior view of the DPRK’s largest theatre on the city’s central square.
         
      • Home of Ri Song Gye | Home of the first king of the Ri Dynasty (1392-1910) who extinguished the Koryo Dynasty, only to be then ousted by his own son. A traditional hall and pavilion and associated naughty stories of the former king’s retirement years – some not appropriate for the youth!

      Overnight: Majon Beach Guesthouse, Hamhung | A beachside holiday compound with basic but comfortable chalets. Rooms have heated floors but no running water. Bring a torch! There is a main building with restaurant, bar, billiards, table-tennis, bookshop, and Korean karaoke.

    13. September 18 | Wednesday

      From Hamhung to the truly rarely visited Pujon Highlands (and back!)

      AM

      • Hungnam Fertiliser Factory | Massive chemical-industrial plant producing various kinds of fertilisers. Tour of the plant control room, production facilities, and packing plant - just don’t light up next to the Ammonium Nitrate!

      PM

      • Pujon Highlands | A scenic drive through the highlands above Hamhung, traditionally considered as one of the ‘Eight Great Sights of Korea’. Home to the Pujon Stone River, a multi-kilometre river of boulders running down the side a mountain and the Okryonsan Revolutionary Site – a base for anti-Japanese guerillas during the colonial period. This region was the sight of some of the most brutal fighting of the Korean War in the middle of the unusually cold winter of 1950. Notice how the local architecture differs from the lowlands beneath.

      Overnight: Majon Beach Guesthouse, Hamhung

    14. September 19 | Thursday

      Drive to Wonsan, a major port city on North Korea's east coast.

      AM

      • Tonghung Revolutionary Site | Hillside park with statues of the DPRK leadership overlooking Hamhung city centre and the Songchon River. A presentation of flowers is customary.
         
      • Drive south to Wonsan, a major port city on the East Sea, stopping at scenic spots along the way. A 2.5-3 hour drive.
         
      • Wonsan Agricultural University | The DPRK’s premier agricultural university set among beautiful hillside scenery. Tour the grounds and the neo-Romanesque teaching hall, originally built by Germans living in the area in the early 20th century.

      PM

      Overnight: Tongmyong Hotel, Wonsan | Waterfront hotel with stunning seaside views of Wonsan Harbor. Limited hours of hot water, bar, billiards, ping-pong, barber shop, beauty salon, dry-sauna, and indoor seawater swimming pool.

    15. September 20 | Friday

      Mt. Kumgang

      AM

      • Mt. Kumgang | Drive along the East Sea to see the ‘Diamond Mountain’ noted in East Asian history and famous in Korean legend. Home of some of Korea’s most spectacular natural landscapes and best hiking. A 2.5-hour drive.
      • Samil Lagoon | A charming green-water coastal lagoon lined by pine forests. Named for the ‘three-day’ stay (sam-il) of a king in days-gone-by to take in the full beauty of the area

      PM

      • Hiking at Kuryong Waterfall | An 8 km (round-trip) hike to a scenic waterfall through forests, along mountain streams and by emerald pools. A beautiful place to sit, relax and spend a few hours in nature. Feel like a rewarding challenge? Extend your hike by tackling Sangpaldam Peak.

      Overnight: Kumgangsan Hotel, Mt. Kumgang | A comfortable hotel with good hot water supply and clean rooms. Top floor bar and karaoke, outdoor balcony barbeque, billiards, gift shops, and small sauna facilities.

    16. September 21 | Saturday

      Back to Wonsan

      AM

      • Drive back north to Wonsan. A 2.5-3 hr drive.
         
      • Kosan Fruit Farm | Situated on a flat land in the midst of mountains this fruit farm has been growing apples since the 1920s. The farm was completely renovated in 2008 and currently midway through mechanizing old process. Also grows pear and peach, and has an iron fence factory, pig farm, and other smaller factories.
         
      • Former Wonsan Railway Station Revolutionary Site | Preserved Japanese colonial era train station, waiting room, guesthouse, and the train which future President Kim Il Sung rode to Pyongyang during the liberation of the country in 1945.

      PM

      • Time to relax and swim on the beautiful beaches of Wonsan!

      Overnight: Tongmyong Hotel, Wonsan

    17. September 22 | Sunday

      Drive back to Pyongyang with stops along the way

      AM

      • Drive to Pyongyang (approx 4 hours drive) with a stop at Masik Pass Ski Resort, the DPRK’s largest ski resort. Opened in 2013, Masik Pass features nine main runs, two beginner slopes, and a lodge with full amenities.

      PM

      • City Walk in Central Pyongyang.
         
      • Changgwangwon Health Complex | Huge health complex and leisure facility with Olympic-sized pool, barber shops, beauty salons, massage, and saunas. Leave feeling ten years younger, locals say! Tickets for activities purchased on the spot.
         
      • Local Beer Bar | For this beer bar visit we'll be heading to somewhere very special - a true local beer bar in Pyongyang that is off-limits to foreigners. The perfect way to finish our tour and toast our local Korean hosts!
         
      • Dinner at Duck BBQ Restaurant | Famous restaurant in south Pyongyang specialises in duck meat barbecue on a grill. 

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang. Pyongyang’s premier hotel, built in 1985, and located in the heart of downtown, near Pyongyang Station. The go-to for visiting delegations, both foreign and domestic. Shops, bookstores, cafes, a revolving restaurant, beer brewed on-site.

    18. September 23 | Monday

      Hoechang

      AM

      • Drive to Hoechang, a 3 hour drive.
         
      • Cemetery for the Martyrs of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army | Built in the 1950s (renovated in 2010) and opened by Zhou Enlai. Scenic Chinese hillside cemetery with domed tombs of 134 Chinese soldiers. Including a bust and tomb of Mao Anying; the Chairman’s son.

      PM

      • Songhung Revolutionary Site | Drive past the giant zinc factory to the wartime base of the Volunteer Army. Caves and tunnels, buildings from the period used by the soldiers and by Kim Il Sung when he visited to thank them for assistance.
         
      • Return to Pyongyang via Konji-ri Revolutionary Site, one of the preserved wartime headquarters of the North Korean leadership from the Korean War.

      Overnight: Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang

    19. September 24 | Tuesday

      Flight to Mt. Paektu!

      AM

      • Charter flight to Samjiyon Town, the gateway to Mt. Paektu located in the far north of the country. A 1-hour flight.
         
      • Mt. Paektu crater rim and Lake Chon | Ascend to the highest point in all of Korea (on foot, or by funicular railway) for amazing views of the highest crater lake in the world, sitting in the caldera of the volcano. A breathtaking and remote place of stunning and unique scenery – unforgettable in fact. From the top one can either walk down or cable car (weather permitting) to the lake itself to sample the crystal-clear waters. Basic facilities on site with a picnic lunch to maximise the time here.

      PM

      • Mt. Paektu Secret Camp | The guerilla headquarters of General Kim Il Sung during the anti-Japanese struggle set in a hidden alpine valley lined by towering peaks and said to be the birthplace of leader Kim Jong Il. See the reconstructed camp telling of how the guerillas lived year in and year out.
         
      • Samjiyon Grand Monument | Group of bronze statues, including one of President Kim Il Sung, and stone monuments next to a scenic alpine lake. One of three ‘grand monuments’ in the country.
         
      • Rimyongsu Waterfall | A scenic waterfall which never freezes due despite chilling alpine winters. The waterfall also provides hydroelectric power to neighbouring villages.

      Overnight: Pegaebong Hotel, Samjiyon | The only option in this area. Located on the edge of Samjiyon Town. A well-maintained place offering hospitable service, a range of potato-based dishes (spuds are the main crop in this area) as well as billiards and a very nice garden area.

    20. September 25 | Wednesday

      Charter flight to North Hamgyong Province and Mount Chilbo

      AM

      • We will catch our charter flight onwards to Orang Airport in North Hamgyong Province. A 1-hour flight.

      PM

      • Upon arrival at Mount Chilbo, we will start our tour of the mountain range. The ‘Seven Treasures’ mountain is one of the DPRK’s most remote and scenic areas with a vast array of strangely shaped peaks and unique geologic formations. This primordial landscape is home to many colourful (and suggestive) legends and offers a contrast to the densely populated cities and agricultural areas seen in much the rest of the country.

      Overnight: Homestay Village, Mount Chilbo | The only place in the DPRK where foreigners can stay with local families in either a Korean-style or European-style home. Each home has a bedroom and washroom for guests.

    21. September 26 | Thursday

      Mount Chilbo

      AM

      • Hiking to Kangson Gate | A morning hike to Kangson Gate, a rock archway overlooking the sea.

      PM

      • Local games, boating, and picnic at homestay village | Brush up on your Korean (or body-language) for an evening spent with your local family. It is also possible to play volleyball against or wrestle the village team. Fees for boating, swimming (shower or swimsuit rental), a la carte BBQ (mushroom and fish), and cooking class to be paid on the spot. Estimated 100-300 RMB depending on the activities you choose.

      Overnight: Homestay Village, Mount Chilbo

    22. September 27 | Friday

      Mount Chilbo to Chongjin

      AM

      • We’ll leave Mount Chilbo by way of the scenic coastal road (weather permitting) that leads to Kyongsong and Chongjin the DPRK’s third largest city, provincial seat of North Hamgyong Province, and Korea’s ‘city of steel’ - home to the massive Kim Chaek Iron Works.
         
      • So Ryang Hwa Waterfall | A picturesque waterfall along the scenic coastal road from Mt. Chilbo north to Kyongsong.
         
      • Mugae Lagoon | About an hour north from the So Ryang Hwa waterfall is Mugae Lagoon, another pleasant rest stop where the guides can tell some interesting legends about the events that caused the lake to be created. The slogan along the road reads ‘Even though the road is difficult, we go along with a smile’ – good advice for travelling in North Hamgyong Province!

      PM

      • Chongjin Trolley Bus | We’ll take a ride down Chongjin’s main drag on one of the city’s trolleybuses.
         
      • Chongjin Central Square | Central Square of Chongjin city with statues of the DPRK leadership. A presentation of flowers is customary (2-3 EUR).
         
      • North Hamgyong Province Revolutionary Museum | Museum depicting the revolutionary struggles of the region.
         
      • North Hamgyong Province E-Library | A library, study, and computer centre for the province, located just off Chongjin Central Square.
         
      • North Hamgyong Province Art Gallery | Studio exhibiting and selling art from the region at comparatively good prices.
         
      • Chongjin Foreign Languages School | One of the best school in the country to learn foreign languages (English, Chinese, and Russian). Join one of the English classes!

      Overnight: Chongjin Foreigners’ Lodging, Chongjin | The former foreign expert apartments of Kim Chaek Steelworks, similar in design to local apartments. Basic rooms but great food and service.

    23. September 28 | Saturday

      Chongjin and drive to Hoeryong

      AM

      • Gomalsan Revolutionary Site | Birds-eye view of Chongjin and memorial site honouring the Soviet troops who helped liberate this area.
         
      • Mushroom Factory | See how a North Korean factory works, and learn about the production process of different mushrooms. You can even taste the products if you're lucky.
         
      • Drive to Hoeryong the birthplace of Kim Jong Il's mother Kim Jong Suk. A city on the Sino-Korean border opened for tourists in 2012. A 2-2.5 hours drive.

      PM

      • Central Square and Statue of Mother Kim Jong Suk | Bronze statue of ‘The Mother of Korea’ in central Hoeryong. A presentation of flowers (2-4 EUR) is customary here.
         
      • Native House of Kim Jong Suk | Traditional Korean home of Kim Jong Suk set among a peaceful apricot orchard.
         
      • Hoeryong Revolutionary Museum | Museum depicting the revolutionary struggles of the region. Particularly interesting for its giant mural depicting the ‘Three Generals of Mt. Paekdu’ during the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle. The painting was made by artists from the Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang and smaller replicas of it can be found throughout the country.
         
      • Hoeryong Schoolchildren's Palace | Center of extracurricular activities in the arts, music, and sports for local children.

      Overnight: Hoeryong Hotel, Hoeryong | A basic hotel featuring large rooms with air conditioning but no hot water, a separate sauna/shower block, small shop and bar and large banquet hall.

    24. September 29 | Sunday

      Kyongsong and domestic flight back to Pyongyang OR overland crossing over the internal Korean border to Rason Special Economic Zone

      AM

      • Drive to Kyongsong once one of the primary cities in Hamgyong Province, from which ‘Kyong’ derives, now eclipsed by neighbor Chongjin. Kyongsong is renowned for its hot spas which provide needed relaxation after days on the road and outdoor activities at Mt. Chilbo. A 2.5-3 hours drive.
      • Jipsam Revolutionary Site | Seven Generals revolutionary site is worth visiting for the view of the sea and the nearby fishing village alone. Of course as befits any North Korean revolutionary site there is a granite monument with Korean text detailing the revolutionary events that occurred here (the guides will explain) and you can also see some old tools used to haul boats ashore. But the highlight is having a walk out along a rocky path along the coast, stand out on the pavilions and have a look out to the sea.
      • Kyongsong Revolutionary Site | Japanese colonial-era house once used by the DPRK leadership and telling of their exploits in the region.

      PM

      After lunch our group will split up. You have the choice of flying back with your Korean guides to Pyongyang to catch the flight or train back to Beijing the next day. Or you can stay two more nights with your Tour Leader (we will have new guides joining us from Rason) in the DPRK to visit Rason Special Economic Zone to see North Korea to its fullest like nobody did before.

      Option 1 | Flight back to Pyongyang

      • Flight departure from Orang Airport on domestic Air Koryo Flight JS4102 at 15:00 with scheduled arrival in Pyongyang at 16:00.
         
      • War Heroes' Cemetery | Large gun, flag, and bayonet monument surrounded by rows of tombstones commemorating individual heroes of the Korean War.
         
      • Farewell dinner at Arirang Restaurant | One of Pyongyang's best restaurant in the center of the city.

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang

      OR

      Option 2 | Rason Special Economic Zone

      • Although the Rason zone is part of the DPRK it is administered in a different way, so there is a kind of internal customs to pass.
      • Statues of the DPRK’s Leaders | Situated on a hill behind the hotel and offering a great view over the city and bay.
         
      • Golden Triangle Bank | Here we will learn about the different economic system of Rason, change money into local won (yes, it is legal, not to be taken out of the country though, you are supposed to spend it), and see actual banking going on, the only place you get to witness this in the DPRK!
         
      • After dinner, have a walk through the Hae’an Park at the seaside. In good weather locals will gather here.
         
      • Czech Beer Bar | Opened with foreign investment. Slake your thirst with a range of made-on-site brews before dinner and overnight in this part of the DPRK.

      Overnight: Namsan Hotel, Rajin | Centrally located and locally famous. Right in the heart of Rajin city.

    25. September 30 | Monday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train OR Rason/SEZ

      AM

      Option 1 | Departure Day from Pyongyang

      Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS251 at 10:00 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 11:30.

      OR

      Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Tuesday, October 1 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

       Tour Ends for Option 1.

      OR

      Option 2 | Rason Special Economic Zone      

      • Drive from Rajin to the nationally-famous Pipha Island Area, a scenic spot known to all North Koreans for its beauty.
         
      • Salmon and Trout Farm | This is a seafood producing area after all – learn how they operate such places here.
         
      • Imperial Hotel | Built with investment from Hong Kong this houses the first casino in the DPRK. Chinese tourists flock here for gambling and you can have a flutter yourself too, or enjoy a coffee and a look around this unexpected place!
         
      • Pipha Island itself | A narrow road links it to the mainland. From here you can take an optional boat ride to see some seals who populate some rocks nearby, relax at the waterfront, or try some local seafood.

      PM

      • Foreign Language School | Here local children learn English, Chinese, and other languages. Step in and help out with some lessons!
         
      • Sonryang Hana Shoe Factory | Interesting small factory founded by a oversees Korean making various types of shoes (basketball, football, snow boots and many more). Many different designs. The logo of the brand is the Korean letter 'thiut (ㅌ)' referring to 'reunification'.
         
      • Rajin Port | Here you will see what kind of industry is going on; fishing, shipping goods in and out, and look out for some very non-Korean people; one of the three piers is operated by Russians who live on site!
         
      • Haeyang Revolutionary Site | A 20 minute drive from Rajin City this set of two houses are still occupied but are notable for having visited by Kim Il Sung, who gave 'on the spot guidance' about the lives of fisher folk. There is a nice view of the sea here.
         
      • Rajin City Market | The only local market open to tourists in the whole country. Spread out through several buildings find consumer goods, stationary, food, drinks, building material, bicycles, and everything else a person in Rason would need. You can buy things too if you like – spend local money or RMB. Worth it just for the people-watching opportunity as it can get very busy here indeed!

      Overnight: Namsan Hotel, Rajin

    26. October 1 | Tuesday

      Rason to Yanji – 2 different worlds!

      AM

      • Drive to the nearby city of Sonbong, the smaller of the sister cities in this zone.
         
      • Stop for photos in the centre of town | Here there is a theatre, some monuments and mosaics, and an immortality tower too.
         
      • Sonbong Revolutionary Site | Associated with the end of Japanese rule over Korea. The guides will explain the whole story.
         
      • Drive on to Tumangang Town, right up on the Russian and Chinese borders, enjoy a packed lunch in this area.

      PM

      • Visit the Russia-DPRK Friendship House | Exhibit of photos of visits by key figures from the neighbouring countries.
         
      • 3 Countries Border Viewpoint | A picturesque pavilion offering views into China and Russia. From here you can see how the river divides the nations and also hear about a historical naval battle that a famed Korean admiral directed from this very hilltop.
         
      • Next up is our final drive in the DPRK where we head across the northern part of the Rason zone and end up at Wonjong Bridge - the frontier between the DPRK and the PRC. We pass through customs here on the Korean side, take a short ride or walk across the bridge and then we are back in China, just like that!
         
      • Drive to Yanji | We will get picked up after we enter China. We have a 3 hour drive (with scenic stops) to the Chinese city of Yanji, the capital of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region. We'll end up here for dinner, drinks to celebrate the end of this adventure, and an overnight stay to bring our tour to a close. Congratulations to you for being with us on this amazing journey!
         
      • Our tour sadly ends tonight and we all bid each other a fond farewell! How you depart from here is up to you – there are trains, planes, buses, etc. Koryo Tours can assist in planning onward travel in this region, back to Beijing, or onward elsewhere (Yanji may seem remote, but actually you can get to a lot of fascinating places from here without too much difficulty) – drop us a line with how you plan to finish this trip and we’ll help you out!

      Overnight | Yanji Hotel, Yanji

  • Extras

    • Transport (Mega Tour) | Train and Flights to North Korea (High-season)

      This tour offers two choices to end your tour in Korea. You have the choice of flying back to Pyongyang from the North East to catch the flight or train back to Beijing the next day. Or you can stay two more nights in the DPRK to visit Rason Special Economic Zone to see North Korea to its fullest like nobody did before. The default option for this tour is to enter the DPRK by train from Beijing in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available from Beijing. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 265 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 435 EUR. We recommend flight entry with a train return for the best overall experience on your trip.

    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance (24 to 27 nights)

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

    • Return by plane not train

      This tour enters the DPRK by plane. But the default setting upon your return is the 24-hour international train from Pyongyang to Beijing. For an extra 265 EUR you can opt for the plane back instead. The flight takes around 90 minutes.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation in the DPRK
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • DPRK visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 265 EUR; return: 435 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • The lift up the Juche Tower (optional) 5 EUR and other optional activities
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • SINUIJU EXTENSION: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader.

    Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park). We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime.

    After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 15th August, 2024.

September 7 - September 16/17 2024

North Korea National Day Long Tour | Pyongyang & Kaesong to Hyangsan

9 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

A 9-night journey inside North Korea from Kaesong to Hyangsan and the International
Friendship Exhibition. Be in Pyongyang for National Day, one of the largest North
Korean holidays.

From 1795 EUR per person

Please apply by 15th August, 2024.

North Korea National Day Long Tour | Pyongyang & Kaesong to Hyangsan

9 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

A 9-night journey inside North Korea from Kaesong to
Hyangsan and the International Friendship Exhibition.
Be in Pyongyang for National Day, one of the largest
North Korean holidays.

From 1795 EUR per person

  • Overall

    National Day on September 9 is one of the largest North Korean holidays. Be in Pyongyang for the 76th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK for mass dances and possible fireworks.

    In addition to the must-see Pyongyang attractions, we’ll take a ride on both lines of the Pyongyang Metro and one of the municipal trams of Pyongyang. September is one of the best times of the year to tour North Korea for fine weather and long days.

    This 9-night adventure gets you out of Pyongyang to explore a range of places, from the Kaesong to Mt Myohyang and the enormous International Friendship Exhibition - exhibition hall of gifts to the DPRK leaders. We’ll visit plenty in between, including the port city of NampoSariwon, Pyongsong, and Anju - a rarely visited industrial city.

    Year to year this one of Koryo’s most popular tours, this tour has it all: grand monuments, museums, historic sights, industry, agriculture, and more!

    See even more on the road inside North Korea on our 23-night National Day Mega Tour - the extended option for this tour.

    Scroll down for an overview of our North Korea National Day Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


     

    Highlights

    • Pyongyang for DPRK National Day on September 9
    • Full tour of the Pyongyang Metro to rarely-visited stations.
    • Beautiful Mt. Myohyang - the 'mountain of mysterious fragrance' -, and Mt. Kuwol - the September Mountain
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. September 6 | Friday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. September 7 | Saturday

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS251 at 13:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. September 8 | Sunday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery | Hilltop cemetery with dozens of bronze busts of those who took part in the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. It is customary to present flowers here.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museum and The Grand People’s Study House, Korea’s national library. See the centre of it all!
         
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Grand People's Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city.
         
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for 5 EUR for great views of the city.
         
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which make up the emblem of the Worker’s Party of Korea and represent workers, farmers, and intellectuals.
         
      • Golden Lane Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix (2.5 EUR per person per game). Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range (approximately 6 EUR per 20 round cartridge) and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang.
         
      • Taedonggang Seafood Restaurant | Dinner tonight will be at the Taedonggang Seafood Restaurant (10 EUR per person).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. September 9 | Monday

      National Day, the 76th anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK (North Korea)

      AM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Here we will also see the Chollima, or ‘thousand ri [400 mile] horse’ – a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950’s following the Korean War.
         
      • FULL Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride both lines and stop off at smaller stations, rarely visited by tourists.
         
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
         
      • Moranbong Park | We’ll take a stroll and have picnic lunch in Pyongyang’s central park popular with locals for picnics, dances, and sports. The park is filled with historic pavilions, walls, and monuments- modern and ancient, a few of which are among the traditional ‘Eight Great Sights of Pyongyang’.

      PM

      • Tram Ride | A ride through Pyongyang on one of the city’s trams from Kwangbok Street. A Koryo exclusive!
         
      • Mass Dance | We'll watch as hundreds of locals, many in brightly coloured national dress, join together in a beautiful choreographed dance in the heart of the city (and maybe even join in ourselves!)
      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) | We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance.

      • Dinner and sunset boat cruise along the Taedong River | We will take a cruise on the Taedong River while having dinner with live music performance and waiting for the fireworks.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. September 10 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang and Nampo
       
      AM
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and USS Pueblo | We’ll tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guides. Renovated in 2012 and its exhibits of Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artifacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captures equipment from the US military, including the spyship USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in beautiful natural surroundings.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
         
      • Mt Ryonggak | Enjoy a picnic lunch in this park on the outskirts of Pyongyang and popular with locals. Stretch your legs after lunch witha short hike to the top of Mt Ryonggak itself.
      PM
      • Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to Nampo (45 minutes to 1-hour drive), the port city of Pyongyang at the mouth of the Taedong River on the West Sea.
         
      • Chongsam-ri Co-operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung, the place where the ‘Chongsam-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse, the local shop, kindergarten and see the fields and greenhouses.
         
      • Tae’an Glass Factory | Factory producing glass and glass products for the domestic market. Watch the glass-making process from smelting to sheet-cutting and even try to break a sheet of strengthened glass.
         
      • Pi Island | A local beach next to West Sea Barrage. Go for a swim or join the locals for a karaoke.
         
      • Nampo Clam BBQ | Nampo's famous clam BBQ - cooked in petrol and washed down with Korea's national drink, Soju.

      Overnight: Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel, Nampo | Compound with holiday houses and a main building for dinner and entertainment. Bring a torch! Spa bath in every room with mineral water from the Sindok Spring- the most famous mineral spa in the DPRK. Billiards, karaoke, and ping pong.

    6. September 11 | Wednesday

      Drive from Nampo to Kaesong via Mount Kuwol, the 'September Mountain', the scenic Chaeryong Plains, and Sariwon. We'll cross the West Sea Barrage at the mouth of the Taedong River in the morning.

      AM

      • West Sea Barrage | An 8 km concrete, steel, and earthen barrage constructed between the Taedong River estuary and the West Sea for land reclamation, irrigation, flood prevention, and power generation. It also acts as a ship lock and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.
         
      • Mt. Kuwol | A scenic mountain area on the West Coast of Korea. We’ll pass through this region on a full-day drive between Nampo and Kaesong after crossing over the West Seat Barrage in the morning.
         
      • Woljong Temple | Buddhist temple established in the middle of the 9th century and later rebuilt at the start of the Ri Dynasty.
         
      • Sinchon Town and Museum of US War Crimes (*Currently not open for foreign visitors) | Museum dedicated to ‘crimes committed by the US imperialists’. Located on the site of a civilian massacre, the museum has an array of harrowing exhibits, displays, and panoramas on the haunting events that took place in this region during the war. Not for the faint at heart and sensitivity is called for here. Please note that this location was closed to foreign visitors in 2018 following the DPRK-US Summit Meeting. If the situation changes, we will visit this site.
      PM
      • Sariwon Folk Village and City View | Mock-up of a traditional Korean town which includes a history museum, food street, and pavilions. There is a small tavern selling Makkoli, traditional rice wine. Climb a nearby hill for a view of Sariwon City and the surrounding plains.
         
      • Unjong Livestock Farm and Mask Dance | See the facilites of this livestock farm and then be treated to a traditional Korean mask dance.
         
      • Continue south to Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.
         
      • Traditional Korean Royal Meal with Kayagum Performance | Also known as pansanggi, the meal is made up of different dishes served in small brass bowls. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest!

      Overnight: Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong | Traditional style hotel where guests sleep on heated floors in Korean style. Housed in beautiful courtyards of Kaesong’s old city, structures date back to the Ri Dynasty. Basic bathroom facilities. Hot water not guaranteed and erratic electricity supply – please bring a torch.

    7. September 12 | Thursday

      Historic Kaesong and Panmunjom (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM
      • Old City Walk and South Gate | A stroll from the hotel through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the Ri Dynasty from the city’s historic South Gate.
         
      • Panmunjom Truce Village (*Currently suspended) | Located in the middle of the 4 km wide Demilitarised Zone, Panmunjom is the site of the signing of the 1953 armistice at the end of the Korean War. This is the only location where visitors can directly view soldiers from both sides and the demarcation line dividing Korea. On some days it is possible to enter the hut straddling both Koreas and there cross temporarily into the south.
         
      • Sonjuk Bridge | Small stone bridge built in 1290, which in 1392 was the site of the assassination of the last loyal Koryo Dynasty minister Jong Mong Ju by a son of Ri Song Gye (founder of the next, and final, dynasty). This bloody act extinguished the Koryo which had ruled over Korea for 474 years and is said to have left a permanent mark on the bridge that can be seen to this day.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum & Stamp Shop | A former Confucian education school, now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from the time. One of Kaesong’s many UNESCO World Heritage Site.

      PM

      • Pakyon Waterfall | Light walking with a picnic lunch in a relaxing wooded area. Local people commonly visit here for picnics and sometimes swimming in the series of pools above the falls.
         
      • Gwanum Temple | Located a 30-minute hike, above Pakyon Waterfalls, the temple dates back more than a thousand years and is dedicated to the Buddhist Bodhisattva of Mercy. There is an ornate marble Bodhisattva statue the nearby cave. The current building dates back to the Ri Dynasty and has an interesting tale associated with its construction.
         
      • Tomb of King Wanggon | Resting place of the founder of the Koryo Dynasty, who died in 943. The tomb is largely reconstructed after looting by the Japanese occupiers and general disrepair. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Concrete Wall and view of DMZ (*Currently suspended) | View of a complex fortification system erected on the southern boundary of the DMZ accompanied by a military guide. The wall is seen as evidence of intent to permanently divide the nation. A 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
         
      • Janam Hill | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.

      Overnight: Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong

    8. September 13 | Friday

      Haeju, and onto Pyongsong

      AM
      • Drive to the rarely visited town of Haeju (approx. 2 hrs drive, very dependent on road conditions but a guaranteed adventure), the provincial seat of South Hwanghae Province and a port city on the West Sea.
         
      • Picnic lunch at Sokdam Ravine | Made up of 9 valleys spread over a large area the Sokdam scenic area is a worthy place to visit for the views alone. Sokdam ravine means the scenic spot which was seated on the 9 ravines with mountains, rocks and streams.
      PM
      • Haeju Central Square and Statues
         
      • Puyong Pavilion | The largest pavilion in the whole DPRK and the only one in Korea built on footstalls in water, originally built in 1500.
         
      • Koryo Fortress | A major military base in its day, this fortress is situated above the magnificent Suyang Waterfall.
         
      • Drive to Pyongsong, the capital of South Pyongan Province. A 4-hour drive.
      Overnight: Jangsusan Hotel, Pyongsong | The only hotel in Pyongsong open for tourists and one of the most fun in the whole country! Basic facilities with fairly reliable electricity and hot water. One of the best bartenders in the country mans the bar. Billiards, karaoke, hairdresser, and outdoor eateries in summer.
    9. September 14 | Saturday

      Pyongsong and Mt Myohyang

      AM

      • Kim Jong Suk Higher Middle School | One of the DPRK’s top middle schools for gifted students, tourists are encouraged to help teach an English class!
         
      • Paeksong Revolutionary Site | Location of Kim Il Sung University during the Korean War. Tour the renovated buildings and learn about life there during the war.
         
      • Drive to Mt Myohyang via Anju a mid-sized industrial city located on the road and rail line north of Pyongyang on the Chongchon River. During the Korean War, major battles were fought near here between North Korean-Chinese forces and UN-South Korean forces. Coal is mined nearby. Rarely visited by foreigners.

      PM

      • Paeksang Pavilion and Anju City Walls | The greatest pavilion in Kwanso (Pyong’an Province) which overlooks the Chongchon River. Rebuilt after destruction in the Korean War.
         
      • Manpok Valley Hike | Various options for hikes of a range of distances/difficulties. Passing waterfalls, hermitages, interesting rocks, lovely wooded areas, and viewing points.

      Overnight: Huichon Hotel, Chagang Province | Basic but clean hotel located 30 minutes north of Mt. Myohyang. Very good local food much different from the lowlands, on-site sauna, and limited electricity.

    10. September 15 | Sunday

      Mt Myohyang and Return to Pyongyang

      AM

      • International Friendship Exhibition | A semi-subterranean exhibition hall displaying gifts of all kinds given to the DPRK leaders by foreign states, leaders, and organizations. The exhibition is a fascinating look into material culture in the second half of the 20th century. Highlights include a plane given by the Soviet Union, basketball signed by Michael Jordan from the US State Department, and vodka given by Dennis Rodman. The visit takes most of the morning. Presentable dress required.
         
      • Pohyon Buddhist Temple | A peaceful temple dating back to 1042 CE with stone pagoda and repository of print blocks and historic text of the Tripitaka Koreana, Buddhist scriptures first produced to invoke divine assistance from foreign invasions during the Koryo Dynasty.
         
      • Lunch at local hotel.

      PM

      • Drive back to Pyongyang (2.5-3 hours) with a stop at Ryongmun Caves | A subterranean complex of limestone caves and grottoes. Led by an experienced local guide, you will see weirdly (and suggestively) shaped rocks and stalactites/stalagmites and hear a wealth of stories and legends about each - some not appropriate for young audiences.
         
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A traditional standing bar serving seven type of beer (1 EUR a pint). Popular with locals after work and on weekends!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    11. September 16 | Monday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train.

      Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:50.

      OR

      Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is at Beijing Station on Tuesday September 17 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (High-season)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 265 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 435 EUR. We recommend flight entry with a train return for the best overall experience on your trip.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance (7 to 9 nights)

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train back to Beijing
    • Hotel accommodation in the DPRK
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • DPRK visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 265 EUR; return: 435 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • The lift up the Juche Tower (optional) 5 EUR and other optional activities
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • SINUIJU EXTENSION: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
    • Mass Games tickets (prices vary)
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader.

    Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park). We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime.

    After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 15th August, 2024.

September 7 - September 12/13 2024

North Korea National Day Tour

5 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

See Pyongyang, Kaesong, and Nampo for the
76th anniversary of the foundation of North
Korea!

From 1205 EUR per person

Please apply by 21st August, 2024.

North Korea National Day Tour

5 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

See Pyongyang, Kaesong, and
Nampo for the 76th anniversary
of the foundation of North
Korea!

From 1205 EUR per person

This tour is managed by...

Gergo Vaczi

Greg is the Koryo Tours DPRK Tour Manager.

He grew up in post-socialist Hungary and first travelled to North Korea as a tourist in 2016 following in the footsteps of his grandparents, who visited in 1988. He has since lived in the Netherlands, Israel, China, Korea and Iceland and holds a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. He has taken 26 groups to North Korea and lived in Seoul studying the Korean language full-time for two years. He also completed a long study course in Korean at a university in Pyongyang.

Read more about Greg's journey to become a North Korean Tour Leader here.

  • Overall

    One of the biggest North Korea holidays, North Korea National Day celebrates the foundation of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea). This year, North Koreans throughout the country will be in full celebration mode as they enjoy the festivities for the 76th North Korea National Day.

    As well as celebrating with the local North Koreans, we’ll take you on an extensive tour throughout Pyongyang, visiting the must-see sites including; the Mansudae Grand MonumentKumsusan Palace of the Sun, and the Pyongyang Metro.

    During this tour, we will also get the chance to visit industrial Nampo and have an overnight trip to the ancient city of Kaesong, the capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty south of the 38th Parallel on the North-South border.

    Scroll down for an overview of our North Korea National Day Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • National Day celebrations - the 76th anniversary of the foundation of North Korea!
    • Pyongyang Highlights include; the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, the Pyongyang Metro and more
    • Get out of the capital, to the port city of Nampo, a centre of trade and industry, and to historic Kaesong south of the 38th Parallel
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. September 6 | Friday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. September 7 | Saturday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 13:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Victory (Sungni) Street | Walk from Kim Il Sung Square to the Pyongyang Grand Theatre and onto Pyongyang Railway Station along one of post-war Pyongyang's oldest streets.
         
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. September 8 | Sunday

      Kumsusan Palace of the Sun and Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note that formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery | Hilltop cemetery with dozens of bronze busts of those who took part in the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. It is customary to present flowers here.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okgyuwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.
         

      PM

      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for 5 EUR for great views of the city.
         
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which make up the emblem of the Worker’s Party of Korea and represent workers, farmers, and intellectuals.
         
      • Munsu Water Park | We’ll take a break at this outdoor and indoor water park with water slides, lap pools, and hot tubs. Bar, coffee shop, and shops for non-swimmers (Entry fee 2 EUR; swimming fee- 10 EUR with suit rental; tennis- 5 EUR).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. September 9 | Monday

      National Day! The 76th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK! (North Korea!)

      AM

      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. We’ll ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
         
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
         
      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Here we will also see the Chollima, or ‘thousand ri [400 mile] horse’ – a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950’s following the Korean War.
         
      • Moranbong Park | We’ll take a stroll and have picnic lunch in Pyongyang’s central park popular with locals for picnics, dances, and sports. The park is filled with historic pavilions, walls, and monuments - modern and ancient, a few of which are among the traditional ‘Eight Great Sights of Pyongyang’.
      PM
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in beautiful natural surroundings.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
         
      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) | We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance.
         
      • Mass Dance | We'll watch as hundreds of locals, many in brightly coloured national dress, join together in a beautiful choreographed dance in the heart of the city (and maybe even join in ourselves!)
         
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A beer bar serving seven types of beer. Popular with locals after work and on weekends. Best place to drink pints with local people.
         
      • Kaeson Funfair | We’ll take on the rides of Pyongyang’s newest funfair with the locals: pirate ship, vominator, rollercoaster, bumper cars, arcades, and more. Tickets purchased on the spot (1 EUR entry, 2-7 EUR for rides).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. September 10 | Tuesday

      Nampo and drive to Kaesong

      AM

      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective with artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to Nampo (45 minutes to 1-hour drive), the port city of Pyongyang at the mouth of the Taedong River on the West Sea.
         
      • Chongsan-ri Co-Operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung (there is a bronze statue of him and various farm workers here), the place where the ‘Chongsan-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse and the local shop,and kindergarten, see the fields and greenhouses.

      PM

      • West Sea Barrage | An 8 km concrete, steel, and earthen barrage constructed between the Taedong River estuary and the West Sea for land reclamation, irrigation, flood prevention, and power generation. It also acts as a ship lock and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.
         
      • Tae’an Glass Factory | Factory producing glass and glass products for the domestic market. Watch the glass-making process from smelting to sheet-cutting and even try to break a sheet of strengthened glass.
         
      • Drive south on the Pyongyang-Kaesong (formerly known as Reunification) Motorway to Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.

      Overnight | Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong. Traditional style hotel where guests sleep on heated floors in Korean style. Housed in beautiful courtyards of Kaesong’s old city, structures date back to the Ri Dynasty. Basic bathroom facilities. Hot water not guaranteed and erratic electricity supply – please bring a torch.

    6. September 11 | Wednesday

      Kaesong & the DMZ  (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Old City Walk and South Gate | A stroll from the hotel through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the Ri Dynasty from the city’s historic South Gate.
         
      • Panmunjom Truce Village (*Currently suspended.) | Located in the middle of the 4 km wide Demilitarised Zone, Panmunjom is the site of the signing of the 1953 armistice at the end of the Korean War. This is the only location where visitors can directly view soldiers from both sides and the demarcation line dividing Korea. On some days it is possible to enter the hut straddling both Koreas and there cross temporarily into the south.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum & Stamp Shop | A former Confucian education school, now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from the time. One of Kaesong’s many UNESCO World Heritage Site.
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal consisting of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet-meat soup' is also an option here (+5 EUR).

      PM

      • Return to Pyongyang.
         
      • Grand People's Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city.
         
      • Farewell dinner at Duck BBQ Restaurant | Famous restaurant in south Pyongyang specializing in duck meat barbecue on a grill. Southcentral does it like nobody does!

      Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel

    7. September 12 | Thursday

      Departure Day

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS251 at 10:15 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 11:35.

      OR

      • Train departure at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Friday, September 13 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (High-season)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 265 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 435 EUR. We recommend flight entry with a train return for the best overall experience on your trip.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED 

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • Koryo Tours leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 265 EUR; return: 435 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement (40 EUR per night)
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader.

    Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ slightly to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park). We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime.

    After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 21st August, 2024.

September 11 - September 24 2024

Mongolia - Golden Eagle Festival Tour

An Expedition to Discover
the Golden Eagles

Join us as we depart Ulaanbaatar and drive
across Mongolia in search of Kazakh Eagle
hunters!

From 2800 USD per person

Please apply by 1st September, 2024.

Mongolia - Golden Eagle Festival Tour

An Expedition to Discover
the Golden Eagles

Join us as we depart Ulaanbaatar
and drive across Mongolia in
search of Kazakh Eagle hunters!

From 2800 USD per person

This tour is managed by...

Rich Beal

Rich Beal is our International Tours Manager.

Rich is one of our most experienced tour leaders. He has led tours worldwide since 2004, specialising in Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the surrounding area. Currently living in Mongolia, he leads multiple specialised trips annually and has over 20 years of experience running and designing tours of the region. 

  • Overall

    On this adventure, we’ll cross the vast steppe of Mongolia; traversing mountains and rivers, perilous ravines, and vast open lakes. All in search of Mongolia’s most majestic, and elusive creature – the Golden Eagle.

    This trip will culminate in a visit to the Golden Eagle Festival in the far west of the country. A celebration where eagle hunters from across the region come together to compete in various challenges; using their magnificent hunting birds to catch artificial bait, dive from incredible heights, and return to their hunters on the mountaintops.

    This is really an experience which must be seen to be believed, and an incredible reward for our multi-day expedition across some of the most beautiful landscapes the country, and the world, has to offer.

    Highlights

    Experience the Kazakh Golden Eagle festival -- the biggest festival of the year for Kazakhs Visit Mongolian Kazak and Tuva nomadic families Enjoy camel trekking and horseback riding Hike the great mountains (with views across to Russia and China) Explore the Altai and Bayan Ulgii region of Mongolia Marvel at the skill of local eagle hunters. We'll stop at glaciers, mountains and waterfalls all the while sleeping in Tents, gers and yurts 

  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 14
    1. 11th September

      Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

      Arriving in Ulaanbaatar, you’ll have the morning to relax before our exploration of the city centre begins.

      Just a stone's throw from our hotel lies the central Sükhbaatar Square, named after the revolutionary hero Damdinii Sükhbaatar, whose statue proudly marks the centre of this grand square. At the northern end of the square, the towering statues of Genghis Khan, his son, grandson, and his generals watch from a commanding position.

      Five minutes from Sükhbaatar Square, our next stop beckons. The well-appointed National History Museum; museums may not be everyone's cup of tea, however, this one helps bring some semblance of Mongolian history, providing some useful context before we set out.

      Departing the museum, we leave on foot. Walking through the city is a perfect way to travel as when Ulaanbaatar was planned and built in the 1950's it was designed to be a city without cars and so, these days, some journeys are quicker on foot. Our destination is the famed State Department Store, a remnant of the Soviet period but still a national institution visited by tourists and locals alike.

      We’ll then head off for dinner and our pre-tour briefing where we’ll explain what you can expect on the adventure ahead!

      Accommodation: 3-Star Hotel
      Included Meals: Dinner

      Meals | Dinner

      Overnight | Hotel 9, Ulaanbaatar. A local hotel situated in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, within 5 minutes walk from the main square. This hotel offers a great location from which to step out and explore the city.

       

    2. 12th September

      Explore Ulaanbaatar

      Before our adventure begins, we’ll spend a day in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar.

      Heading out from our hotel, we’ll cross over Sukhbaatar Square once again, passing the great bronze statue of Chinggis Khan on our way to the

      Chinggis Khan Museum, housed in a great domed marble building just north of the central square.

      After spending time learning about the great, historical leader of the Mongol Empire, we’ll head for a relaxing walk down one of the city’s many boulevards towards the great Gandan Monastery, the city’s main Buddhist centre and home to some beautiful architecture, stunning statues, and hundreds of monks.

      After lunch, we’ll make our way to Narantuul Market – a bustling hub for market traders selling everything from solid gold jewellery and silver medallions to bicycle chains and suitcases. We’ll spend our afternoon bartering with local traders, buying weird and wonderful objects, and generally enjoying the hustle and bustle of market life in Ulaanbaatar.

      With all that adventure, we’ll have worked up an apetite – and so we’ll make our way to Zaisan, an upmarket part of the city home to some more intriguing and interesting sites.

      Before we enjoy our dinner, however, we’ll climb the huge Soviet tower, the Zaisan Monument, which towers over the district, providing fantastic views over Ulaanbaatar.

      After heading down, past the odd statue of a giant Golden Buddha, we’ll enjoy our group meal and discuss plans for our forthcoming expedition!

      Accommodation: 3-Star Hotel
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    3. 13th September

      Mongolia's Wild Horses

      We’ll wake up this morning and finally leave the city, heading west through the outskirts and industrial regions before bursting out of the urban centre and out into the wilderness of the Mongolian countryside.

      Our destination for today is the famous Hustai National Park, home to the only truly wild horses in the world – known as the Przewalski's Horse, or Takhi Horse.

      Arriving in time for lunch, we’ll visit the on-site museum and learn about the different animals we’ll have the chance to spot whilst in the national park and then head inside for a hearty meal before we leave the visitors centre and venture out in search of wild horses in time for them to head down from the mountains to drink at the river.

      These horses are a wonder of conservation as they were once considered near-extinct before being protected in Hustai National Park where they have truly begun to thrive.

      After an afternoon of horse-related safari, we’ll return to our accommodation near the entrance of the park for a delicious dinner as we watch the sunset over the mountainous peaks and head to bed in our traditional Mongolian gers.

    4. 14th September

      The Capital of an Empire

      This morning we’ll wave goodbye to Hustai National Park and continue west, making our way towards the ancient city of Kharkorum.

      Kharkorum was the former capital of the Mongolian Empire. At the height of the empire, it was from Kharkorum that Chinggis Khan's son, Ogedei Khan, would rule the largest land empire the world has ever known.

      During Kharkorum's golden age, much of the city was comprised of tents, and as the Mongolian empire declined, the city's decay was rapid.

      These days, all that remains of this once-great settlement is the impressive Erdene Zuu Monastery, as well as a few scattered but not unimpressive archaeological finds.

      As we go, we will stop at the Mongol Els Dunes, a small dune system that offers a picturesque stop and the possibility of meeting with a camel herder or two.

      Once we arrive at Karakorum, our first stop will be Erdene Zuu Monastery; it may be a shadow of its former self; however, it is still impressive.

      We'll hopefully catch the resident monks in their afternoon prayer. Following our monastery visit, we will call at the unique archaeological museum to see some recent historical finds.

      Accommodation: Urguu Ger Camp
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    5. 15th September

      Ancient Capital to Volcanic Landscapes

      You may not want to leave the confines of our romantic accommodation this morning; however, the journey continues. After breakfast, our first stop is the local market to sample a little of resident life here in this remote town. Kharkorum Market trade is mainly conducted from disused shipping containers making for some great photography and local interaction.

      Once we have stocked up on supplies for the journey, we continue onwards to the west, following Mongolia's ever-changing scenery. Our course begins trailing the country's famed Orkhon River and its UNESCO listed valley.

      Today we are genuinely in Mongolia's heartland, passing local nomads making this beautiful yet harsh landscape their own. Today's destination will become obvious as we drive past evidence of this region's active, volcanic past, including the impressive Chuluutiin Gol Gorge.

      Chuluutiin Gol is a 30-metre-long fault line that runs the length of the aptly named River of Pearls; this deep-sided canyon is a real treat. From the canyon we push onwards; our eventual destination for today is the Khorgo Mountain. Khorgo Mountain is not just any mountain but a dormant volcano, one of a handful in the region. Khorgo makes for an exciting visit, as it's possible to climb its treelined slopes and peer into its sulphurous cone. We will have the perfect evening view from the top of the mountain before heading to our night's accommodation.

      Accommodation: Khorgo Ger Camp
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Dinner

    6. 16th September 

      Into Mongolia's Changing Terrain

      As we leave Mongolia's volcanic heartland, you may think that the scenery cannot get any better, although you'd be wrong. As we move on from the stunning craters, canyons, and lakes, we make our way into the domain of granite mountains, pine forests and alpine fields, punctuated by the ever-present tented dwelling of the Mongolian Ger.

      Stopping for those all-important pictures and local interaction, we will be sure to visit some of the country's remoter towns to stock up on supplies and see how people live in these far-flung habitations. Some villages may indeed look like something from a wild west movie, but it's still someone's home, and we will see how proud Mongolians are of these areas.

      Our aim for today, aside from enjoying the views and drive, is to locate a beautiful area for our first night's camp. In somewhere like Mongolia, the problem isn't a lack of suitable sites but being spoiled for choice. All being well, today's drive will be limited to allow a little more time to relax and enjoy a pleasant camp.

      Accommodation: Camping
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    7. 17th September

      Visiting Mongolia's Inland Sea

      After breakfast, we're on the road again; continuing our adventure, we head into the remote province of Uvs, a land of lakes, mountains and dunes. Our destination is Mongolia's answer to an ocean in the form of Khyargas Lake.

      Khyargas Lake was formed many thousands of years ago by glacial action; today, its high salt content and sheer size mean it's much like an inland sea. The area is a popular destination for locals to holiday but is rarely visited by western tourists.

      As we journey through Uvs Province, we will stop to photograph the stunning scenery and make a few impromptu stops to visit local Nomadic families. As Uvs Province is so remote and not well connected to the rest of the country, many of its inhabitants have never met and interacted with foreign visitors, making it an exciting and unique visit.

      Upon reaching Khyargas Lake, we will be sure to stop for a plunge into its salty waters and experience an ocean swim about as far away from the sea as you can imagine!

      It may be a little bracing at this time of year, but a perfect wash before we set camp and enjoy an evening BBQ, hopefully catching the setting sun on the lake's shimmering surface.

      Accommodation: Camping
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Dinner

    8. 18th September

      Off-Road Adventure to Khovd

      As we bid farewell to Khyargas Lake, we also say goodbye to the comfort of a tarmac road for the morning as today we're off towards Khovd town.

      While Khovd may be the Khovd Province's regional capital, like most settlements in Mongolia, it still has a pleasant small-town feel. We will make Khovd our home today and enjoy a little luxury as we stay in the town's newest hotel.

      Whilst in Khovd, we will join a local shaman and view one of his traditional rituals. Shamanism has long been practised in Mongolia, and many Mongolians still hold dear this fascinating religion.

      Following our meeting with the Shaman, we'll visit the town to see more of this far-flung settlement. We will call at the city square the bustling market and even take a quick look at some small shops surrounding the area. While exploring, we will call the local textiles shop and see where many locals still have their local dresses made (the Mongolian deel).

      Before dinner, we will stop at the opera house for a private visit from where we will also view one of Mongolia's famed throat singers. Throat singing in Mongolia dates back many centuries past the time of Genghis Khan. Throat singing is a unique art that has to be viewed to be believed it's fitting that we see it here in Hovd; as many singers from the region win national competitions, the main event is held in this very spot every June.

      This evening before bed, we make one final stop at a local family to enjoy a traditional Mongolian meal. This time we sample the delight known as Khorkhog (authentic Mongolian barbeque).

      Accommodation: Steppe Hotel
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    9. 19th September

      Discover the Remote City of Khovd

      This morning we’ll wake up in the remote city of Khovd, capital of Khovd Aimag in the far west of Mongolia.

      After our incredible expedition across Mongolia, we’ll take a day to relax and spending some time exploring this fascinating city, beginning with a later than usual start before heading out to Khovd Market – a small market made up small brick and concrete buildings mixed with covered market stalls and other temporary stands selling everything from clothes and hats to odd souvenirs and old russian knives – a real adventure for any shopaholics amongst you!

      After enjoying lunch, we’ll make our way to the local Buddhist Temple to explore this beautiful example of a more local temple, and perhaps meet some local monks.

      To contrast the religions which dominate the Mongolian countryside, we’ll leave the city in search of a shaman. Shamanism is an important belief system across Mongolia, and so we’ll venture out to find a practioner for ourselves and get a taste of how these spiritual healers operate.

      After returning to the city, we’ll head to a beautiful spot nearby to enjoy some traditional Mongolian throat singing before enjoying our dinner and heading to bed in preparation the day ahead.

      Accommodation: Steppe Hotel
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    10. 20th September

      Drive to Bayan Ulgii & Visit Eagle Hunters

      This morning we’re up and out early as we make our way north towards the city of Bayan-Ulgii, the site of the forthcoming eagle festival. However, we’ll arrive a day early in order to get settled, and meet one of these majestic hunting birds, and it’s owner, close-up before we see him perform the following days.

      Our drive between Khovd and Ulgii will give us a chance to see some of the most stunning natural beauty in the whole of Mongolia, from steppe, to rugged hills, and finally into the craggy mountainous peaks and distant snow-capped mountains that define the landscape in this part of Mongolia.

      Enroute, we’ll stop at the beautiful crystalline waters of Tolbo lake for a chance to strech our legs and take photos, after which we’ll pay a visit to a local nomadic eagle hunting family to learn a little more about the culture surrouding these eagle hunters, and how they train their beautiful birds.

      Upon arrival in the city, we will visit the local Ulgii market for a chance to peruse some of the various Kazakh goods on sale – from hats and musical instruments to, perhaps if we’re lucky, some eagle hunting paraphanelia.

      After the market, we’ll make our way to our get camp which overlooks the city and the surrounding mountains before having dinner and getting some sleep as we prepare for an action packed day tomorrow as the Eagle Festival begins.

      Accommodation: Ger Camp
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    11. 21st September

      Eagle Festival Day 1

      We’ll leave our camp early and head over to the site of the Eagle Festival where we’ll locate the food tents and explore some of the other oddities of the festival area as the various eagle hunters and spectators arrive.

      As we wait for things to kick off, we’ll be able to check out the local souvenir shops and local traders who travel from far and wide to sell art, antiques, and other intruiging handmade crafts to the festival-goers.

      As we wander around this beautiful, busy, bustling area, we’ll slowly make our way towards the main arena where we’ll catch the opening ceremony. Eagle hunters from Mongolia, as well as nearby Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan will ride on horseback at speed carrying their eagles and showing off their magnificant costumes as they celebrate the beginning of this annual festival.

      As the day continues, we’ll see a series of exciting activities beginning with a display in which eagle hunters will call their eagles from the nearby mountain peak and the birds will dive at incredible speeds to land with their owner. For the adventurous amongst you, you may wish to climb the mountains along with the eagles and their handlers to watch the birds rise from the mountaintop and dive to the arena down below you. This makes for some incredible photos!

      After the day’s festivities have ended we’ll return to camp for a chance to shower, perhaps have a drink or two, and watch the sun set.

      Accommodation: Ger Camp
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

       

    12. 22nd September

      Eagle Festival Day 2

      We’re back at the festival again today, watching the eagles perform.

      Today, the main event will be a performance in which the eagle must swoop down from the mountain to the ground where the hunter must drag an artificial lure along the ground which the eagle must swoop down to catch – a great chance to watch the eagles in action.

      As the day continues, we’ll experience some more bizarre celebrations. From Kazakh husbands and wives chasing eachother on horseback, to two burly Kazakh men horseback wrestling.

      We’ll also get the chance to see a camel beauty contest, something which I’m sure you’ve all seen many times before, and finally the closing ceremony in which the hunters will ride with their eagles and provide us a great chance to get closer to the hunters and take some fantastic photos of the participants in all their finery.

      As the event closes, we’ll make our way to a local musician’s family yurt to meet a Kazakh folk band who will perform traditional music for us after we’ve enjoyed a hearty traditional Kazakh meal.

      Accommodation: Ger Camp
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    13. 23rd September

      Return to Ulaanbaatar

      This morning we’ll depart the city and head out to the airport, waving goodbye to the majestic scenery of western Mongolia as we head back to the hustle and bustle of Ulaanbaatar.

      Upon arrival, we’ll return to the hotel where you’ll have the option to enjoy a free afternoon in the city or, for those still yearning for beautiful scenery and more adventure in the Mongolian countryside, we can take you out to the Bogd Khan Mountain National Park where we’ll enjoy a hike through the alpine hillsides of the Bogd Khan Mountain and enjoying the fantastic views over the city.

      Alternatively, should you wish to spend your free time in the city, your tour leader will gladly point you in the direction of anything you might want to do; picking up camel wool socks in the market, finding bargains in the State Department Store, or exploring any of the temples and palaces around the city.

      That evening, we’ll regroup for a farewell dinner as we remenisce about our expedition. Our choice of restaurant tonight will be the Mongolian Barbeque Grill where we’ll enjoy a delicious final meal together.

      Accommodation: 3-star Hotel
      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    14. 24th September

      Departure Day

      This morning, we’ll transfer you to the airport, whatever time your flight, and bid you goodbye as you leave Mongolia, hopefully leaving with a head full of memories and a bag full of souvenirs!

      END OF TOUR

      Included Meals: Breakfast

  • What is / is not included?

    • English speaking guide
    • Western tour leader
    • All meals outside Ulaanbaatar
    • Camels for luggage
    • Internal flights 
    • All included sight seeing
    • All taxes & entrance fees to protected areas
    • All camping equipment (not sleeping bags.)
    • Airport Transfer (only on trip start/end dates)
    • Sleeping bags
    • International flights
    • Any alcoholic beverages
    • Meals where specified
    • Medical insurance (can be arranged.)
    • Visas (if needed)
    • Airport pick up 25 USD one way 
    • Sleeping bag hire (incl cleaning 30 USD for tour)
    • Items of personal nature
    • Airport Transfer (outside of trip start/end dates) 30 USD
  • Notes

    Please note! This tour has been specifically arranged to visit these areas; it may have elements of an expedition about it due to the nature and ruggedness of the terrain. As such, any change in the itinerary at the time cannot be helped. We will keep to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible, although please be aware that things are subject to change, especially if we encounter extreme weather conditions. Along the way, all tour decisions will rest with Rich (tour manager) and an expedition leader. We will also be taking advice from local people on the ground whose expertise will far exceed our own.

    If fewer than 5 passengers book, this tour will be led by a local leader only.

    For those who have booked international flights, should there be any change in the scheduling of these or route cancellation, Koryo tours can not be held liable; however, our crew on the ground will do all they can to help find an alternate flight or make your stay as a little easier.

    We insist that with all of our tours, you book comprehensive travel insurance not only to cover your dates of travel but your departure and return. 

Please apply by 1st September, 2024.

September 21 - September 30 2024

Greg Váczi's DMZ Adventure

9 nights along the
DMZ in South Korea

Travel along the DMZ from West to East, and experience
dynamic Seoul. The tour will be accompanied by North
Korea experts.

From 2595 USD per person

Please apply by 6th September, 2024.

Greg Váczi's DMZ Adventure

9 nights along the
DMZ in South Korea

Travel along the DMZ from West to East,
and experience dynamic Seoul. The tour
will be accompanied by North Korea
experts.

From 2595 USD per person

This tour is managed by...

Gergo Vaczi

Greg is the Koryo Tours DPRK Tour Manager.

He grew up in post-socialist Hungary and first travelled to North Korea as a tourist in 2016 following in the footsteps of his grandparents, who visited in 1988. He has since lived in the Netherlands, Israel, China, Korea and Iceland and holds a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. He has taken 26 groups to North Korea and lived in Seoul studying the Korean language full-time for two years. He also completed a long study course in Korean at a university in Pyongyang.

Read more about Greg's journey to become a North Korean Tour Leader here.

  • Overall

    Whilst we have not been able to travel to North Korea since January 2020, we can at least take you along North Korea's borders.

    After our successful South-North Korea border inaugural tour in 2022, and subsequent tour in 2023, we are once again happy to be able to promote a tour to Korea led by Greg Váczi and accompanied by North Korean experts. 

    Travel north of the 38th Parallel as we explore some rarely visited places in Korea, as well as must-see spots along the North-South Korean border. This tour is perfect for those interested in learning more about North Korea and issues on the Korean Peninsula, as well as those lovers of travel a little more on the adventurous side. 

    The tour takes you to islands lying closer to North Korea than South, to various points along the border to get a closer look into North Korea, and all the while will have you dining alongside experts you'll frequently hear about or see in the media. 

    It will appeal to all who want to travel to the DPRK at the moment but because of the closure of the country to tourism cannot currently visit. In the future, we hope Greg will be leading tours to the DPRK. But for the moment, this is your best opportunity to visit Korea.

    Highlights

    • See North Korean villages from some of the best look-out points in South Korea.
    • Tour Yeonpyeong Island, an island bombarded by North Korean artillery in 2010 that’s adjacent to the controversial Northern Limit Line.
    • Scour local beaches for trash washed in from North Korea to see what’s on the shelves of North Korean shops these days.
    • Guest experts will join for multi-day portions of the tour, including Professor Andrei Lankov.
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. September 21 | Saturday

      Arrival Day in Seoul

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Seoul.

      PM

      • From 14:00 | Check-in at hotel in Seoul.
         
      • Welcome dinner and orientation | Today we start the tour with a group dinner of some excellent Korean food. Coordination and briefing session, before the adventure ahead!

      Overnight: ibis Ambassador Insadong or similar, Seoul (x/x/D)

    2. September 22 | Sunday

      Incheon and Yeonpyeongdo, Yellow (West) Sea

      AM

      • Transfer to Incheon (1-1.5 hour drive).
         
      • Memorial Hall for Incheon Landing Operation | Also known as Operation Chromite, this museum showcases the history of the Incheon landing by the United Nation forces and the battle of Incheon in September 1950 that led to the first turning point in the course of the 6.25 War as known in South Korea or the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War as referred to in North Korea.

      PM

      • Ferry to Yeonpyeongdo | An approximately 2-hour-long ferry ride on the Yellow (West) Sea from the Incheon Coastal Ferry Terminal on board Korea Express Ferry’s Flying Café. Scheduled departure is at 13:00. In case of extreme weather conditions, ferry cancellation is possible.
         
      • Yeonpyeongdo Security Education Center | An exhibition on the importance of Yeonpyeondo from a national security point of view, the Northern Limit Line, and the shelling of the island by North Korea in 2010. The exhibition is housed next to a residential home that was hit and destroyed by the bombing.
         
      • Dinner, lecture, and discussion | We will gather for dinner followed by a lecture and discussion with a North Korea expert.

      Overnight: Dooly Minbak, Yeonpyeondo (*A traditional Korean guesthouse with futon beds on heated floor. Please note that single supplement is not possible at this accommodation; two guests of the same gender will need to share a room.) (B/x/D)

    3. September 23 | Monday

      Yeonpyeongdo, Yellow (West) Sea and return to Seoul

      AM

      • Border and beach tour of Yeonpyeongdo | During the morning we'll tour the full circumference of the island, stopping off at all the main vista points, beaches, and cultural sights. There'll also be chances to scour for some DPRK trash (*optional, due to the rough terrain of the beaches it is a potential hazard for some) and tune into its radio channels.

      PM

      • Ferry back to Incheon | A 2-hour-long ferry ride bound back to Incheon departs at 14:30.
         
      • Drive back to Seoul (1-1.5 hour drive).
         
      • Dinner at own leisure.

      Overnight: ibis Ambassador Insadong or similar, Seoul (B/L/x)

    4. September 24 | Tuesday

      *DMZ and JSA Tour | Please note that the Joint Security Area (JSA) is administered by the United Nations Commands and visits to the JSA are subject to cancellations according to local circumstances.

      AM

      • Camp Bonifas | A UN command post in South Korea, 400 meters away from the southern line of the DMZ. Also home to the “world’s most dangerous hole in golf” as it sports a golf course surrounded by landmines. A safety briefing will be held here by a South Korean or American military guide before visiting the JSA.
         
      • JSA (*TBC) | Visit the Joint Security Area (Truce Village) from the south. It is the closest you’ll be getting to North Korea from the South side.
         
      • Imjingak Resort | Located on the banks of the Imjin river – which separates the two Koreas – visitors to the resort can tour an array of fascinating Korean War-related locations: the remains of the last train to cross the border at the start of the War, a gondola that takes visitors across the river, and a newly opened museum in a former U.S. Army bowling alley.

      PM

      • Odusan Peace Observatory | Located where the Han and Imjin Rivers become one just before reaching the West (Yellow) Sea and a few kilometres away from a premium outlet, Odusan Peace Observatory is one of the most visited viewpoints over North Korea. The Observatory also hosts an exhibition about inter-Korean cooperation and unification.
         
      • Drive back to Seoul | Drive back to Seoul arriving in the early evening hours. (1–1.5 hrs drive).
         
      • Dinner at own leisure.

      Overnight: ibis Ambassador Insadong or similar, Seoul (B/L/x)

    5. September 25 | Wednesday

      Cheorwon DMZ Tour

      AM

      • Drive to Cheorwon Area | A scenic drive to about 100 km north of Seoul. (Ca. 2 hrs. drive.)
         
      • Cheorwon History Culture Park and Soisan Monorail | An open-air museum opposite the WPK Headquarters housing traditional Korean hanoks and buildings from the Japanese colonial era. The monorail takes us up to Mt. Soi where there is a former US Military Listening Site and views of the Cheorwon Plain and North Korea in the distance. The area known as The Iron Triangle during the Korean War was a site of fierce battles between the Chinese People's Volunteer Army and the US Army, and is today a fertile land and an important migratory bird habitat.
         
      • Cheorwon Workers' Party of Korea Headquarters | A three-story building that housed the WPK in the area was built in 1946 in a socialist realist style and was destroyed during the Korean War.

      PM

      • Memorial Tower of Baengmagoji Battlefield and Memorial Museum | The site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Korean War that took place on October 6-15, 1952 between the UN Forces and the Chinese Volunteer Army. The hill that changed hands 24 times during the 10 days-long fierce battle was completely reshaped as a result, looking like a White Horse (Baengma) lying down. Today, there is a memorial monument and exhibition hall on site.
         
      • Key Observatory | Opened in 1998, the name of the observatory symbolizes its potential role in reaching national unification. Apart from stunning views of the natural beauty of the DMZ and the fences and guard posts along it; there is also an exhibition hall about the Korean War and military life of those serving in the DMZ.
         
      • Typhoon Observatory | Named after the Typhoon Battalion of the ROK Army the observatory was opened in 1991. Famous for being the closest observatory to the MDL, it is situated just 800 meters from the MDL, and 1.6 kilometers from the closest North Korean checkpoint.
         
      • Drive back to Seoul | Another ca. 100 km back to Seoul, arriving at the hotel in the evening. Along the way back to the South Korean capital we will stop at one of the 38th Parallel Markers for photos. Note that we spent most of the day north of the 38th parallel in a territory that belonged to the North before the Korean War.
         
      • Dinner at own leisure.

      Overnight: ibis Ambassador Insadong or similar, Seoul (B/L/x)

    6. September 26 | Thursday

      War Memorial of Korea in Seoul; and Sokcho, Gangwon Province

      AM

      • War Memorial of Korea | Visit the War Memorial of Korea in South Korea and see things from a different perspective. The War Memorial of Korea features both indoor and outdoor exhibition halls containing approx. 33,000 artefacts.
         
      • Drive to Sokcho on the East Coast of Korea | We will drive approximately 200 km east across the Korean Peninsula. A drive that takes approximately the same time in the ROK and the DPRK; delayed by heavy highway traffic in the South while by road conditions in the North. We will stop for a light lunch (*at own expense) at one of the highway service stations. Service stations are a real treat in Korea, and the best in the World. (Ca. 3-4 hrs drive).

      PM

      • Beach walk to see electric fences and protection against North Korean infiltration | Since the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War North Korean military attempted to infiltrate South Korea. Many of these attempts happened via sea and in Gangwon Province. As a result, the Korean coast is heavily fortified – we will look at these electric fences and other means of protection.
         
      • Dinner, lecture, and discussion | We will gather for dinner followed by a lecture and discussion with a North Korean expert.

      Overnight: Ramada Plaza Hotel Sokcho (B/x/D)

    7. September 27 | Friday

      Goseong, Gangwon Province

      AM

      • Drive north to Goseong | We will drive North along the coast to Goseong County which is located north of the 38th parallel and became a part of South Korea only after the 1953 Armistice. Goseong County, like the Korean Peninsula and Gangwon (Kangwon) Province, is divided and it stretches north of the DMZ where it is spelled as Kosong County (the only province and county that is shared between the ROK and the DPRK). (Ca. 1-hr drive.)
         
      • Gift shop at the high-security border entrance | We will stop at the entrance of the Tongil Security Park to get our permit to cross the Civilian Limit Line allowing you time to check out the gift shop selling DMZ-themed bric-a-bracs.
         
      • Tongil Viewpoint over North Korea | Built in 1983 by a military unit Tongil Observatory is located within the Civilian Limit Line just a few kilometres away from the Military Demarcation Line overlooking the Kumgangsan area of North Korea. Kumgangsan (also known as the Diamond Mountain) is one of the five celebrated mountains of Korea and served as an inspiration for Korean artists for centuries. It has also gained national significance during the Sunshine Policy era when between 1998 and 2008 South Korean tourists were allowed to visit the Mount Kumgang Tourist Region developed by Hyundai. It also hosted numerous family reunion events. On our drive from the high-security border entrance to the observatory you can have a glimpse of the former customs house that processed inter-Korean border crossings.
         
      • Free time for lunch at Tongil Observatory | An hour-long break to grab lunch (*at own expense) and discover Tongil Security Park on your own.

      PM

      • DMZ Museum | Located within the Civilian Limit Line in Tongil Security Park the DMZ Museum tells the story of the past, present, and future of the Demilitarized Zone in four exhibition rooms.
         
      • Kim Il Sung Summer House | Would be a Revolutionary Site in North Korea and is also known as the Castle of Hwajinpo, the villa was built in 1938 by a German architect for the Sherwood Hall family who were missionaries in Korea; the matriarch of the family, Rosetta Sherwood Hall is the founder of the Pyongyang School for the Deaf and Blind. Kim Il Sung used the villa as a summer resort with his family between 1948 and 1950. The house was damaged during the Korean War and restored in 2005 to its state when the Kim family used it.
         
      • Beach treasure hunt for North Korean debris washed ashore | Being just a few kilometers away from the North Korean coast the sea washes off debris from North Korea sometimes as far away as Wonsan, some 100-plus kilometers North of the DMZ. We will go for a ‘treasure hunt’ to see what’s on the shelves of North Korean shops these days. Be sure to pack Nick Bonner’s Made in North Korea to use as a guide to identify the goods or see how everyday design changed over the years.
         
      • Check-in at Geumgangsan Condo Hotel | A hotel with stunning views of the East Sea and that resembles the atmosphere of the hotels found in North Korea. Please note that availability subject to local conditions.
         
      • Dinner, lecture, and discussion | We will gather for dinner followed by a lecture and discussion with a North Korea expert.

      Overnight: Geumgangsan Condo Hotel (*A Korean beach resort targeting local tourists primarily. The hotel is a bit worn down and might be below international standards according to some – on the other hand, it is one of our favorites –, but a real treat if you want to live the North Korean hotel experience outside the DPRK.) (B/x/D)

    8. September 28 | Saturday

      Return to Seoul

      AM

      • Drive back to Seoul | Drive West across the Korean Peninsula back to Seoul arriving mid-day. (3-4 hrs drive).

      PM

      • National Museum of Contemporary Korean History | Learn about the tumultuous 1960s when South Korea was under a military dictatorship. It was also the time of the 'Miracle on the Han River' when the country transformed from a developing country to one of the most developed economies.
         
      • Dinner at own leisure.

      Overnight: ibis Ambassador Insadong or similar, Seoul (B/L/x)

    9. September 29 | Sunday

      Ganghwado, Incheon

      AM

      • Manghyangdae | A solemn place overlooking North Korea where North Korean refugees perform annual ancestral rights.
         
      • Ganghwado Observatory | We'll drive to another great spot for observing North Korea.

      PM

      • Aegibong Peace Ecopark | Located on Hill 154, overlooking the Hangang Estuary, which was a battle site during the Korean War Aegibong Peace Ecopark now advocates peace on the Korean Peninsula. The area was designated as a North-South free-zone after the Korean War with accesses for both Southern and Northern fishing vessels; however, to avoid any conflicts it is off-limits for boats with the result that the park has its special ecosystem. The first observatory was built in 1978 and after a massive reconstruction, the park was reopened in 2021. The exhibition focuses on the unique ecosystem of the area and also offers a virtual reality experience to ‘visit’ the Koryo Palace in Kaesong (albeit being south of the 38th parallel, now North Korea). Up on the hill is the lookout with views of North Korea.
         
      • Farewell dinner.

      Overnight: ibis Ambassador Insadong or similar, Seoul (B/L/x)

    10. September 30 | Monday

      Departure day from Seoul

      Our trip ends this morning. Catch an international flight from Seoul's Incheon Airport or continue to explore Seoul and South Korea independently. For tips in South Korea please contact your tour manager Gergő "Greg" Váczi.

      (B/x/x)

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Upgrade to your own room in South Korea (ROK)

      The default rooming option for this tour is shared hotel room or minbak - Korean-style guest house - (one night). Each hotel room on tour has two separate beds. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra $50 USD per night. Please note that no single room supplement is available for the one night at minbak on Yeonpyeong-do.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Two meals a day unless otherwise stated
    • Accommodation in hotel, and in minbak (Korean-style guest house) on Yeonpyeongdo
    • Entry fees
    • Transporation while on tour
    • Ferry Incheon-Yeonpyeongdo-Incheon
    • Local Korean guide and a driver
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader
    • Guest speakers

    NOT INCLUDED

    • Optional single supplement: USD 50 per night (*Please note that single supplement is not available at the guesthouse on Yeonpyeong-do.)
    • Flights to/from South Korea
    • K-ETA or visa fee
    • Travel insurance
    • Spending money for souvenirs etc.
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of a local Korean guide and a Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ from what is advertised above. Given that many sites on tour are places of national security concerns, last-minute cancellations are also possible. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed.

    We will ensure to make the most of your days in Korea to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

    Entry to Korea

    • Please note that those nationals who do not require a visa for South Korea need to complete electronic travel authorization (K-ETA) at least 72 hours prior to entry to Korea. For details, and full list of all eligible countries please refer to the K-ETA website.
    • As of April 1, 2023 K-ETA is temporarily exempted to 22 countries/regions till December 31st, 2024. For a full list of countries and details please visit the K-ETA website. You will be required, however, to submit an Arrival Card at the port of entry to the ROK.

Please apply by 6th September, 2024.

September 27 - October 8 2024

Golden Eagle Festival and Snow Leopard Tour

Discover Mongolia's stunning Golden
Eagles and elusive Snow Leopards!

Join us as we venture to Mongolia's far west
in search of snow leopards and Kazakh Eagle
hunters!

From 3745 USD per person

Please apply by 1st September, 2024.

Golden Eagle Festival and Snow Leopard Tour

Discover Mongolia's stunning Golden
Eagles and elusive Snow Leopards!

Join us as we venture to Mongolia's
far west in search of snow leopards
and Kazakh Eagle hunters!

From 3745 USD per person

This tour is managed by...

Rich Beal

Rich Beal is our International Tours Manager.

Rich is one of our most experienced tour leaders. He has led tours worldwide since 2004, specialising in Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the surrounding area. Currently living in Mongolia, he leads multiple specialised trips annually and has over 20 years of experience running and designing tours of the region. 

  • Overall

    Venture into western Mongolia as we explore the heart of Mongolian culture, discover the vast array of wildlife, and celebrate alongside Eagle Hunters in this jam-packed adventure across the outdoor capital of the world!

    On this adventure, we'll travel from the capital, Ulaanbaatar, out to the far western provinces of Mongolia. This is often described as some of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire country.

    We'll link up with a camel caravan and celebrate a local cultural festival in the provincial capital. Afterwards, we go hiking through the majestic mountains of Khovd Aimag in search of the elusive Snow Leopard.

    To round it all off, we take part in the Golden Eagle Festival. A chance to see these incredible hunting birds put to the test in competition against other regional hunters.

    This tour is, perhaps, our most adventurous trip to Mongolia and will undoubtedly leave you with some incredible memories.

    See below for more information on the itinerary and highlights of this incredible, truly once-in-a-lifetime tour in Mongolia. 

    Highlights

    • Experience Mongolia's true nomadic wilderness & stay in the Altai Mountains.
    • Spend time observing the rare and elusive snow leopard plus other possible rare animal sightings (Saiga Antelope, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, Henderson’s Ground Jay).
    • Enjoy the spectacle of the Golden Eagle Festival. 

     

  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 12
    1. Monday, 28th October

      Arrival day into Ulaanbaatar

      • Meet at the Airport | Whenever you arrive, we'll be there to meet you at Chinggis Khan International Airport and drive you into downtown Ulaanbaatar to your hotel.
         
      • Ulaanbaatar | Our adventure will begin with a walking tour around Mongolia's capital city, starting with the central square. Sukhbaatar Square is the beating heart of Ulaanbaatar. Named after the titular Damdin Sukhbaatar, a leading revolutionary in the early 1920s, the square is surrounded by some of the most important buildings in the city. From the government palace, hosting statues of Chinggis Khan and his descendants, to the Cultural Palace, Art and Drama Theatre, Post Office, and City Government Offices.
         
      • Natural History Museum | Skirting around the side of the Soviet-Era Government Palace, we'll take a walk down one of the city's tree-lined boulevards towards the Natural History Museum.
        Formerly the Museum of Lenin, today this grand building houses exhibits about the prehistory of Mongolia and includes a vast room filled with stuffed animals that we hope to see out in the West (where they'll ideally be alive!).
         
      • State Department Store | Following on from our museum trip, we'll make our way through the bustling back streets to the State Department Store. This is the perfect chance to exchange currency for the local Mongolian Tugrik, find weird and wonderful souvenirs, and stock up on any snacks you might want for the upcoming adventure.
         
      • Beatles Statue | Near the State Department Store is an interesting, yet charming, statue dedicated to the Beatles – so we'll head over here to discover why this Liverpudlian band is commemorated so far away from the UK.
         
      • Finally, we'll head to our first group dinner, where we'll also have our pre-tour briefing. This is the chance to ask any pressing questions, find out about the imminent adventure, and make sure you know how to stay safe during the trip.

      Accommodation: Hotel 9, Ulaanbaatar

      Included Meals: Dinner

    2. Tuesday, 29th October

      Flight to Khovd

      • Domestic Flight | It's up and out early this morning as we head out of the city to board our domestic flight from Chinggis Khan International Airport to the far western city of Khovd.
         
      • Khovd Monastery | Once we arrive, before we grab some lunch, we'll make a stop at the Khovd Monastery. A typical small-town Buddhist monastery with some truly incredible architecture and filled with brightly coloured artefacts immaculately kept by the resident monks.
         
      • Steppe Hotel | We'll stop at the hard-to-miss Steppe Hotel for lunch. One of the most modern buildings in the city, this restaurant is also our hotel for the night, so we'll drop off our gear, enjoy some local delicacies, and head out for an adventure in Khovd.
         
      • Local Market | Our first stop is the market. This is the perfect chance to rub shoulders with locals and also an opportunity to pick up any last-minute bits and bobs for our coming expedition. Khovd market has everything – whether you need Wellington boots, a tennis racket, or 500 metres of string – this is the place to go. Grab the phrasebook – this is your chance to try out a little Mongolian language, something which always elicit a happy response from the market vendors.
         
      • Khovd Museum | After the market, we'll head over to the Khovd Museum – dedicated to the surrounding province. This Soviet-style museum hasn't yet got the memo from the modern age and is still very much a communist-era highlight. It'll be our chance to learn about the province that we will soon be travelling through – discovering what wildlife we may encounter and finding out about the people we'll meet along the way.
         
      • We'll end the day with a free evening – your chance to explore downtown Khovd, relax on the rooftop balcony of our hotel, or get an early night before our expedition heads into the true countryside tomorrow.

      Accommodation: Steppe Hotel

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    3. Wednesday, 30th October 

      Join the Camel caravan!

      • Ovoo | Today, the adventure really begins! We'll head out early to make the most of the day. Leaving Khovd, we'll make a stop at a lookout point just outside the city. This will give us a chance to see the Ovoo, which sits atop the mountain outside of Khovd. These Ovoos may look like piles of rocks, often with prayer flags sticking out the top, but they are an artefact of pre-Buddhist Mongolia. Many people here still believe in shamanism, and these Ovoos are home to spirits. Locals will walk around them three times, throwing stones at them to bring themselves good luck. Something we will need for our adventure.
         
      • Camel Caravan | This is where we'll be meeting with a camel caravan travelling from Khovd, through the picturesque landscape, towards the nearby Khar-us Lake.
         
      • The Camel caravan will be reminiscent of the famed tea trail, which saw tea being transported across the region through Mongolia and joining part of the more significant silk route.  
         
      • For those expecting days and weeks out in the wilderness, you may be a little disappointed as this journey is more short-term, looking at how the camels were packed and ridden, and joining the camel herders as they leave the city and head back to their countryside homes. Once loaded, we’ll head out from the city limits and walk and ride these beasts throughout the afternoon, eventually stopping to camp for the night. 

      Accommodation: Camping

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    4. Thursday 31st September. 

      Arrive at Khar-us Lake

      • Today, it’s an early start as we continue travelling with the camel caravan. We depart our campsite once our beats of burden are awake and ready to continue.
         
      • Khar-us Lake | Our destination is the picturesque Khar-us Lake. Here, we’ll bid farewell to our trusty travelling companions, and meet our local drivers and their study off-road vehicles which will carry us through the wilderness of this particularly beautiful region of the country, heading towards the wildlife-ridden mountain camp which will serve as our home for the next few days.

      Accommodation: Jargalan Khairkhan Ger Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    5. Friday, 1st October

      Hiking & Visit a Local Nomad Family

      • This morning, we'll awake to the beautiful scenic surroundings of Khovd Province.
         
      • Hike | After a hearty breakfast to steel ourselves for the day ahead, we'll head out for a leisurely hike through the surrounding mountains. During our hike, we'll have the chance to spot the local wildlife which calls this beautiful region home and also enjoy a relaxing break after a busy few days.
         
      • Local Nomadic Family | In the afternoon, we'll make a stop at a local nomadic family. Countryside people are famously welcoming to outsiders, and so when we see a ger or a yurt set up on the vast steppe, we'll head over to knock on the door and say hello. During our visit, we'll have the chance to see how Mongolians have lived for hundreds of years, with the traditional Mongolian ger having barely changed since the days of Chinggis Khan.
         
      • After enjoying some traditional snacks alongside our new local friends, we'll head back to our ger camp for a relaxing evening.

      Accommodation: Jargalan Khairkhan Ger Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    6. Saturday 2nd October.

      Search for Snow Leopards

      • Snow Leopard | This morning we will head out in search of Mongolia’s elusive mountain beast – the Snow Leopard. There are an estimated 35-40 Snow Leopards in this local region of the Altai Mountains. We’ll spend our day attempting to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
         
      • Observation Points | Our local friends in the mountains have a series of observation points scattered throughout the area which we’ll be able to drive to, followed by a short walk up to the final point. These observation posts are perfect for a snow leopard search, as well as watching for some of the other local wildlife which populates these high mountains and deep valleys.
         
      • Trackers | In addition to their observation posts, our local friends have a team of trackers who spend their time in the mountains tracking these majestical creatures and keeping us updated on any opportunities to catch a glimpse.
         
      • Whilst there is a high chance of seeing these incredible animals, roughly 70%, they are incredible masters of camouflage and are rarely seen, even by locals. However, this area grants us the best possible chance in the world to see these wild beasts up close.
         
      • After our day of mountainous searching, we’ll head back to camp for a well-deserved rest.

      Accommodation: Jargalan Khairkhan Ger Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    7. Sunday 3rd October 

      Discover Mongolia’s Wildlife

      • Wildlife | Today, we’ll head back into the mountains in search of some of the region’s most elusive wildlife.
         
      • Snow Leopards | If we were unsuccessful yesterday, we’ll continue the search for Snow Leopards.
         
      • Altai Mountains | If we manage to spot one, we’ll refocus our plan for today and delve into the wilderness in search of some of the other rare and elusive creatures which have made the Altai mountains their home.
         
      • We may also catch a rare glimpse of the Palla’s cat, a lesser-known, but equally majestic animal which prowls around at altitude hunting for its prey.
         
      • In the evening, we’ll head back down the mountain to a relaxing evening with the group at our local camp.

      Accommodation: Jargalan Khairkhan Ger Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    8. Monday 4th October 

      Venture to Olgii City

      • Khovd City | This morning, we’ll bid goodbye to our countryside hosts and make our way back towards Khovd city. This isn’t our final destination, but we’ll stop for a bite to eat before heading back out on an off-road adventure towards our overnight stop, the city of Olgii – the provincial capital of Bayan-Olgii Aimag.
         
      • We’ll travel many hours off-road towards one of the most beautiful provinces in all of Mongolia to join the many local Eagle Hunters who celebrate and compete with their hunting birds.
         
      • Olgii | Upon arrival in Olgii, we’ll enjoy some dinner at our overnight stop and prepare for a busy day ahead as the Eagle Festival kicks off tomorrow.

      Accommodation: Ger Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    9. Tuesday 5th October 

      Golden Eagle Festival Begins

      • After waking, it's a hearty breakfast to prepare for the day, and not just any day as after breaking camp, we join our host and follow him to the region's biggest event, the Golden Eagle Festival. 
         
      • The Golden Eagle Festival | It began in 1999 and has grown to be the largest event for eagles and their hunters globally and is recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage cultural event.  
         
      • There are smaller, more corporate events across the region, but this is the largest and most traditional. Over 70 hunters are involved yearly who show their Eagle skills and show some more traditional Kazakh games.  
         
      • Once at the festival, we first watch the opening ceremony, which sees each participant parading in on horseback with their eagles.
         
      • The competition gets going when the hunters show their hunting outfits and accessories, with the most elaborate and beautiful receiving the highest points.
         
      • Uriankhai Archery | One of the events at the festival is the Uriankhai archery competition. The Uriankhai are a small ethnic group found in this region and famed for their unique style of archery.
         
      • Bactrian Camel Racing | A unique event held at the festival, making quite a grand photographic opportunity. 
         
      • Kazakh Costumes | There is also an event for couples who parade within the arena showcasing their traditional Kazakh costumes perfect for those into fashion shows. 
         
      • Kazakh Concert | After the events, we will head back to Olgii City and freshen up in our ger camp before heading back out for the evening. This evening, we will enjoy a Kazakh Concert with traditional songs and music within the Bayan Ulgii Theatre, a real soviet gem.

      Accommodation: Ger Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    10. Wednesday 6th October 

      Golden Eagle Festival Day 2

      • Eagle Flying | Today, Is the day when the Golden Eagle Festival gets real, and the anticipated eagle flying begins. So we leave the comfort of our yurts after another great breakfast and arrive early at the event to find the best spot. 
         
      • The day starts with some traditional equestrian activities, some a little comical although all steeped in tradition. 
         
      • Eagle Flight | The first eagle hunter event involves the hunter calling to his eagle, who is atop a nearby mountain. The eagle is expected to fly down and land gracefully on the hunter's arm.  
         
      • Eagle Hunt | The final event sees the eagles tempted to hunt when a horse pulls a lure to simulate a rabbit, hare or fox. This is a real test of not just the hunter's skill in controlling his bird but also showcases the eagle's hunting ability. 
         
      • Closing Ceremony | The grand finale is the closing ceremony that sees winners from each event named and the overall eagle hunting champion crowned. The eagle-hunting champions eagle will then be taken to hunt either a fox or wolf in the wild. Traditionally, this marks the beginning of the eagle-hunting season. 
         
      • We will find time for those all-important photo opportunities with the hunters, their eagles, and their families during the event. 
         
      • Mongolian Throat Singer | Our last night in Bayan Olgii to enjoy an evening meal with our crew as well as the entertainment of a traditional Mongolian throat singer. 

      Accommodation: Ger Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    11. Thursday 7th October

      Return to Ulaanbaatar

      • Ulaanbaatar & City Market | Leaving our horses, camels, Russian jeeps and friends behind for good, we board a plane and return to Ulaanbaatar. This is a free day where you can shop ‘til you drop at the city market. You’ll never find cheaper cashmere, and you might pick up a shamanistic, Buddhist artefact or a relic from Soviet times. 
         
      • Palace of Bogd Khan | History lovers can stop by the winter palace of the Bogd Khan (1869-1922), who became Khagan (theocratic ruler) when the country split from China in 1911. Or you can relax with a coffee or cocktail at an outdoor café and watch this fascinating city unfold before you. Then we’ll meet up for dinner at a local family’s home so that we can see Mongolian home life away from the steppes.

      Accommodation: Hotel 9, Ulaanbaatar

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    12. Friday 8th October 

      Departure Day

      • We end our adventure in the morning, with transfers to the airport for international flights. Pack your souvenirs, your dirty clothes and your memories, and have a safe trip home!

      Accommodation: N/A

      Included Meals: Breakfast

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • All Meals
    • All Listed Accommodation 
    • Drivers and Vehicles
    • Local guide
    • Tour leader
    • Internal Flights

    NOT INCLUDED

    • International Flights
    • Mongolian Visa
    • Snacks
    • Alcoholic Drinks
    • Tips
       
  • Notes

    Please note! This tour has been specifically arranged to visit remote areas. As such it may have elements of an expedition about it, due to the nature and ruggedness of the terrain. Due to this, any change in itinerary at the time cannot be helped. We will do our best to keep to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible. However, please be aware that things are subject to change, especially if we encounter any extreme weather conditions. Along the way, all tour decisions will rest with the tour manager and an expedition leader. We will also be taking advice from local people on the ground whose expertise will far exceed our own.

Please apply by 1st September, 2024.

September 28 - October 4/5 2024

The China National Day Tour

6 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

The perfect way to spend your Chinese National Holiday time off
in North Korea. Highlights of Pyongyang, Kaesong, Pyongsong and
Mt. Myohyang.

From 1305 EUR per person

Please apply by 15th September, 2024.

The China National Day Tour

6 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

The perfect way to spend your Chinese National
Holiday time off in North Korea. Highlights
of Pyongyang, Kaesong, Pyongsong and Mt.
Myohyang.

From 1305 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Calling all adventurers! What better way to spend all of those days off for the Chinese National Holiday than exploring one of the world’s least-visited countries - but surprisingly accessible from China!

    The China National Day Tour includes a comprehensive city tour of Pyongyang as well as getting you down to Kaesong south of the 38th Parallel on the North-South border. We'll also head up to Pyongsong, a satellite city of Pyongyang and a centre for the national sci-tech industry. We will also travel up to scenic Mt. Myohyang and the amazing halls of gifts to the DPRK's Leaders. Add in Anju, Hoechang, and Huichon and you have a perfect week in the DPRK!

    Our comprehensive city tour of Pyongyang includes must-see sights such as the Mausoleum of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il, and the Mansudae Grand Monument, as well as visiting more local places such as the bustling Kwangbok Supermarket, the only place in Pyongyang where tourists can spend local Won that can be changed at the black market exchange rate. It certainly won’t be a relaxed Chinese golden week away, but it is an action-packed week guaranteed to leave you wanting more!

    Scroll down for an overview of our China National Day Short Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


     

    Highlights

    • Historic Kaesong City south of the 38th Parallel
    • Mt. Myohyang for scenery, the incredible gift exhibition, and a rare overnight in Huichon
    • Hoechang - wartime base of the Chinese Army
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. September 27 | Friday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, pay any outstanding tour fees and browse our collection of Korean art. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train. Please note that the train entry option for this tour is sold out due high demand during the National Day Holiday in China.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with the DPRK. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. September 28 | Saturday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 13:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
         
      • Flight arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 16:05. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides and transfer to the city.
         
      • Grand People's Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city.
         
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses and beer brewed on-site.

    3. September 29 | Sunday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.

      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 mile) horse’ -a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
      • Walk and Picnic Lunch in Moranbong Park | We’ll take a stroll and have picnic lunch in Pyongyang’s central park popular with locals for picnics, dances, and sports. The park is filled with historic pavilions, walls, and monuments- modern and ancient, a few of which are among the traditional ‘Eight Great Sights of Pyongyang’.

      PM

      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which represent the workers, farmers, and intellectuals that make up the Worker’s Party of Korea.

      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Opportunity to use Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. September 30 | Monday

      Pyongyang & Kaesong

      AM

      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.

      • Arch of Triumph | A massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
         
      • Friendship Tower | Monument to the assistance given by the Chinese Volunteer Army during the Korean War
         
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and USS Pueblo | We’ll tour this world-class museum led by local museum guides. Renovated in 2012 and its exhibits of Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artifacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captures equipment from the US military, including the spyship USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Walk along Taedong River to Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Munsu Water Park | We’ll take a break at this outdoor and indoor water park with water slides, lap pools, and hot tubs. Bar, coffee shop, and shops for non-swimmers (Entry fee 2 EUR; swimming fee- 10 EUR with suit rental; tennis- 5 EUR).

      • Drive south to Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.

      • Dinner with a Kayagum Performance.

      Overnight: Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong | Traditional style hotel where guests sleep on heated floors in Korean style. Housed in beautiful courtyards of Kaesong’s old city, structures date back to the Ri Dynasty. Basic bathroom facilities. Hot water not guaranteed and erratic electricity supply – please bring a torch.

    5. October 1 | Tuesday

      China National Day - DMZ & Kaesong City (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Old City Walk and South Gate | A stroll from the hotel through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the Ri Dynasty from the city’s historic South Gate.
      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, where negotiations between both sides once took place. Here we will be accompanied by military guides from the Korean People's Army.
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal consisting of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet-meat soup' is also an option here (+5 EUR).

      PM

      • Janam Hill and Old City View | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.

      • Concrete Wall and view of DMZ  (*Currently suspended) | View of a complex fortification system erected on the southern boundary of the DMZ accompanied by a military guide. The wall is seen as evidence of intent to permanently divide the nation. A 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
      • Pyongyang | Drive back to the capital.
         
      • Xiangmanlou/Hyangmanru Restaurant | A rare chance to eat dinner at Pyongyang's best Chinese Restaurant on this Chinese Holiday. Amazing building, great food, be one of the very few foreigners to have ever been here!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. October 2 | Wednesday

      Hoechang, Pyongsong, Anju

      AM

      • Drive to Hoechang.
         
      • Cemetery for the Martyrs of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army  | Built in the 1950s (renovated in 2010) and opened by Zhou Enlai. Scenic Chinese hillside cemetery with domed tombs of 134 Chinese soldiers. Including a bust and tomb of Mao Anying; the Chairman’s son.
      • Songhung Revolutionary Site | Drive past the giant zinc factory to the wartime base of the Volunteer Army. Caves and tunnels, buildings from the period used by the soldiers and by Kim Il Sung when he visited to thank them for assistance.

      PM

      • Drive north to Pyongsong, a satellite city of Pyongyang and centre of scientific research. A 45 minute to 1 hour drive.
      • Pyongsong City Square | Central square of Pyongsong City with statues of the DPRK leadership and flanked by the provincial revolutionary museum.
      • Kim Jong Suk Higher Middle School | One of the DPRK’s top middle schools for gifted students, tourists are encouraged to help teach an English class!
         
      • Drive to Anju | a mid-sized industrial city located on the road and rail line north of Pyongyang on the Chongchon River. During the Korean War, major battles were fought near here between North Korean-Chinese forces and UN-South Korean forces. Coal is mined nearby.
         
      • Paeksang Pavilion and Anju City Walls | The greatest pavilion in Kwanso (Pyong’an Province,) which overlooks the Chongchon River. Rebuilt after destruction in the Korean War.
         
      • Continue driving to Mt. Myohyang and on to Huichon County.

      Overnight: Huichon Hotel, Huichon | The only place a tourist can visit in Chagang Province. Almost never used by foreign tourists. Stay somewhere very different indeed!

    7. October 3 | Thursday

      Mt. Myohyang, Pyongyang

      AM

      • International Friendship Exhibition | A semi-subterranean exhibition hall displaying gifts of all kinds given to the DPRK leaders by foreign states, leaders, and organizations. The exhibition is a fascinating look into material culture in the second half of the 20th century. Highlights include a plane given by the Soviet Union, basketball signed by Michael Jordan from the US State Department, and vodka given by Dennis Rodman. The visit takes most of the morning. Presentable dress required.
         
      • Pohyon Buddhist Temple | A peaceful temple dating back to 1042 CE with stone pagoda and repository of print blocks and historic text of the Tripitaka Koreana, Buddhist scriptures first produced to invoke divine assistance from foreign invasions during the Koryo Dynasty.

      PM

      • Manpok Valley Hike | Various options for hikes of a range of distances/difficulties. Passing waterfalls, hermitages, interesting rocks, lovely wooded areas, and viewing points.

      • Pyongyang | 3-hour drive back to the capital.
      • Farewell dinner at Arirang Restaurant | One of Pyongyang's best restaurant in the center of the city.
         
      • Final evening walk through the heart of Pyongyang to bring an end to an amazing tour.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    8. October 4 | Friday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred exit method upon booking*

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS 251 at 10:25 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 11:50.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:10 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Saturday, October 5 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (High-season)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 265 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 435 EUR. We recommend flight entry with a train return for the best overall experience on your trip.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDING

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • Koryo Tours leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDING

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 265 EUR; return: 435 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement (40 EUR per night)
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ slightly to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 15th September, 2024.

September 28 - October 2/3 2024

China National Day Short Tour

4 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

The perfect way to spend your Chinese National
Holiday time off in North Korea. Pyongyang and
Kaesong.

From 935 EUR per person

Please apply by 15th September, 2024.

China National Day Short Tour

4 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

The perfect way to spend your
Chinese National Holiday time
off in North Korea. Pyongyang
and Kaesong.

From 935 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Calling all adventurers! What better way to spend some days off for the Chinese National Holiday than exploring one of the world’s least-visited countries - but surprisingly accessible from China!

    China National Short Day Tour includes a comprehensive city tour of Pyongyang as well as getting you down to Kaesong south of the 38th Parallel on the North-South border.

    Our comprehensive city tour of Pyongyang includes must-see sights such as the Mansudae Grand Monument, as well as visiting more local places such as the bustling Kwangbok Supermarket, the only place in Pyongyang where tourists can spend local Won that can be changed at the black market exchange rate. It certainly won’t be a relaxed Chinese golden week away, but it is an action packed week guaranteed to leave you wanting more!

    Scroll down for an overview of our China National Day Short Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


     

    Highlights

    • Pyongyang Highlights including: the Pyongyang Metro, Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum
    • Dine at Okryugwan to sample Pyongyang's (and the Korean Peninsula's) best cold noodles
    • Historic Kaesong City
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. September 27 | Friday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, pay any outstanding tour fees and browse our collection of Korean art. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train. Please note that the train entry option for this tour is sold out due high demand during the National Day Holiday in China.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with the DPRK. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. September 28 | Saturday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 13:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
         
      • Flight arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 16:05. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides and transfer to the city.
         
      • Grand People's Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city.
         
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses and beer brewed on-site.

    3. September 29| Sunday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.

      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 mile) horse’ -a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
      • Walk and Picnic Lunch in Moranbong Park | We’ll take a stroll and have picnic lunch in Pyongyang’s central park popular with locals for picnics, dances, and sports. The park is filled with historic pavilions, walls, and monuments- modern and ancient, a few of which are among the traditional ‘Eight Great Sights of Pyongyang’.

      PM

      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which represent the workers, farmers, and intellectuals that make up the Worker’s Party of Korea.

      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Opportunity to use Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).

      Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. September 30 | Monday

      Pyongyang & Kaesong

      AM

      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.

      • Arch of Triumph | A massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
         
      • Friendship Tower | Monument to the assistance given by the Chinese Volunteer Army during the Korean War
         
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and USS Pueblo | We’ll tour this world-class museum led by local museum guides. Renovated in 2012 and its exhibits of Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artifacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captures equipment from the US military, including the spyship USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Walk along Taedong River to Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Munsu Water Park | We’ll take a break at this outdoor and indoor water park with water slides, lap pools, and hot tubs. Bar, coffee shop, and shops for non-swimmers (Entry fee 2 EUR; swimming fee- 10 EUR with suit rental; tennis- 5 EUR).

      • Monument to the Three-Charters of National Reunification | Iconic arch over the Pyongyang-Kaesong Highway dedicated to joint meeting between Koreas, north and south. Also known as the ‘Arch of Reunification’.

      • Drive south to Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.

      • Dinner with a Kayagum Performance.

      Overnight: Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong | Traditional style hotel where guests sleep on heated floors in Korean style. Housed in beautiful courtyards of Kaesong’s old city, structures date back to the Ri Dynasty. Basic bathroom facilities. Hot water not guaranteed and erratic electricity supply – please bring a torch.

    5. October 1 | Tuesday

      China National Day - DMZ & Kaesong City (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Old City Walk and South Gate | A stroll from the hotel through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the Ri Dynasty from the city’s historic South Gate.
      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, where negotiations between both sides once took place. Here we will be accompanied by military guides from the Korean People's Army.
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal consisting of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet-meat soup' is also an option here (+5 EUR).

      PM

      • Janam Hill and Old City View | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.

      • Concrete Wall and view of DMZ (*Currently suspended) | View of a complex fortification system erected on the southern boundary of the DMZ accompanied by a military guide. The wall is seen as evidence of intent to permanently divide the nation. A 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
      • Pyongyang | Drive back to the capital.
         
      • Xiangmanlou/Hyangmanru Restaurant | A rare chance to eat dinner at Pyongyang's best Chinese Restaurant on this Chinese Holiday. Amazing building, great food, be one of the very few foreigners to have ever been here!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. October 2 | Wednesday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by train.

      AM

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Thursday October 3 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (High-season)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 265 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 435 EUR. We recommend flight entry with a train return for the best overall experience on your trip.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDING

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • Koryo Tours leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDING

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 265 EUR; return: 435 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement (40 EUR per night)
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ slightly to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 15th September, 2024.

October 2024 — 3 tours

October 7 - October 14/15 2024

The Party Foundation Day Tour

7 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Visit North Korea for the 79th Anniversary of the Foundation
of the Workers' Party of Korea. Pyongyang, Nampo, DMZ tour,
& Mt. Myohyang.

From 1495 EUR per person

Please apply by 19th September, 2024.

The Party Foundation Day Tour

7 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Visit North Korea for the 79th Anniversary
of the Foundation of the Workers' Party
of Korea. Pyongyang, Nampo, DMZ tour, &
Mt. Myohyang.

From 1495 EUR per person

  • Overall

    A North Korea autumn is a sight to see! Take in the autumn reds, oranges, and yellows at North Korea’s Mt Myohyang, see Pyongyang for Party Foundation Day and tour Kaesong on the border with South Korea.

    This 7-night adventure offers a unique mix of local culture, must-see attractions, and the great outdoors in some of the most remote parts of North Korea. We’ll be in Pyongyang for Party Foundation Day (October 10), a North Korean holiday which marks the foundation of the Korean Workers’ Party, for the celebrations, including student-organised mass dances, and to see other highlights such as the Pyongyang Metro, the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, and the Mansudae Grand Monument, followed by an overnight trip the port city of Nampo where we will stay in North Korea's oldest hot spa resort.

    In Kaesong, we’ll visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it’s then heading North to Korea’s Mount Myohyang.

    Short on time? Check out the shorter 5-night option for this tour.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Party Foundation Day Short Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Celebrations for Party Foundation Day, 79th anniversary of the formation of the Korean Workers' Party
    • Pyongyang highlights, including the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the Mansudae Grand Monument, and the Pyongyang Metro
    • UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. October 6 | Sunday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. October 7 | Monday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 13:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
      • Arch of Triumph | A massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang |Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. October 8 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour & Nampo

      AM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient and modern architecture from different eras.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of the DPRK leadership overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here. Visitations are by special request only and decent dress is required. No shorts or flip-flop sandals allowed here.
         
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Opportunity to use Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
         
      • Walk along Taedong River to Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Trolleybus Ride | A ride through Pyongyang from Pyongyang Railway Station to Arch of Triumph on one of the city’s famous trolleybuses. A Koryo exclusive!
         
      • Nampo | Drive west along the Youth Hero Highway’ to this port city of Pyongyang on the Taedong River estuary. A 1.5-hour drive.
         
      • Clam BBQ | A North Korean-style clam bake.

      Overnight: Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel, Nampo | Compound with holiday houses and a main building for dinner and entertainment. Bring a torch! Spa bath in every room with mineral water from the Sindok Spring- the most famous mineral spa in the DPRK. Billiards, karaoke, and ping pong.

    4. October 9 | Wednesday

      Nampo, Pyongyang

      AM
      • West Sea Barrage | An 8 km concrete, steel, and earthen barrage constructed between the Taedong River estuary and the West Sea for land reclamation, irrigation, flood prevention, and power generation. It also acts as a ship lock and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.
         
      • Tae’an Glass Factory | Factory producing glass and glass products for the domestic market. Watch the glass-making process from smelting to sheet-cutting and even try to break a sheet of strengthened glass.
         
      • Chongsan-ri Co-Operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung (there is a bronze statue of him and various farm workers here), the place where the ‘Chongsam-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse and the local shop & kindergarten, see the fields and greenhouses.
         
      • Return to Pyongyang on the ‘Youth Hero Highway’.

      PM

      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
         
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A beer bar serving seven types of beer. Popular with locals after work and on weekends. Best place to drink pints with local people.
         
      • Golden Lane Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix (2.5 EUR per person per game). Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. October 10 | Thursday

      Party Foundation Day – the 79th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea

      On October 10th there may be large-scale celebrations in Pyongyang. A military parade is possible but unconfirmed. If large events happen then the itinerary for the day will be subject to change. Foreign travellers are typically allowed to view military units as they exit the city from the parade course and the city's residents come out en masse to greet them. Be prepared to potentially wait around for a few hours, but it will be well worth it. For Party Foundation Day, we also expect student-organised mass dances at prominent locations throughout the city and the possibility of evening fireworks. Whatever happens this holiday, it will be impressive and unforgettable. Not to be missed!

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
         
      • Moranbong Park | We’ll have a picnic and take a stroll in Pyongyang’s central park popular with locals for picnics, dances, and sports. The park is filled with historic pavilions, walls, and monuments - modern and ancient, a few of which are among the traditional ‘Eight Great Sights of Pyongyang’.

      PM

      • Party Foundation Monument | Iconic Monument made up of stone depictions of hands gripping the hammer, sickle, and writing brush – symbols of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Built in 1995 for the 40th anniversary of this Party.
         
      • Mass Dance | As it's a national holiday, we expect to see large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!
         
      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) | We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. October 11 | Friday

      Kaesong, DMZ, Pyongyang (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM
      • Drive south on the Pyongyang-Kaesong (formerly known as Reunification) Motorway to Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.

      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, where negotiations between both sides once took place. Here we will be accompanied by military guides from the Korean People's Army.

      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal consisting of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet-meat soup' is also an option here (+5 EUR).
      PM
      • Janam Hill and Old City View | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.

      • Old City Walk and South Gate | A stroll from the hotel through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the Ri Dynasty from the city’s historic South Gate.

      • Concrete Wall and view of DMZ | View of a complex fortification system erected on the southern boundary of the DMZ accompanied by a military guide. The wall is seen as evidence of intent to permanently divide the nation. A 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
         
      • Pyongyang | Drive back to the capital.
      • Dinner at Duck BBQ Restaurant | Famous restaurant in south Pyongyang specializing in duck meat barbecue on a grill. Southcentral does it like nobody does!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    7. October 12 | Saturday

      Pyongyang and drive to Mt. Myohyang

      AM

      • Jonsung Revolutionary Site | A system of underground tunnels and bunkers used by Korean government’s cabinet during the 1950’s.  Learn about life underground during the years of American bombing.
         
      • Party Foundation Museum | Museum dedicated to the foundation of the Korean Workers' Party.
         
      • Grand People’s Study House | Huge national library and public university housed in a large neo-traditional Korean building overlooking Kim Il Sung Square and the downtown Pyongyang.

      PM

      • Drive to Mt. Myohyang | A scenic area 3 hours drive north from Pyongyang. Along the way see rivers, mountains, and villages
      • Manpok Valley Hike | Various options for hikes of a range of distances/difficulties. Passing waterfalls, hermitages, interesting rocks, lovely wooded areas, and viewing points.
         
      • Continue driving to Huichon County.

      Overnight: Huichon Hotel, Huichon | The only place a tourist can visit in Chagang Province. Almost never used by foreign tourists. Stay somewhere very different indeed!

    8. October 13 | Sunday

      Mt. Myohyang, Pyongyang

      AM

      • International Friendship Exhibition | A semi-subterranean exhibition hall displaying gifts of all kinds given to the DPRK leaders by foreign states, leaders, and organizations. The exhibition is a fascinating look into material culture in the second half of the 20th century. Highlights include a plane given by the Soviet Union, basketball signed by Michael Jordan from the US State Department, and vodka given by Dennis Rodman. The visit takes most of the morning. Presentable dress required.
         
      • Pohyon Buddhist Temple | A peaceful temple dating back to 1042 CE with stone pagoda and repository of print blocks and historic text of the Tripitaka Koreana, Buddhist scriptures first produced to invoke divine assistance from foreign invasions during the Koryo Dynasty.
      PM
      • Drive back to Pyongyang (2.5-3 hours).
         
      • Kang Pan Sok Middle School | Named for the mother of Kim Il Sung, who lived in this part of the city, this is a fascinating secondary school to visit. Here you can join in an English lesson, see science, revolutionary history, music, and art rooms, also outside is a dirt football pitch so bring a ball and get a kick-about going with some of the students. After all, soccer is simply the world’s language and the best way to interact with people in the DPRK.
         
      • Farewell dinner at Yanggakdo Hotel Revolving Restaurant | Best view of the city you can have while eating a meal! A deserving end to an epic adventure!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    9. October 14 | Monday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking*

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 08:55.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Friday, October 15 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (High-season)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 265 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 435 EUR. We recommend flight entry with a train return for the best overall experience on your trip.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance (7 to 9 nights)

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

    • Return by plane not train

      This tour enters the DPRK by plane. But the default setting upon your return is the 24-hour international train from Pyongyang to Beijing. For an extra 265 EUR you can opt for the plane back instead. The flight takes around 90 minutes.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • Koryo Tours leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 265 EUR; return: 435 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement (40 EUR per night)
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 19th September, 2024.

October 7 - October 12/13 2024

Party Foundation Day Short Tour

5 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Visit North Korea for the 79th Anniversary of the Foundation
of the Workers' Party of Korea, see Pyongyang, Nampo, and
take a DMZ tour

From 1205 EUR per person

Please apply by 19th September, 2024.

Party Foundation Day Short Tour

5 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Visit North Korea for the 79th Anniversary
of the Foundation of the Workers' Party
of Korea, see Pyongyang, Nampo, and take
a DMZ tour

From 1205 EUR per person

  • Overall

    A North Korea autumn is a sight to see! Take in the autumn reds, oranges, and yellows at Pyongyang's Moranbong Park, spend Party Foundation Day in the capital, and finish your tour by visiting Kaesong.

    We’ll be in Pyongyang for Party Foundation Day (October 10), a North Korean holiday which marks the foundation of the Korean Workers’ Party, for the celebrations, including student-organised mass dances, and to see other highlights such as the Pyongyang Metro, the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, and the Mansudae Grand Monument, followed by historic Kaesong, the medieval capital of the Koryo Dynasty.

    We will visit the port city of Nampo where we will stay in North Korea's oldest hot spa resort. In Kaesong, we'll visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Party Foundation Day Short Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Celebrations for Party Foundation Day, 79th anniversary of the formation of the Korean Workers' Party
    • Pyongyang highlights, including the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the Mansudae Grand Monument, and the Pyongyang Metro
    • Visit the ancient Korean capital, Kaesong
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. October 6 | Sunday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:27 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. October 7 | Monday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 13:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
      • Arch of Triumph | A massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. October 8 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour & Nampo

      AM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient and modern architecture from different eras.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of the DPRK leadership overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here. Visitations are by special request only and decent dress is required. No shorts or flip-flop sandals allowed here.
         
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Opportunity to use Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
         
      • Walk along Taedong River to Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Trolleybus Ride | A ride through Pyongyang from Pyongyang Railway Station to Arch of Triumph on one of the city’s famous trolleybuses. A Koryo exclusive!
         
      • Nampo | Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to this port city of Pyongyang on the Taedong River estuary. A 1.5-hour drive.
         
      • Clam BBQ | A North Korean style clam bake

      Overnight: Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel, Namp | Compound with holiday houses and a main building for dinner and entertainment. Bring a torch! Spa bath in every room with mineral water from the Sindok Spring- the most famous mineral spa in the DPRK. Billiards, karaoke, and ping pong.

    4. October 9 | Wednesday

      Nampo, Pyongyang

      AM
      • West Sea Barrage | An 8 km concrete, steel, and earthen barrage constructed between the Taedong River estuary and the West Sea for land reclamation, irrigation, flood prevention, and power generation. It also acts as a ship lock and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.
         
      • Tae’an Glass Factory | Factory producing glass and glass products for the domestic market. Watch the glass-making process from smelting to sheet-cutting and even try to break a sheet of strengthened glass.
         
      • Chongsan-ri Co-Operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung (there is a bronze statue of him and various farm workers here), the place where the ‘Chongsam-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse and the local shop & kindergarten, see the fields and greenhouses.
         
      • Return to Pyongyang on the ‘Youth Hero Highway’.

      PM

      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
         
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A beer bar serving seven types of beer. Popular with locals after work and on weekends. Best place to drink pints with local people.
         
      • Golden Lane Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix (2.5 EUR per person per game). Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. October 10 | Thursday

      Party Foundation Day – the 79th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea

      On October 10th there may be large-scale celebrations in Pyongyang. A military parade is possible but unconfirmed. If large events happen then the itinerary for the day will be subject to change. Foreign travellers are typically allowed to view military units as they exit the city from the parade course and the city's residents come out en masse to greet them. Be prepared to potentially wait around for a few hours, but it will be well worth it. For Party Foundation Day, we also expect student-organised mass dances at prominent locations throughout the city and the possibility of evening fireworks. Whatever happens this holiday, it will be impressive and unforgettable. Not to be missed!

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
         
      • Moranbong Park | We’ll have a picnic and take a stroll in Pyongyang’s central park popular with locals for picnics, dances, and sports. The park is filled with historic pavilions, walls, and monuments - modern and ancient, a few of which are among the traditional ‘Eight Great Sights of Pyongyang’.

      PM

      • Party Foundation Monument | Iconic Monument made up of stone depictions of hands gripping the hammer, sickle, and writing brush – symbols of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Built in 1995 for the 40th anniversary of this Party.
         
      • Mass Dance | As it's a national holiday, we expect to see large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!
         
      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) | We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. October 11 | Friday

      Kaesong, DMZ, Pyongyang (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM
      • Drive south on the Pyongyang-Kaesong (formerly known as Reunification) Motorway to Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.

      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, where negotiations between both sides once took place. Here we will be accompanied by military guides from the Korean People's Army.

      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal consisting of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet-meat soup' is also an option here (+5 EUR).
      PM
      • Janam Hill and Old City View | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.

      • Old City Walk and South Gate | A stroll from the hotel through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the Ri Dynasty from the city’s historic South Gate.

      • Concrete Wall and view of DMZ (*Currently suspended) | View of a complex fortification system erected on the southern boundary of the DMZ accompanied by a military guide. The wall is seen as evidence of intent to permanently divide the nation. A 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
         
      • Pyongyang | Drive back to the capital.
      • Dinner at Duck BBQ Restaurant | Famous restaurant in south Pyongyang specializing in duck meat barbecue on a grill. Southcentral does it like nobody does!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    7. October 12 | Saturday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please indicated your preferred exit method upon booking*

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS251 at 09:00 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:30.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Friday, October 14 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (High-season)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 265 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 435 EUR. We recommend flight entry with a train return for the best overall experience on your trip.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (High-season - No Flight Entry)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. Flight exit is also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 265 EUR you can upgrade to a flight exit on your trip. Transport options on this tour with flight entry are sold out.

    • Return by plane not train

      This tour enters the DPRK by plane. But the default setting upon your return is the 24-hour international train from Pyongyang to Beijing. For an extra 265 EUR you can opt for the plane back instead. The flight takes around 90 minutes.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • Koryo Tours leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 265 EUR; return: 435 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement (40 EUR per night)
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 19th September, 2024.

October 19 - October 25 2024

Soviet Mongolia October Tour

Exploring abandoned Soviet sites around
Mongolia: Airbases, abandoned towns, and
more!

This 6 night tour is an exploratory adventure
looking at remains left from the Soviet period
in Mongolia.

From 2100 USD per person

Please apply by 1st October, 2024.

Soviet Mongolia October Tour

Exploring abandoned Soviet sites around
Mongolia: Airbases, abandoned towns, and
more!

This 6 night tour is an exploratory
adventure looking at remains left
from the Soviet period in Mongolia.

From 2100 USD per person

This tour is managed by...

Rich Beal

Rich Beal is our International Tours Manager.

Rich is one of our most experienced tour leaders. He has led tours worldwide since 2004, specialising in Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the surrounding area. Currently living in Mongolia, he leads multiple specialised trips annually and has over 20 years of experience running and designing tours of the region. 

  • Overall

    Exploring Mongolia's Soviet past.

    A new Mongolia tour in 2023, now improved for 2024!

    Mongolia was never part of the Soviet Union. But as a Soviet satellite, it received guidance, money, expertise, and infrastructure. The latter of which remained long after the country's independence.   

    This adventure takes us in and around Ulaanbaatar as well as down to the Gobi desert, looking at the Soviet history of Mongolia.

    We start within this nomadic nation's capital Ulaanbaatar where we'll explore dusty Soviet-era museums, wonder at bold 1950s architecture, and gaze at statues erected to red heroes and Russian giants. 

    Travelling on part of the trans-Mongolian railway, the tour will trundle south and explore abandoned apartments and once-sprawling Soviet bases. Built at the time of the Sino-Soviet split these large military installations were prepared for a war that was never to happen.

    Read more on the tour here

    Highlights

    • Experience Mongolia's little-known communist past. 
    • Wander around deserted Soviet-built apartments, explore abandoned military bases, and peer behind Ulaanbaatar's rapidly growing modern facade. 
    • Find hidden statues of Lenin, Marshal Zhukov, and the Mongolian leaders of their day. 
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 7
    1. Saturday, October 19th

      For all of those joining this adventure, you will be met at the airport upon arrival and transferred to our group hotel. The meeting time is 18.00. For those of you who arrive early, we will meet for an orientation walk.

      • Hotel Ulaanbaatar | Built in 1961, this is a hotel of many firsts constructed during the Communist period. It was the first hotel in the country, the first public building with running hot water, and the first 5-star hotel in Mongolia too. Designed by the wife of Mongolia's then communist leader Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal.
      • Sükhbaatar SquareThis square is named after Mongolia's revolutionary hero Damdin Sükhbaatar shortly after his death in 1923. In 2013, the square's name was briefly changed to Chinggis Square much to the ire of many local people. 2016 saw a change back to the original title which has remained. In the centre of the square stands an equestrian statue of Damdin Sükhbaatar himself. A large monument dedicated to Genghis Khan sits atop the steps of the government palace.
      • National University of Mongolia | It was established in 1942. We pay a visit to view its Soviet architectural style and to catch a glimpse of the statue of Khorloogiin Choibalsan. Choibalsan was referred to by some as the 'Stalin of Mongolia' as he oversaw the purges of the 1930s. It’s estimated over 35,000 people were killed.
      • State Department StoreEstablished in 1921, this relic from the Soviet period has seen many changes. But is worth the visit as it still has a few older retro corners to be visited. As well as its history, it houses everything you may need. From money changers to a supermarket and souvenir vendors.
         
      • The Beatles Statue | The Beatles never visited Mongolia. But there is indeed a beautiful statue erected for them. The story goes that local people raised money to have it built after the Soviet period, in memory of the music they illegally listened to during that period.
         
      • As we walk back to the hotel, we will pass the National Academic Drama Theater, the Mongolian Stock Exchange and The National Theater. All are excellent examples of Russian design and construction.

      Hotel | Hotel Ulaanbaatar

      Meals | Dinner

    2. Sunday, October 20th

      This morning, after breakfast, it is straight out as we explore the city on foot and by bus.

      • Mongolian Military Museum | This ageing museum is home to Russian MIGs, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft guns, and tanks. And that's only on the outside! The museum interior covers history from the Mongol empire right the way through to its more recent Soviet past. After our visit, it's on to the former home (now a museum) of Marshal Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov.
      • Marshal Zhukov House Museum | This small but exciting museum opened in 1979. It is the same house where Zhukov stayed from 1939 -1940 as he directed Soviet troops in the battle of Tavan Gol. We get to view his living quarters as well as pictures, maps and weapons. All from around the time of the Soviet defeat of the Japanese army at this little-known but crucial battle.
      • Marshal Zhukov Statue | Located in a small square next to the Zhukov Museum is a rather splendid figure of the man himself.
      • Lenin Statue | For those interested in Lenin statues, we have quite a treat. We pay a visit to the Lenin statue once located in front of the Ulaanbaatar hotel. This statue, commissioned in 1951, stood for many years. It was taken down in 2012 by the then-mayor of Ulaanbaatar. It has found a few homes since that time and now resides within a local residential area.  

      After lunch, we continue with our tour as we visit further into the city. We stop at local apartments to view mosaics found still in place at the end of traditional Soviet apartment blocks. Our last visit of the day prepares us perfectly for our overnight train

      • Ulaanbaatar Open Air Railway Museum This pre-dinner visit sets us up perfectly for tonight's overnight train journey. The museum houses six locomotives used throughout the last 65 years. Many of the engines still have their soviet detailing and imagery, including a large image of Joseph Stalin.
      • Ganden Monastery | One of the few remaining Buddhist Temples which survived the Soviet purges of the 1930s and 40s. Today, it is the largest monastery in the city. It is home to enormous statues, hundreds of monks, and some beautiful traditional Mongolian architecture.

      After an early dinner, we board our local train to SainShand town, Dornogovi province. We have four-berth cabins as we trundle along part of the trans-Mongolian railway.

      Hotel | Overnight train

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    3. Monday, October 21st

      • Sainshand Town | We’ll arrive in the early morning at Sainshand Town. After alighting the train, for those awake enough, we will pause to view the small, but well-appointed Soviet outpost train station before heading into town for a basic breakfast.
         
      • Sainshand Town is the capital of Dornogovi Province. It lies due southeast of Ulaanbaatar, sitting to the east of the Gobi desert surrounded by scrub and flat arid terrain. This remote town is a real mix of old and new. Only 130 miles from the Chinese border, this position made Sainshand an essential military base during the Sino-Soviet split.
         
      • Sainshand was once home to the air-missile intelligence stations of the Soviet Union. These would protect the underbelly of Russia from possible attack from a hostile China. The town was separated into three distinct areas: north, south, and east. Unfortunately, in modern times, the northern section has been destroyed and used to construct newer buildings. The east was sealed off for use by the Mongolian Air Force.
         
      • Soviet Past | Following breakfast, we will see what remains of the town’s Soviet past. We look to the southern area of this frontier settlement. Luckily for us, a little still remains. Mainly used for habitation and business for local people.
         
      • Shivee-Ovoo | After lunch, we drive 2 hours north to the village of Shivee-Ovoo. This small habitation was once home to the Soviet motorised rifle division. Believe it or not, there were up to fifteen thousand soldiers once here. These days all that remains in this desolate windswept area are the former homes built for the servicemen and their families and the officer’s mess. A little exploring will also reveal a few fascinating mosaics.
         
      • Choir | Once we have finished our Soviet exploration for the day, we have our final drive to the provincial capital, Choir. Once here, we locate a local restaurant for our evening meal and then head to our hotel for tonight situated in one of the former Soviet district block apartments.

      Hotel | Art Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    4. Tuesday, October 22nd

      • Choir | After breakfast, we’re ready to continue our exploration of Choir. We will head to the Soviet-style Choir Railway Station. Outside here there is a Statue of Yuri Gagarin. It was built to commemorate the flight into space of Mongolia’s first cosmonaut Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa in 1981.
         
      • During the Soviet period, Choir housed the most extensive military base for the Soviet Union. But that has long gone with many of the buildings dismantled. We will explore what is left and make sure to visit the 25-meter high statue erected in honour of the USSR’s war heroes.
         
      • Former Airbases | Upon leaving Choir, we’ll continue north. After a while, we’ll make a stop at one of the region’s former airbases. Here it gets even more interesting as we have the opportunity for a bit of ‘urbex’ (urban exploration) and see one of the abandoned MiG monuments. (A former MIG fighter jet raised pointing skyward). We will also be permitted to enter the former base to see some of the remaining airfield buildings if we’re lucky.
         
      • Bagakhangai | From here, we’ll drive onwards to check on another former Soviet airbase located in the town of Bagakhangai. We plan to access the area and its abandoned aircraft hangers. Around the town, there are also some derelict buildings worthy of our time and attention for a bit more exploring.
         
      • Baganuur | Next, we drive across the rolling countryside to the city of Baganuur. Baganuur was created to serve the Soviet military base, which was home to the 12th Motor Rifle Division. The Russians have gone now, but the city retains much of its former Soviet design and currently serves the nearby Baganuur coal mine.
         
      • As we arrive late today, we head straight to our hotel for dinner and then some well-deserved rest.

      Hotel | TBC

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    5. Wednesday, October 23rd

      • Urbex 12th Motor Rifle Division | We’re up and out early today. We drive out of Baganuur further east to have a look at what remains of the base that once belonged to the 12th Motor Rifle Division. Much of this has now gone. It has been taken down and recycled, although some of the living quarters remain and offer us a little more ‘urbex’.
         
      • Ulaanbaatar | Once we have finished exploring the remains of the Soviet base, we board our vehicles and begin to make our way back to the Red Hero City, Ulaanbaatar. As we journey back, we will stop at one of the small towns that serve the still functioning aerodrome. The MiG 21 in the children’s play area here is a particular highlight!
         
      • Genghis Khan Statue | As we make our way back, we’ll stop at a more modern statue built for the ancient leader, and most famous Mongolian; Genghis Khan. Finished in 2008, the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue makes for a great visit, offering views over the surrounding countryside.
         
      • Ulaanbaatar Resident | Once we return to Ulaanbaatar, we will visit the home of a resident who has, over the years, amassed an impressive array of Lenin statues and memorabilia. He loves to meet interested visitors to show off and talk about his collection proudly.
         
      • Once we’ve arrived and checked back into our hotel, you’ll have the rest of the day to rest and relax.

      Hotel | Ulaanbaatar Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch

    6. Thursday, October 24th

      • Mongolian National Gallery | Today is another day of exploring the nation’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. This morning, we’re out on foot to visit the nearby Mongolian National Gallery. This impressive building houses many of the artworks of Mongolia. As well as the art, the architecture here is terrific. It incorporates some fantastic mosaics and stained glass windows from the country’s communist past.
         
      • From art to dinosaurs. We’ll walk further into the city to view some of the small city squares that would have once been adorned with monuments commemorating Mongolia’s socialist neighbour. They have since been replaced with more nationalistic Mongolian figures and symbols.
         
      • Mongolian Dinosaur Museum | Our destination is the Mongolian Dinosaur Museum. This building once housed the nation's Lenin Museum built especially for the father of communism. The outside is adorned with brass reliefs depicting the great man himself as well as Engels and Marx. Although once inside, you may need to use your imagination a little! The architecture remains. Although where Lenin's statue once stood now stands Mongolia’s very own T-Rex!
         
      • Zaisan | After a spot of lunch, we’ll head across the city to the upmarket Zaisan area. We’re not here to drink an overpriced coffee but to climb the 612 steps up the hill to the famed Zaisan monument. Built in 1956, the monument commemorates the friendship between the USSR and Mongolia.
         
      • Revolutionary Mongol Tank Brigade Monument | The lower reaches of Zaisan incorporate the Revolutionary Mongol Tank Brigade Monument. This monument combines an original T-34 tank and a map of its journey from manufacturing in the Soviet Union to Berlin. Following our tour of the remaining Soviet sites in Ulaanbaatar, we’ll return to our hotel before heading out into the city for our last group meal.

      Hotel | Ulaanbaatar Hotel

      Included Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    7. Friday, October 25th

      Departure day

      We end our adventure in the morning, with transfers to the airport for international flights. Pack your souvenirs, your dirty clothes, and your memories, and have a safe trip home!

      Included Meals | Breakfast

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • All Listed Meals
    • All Listed Accommodation
    • Local Guide / Tour Leader
    • Visa Assistance
    • Transport & Driver
    • Water
    • National park entrance fees 
    • Site entrance fees
    • Airport Transfer (only on trip start/end dates)

    NOT INCLUDED

    • Flights to/from Mongolia
    • Travel Insurance
    • Snacks/Drinks/Extra Expenses
    • Tips for crew 
    • Meals not listed
    • Airport Transfer (outside of trip start/end dates) 30 USD

Please apply by 1st October, 2024.

November 2024 — 1 tour

November 12 - November 16/17 2024

Koryo North Korea Budget Tour - November

4 nights in North Korea + travel
time between Beijing and Pyongyang

Our last budget tour of the year!
Round-trip by train or upgrade to
flight.

From 845 EUR per person

Please apply by 30th October, 2024.

Koryo North Korea Budget Tour - November

4 nights in North Korea + travel
time between Beijing and Pyongyang

Our last budget tour of
the year! Round-trip by
train or upgrade to flight.

From 845 EUR per person

This tour is managed by...

Gergo Vaczi

Greg is the Koryo Tours DPRK Tour Manager.

He grew up in post-socialist Hungary and first travelled to North Korea as a tourist in 2016 following in the footsteps of his grandparents, who visited in 1988. He has since lived in the Netherlands, Israel, China, Korea and Iceland and holds a degree in Sociology and Anthropology. He has taken 26 groups to North Korea and lived in Seoul studying the Korean language full-time for two years. He also completed a long study course in Korean at a university in Pyongyang.

Read more about Greg's journey to become a North Korean Tour Leader here.

  • Overall

    Budget North Korea tours are basic introductory tours for the frugal traveller in search of adventure. This no-frills alternative to our more advanced tours offers a great way to see a tightly edited package of the country’s most interesting sights, including a city tour of Pyongyang and a visit to Kaesong south of the 38th Parallel on the North-South border.

    You’ll also spend a night in the beautiful Mt Myohyang area, where we will visit the famous International Friendship Exhibition in the mountains and hike the Manpok Valley area through the autumn leaves. Our Koryo Budget North Korea Tours may be short, but they are action-packed and will only leave you wanting more!

    Scroll down for an overview of our Autumn Budget Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


     

    Highlights

    • Ride on the Pyongyang Metro, visit the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and other Pyongyang highlights
    • Historic Kaesong south of the 38th Parallel
    • Mt. Myohyang – Sacred mountain region with many temples, hermitages, beautiful hiking routes, and The International Friendship Exhibition
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. November 11 | Monday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. November 12 | Tuesday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 12:55. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
      • Walk on post-war Pyongyang's oldest street Victory (Sungni) Street from Kim Il Sung Square to Pyongyang Railway Station.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Changgwangsan Hotel, Pyongyang. | A centrally located classic hotel built in the 1970s and within walking distance of some attractions. It has a large indoor swimming pool, great bookstore and coffee shops.

    3. November 13 | Wednesday

      Kaesong City and DMZ Tour (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | Perhaps the most famous place in the entire country. The iconic manifestation of the tragic division between North and South Korea. The ‘truce’ village where several huts straddle the Central Military Demarcation Line (de facto border) with soldiers from each side standing guard. A tour here starts with a briefing at the edge of the DMZ, a visit to the Armistice Negotiation Hall and Armistice Signing Hall, seen as symbols of victory over foreign aggression on this side of the line. Then to Panmunjom itself – cross the border inside one of the blue huts, experience the uncanny feeling of crossing the front line of a sad and needless division of one society, and then take a higher view from the Panmun Pavilion looking over the line from above. A Korean People’s Army officer will be there to explain their side of things and will willingly pose for some photos too. A completely and utterly unmissable place.
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal consisting of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet-meat soup' is also an option here (+5 EUR).

      PM

      • Janam Hill and Old City View | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
      • We'll drive around two hours to Sariwon City and Folk village | Recently built mock-up of a traditional Korean walled city which includes a history museum, food street and pavilions. Make sure to try the homemade makkolli here!
      • Drive back to Pyongyang. 1 hour.
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.
      • Yanggakdo International Cinema | Optional Screening of Comrade Kim Goes Flying, a North Korean romantic comedy co-produced by Koryo Tours. The ticket is approximately 10 EUR (subject to change).

      Overnight: Changgwangsan Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. November 14 | Thursday

      Pyongyang City Tour, on to Huichon

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 mile) horse’ -a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
      PM
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
      • Monument to Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which represent the workers, farmers, and intellectuals that make up the Worker’s Party of Korea.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • Drive north passing rivers valleys and hills to Mt. Myohyang, the ‘mountain of mysterious fragrance’. A 2.5-hour to 3-hour drive.

      Overnight: Huichon Hotel, Huichon | Basic but clean hotel located 30 minutes north of Mt. Myohyang. Very good local food much different from the lowlands, on-site sauna, and limited electricity. A must for those wishing to visit every province in the DPRK as it is situated just across the border into the otherwise tourist-devoid Jagang Province.

    5. November 15 | Friday

      Mt Myohyang and Pyongyang Metro

      AM

      • International Friendship Exhibition | An exhibition hall displaying gifts of all kinds given to the DPRK leaders by foreign states, leaders, and organizations. The exhibition is a fascinating look into material culture in the second half of the 20th century. Highlights include a plane given by the Soviet Union, basketball signed by Michael Jordan from the US State Department, and vodka given by Dennis Rodman. The visit takes most of the morning.
      • Pohyon Buddhist Temple | A peaceful temple dating back to 1042 with stone pagoda and repository of a print blocks and historic text of the Tripitaka Koreana, Buddhist scriptures first produced to invoke divine assistance from foreign invasion during the Koryo Dynasty.

      PM

      • Manpok Valley Walk | A gentle stroll passing waterfalls, interesting rocks, lovely wooded areas and viewing points.
         
      • Drive back to Pyongyang. 2.5 - 3 hour drive.
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
      • Arch of Triumph | A massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.

      Overnight : Changgwangsan Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. November 16 | Saturday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking*

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:55.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Sunday, November 17 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Standard)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Pyongyang – Beijing – Pyongyang
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • DPRK visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; return: 299EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • SINUIJU EXTENSION: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Our Koryo Budget Tours are capped at 25 people per group. Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 30th October, 2024.

December 2024 — 2 tours

December 28 - January 2/3 2025

The New Year's Eve Tour: Bring in 2025 in Pyongyang with Koryo Tours!

5 nights in North Korea for New
Year's Eve + Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Start off 2025 with the big celebrations
in Pyongyang, North Korea!

From 1355 EUR per person

Please apply by 10th December, 2024.

The New Year's Eve Tour: Bring in 2025 in Pyongyang with Koryo Tours!

5 nights in North Korea for New
Year's Eve + Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Start off 2025 with
the big celebrations
in Pyongyang, North
Korea!

From 1355 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Visit North Korea for New Year's Eve 2024 and bring in 2025 with Koryo Tours in style. Our annual New Year's Eve Tour counts down the clock with the locals in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square for celebrations that only get better every year.

    Recent years have seen a massive firework display over the Tower of the Juche Idea, dancing, and drone display in the sky. All topped off with a concert by some of North Korea's most famous musicians.

    We'll also visit the highlights of Pyongyang such as the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, mausoleum of the DPRK leaders, and the Pyongyang Metro. This tour also includes a visit to Kaesong.

    Scroll down for an overview of our New Year's Eve Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square with fireworks, dancing, and more
    • See Pyongyang's highlights and tour the capital on the first day of 2025
    • Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in historic Kaesong near the demarcation line with South Korea
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. December 27 | Friday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, pay any outstanding tour fees and browse our collection of Korean art. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with the DPRK. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. December 28 | Saturday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 12:55. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
      • Arch of Triumph | A massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses and beer brewed on-site.

    3. December 29 | Sunday

      Pyongyang, Sariwon, Kaesong

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
      • Trolleybus Ride | A ride through Pyongyang from Pyongyang Railway Station to Arch of Triumph on one of the city’s famous trolleybuses. A Koryo exclusive!
      PM
      • Drive to Sariwon City (1 hour) | Provincial Capital to the south of Pyongyang.
      •  Drive south to Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.

      Overnight: Janamsan Hotel, Kaesong | Used at various times by all three of the DPRK's national Leaders! This is a fun and retro hotel in a peaceful part of historic Kaesong.

    4. December 30 | Monday

      Kaesong, DMZ, Pyongyang (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Janam Hill and Old City View | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
      • Old City Walk and South Gate | A stroll from the hotel through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the Ri Dynasty from the city’s historic South Gate.

      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Curently suspended) | The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, where negotiations between both sides once took place. Here we will be accompanied by military guides from the Korean People's Army.

      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal consisting of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet-meat soup' is also an option here (+5 EUR).
      PM
      • Pyongyang | Drive back to the capital.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
      • Grand People’s Study House | Huge national library and public university housed in a large neo-traditional Korean building overlooking Kim Il Sung Square and the downtown Pyongyang.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Opportunity to use Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. December 31 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour - New Year's Eve

      AM

      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting
         
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.
      PM
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • Monument to Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which represent the workers, farmers, and intellectuals that make up the Worker’s Party of Korea.
         
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A standing bar serving seven type of beer (50 cents a pint, 4.5 EUR for a flight). Popular with locals after work and on weekends!
         
      • Dinner on Pyongyang’s Rainbow Boat on the Taedong River where we'll start our New Year's Eve Party! 

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. January 1 | Wednesday

      Pyongyang in 2025! Join the locals on this first national holiday of the year

      AM
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
         
      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 mile) horse’ -a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
      PM
      • Munsu Water Park | We’ll take a break at this outdoor and indoor water park with water slides, lap pools, and hot tubs. Bar, coffee shop, and shops for non-swimmers (Entry fee 2 EUR; swimming fee- 10 EUR with suit rental; tennis- 5 EUR).
         
      • Golden Lane Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix (2.5 EUR per person per game). Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range (approximately 6 EUR per 20 round cartridge) and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang.
         
      • Taedonggang Number 3 Beer Bar | End the tour with a couple of pints of Taedonggang Beer in this local bar, you've earned it after this New Year!
         
      • Walk along Taedong River through small parks, new neighbourhoods, and the streets of the capital city as people see out the first holiday of the new year - on our way to a farewell dinner with our hosts at a specially chosen restaurant

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    7. January 2 | Thursday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please indicate your preferred exit method upon booking. For this tour, we highly recommend train departure or at least leaving your schedule flexible for train departure to Beijing.

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:55. ***Please note this flight is subject to cancellation.***

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Friday, January 3 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (New Year's 2020)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR. ***For this tour, we highly recommend train departure or at least leaving your schedule flexible for train departure to Beijing.***

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation in the DPRK
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours Tour Leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional flights between Beijing and Pyongyang (one-way: 199 EUR; return: 299 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example, Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    The New Year's Eve Tour will accompanied by two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ slightly to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit North Korea regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 10th December, 2024.

December 30 - January 1 2025

North Korea New Year's Eve Budget Tour from Dandong

2 nights in North Korea for New
Year's Eve + Dandong-Pyongyang travel
time

Visit North Korea for New Year's Eve to bring in 2025!
Round-trip by train from Dandong (or upgrade to travel
from/to Beijing)

From 495 EUR per person

Please apply by 10th December, 2024.

North Korea New Year's Eve Budget Tour from Dandong

2 nights in North Korea for New
Year's Eve + Dandong-Pyongyang travel
time

Visit North Korea for New Year's Eve
to bring in 2025! Round-trip by train
from Dandong (or upgrade to travel from/to
Beijing)

From 495 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Visit North Korea with Koryo Tours for New Year's Eve 2024 and bring in 2025 in Pyongyang. Our New Year's Eve Budget Tour from Dandong gets you to Pyongyang in time for the incredible New Year's Eve celebrations, which include a massive firework display over the Taedong River - and much more!

    Recent New Year's celebrations saw a drone display in the sky and a music concert by some of North Korea's best musicians, including world-famous Moranbong Band. We'll also visit the highlights of Pyongyang such as the Juche Tower, and the Pyongyang Metro.

    Scroll down for an overview of our New Year's Eve Budget Tour from Dandong package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Pyongyang, capital of North Korea, with the locals!
    • See Pyongyang's highlights and tour the capital on the first day of 2025
    • Take a ride on the Pyongyang Metro, the world's deepest metro system
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. December 29 | Sunday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, the briefing will be held in Dandong, at the Dan Tie Railroad Hotel

      PM

      • 18:00 | Briefing at Dan Tie Railroad Hotel, Dandong

      Overnight | Hotel in Dandong not included in the tour. Contact us for recommendations.

    2. December 30 | Monday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • 10:00 Train departs from Dandong Station | Our staff and local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.
         
      • Walk from Pyongyang Railway Station to Haebangsan Hotel.
         
      • Check-in and dinner at hotel.

      Overnight: Haebangsan Hotel, Pyongyang | Oldest hotel in Pyongyang and one with an amazing central location. Can't be beaten for being downtown on New Year's Eve!

    3. December 31 | Tuesday

      New Year's Eve! Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 mile) horse’ -a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.

      PM

      • Kwangbok Department Store | Opportunity to use Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
         
      • Arch of Triumph | A massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • Monument to Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which represent the workers, farmers, and intellectuals that make up the Worker’s Party of Korea.
         
      • Dinner on Pyongyang’s Rainbow Boat on the Taedong River where we'll start our New Year's Eve Party!
         
      • Head for Kim Il Sung Square before midnight along with crowds of tens of thousands of locals for a North Korean New Year Celebration! Concerts, midnight fireworks, and the best night of the year!

      Overnight: Haebangsan Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. January 1 | Wednesday

      New Year's Day - Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Dandong by train

      AM

      • Train departure by train to Dandong at 10:25. The scheduled arrival is 17:00. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Beijing Departure Upgrade - Budget Marathon Tour

      Upgrade your train journey to a round trip from Beijing (+95 EUR).The full Beijing-Pyongyang train journey around 24 hours and adds one extra night before, and one extra night after your trip into North Korea. This tour travels between between Dandong-Pyongyang by train as standard.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Dandong – Pyongyang – Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation in the DPRK
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours Tour Leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional train between Beijing and Dandong (one-way: 40 EUR; return: 80 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
  • Notes

    The New Year's Eve Tour will accompanied by two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ slightly to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit North Korea regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 10th December, 2024.

January 2025 — 3 tours

January 2 - January 18 2025

Mongolia Snow Leopard Tour

An Expedition to Discover and observe
the endangered Snow leopard in Mongolia

Travel with us as we journey to Mongolia's far west in search
of the elusive snow leopard and other endangered yet fascinating
species.

From 4750 USD per person

Please apply by 1st January, 2025.

Mongolia Snow Leopard Tour

An Expedition to Discover and observe
the endangered Snow leopard in Mongolia

Travel with us as we journey to Mongolia's
far west in search of the elusive snow
leopard and other endangered yet fascinating
species.

From 4750 USD per person

This tour is managed by...

Rich Beal

Rich Beal is our International Tours Manager.

Rich is one of our most experienced tour leaders. He has led tours worldwide since 2004, specialising in Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the surrounding area. Currently living in Mongolia, he leads multiple specialised trips annually and has over 20 years of experience running and designing tours of the region. 

  • Overall

    Venture into western Mongolia as we explore the heart of Mongolian wildlife, discover the vast array of creatures that call this region home, and search throughout the mountains for the elusive Snow Leopard.

    On this adventure, we’ll fly out from the bustling capital, Ulaanbaatar, and head out to the far west of Mongolia.

    The province of Khovd sits near the border with China and Kazakhstan and is one of the most beautiful regions in the entire country if not the continent. We’ll set out aboard our trusty 4x4s into the wilderness of this region in search of some of the world’s most incredible wildlife.

    On our journey, we’ll search for wild horses, track down Saiga Antelope, and, of course, the elusive and majestic Snow Leopard. Whilst these beautiful cats are notorious for being difficult to track down, our local friends in the region have an incredible track record of catching a glimpse of Snow Leopards, so we’re in good hands on our adventure.

    In addition to Snow Leopards, we may also catch a glimpse of the extremely rare Palla’s Cat, the Mongolian Gazelle, and the plethora of other flora and fauna which grace these incredible peaks and deep mountain valleys.

    See below for more information on our Mongolia Snow Leopard Tour itinerary and highlights. 

    Interested in Mongolian Golden Eagles? Check out our Mongolian Golden Eagle and Snow Leopard Tour combining both of these Mongolian beauties. 

    Highlights

    • Experience Mongolia's true nomadic wilderness.
    • Spend time observing the rare and elusive snow leopard whilst staying in the Altai Mountains.
    • The beautiful Przewalski's (Takhi) horse and other possible rare animal sightings of Saiga Antelope, Pallas’s Sandgrouse, and Henderson’s Ground Jay.
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 13
    1. Monday 6th January 

      Arrive into Ulaanbaatar

      • Meet at Hotel | Whenever you arrive, we'll be there to meet you at Chinggis Khan International Airport and drive you into downtown Ulaanbaatar to your hotel.
         
      • Central Ulaanbaatar | Our adventure will begin with a walking tour around Mongolia's capital city, starting with the central square. Sukhbaatar Square is the beating heart of Ulaanbaatar – named after the titular Damdin Sukhbaatar, a leading revolutionary in the early 1920s, the square is surrounded by some of the most important buildings in the city – from the government palace, hosting statues of Chinggis Khan and his descendants, to the Cultural Palace, Art and Drama Theatre, Post Office, and City Government Offices.
         
      • Natural History Museum | Skirting around the side of the Soviet-Era Government Palace, we'll take a walk down one of the city's tree-lined boulevards towards the Natural History Museum. Formerly the Museum of Lenin, today this grand building houses exhibits about the prehistory of Mongolia. It includes a vast room filled with stuffed animals that we hope to see out in the West (where they'll ideally be alive!).
         
      • State Department Store | Following on from our museum trip, we'll make our way through the bustling back streets to the State Department Store – the perfect chance to exchange currency for the local Mongolian Tugrik, find weird and wonderful souvenirs, and stock up on any snacks you might want for the upcoming adventure.
         
      • Beatles Statue | Near the State Department Store is an intriguing, yet charming, statue dedicated to the Beatles – so we'll head over here to discover why this Liverpudlian band is commemorated so far away from the UK.
         
      • Evening Briefing | Finally, we'll head to our first group dinner, where we'll also have our pre-tour briefing. This is the chance to ask any pressing questions, find out about the imminent adventure, and make sure you know how to stay safe during the trip.

      Accommodation: Hotel 9, Ulaanbaatar

      Included Meals: Dinner

    2. Tuesday 7th January

      Flight to Khovd/Drive to the Snow Leopard encampment.

      • Internal Flight | It's up and out early this morning as we head out of the city to board our domestic flight from Chinggis Khan International Airport to the far western city of Khovd.
         
      • Ovoo | Leaving Khovd, we'll make a stop at a lookout point just outside the city. This will give us a chance to see the Ovoo, which sits atop the mountain outside of Khovd. These Ovoos may look like piles of rocks, often with prayer flags sticking out the top, but they are an artefact of pre-Buddhist Mongolia. Many people here still believe in shamanism, and these Ovoos are home to spirits. Locals will walk around them three times, throwing stones at them to bring themselves good luck. Something we will need for our adventure!
         
      • Local Shaman | It’s here where we’ll visit a local shaman. Shamanism continues to be an important aspect of life in Mongolia, and these traditional figures are considered to be finely tuned with the natural environment and the wildlife that surrounds them.
         
      • Mountains & Forests | After we’ve had our journey blessed by the shaman and been granted luck for the coming days, we’ll leave the city and make our way east towards the mountains, forests, and valleys which serve as home for the elusive snow leopard.
         
      • Snow Leopard Camp | Over the next week, we’ll traverse the area we’re now driving through hoping to catch a glimpse of these majestic mountain cats, and hopefully get some stunning photos in their natural habitat.

      Accommodation: Snow Leopard Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    3. Wednesday 8th January

      Search for the Snow Leopards Day 1

      • Snow Leopard | This morning, we will head out in search of Mongolia’s elusive mountain beast – the Snow Leopard. There are an estimated 35-40 Snow Leopards in this local region of the Altai Mountains, and we’ll spend our day attempting to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
         
      • Altai Mountains | Our local friends in the mountains have a series of observation points scattered throughout the area which we’ll be able to drive to, followed by a short walk up to the final point. These observation posts are perfect for a snow leopard search, as well as watching for some of the other local wildlife which populates these high mountains and deep valleys.
         
      • Observation Posts & Local Spotters | In addition to their observation posts, our local friends have a team of trackers who spend their time in the mountains tracking these majestical creatures and keeping us updated on any opportunities to catch a glimpse.
         
      • Over the next six days, we’ll be traversing five total peaks in the surrounding area, each with dedicated observation posts in search of Snow Leopards and other incredible wildlife.
         
      • Back to Camp & Rest | After our day of mountainous searching, we’ll head back to camp for a well-deserved rest.

      Accommodation: Snow Leopard Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    4. Thursday 9th January

      Search for the Snow Leopards Day 2

      • Snow Leopards | This morning, we’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast and set out for our second day of searching amongst the peaks and valleys of the region.
         
      • Viewpoints | Depending on our success so far, we’ll head further afield to different viewpoints in our ongoing search for Snow Leopards. In addition, we will keep an eye open for some of the regions' other aforementioned wildlife.
         
      • Other Wildlife | If we’re really lucky, we may catch sight of the extremely rare Palla’s Cat. Mongolia is home to the largest population of Palla’s Cats in the world, however, they are hard to spot as they have extremely expansive territories. Ground squirrels are their favourite food, and the best chance to spot these predators is while they’re waiting for these small rodents to pop out of their holes.

      Accommodation: Snow Leopard Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    5. Friday 10th January

      Search for Snow Leopards Day 3

      • Snow Leopards | This morning, we’ll venture back out into the wilderness in our continuing search for Snow Leopards.
         
      • Depending on our success so far, our spotters will hopefully have worked out the ideal spot for our observations today.
         
      • Steppe Eagle | As we head off into the mountains, we’ll no doubt catch a glimpse of the steppe eagle. At this time of year, the eagles have begun to malt their summer coats and instead are a lighter, more camouflaged colour. This makes them harder to spot on their rocky perches, but no less beautiful to witness gliding silently above us.

      Accommodation: Snow Leopard Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    6. Saturday 11th January 

      Searching for Snow Leopards Day 4

      • Today marks the halfway point of our hunt in the wilderness. For those that wish, there is always the option to spend the day relaxing at the camp, taking in the surroundings, and spending some free time taking a break from our wild escapades.
         
      • Wildlife | However, for those keen to continue to search, we’ll head out once more, following the path of wolves, ibex, and gazelles as we make our way to today’s viewing point in the hope of catching that glimpse of silver fur that is unmistakably a Snow Leopard.

      Accommodation: Snow Leopard Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    7. Sunday 12th January

      Searching for Snow Leopards Day 5

      • Penultimate Day | The hunt continues on our penultimate day at the camp.
         
      • Adaptive Search Tactics | Today, we’ll be able to adapt our search tactics based on our experiences over the past few days to maximize the chance of a Snow Leopard encounter.
         
      • Trekking | Once again, we’ll depart the camp in our trusty vehicles, and spend our day trekking amongst the wildlife of Khovd Province to our observation spot. After which, we’ll return for a relaxing evening.

      Accommodation: Snow Leopard Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    8. Monday 13th January 

      Searching for Snow Leopards Day 6

      • Final Snow Leopard Trip | Whether or not we’ve seen Snow Leopards so far on the trip, we’ll head out one final time with all the experiences of the past few days behind us, hoping for an encounter with these incredible creatures.
         
      • Evening at Camp | In the evening, we’ll enjoy one final evening at our camp, reminiscing about the various creatures we’ve seen, and hopefully sharing our leopard photos!
         
      • Finally, it’s off to sleep in preparation for a long journey tomorrow. As we depart the home of the Snow Leopard, it’s not quite yet time to pack away your cameras and binoculars as our next stop offers more chances to view Mongolia’s incredible wildlife.

      Accommodation: Snow Leopard Camp

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    9. Tuesday 14th January

      Drive to the Wild Horse Camp

      • Khomyn Tal National Park Drive | Today we’ve got a long journey ahead of us as we depart the Snow Leopard Camp and make the roughly 100km drive off-road to the Khomyn Tal National Park.
         
      • Landscapes | As we drive, we’ll traverse some incredible landscapes. Distant steppe, the edges of the Gobi Desert, frozen rivers, and mountains which rise to pierce the open blue sky above us.
         
      • Today is mostly a day of travelling, an unfortunate by-product of Mongolia being so massive. However, when we arrive we’ll have a late afternoon and evening free to rest, relax, take a short walk, or enjoy a drink as we prepare for the day ahead where we will go in search of another of Mongolia’s wild beasts.

      Accommodation: Khomyn Tal National Park

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    10. Wednesday 15th January 

      Searching for Wild Horses

      • Khomyn National Park | Today we’ll set out into the Khomyn National Park. The national park is home to the rare Mongolian wild horse known as Perzevalski or Takhi. Once extinct in the wild, the Perzevalski Horse is a true conservation success story with captive breed horses released into, and then surviving in the wild.
         
      • Initially, these horses were only extant in the Hustai National Park, near Ulaanbaatar. However, their incredible success and growth in numbers means many have been relocated here, to this much more remote park where they continue to live wild. The only such example in the world.
         
      • Takhi Horses & Wildlife | Mid-afternoon offers us the best time to catch a sighting of the beautiful Takhi horses, so we’ll pile into our trucks and drive out into the rolling terrain to spot them coming down from the mountains for water at the nearby river. As well as the famed Perzevalski horse, it is also possible to see foxes, red deer, roe deer, eagles, and other various animals.
         
      • Complete Safari & Return to Camp | After our safari is complete, we’ll head back to the camp for a relaxed evening sharing wildlife photos.

      Accommodation: Khomyn Tal National Park

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
       

    11. Thursday 16th January 

      Return to Khovd.

      • Early Start | Today it's up and out early, bidding goodbye to our remote surroundings we're offroad as we make our way back to Kovd town.
         
      • Khovd Monastery | Once we arrive, we grab some lunch, we'll make a stop at the Khovd Monastery. A typical small-town Buddhist monastery with some truly incredible architecture and filled with brightly coloured artefacts and immaculately kept by the resident monks.
         
      • Steppe Hotel | We'll stop at the hard-to-miss Steppe Hotel for a late lunch. One of the most modern buildings in the city. This restaurant is also our hotel for the night, so we'll drop off our gear, enjoy some local delicacies, and head out for an adventure in Khovd.
         
      • Local Market | Our first stop is the market. The perfect chance to rub shoulders with locals and also an opportunity to pick up any last-minute souvenirs. Khovd market has everything. Whether you need wellington books, a tennis racket, or 500 metres of string. This is the place to go. Grab the phrasebook. This is your chance to try out a little Mongolian language, something which always elicits a happy response from the market vendors.
         
      • Khovd Museum | After the market, we'll head over to the Khovd Museum – dedicated to the surrounding province. This Soviet-style museum hasn't yet got the memo from the modern age and is still very much a communist-era highlight. It'll be our chance to learn about the province we've spent our last few days.

      Accommodation: Hotel 9, Ulaanbaatar

      Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    12. Friday 17th January

      Return to Ulaanbaatar

      • Today, we say goodbye to our amazing team in Khovd and catch our flight back to the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
         
      • Ulaanbaatar City | This afternoon offers us the chance to explore some of the city alone, whether shopping, visiting a few extra museums, or just relaxing. Make sure to meet this evening for a well-deserved last group meal where we can reminisce about our adventures.

      ​​​Accommodation: Hotel 9, Ulaanbaatar

      Included Meals: Dinner

    13. Saturday 18th January 

      Departure Day

      • We end our adventure in the morning, with transfers to the airport for international flights. Pack your souvenirs, your dirty clothes and your memories, and have a safe trip home!

      Accommodation: N/A

      Included Meals: Breakfast

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • All Meals
    • All Listed Accommodation 
    • Drivers and Vehicles
    • Local guide
    • Tour leader
    • Internal Flights
    • Airport Transfer (only on trip start/end dates)

    NOT INCLUDED

    • International Flights
    • Mongolian Visa
    • Snacks
    • Alcoholic Drinks
    • Tips
    • Airport Transfer (outside of trip start/end dates) 30 USD
  • Notes

    Please note! This tour has been specifically arranged to visit remote areas. As such it may have elements of an expedition about it, due to the nature and ruggedness of the terrain. Due to this, any change in itinerary at the time cannot be helped. We will do our best to keep to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible. However, please be aware that things are subject to change, especially if we encounter any extreme weather conditions. Along the way all tour decisions will rest with Rich (tour manager) and an expedition leader. We will also be taking advice from local people on the ground whose expertise will far exceed our own. The team we use to visit the snow leopards have a very high success rate although sightings can never be 100% guaranteed.

Please apply by 1st January, 2025.

January 7 - January 11/12 2025

Koryo North Korea Budget Tour Winter

4 nights in North Korea + travel
time between Beijing and Pyongyang

Our first tour of 2025! Visit the DPRK in the quiet of winter as
the country looks forward to the year ahead. Round-trip by train
or upgrade to flight.

From 699 EUR per person

Please apply by 19th December, 2024.

Koryo North Korea Budget Tour Winter

4 nights in North Korea + travel
time between Beijing and Pyongyang

Our first tour of 2025! Visit the DPRK in
the quiet of winter as the country looks forward
to the year ahead. Round-trip by train or
upgrade to flight.

From 699 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Our Winter North Korea budget tour is perfect for those seeking adventure travel on a budget, or those wanting a short break away. A North Korea winter is chilly and quiet.

    Already among the least visited countries in the world, visit North Korea at a time when there are even fewer travellers around and enjoy the calm and quiet as you explore the DPRK.

    This North Korea tour package includes a city tour of Pyongyang and a a visit to Kaesong south of the 38th Parallel on the North-South border.

    The clear skies, snow-covered streets, and Koreans fully kitted out for a North Korean winter wrapped up in hats and scarves make for great pictures! Plus, you’ll be amongst the first to hear about the latest economic and political developments that DPRK has in store for the year ahead.

    Tick North Korea off your bucket list and get an insight into this little-explored country. Prepare yourself for a truly action-packed itinerary and a comprehensive introduction to North Korean history and society today!

    Scroll down for an overview of our Winter Budget Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • See Pyongyang highlights (incl. Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the Mansudae Grand Monument, the Pyongyang Metro, and more)
    • Dine at Pyongyang's most famous restaurant and try the local speciality; naengmyeon a.k.a. Pyongyang Cold Noodles
    • Historic Kaesong, only about 10 km away from the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ)
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. January 6 | Monday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. January 7 | Tuesday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 12:55. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.

      Overnight: Changgwangsan Hotel, Pyongyang. | A centrally located classic hotel built in the 1970s and within walking distance of some attractions. It has a large indoor swimming pool, great bookstore and coffee shops.

    3. January 8 | Wednesday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Morning rush hour walk from the hotel to Mansudae Grand Monument. Experience the vibe of the city as few foreigners do while locals are on their way to work.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 miles) horse’ - a symbol of speed - commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
         
      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
         
      • Grand People’s Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean architecture and great views of the city.

      PM

      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule.  Made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982.
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective with artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A standing bar serving seven types of beer (50 cents a pint, 4.5 EUR for a flight). Popular with locals after work and on weekends!
      • Yanggakdo International Cinema | Optional screening of Comrade Kim Goes Flying, a North Korean romantic comedy co-produced by Koryo Tours. The ticket is approximately 10 EUR (subject to change).

      Overnight: Changgwangsan Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. January 9 | Thursday

      Pyongyang City Tour and drive to Kaesong

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require a collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dresses or pants, and closed-toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
         
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.
      PM
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which represent the workers, farmers, and intellectuals that make up the Worker’s Party of Korea.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • Relaxing afternoon before a long drive | You can go for a ten-pin fix with Pyongyang locals at Golden Lane Bowling Centre, or head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang. Those who want to warm up a bit and leave feeling ten years younger can go to Ryomyong Sauna Complex to chill and mingle with locals.

      Overnight: Janamsan Hotel, Kaesong. One of our favourite hotels in the DPRK. Friendly staff, great food, and 1970s socialist design. A cosy place to stay in winter!

    5. January 10 | Friday

      Kaesong and DMZ Tour at Panmunjom (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Sonjuk Bridge | Small stone bridge built in 1290, which in 1392 was the site of the assassination of the last loyal Koryo Dynasty minister Jong Mong Ju by a son of Ri Song Gye (founder of the next, and final, dynasty). This bloody act extinguished the Koryo which had ruled over Korea for 474 years and is said to have left a permanent mark on the bridge that can be seen to this day
         
      • Janam Hill and Old City View | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | Perhaps the most famous place in the entire country. The iconic manifestation of the tragic division between North and South Korea. The ‘truce’ village where several huts straddle the Central Military Demarcation Line (de facto border) with soldiers from each side standing guard. A tour here starts with a briefing at the edge of the DMZ, a visit to the Armistice Negotiation Hall and Armistice Signing Hall, seen as symbols of victory over foreign aggression on this side of the line. Then to Panmunjom itself – cross the border inside one of the blue huts, experience the uncanny feeling of crossing the front line of a sad and needless division of one society, and then take a higher view from the Panmun Pavilion looking over the line from above. A Korean People’s Army officer will be there to explain their side of things and will willingly pose for some photos too. A completely and utterly unmissable place.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
         
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal consisting of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet-meat soup' is also an option here (+5 EUR).
      PM
      • Drive back to Pyongyang via Sariwon the seat of North Hwanghae Province. 2 hour drive.
      • Sariwon Folk Village and City View | Mock-up of a traditional Korean town which includes a history museum, food street, and pavilions. There is a small tavern selling Makkoli, traditional rice wine. Climb a nearby hill for a view of Sariwon City and the surrounding plains.
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.

      Overnight: Changgwangsan Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. January 11 | Saturday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking.

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:55.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is at Beijing Station on Sunday, January 12 at 08:40. For this tour, the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Standard)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train travel Pyongyang – Beijing – Pyongyang by hard sleeper class with transfer in Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation in North Korea
    • Two local English-speaking Korean guides and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader
    • All transportation in North Korea

    NOT INCLUDED

    • DPRK visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; return: 299 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example, Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person) or film screening (approx. 10 EUR)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • SINUIJU EXTENSION: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Our Koryo Budget Tours are capped at 25 people per group. Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park). We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 19th December, 2024.

January 25 - January 30/31 2025

The Lunar New Year Tour

5 nights in North Korea + travel
time between Beijing and Pyongyang

Get away from the Lunar New Year madness in China
- come with us to experience the Lunar holiday
in North Korea!

From 1199 EUR per person

Please apply by 5th January, 2025.

The Lunar New Year Tour

5 nights in North Korea + travel
time between Beijing and Pyongyang

Get away from the Lunar New Year
madness in China - come with us
to experience the Lunar holiday
in North Korea!

From 1199 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Our Lunar New Year in North Korea Tour is perfect for those going from China to North Korea, seeking adventure travel, or those wanting to escape China during Lunar New Year holidays.

    Head to Pyongyang by train or plane and enjoy an extensive tour of the capital city, visiting all of the must-see sites - as well as some not-so-frequently-visited ones. Making the most of North Korea tourism, this tour also includes a trip to Kaesong, some 10 kilometres away from the border to North and South Korea and often referred to as ‘the world’s most dangerous border’.

    Mark North Korea off your bucket list and get a key insight into this little-explored country. Prepare yourself for a truly fascinating experience with Koryo Tours.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Chinese New Year Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Mansudae Grand Monument, and all the highlights in Pyongyang, the capital of the DPRK
    • Historic Kaesong south of the 38th Parallel
    • Lunar New Year in Pyongyang
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. January 24 | Friday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. January 25 | Saturday

      Arrival Day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 12:55. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
         
      • Flight arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ). DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides and transfer to the city.

      Overnight: Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang | Pyongyang’s premier hotel, built in 1985, and located in the heart of downtown, near Pyongyang Station. The go-to for special visiting delegations, foreign and domestic. Shops, bookstore, cafes, revolving restaurant, beer brewed on-site.

    3. January 26 | Sunday

      Pyongyang City Tour and drive to Kaesong

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location in the country. Visitations are by special request only and formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state administered site and visits are subject to local conditions.
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dresscode (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 mile) horse’ -a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950’s following the Korean War.
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
         
      • Party Foundation Monument | Iconic Monument made up of stone depictions of hands gripping the hammer, sickle, and writing brush – symbols of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Built in 1995 for the 40th anniversary of this Party.
         
      • Kaesong | Drive south (3 hour drive) to the historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.

      Overnight: Janamsan Hotel, Kaesong | A basic hotel with distinct Soviet-style architecture and friendly staff. Ideal for those wanting a western bed, hot water, and reliable electricity. Recommended in winter.

    4. January 27 | Monday

      Kaesong and DMZ (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Sonjuk Bridge | Small stone bridge built in 1290 which was the site of the assassination of loyal Koryo Dynasty minister Jong Mong Ju by a son of Ri Song Gye (founder of the next, and final, dynasty) in 1392. This bloody act extinguished the Koryo which had ruled over Korea for 474 years and is said to have left a permanent mark on the bridge to this day.
      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | Perhaps the most famous place in the entire country. The iconic manifestation of the tragic division between North and South Korea. The ‘truce’ village where several huts straddle the Central Military Demarcation Line (de facto border) with soldiers from each side standing guard. A tour here starts with a briefing at the edge of the DMZ, a visit to the Armistice Negotiation Hall and Armistice Signing Hall, seen as symbols of victory over foreign aggression on this side of the line. Then to Panmunjom itself – cross the border inside one of the blue huts, experience the uncanny feeling of crossing the front line of a sad and needless division of one society, and then take a higher view from the Panmun Pavilion looking over the line from above. A Korean People’s Army officer will be there to explain their side of things and will willingly pose for some photos too. A completely and utterly unmissable place.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
         
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal consisting of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet-meat soup' is also an option here (+5 EUR).

      PM

      • Janam Hill | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
      • Concrete Wall and view of DMZ (*Currently suspended) | View of a complex fortification system erected on the southern boundary of the DMZ accompanied by a military guide. The wall is seen as evidence of intent to permanently divide the nation. 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through the countryside.
      • Pyongyang | Drive back to the capital city. (3 hours)

      Overnight: Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. January 28 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Victory (Sungni) Street | Walk from the hotel to Kim Il Sung Square via Pyongyang Grand Theatre along one of post-war Pyongyang's oldest streets.
         
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
         
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
         
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982.

      PM

      • Ryomyong Street | With giant apartment buildings and some quirky shops, this street is one of the newest in Pyongyang. See the flashier part of town from ground level.
         
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | A world-class museum led by a local museum guides. Renovated in 2012 and its exhibits of Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the spy ship USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip. Unmissable.
         
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A standing bar serving seven types of beer (50 cents a pint, 4.5 EUR for a flight). Popular with locals after work and on weekends!
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.

      Overnight: Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. January 29 | Wednesday

      Pyongyang City Tour – Lunar New Year

      Today is Lunar New Year’s Eve – as in many eastern countries this is a traditional holiday in the DPRK – we will join in with some local events as and when they happen. Be flexible and we will experience as much as possible!

      AM

      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung.  A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.  
      • Folk Games | Today it is normal for some traditional games to be played in local parks, we will find out which one looks like the biggest and best and then go along to join in. Usually this presents excellent opportunities for mingling with local people and getting a taste of local life and culture.

      PM

      • Pyongyang Metro Tour (two-line ride) | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride both lines and stop off at smaller stations, rarely visited by tourists.
      • Munsu Water Park | Take a break at this outdoor and indoor water park with water slides, lap pools, and hot tubs. Bar, coffee shop, and shops for non-swimmers (Entry fee 2 EUR; swimming fee- 10 EUR with suit rental; tennis- 5 EUR).
         
      • Farewell dinner at Pyongyang Duck Barbeque Restaurant | South Pyongyang’s famous grilled duck restaurant that has seen many a teary-eyed farewell.

      Overnight: Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang

    7. January 30 | Thursday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking.

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:55.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is at Beijing Station on Wednesday, January 31 at 08:40. For this tour, the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Standard)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR.

    • Hit the slopes at Masik Pass Ski Resort

      The DPRK’s ski season — yes, it has a ski season! — usually runs from December to March. Add on two extra nights to your winter tour and you'll have the rare chance to try out the nine main runs at Masikryong — the DPRK’s only ski resort. This place has been widely reported on, yet is not often visited. Sign up to this ski option, and be one of the first to experience it.

      See more
    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance (7 to 9 nights)

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train travel Pyongyang – Beijing – Pyongyang by hard sleeper class with transfer in Dandong
    • All meals on the tour apart from meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation in North Korea
    • Two local English-speaking Korean guides and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader
    • All transportation in North Korea

    NOT INCLUDED

    • DPRK visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; return: 299 EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person) or film screening (approx. 10 EUR)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • SINUIJU EXTENSION: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park). We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 5th January, 2025.

February 2025 — 2 tours

February 13 - February 20/21 2025

The Kim Jong Il Birthday Tour

7 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join in the celebrations for a week-long trip in North Korea over
one of the biggest North Korea holidays – Kim Jong Il’s birthday
on February 16th

From 1349 EUR per person

Please apply by 28th January, 2025.

The Kim Jong Il Birthday Tour

7 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join in the celebrations for a week-long trip
in North Korea over one of the biggest North
Korea holidays – Kim Jong Il’s birthday on
February 16th

From 1349 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Chairman Kim Jong Il, President Kim Il Sung’s son and father of current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was born on 16th February. It is saved in the DPRK calendar as a day of celebrations, and one of the most important North Korean holidays. Locals have time off work, and there are many special events that go on in the city, that foreigners are also welcome to attend.

    During this North Korea holiday time, we expect mass dances and a chance to visit the Kimjongilia Flower Exhibition where we will see the begonia named after the late Chairman Kim Jong Il, the Kimjongilia. Plus, there may be a chance to view the epic North Korea fireworks from the infamous Kim Il Sung Square filled with locals also gathering to watch the fireworks after a day of celebrations with the family.

    Aside from all of the special events, this action-packed itinerary also includes a city tour of all of the not-to-miss sites of Pyongyang, including the Juche Tower and Kwangbok Department Store. With over a week in the country, we’ll be spending time out of Pyongyang in cities such as Sariwon, Kaesong, the Mt. Myohyang region and Pyongsong. Get out of Pyongyang and venture out to some of North Korea’s rarely explored countryside.

    It is also possible to add a 2-night skiing extension to this tour. Try out the slopes of North Korea’s only ski resort open to foreigners: Masik Pass.

    If time isn’t on your side, take a look at our 5-night Kim Jong Il Birthday Short Tour also available.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Kim Jong Il Birthday Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Celebrations on General Kim Jong Il's Birthday
    • International Friendship Exhibition
    • Pyongsong, satellite city of Pyongyang and centre for science and technology
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. February 12 | Wednesday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. February 13 | Thursday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS252 at 14:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
      • Victory (Sungni) Street | Walk from Kim Il Sung Square to the Pyongyang Grand Theatre along one of post-war Pyongyang's oldest streets.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. February 14 | Friday

      Pyongyang, Sariwon and Kaesong

      AM
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. We’ll ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
         
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stands for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats
      PM
      • Sariwon | The provincial seat of North Hwanghae Province and a centre of agriculture and industry. A 1-hour drive.
      • Migok Co-Operative Farm | An example of a North Korean co-operative farm. Visit the farm museum, a farmhouse and a viewpoint overlooking the Chaeryong Plains.
      • Sariwon Folk Village and City View | Mock-up of a traditional Korean town which includes a history museum, food street, and pavilions. There is a small tavern selling Makkoli, traditional rice wine. Climb a nearby hill for a view of Sariwon City and the surrounding plains.
      • Continue south to Kaesong, the historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.
      Overnight: Janamsan Hotel, Kaesong. One of our favourite hotels in the DPRK. Friendly staff, great food, and 1970s socialist design. A cosy place to stay in winter!
    4. February 15 | Saturday

      Kaesong and the DMZ  (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, where negotiations between both sides once took place. Here we will be accompanied by military guides from the Korean People's Army.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal made of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet meat soup' is an option here (5 EUR).

      PM

      • Pyongyang | Drive back north up the Pyongyang-Kaesong (formerly known as Reunification) Motorway to the capital.
         
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A standing bar serving seven type of beer (50 cents a pint, 4.5 EUR for a flight). Popular with locals after work and on weekends!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. February 16 | Sunday

      DPRK Holiday - Birthday of General Kim Jong Il

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location in the country. Visitations are by special request only and formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state administered site and visits are subject to local conditions.
      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dresscode (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders).
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Kimilsungia and Kimjongillia Flower Exhibition | Exhibit of the two flowers named after the DPRK’s leaders and held on the occasion of their respective birthday anniversaries in February and April. See organisations and groups from across society compete to put on the best floral display.
      • Party Foundation Monument | Iconic Monument made up of stone depictions of hands gripping the hammer, sickle, and writing brush – symbols of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Built in 1995 for the 40th anniversary of this Party.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • Mass Dance | As it's a national holiday, we also expect to see large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. February 17 | Monday

      Pyongsong City Tour and  drive to Mt. Myohyang

      AM

      • Pyongsong | Drive north from Pyongyang to the provincial capital of South Pyongan and a centre of the national Sci-Tech industry. A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
         
      • Pyongsong City Square | Central square of Pyongsong City with statues of the DPRK leadership and flanked by the provincial revolutionary museum. Presentation of flowers customary.
         
      • Local Factory | Pyongsong is a major industrial area of the DPRK, we'll visit one of the local factories to see and learn more about the industrial side of the country. We will visit either the Paeksong Provisions Factory or the Ponghak Foodstuffs Factory. Please note that factory visits may depend on on-site activities/conditions.
         
      • Konji-ri Revolutionary Site | Location of the headquarters of the Korean People's Army & home of Kim Il Sung during the Korean War. Tour the renovated buildings and learn about life there during the war.

      PM

      • Mt. Myohyang | Drive north passing rivers valleys and hills to the ‘mountain of mysterious fragrance’. A 2.5 hour to 3 hour drive.
         
      • Pohyon Buddhist Temple | A peaceful temple dating back to 1042 CE with stone pagoda and repository of print blocks and historic text of the Tripitaka Koreana, Buddhist scriptures first produced to invoke divine assistance from foreign invasions during the Koryo Dynasty.
      • Enjoying the facilities and dinner at hotel.

      Overnight: Hyangsan Hotel, Myohyangsan | The fanciest hotel in North Korea with '7-star' facilities. Renovated in 2010. Excellent swimming pool, lovely location.

    7. February 18 | Tuesday

      Mt. Myohyang and drive back to Pyongyang

      AM

      • International Friendship Exhibition | A semi-subterranean exhibition hall displaying gifts of all kinds given to the DPRK leaders by foreign states, leaders, and organizations. The exhibition is a fascinating look into material culture in the second half of the 20th century. Highlights include a plane given by the Soviet Union, basketball signed by Michael Jordan from the US State Department, and vodka given by Dennis Rodman. The visit takes most of the morning. Presentable dress required.

      PM

      • Manpok Valley Hike | Various options for hikes of a range of distances/difficulties. Passing waterfalls, hermitages, interesting rocks, lovely wooded areas, and viewing points.
      • Pyongyang | Return to the capital city (2.5 hours).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    8. February 19 | Wednesday

      Pyongyang City Tour and Farewell 

      AM

      • Trolleybus Ride | A ride through Pyongyang from Pyongyang Railway Station to Arch of Triumph on one of the city’s famous trolleybuses. A Koryo exclusive!
         
      • Grand People’s Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean style and great views of the city.
         
      • Korean Art Film Studio | The home of the North Korean film industry, commonly known as "Chollywood" (a combination of "Chollima" + "Hollywood).

      PM

      • Tomb of King Tongmyong | Largest of the UNESCO listed Koguryo Tombs spread through the area, this is the beautiful tomb complex of the founder of the Koguryo Dynasty two thousand years ago. Statues, a Buddhist Monastery, and lovely wall paintings make this a fascinating visit for history buffs.
         
      • Munsu Water Park | We’ll take a break at this outdoor and indoor water park with water slides, lap pools, and hot tubs. Bar, coffee shop, and shops for non-swimmers (Entry fee 2 EUR; swimming fee- 10 EUR with suit rental; tennis- 5 EUR).
         
      • Moran Beer Bar | A recently renovated local bar with cheap brews (0.50-1 EUR beers). Also serves food.
         
      • Pizza Restaurant | Farewell dinner at one of Pyongyang’s Italian eateries (there are three).

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    9. February 20 | Thursday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking*

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS251 at 10:10 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 11:30.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Friday February 21 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Standard)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR.

    • Hit the slopes at Masik Pass Ski Resort

      The DPRK’s ski season — yes, it has a ski season! — usually runs from December to March. Add on two extra nights to your winter tour and you'll have the rare chance to try out the nine main runs at Masikryong — the DPRK’s only ski resort. This place has been widely reported on, yet is not often visited. Sign up to this ski option, and be one of the first to experience it.

      See more
    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance (7 to 9 nights)

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour except for meals on the train and the farewell dinner at the Pizza Restaurant
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; round-trip: 299EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example, Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Farewell dinner at the Pizza Restaurant
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit North Korea regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 28th January, 2025.

February 13 - February 18/19 2025

Kim Jong Il Birthday Short Tour

5 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join in the celebrations for a quick stop in North Korea
over one of the biggest North Korea holidays; Kim Jong
Il’s birthday

From 949 EUR per person

Please apply by 20th January, 2025.

Kim Jong Il Birthday Short Tour

5 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join in the celebrations for a quick
stop in North Korea over one of the
biggest North Korea holidays; Kim Jong
Il’s birthday

From 949 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Chairman Kim Jong Il, President Kim Il Sung’s son and father of current North Korean leader Marshal Kim Jong Un, was born on 16th February. It is saved in the DPRK calendar as a day of celebrations, and one of the most important North Korean holidays. Locals have time off work, and there are many special events that go on in the city, that foreigners are also welcome to attend.

    During this North Korea holiday time, we expect mass dances and a chance to visit the Kimjongilia Flower Exhibition. where we will see the begonia named after the late Chairman Kim Jong Il, the Kimjongilia. Plus, there may be a chance to view the epic North Korea fireworks from the infamous Kim Il Sung Square filled with locals also gathering to watch the fireworks after a day of celebrations with the family. Aside from all of the special events, this action-packed itinerary also includes a city tour of all of the not-to-miss sites of Pyongyang, including the Juche Tower and Kwangbok Department Store.

    This 5-night tour takes you out of Pyongyang and to the beautiful Mt. Myohyang, offering a great opportunity to head out of the hustle and bustle of Pyongyang and enjoy some of North Korea’s rarely explored countryside. Mt. Myohyang is home to the famous International Friendship Exhibition where Dennis Rodman infamously gifted a basketball. You will also visit Sariwon, Kaesong, and DMZ.

    It is also possible to add a 2-night skiing extension to this tour. Try out the slopes of North Korea’s only ski resort open to foreigners: Masik Pass.

    If you’d like a more in-depth insight into Pyongyang and North Korea, join us on our longer Kim Jong Il Birthday Tour.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Kim Jong Il Birthday Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Celebrations on General Kim Jong Il's Birthday
    • Pyongyang city highlights
    • Historica Kaesong
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. February 12 | Wednesday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. February 13 | Thursday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS252 at 14:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
      • Victory (Sungni) Street | Walk from Kim Il Sung Square to the Pyongyang Grand Theatre along one of post-war Pyongyang's oldest streets.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang | Home away from home for most (but not all!) foreign visitors to Pyongyang, this 47-story hotel is located on an island in the middle of the Taedong River and offers great views of the city. Comfortable rooms and comprehensive leisure facilities: swimming pool, spa, billiards, bowling, gift shops, tea houses, beer brewed on-site, and a Chinese-run casino.

    3. February 14 | Friday

      Pyongyang, Sariwon and Kaesong

      AM

      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. We’ll ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
         
      • Arch of Triumph | Massive archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stands for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats

      PM

      • Sariwon | The provincial seat of North Hwanghae Province and a centre of agriculture and industry. A 1-hour drive.
      • Migok Co-Operative Farm | An example of a North Korean co-operative farm. Visit the farm museum, a farmhouse and a viewpoint overlooking the Chaeryong Plains.
      • Sariwon Folk Village and City View | Mock-up of a traditional Korean town which includes a history museum, food street, and pavilions. There is a small tavern selling Makkoli, traditional rice wine. Climb a nearby hill for a view of Sariwon City and the surrounding plains.
      • Continue south to Kaesong, the historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.

      Overnight: Janamsan Hotel, Kaesong. One of our favourite hotels in the DPRK. Friendly staff, great food, and 1970s socialist design. A cosy place to stay in winter!

    4. February 15 | Saturday

      Kaesong and the DMZ (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, where negotiations between both sides once took place. Here we will be accompanied by military guides from the Korean People's Army.
         
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
         
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in/ the country and friendly staff.
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal made of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet meat soup' is an option here (5 EUR).

      PM

      • Pyongyang | Drive back north up the Pyongyang-Kaesong (formerly known as Reunification) Motorway to the capital.
         
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A standing bar serving seven type of beer (50 cents a pint, 4.5 EUR for a flight). Popular with locals after work and on weekends!

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. February 16 | Sunday

      DPRK Holiday - Birthday of General Kim Jong Il

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location in the country. Visitations are by special request only and formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state administered site and visits are subject to local conditions.
      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dresscode (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders).
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
      • Okryugwan | A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Kimilsungia and Kimjongillia Flower Exhibition | Exhibit of the two flowers named after the DPRK’s leaders and held on the occasion of their respective birthday anniversaries in February and April. See organisations and groups from across society compete to put on the best floral display.
      • Party Foundation Monument | Iconic Monument made up of stone depictions of hands gripping the hammer, sickle, and writing brush – symbols of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Built in 1995 for the 40th anniversary of this Party.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • Mass Dance | As it's a national holiday, we also expect to see large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!
      • Golden Lanes Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix. Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. February 17 | Monday

      Pyongsong City Tour

      AM

      • Pyongsong | Drive north from Pyongyang to the provincial capital of South Pyongan and a centre of the national Sci-Tech industry. A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
         
      • Pyongsong City Square | Central square of Pyongsong City with statues of the DPRK leadership and flanked by the provincial revolutionary museum. Presentation of flowers customary.
         
      • Local Factory | Pyongsong is a major industrial area of the DPRK, we'll visit one of the local factories to see and learn more about the industrial side of the country. We will visit either the Paeksong Provisions Factory or the Ponghak Foodstuffs Factory. Please note that factory visits may depend on on-site activities/conditions.
         
      • Konji-ri Revolutionary Site | Location of the headquarters of the Korean People's Army & home of Kim Il Sung during the Korean War. Tour the renovated buildings and learn about life there during the war.

      PM

      • Return to Pyongyang.
         
      • Grand People’s Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean architecture and great views of the city.
         
      • Munsu Water Park | Take a break at this outdoor and indoor water park with water slides, lap pools, and hot tubs. Bar, coffee shop, and shops for non-swimmers (Entry fee 2 EUR; swimming fee- 10 EUR with suit rental; tennis- 5 EUR).
         
      • Farewell dinner at Pyongyang Duck Barbeque Restaurant | South Pyongyang’s famous grilled duck restaurant that has seen many a teary-eyed farewell.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

    7. February 18 | Tuesday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking*

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:55.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with a transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is at Beijing Station on Wednesday, February 19 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Standard)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR.

    • Hit the slopes at Masik Pass Ski Resort

      The DPRK’s ski season — yes, it has a ski season! — usually runs from December to March. Add on two extra nights to your winter tour and you'll have the rare chance to try out the nine main runs at Masikryong — the DPRK’s only ski resort. This place has been widely reported on, yet is not often visited. Sign up to this ski option, and be one of the first to experience it.

      See more
    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour except for meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; round-trip: 299EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • Sinuiju Extension: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit North Korea regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 20th January, 2025.

March 2025 — 1 tour

March 11 - March 15/16 2025

Koryo North Korea Budget Tour Spring

4 nights in North Korea + travel
time between Beijing and Pyongyang

See North Korea as it awakens from
the cold of winter and welcomes
spring

From 775 EUR per person

Please apply by 27th February, 2025.

Koryo North Korea Budget Tour Spring

4 nights in North Korea + travel
time between Beijing and Pyongyang

See North Korea as it
awakens from the cold
of winter and welcomes
spring

From 775 EUR per person

  • Overall

    March is an important time of year in North Korea as the country emerges from the cold winter DPRK climate and into a much warmer, welcoming one. Although still a quiet time for tourism, North Koreans are getting busy in the countryside agricultural work begins in anticipation for the coming spring harvest.

    On this tour, we take you to see the main sites of the capital city Pyongyang, including; a ride on the Pyongyang Metro, Juche Tower, Kim Il Sung Square, and a walk down one of Pyongyang’s newest streets. We will also head out of Pyongyang to go to Pyongsong, the centre of scientific research and histotic Kaesong.

    This North Korea budget tour helps you get the most for your money on your trip to North Korea. Great for first-timers, or those with little time (or money!), we take you to see the main sites in and outside of Pyongyang. Be warned, there will be little time to rest on this action-packed itinerary - not that you’ll want to, though!

    For an idea of the itinerary of our longer tours take a look here.

    Scroll down for an overview of our Koryo North Korea Budget Tour package highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    ⬇⬇⬇


    Koryo Tours International Tours

    Mongolia | Turkmenistan | Kazakhstan | Bhutan | Russia | Tajikistan 


    Highlights

    • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Grand Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership
    • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and USS Pueblo
    • Historic Kaesong south of the 38th Parallel
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. March 10 | Monday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travellers to attend a pre-tour briefing that covers regulations, etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in North Korea. The briefing lasts approximately one hour followed by a question and answer session. Please be punctual for the briefing. You can come early, meet your fellow travellers, and pay any outstanding tour fees. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      For this tour, we will hold two briefings. One in the morning for those departing by train this afternoon and the other in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
      • 10:00 | Briefing for those departing by train.

      PM

      • 16:00 | Briefing for those departing by flight.  
      • 17:26 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by Chinese domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

      Overnight | Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations near our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.

    2. March 11 | Tuesday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to Dandong-Pyongyang local. Our local representative in Dandong will assist with the transfer. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 on Air Koryo flight JS152 at 12:55. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (vegetarian option is subject to availability). Check-in starts 3 hours prior to departure.
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.

      Overnight: Ryanggang Hotel, Pyongyang | The Two Rivers Hotel (so named as it sits on a hill overlooking the point where the Potong River and Taedong Rivers meet). The hotel offers great views over different parts of the city (depending on which side of the building you stay on) from the open balconies, and also from the ‘swivelling’ restaurant. The underground karaoke room here is excellent and the bar in the lobby is also great.

    3. March 12 | Wednesday

      Kaesong City and DMZ Tour (*Please note that due to the current political situation and recent chenges, it is our understanding that visits to Panmunjom and the JSA as well as to the Concrete Wall is not possible at least until further notice. If that is the case at the time of our vist we will visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kaesong as well a ginseng factory.)

      AM

      • Kaesong | Drive south (2.5 hour drive) to the historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.
      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ (*Currently suspended) | Perhaps the most famous place in the entire country. The iconic manifestation of the tragic division between North and South Korea. The ‘truce’ village where several huts straddle the Central Military Demarcation Line (de facto border) with soldiers from each side standing guard. A tour here starts with a briefing at the edge of the DMZ, a visit to the Armistice Negotiation Hall and Armistice Signing Hall, seen as symbols of victory over foreign aggression on this side of the line. Then to Panmunjom itself – cross the border inside one of the blue huts, experience the uncanny feeling of crossing the front line of a sad and needless division of one society, and then take a higher view from the Panmun Pavilion looking over the line from above. A Korean People’s Army officer will be there to explain their side of things and will willingly pose for some photos too. A completely and utterly unmissable place.
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum (Songgyungwan Academy) | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in the country and friendly staff.
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal made of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet meat soup' is an option here (5 EUR).

      PM

      • Janam Hill | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
      • Drive back to the capital city via Sariwon (2-hour drive) the provincial seat of North Hwanghae Province and a centre of agriculture and industry.
         
      • Migok Co-Operative Farm | An example of a North Korean co-operative farm. Visit the farm museum, a farmhouse and a viewpoint overlooking the Chaeryong Plains.
         
      • Sariwon Folk Village and City View | Mock-up of a traditional Korean town which includes a history museum, food street, and pavilions. There is a small tavern selling Makkoli, traditional rice wine. Climb a nearby hill for a view of Sariwon City and the surrounding plains.
         
      • From Sariwon another hour of driving to Pyongyang.
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Shop with the citizens of Pyongyang and exchange for Korean currency! Try the snack stands for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.

      Overnight: Ryanggang Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. March 13 | Thursday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location in the country. Visitations are by special request only and formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state administered site and visits are subject to local conditions.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dresscode (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders).

      PM

      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
      • Arch of Triumph | A 60-m archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule and larger than its counterpart in Paris.
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
      • Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace | Tour one of Pyongyang’s centres of extracurricular excellence with study rooms for fine arts, dance, sports, and music, then watch a spectacular performance put on by the students.
      • Pyongsong | A satellite city of Pyongyang and centre of scientific research. A 45-minute to 1-hour drive.

      Overnight: Jangsusan Hotel, Pyongsong. The only hotel in Pyongsong open for tourists, an excellent bar with one of the best bartenders in the DPRK makes this hotel one of the most fun in the whole country! Basic facilities with fairly reliable electricity and hot water. Billiards, karaoke, haircut, and outdoor eateries in summer.

    5. March 14 | Friday

      Pyongsong and Pyongyang City Tours

      AM

      • Pyongsong City Square | Central square of Pyongsong City with statues of the DPRK leadership and flanked by the provincial revolutionary museum. Presentation of flowers customary.
         
      • Kim Jong Suk Higher Middle School | One of the DPRK’s top middle schools for gifted students, tourists are encouraged to help teach an English class!
         
      • Paeksong Revolutionary Site | Location of Kim Il Sung University during the Korean war. Tour the old classrooms and hear about how students lived during the war.

      PM

      • Pyongyang | Return to the capital. 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which represent the workers, farmers, and intellectuals that make up the Worker’s Party of Korea.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy and located on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A bar serving seven types of beer. Popular with locals after work and on weekends. Best place to drink pints with local people.
      • Golden Lane Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix (2.5 EUR per person per game). Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an air gun shooting range (approximately 6 EUR per 20 round cartridge) and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang.
      • Farewell Dinner | We'll enjoy a final group dinner at the Golden Lanes Bowling Centre's bulgogi BBQ restaurant.

      Overnight: Ryanggang Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. March 15 | Saturday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking*

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:55.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Sunday March 16 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Standard)

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR.

    • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

      If you're heading back to Beijing by train this option lets you get off for an overnight in Dongrim before the next day's tour of Sinuiju — the border city with China. Spend an extra 24 hours in the DPRK seeing the sites of North Pyongan province. You will then continue on through to Beijing.

      See more
    • Visit Dandong — the Chinese gateway to the DPRK

      Instead of immediately returning to Beijing when your tour ends you can take some extra time to visit this fascinating border city, which directly faces the DPRK town of Sinuiju, but lies on the Chinese side of the Yalu River. We offer both one-night and two-night fully guided extensions that take in all the sights of Dandong, with a special North Korea theme.

      See more
    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
    • Insurance for up to six nights

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Train Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
    • All meals on the tour except for meals on the train
    • Hotel accommodation
    • Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • DPRK visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; return: 299EUR)
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night.
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
    • Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
    • Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
    • Spending money for souvenirs
    • SINUIJU EXTENSION: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
  • Notes

    Our Koryo Budget Tours are capped at 25 people per group. Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and a Koryo Tours tour leader. Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 27th February, 2025.

April 2025 — 17 tours

April 10 - April 17 2025

Pyongyang Marathon | Long Tour from Shanghai

7 days in North Korea including
return flights Shanghai - Pyongyang

Cycle through Pyongyang, join in local celebrations and get
to rarely visited locations on this special marathon tour
from Shanghai!

From 1695 EUR per person

Please apply by 28th February, 2025.

Pyongyang Marathon | Long Tour from Shanghai

7 days in North Korea including
return flights Shanghai - Pyongyang

Cycle through Pyongyang, join in local
celebrations and get to rarely visited
locations on this special marathon tour
from Shanghai!

From 1695 EUR per person

  • Overall

    For the more adventurous traveller and those looking to get the most out of their time in North Korea, this 7-day Pyongyang Marathon tour from Shanghai is one of the best value marathon tours available.

    As well as an in-depth tour of Pyongyang, on this tour we will visit the lively city of Pyongsong where you’ll tour a local school and assist students with their English studies, the beautiful mountain range of Mt Myohyang where the cave vault of the International Friendship Exhibition is located, drop in on a local factory in the industrial city of Nampo and visit the rarely visited cities of Anju and Huichon. All this, as well as not missing out on a trip to Kaesong city and experience Panmunjom and the DMZ.

    Only on this marathon tour do you have the opportunity to cycle through Pyongyang! North Korea’s most popular transportation method, it’s a great opportunity to blend in with the locals and see the sights of Pyongyang.

    Notably, joining us on this tour means you’ll get to join the local North Koreans in celebrating one of the most important dates in the Korean calendar; Kim Il Sung’s Birthday. Officially known as the ‘Day of the Sun’. Expect mass dances and even the possibility of a military parade and a firework display over the Taedonggang River. We will also get a chance to see the orchid named after the President, the Kimilsungia.

    ➤ Pyongyang Marathon 2025

    Koryo Tours are the official partners of the Pyongyang Marathon.

    The marathon is a World Athletics’ Bronze Label Road Race, and also has AIMS Certification. Join the race and receive the most unique finisher's medal, running shirt, and race certificates available.

    Even if you're not a serious runner, the Pyongyang Marathon is an event like no other. It starts and ends in Kim Il Sung Stadium - a stadium filled with over 50,000 North Koreans cheering you on as you finish your race. It's an experience like no other. 

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    More on the Pyongyang Marathon 

    Pyongyang Marathon tour highlights, full tour itinerary,
    add-ons, and notes on the tour
    ⬇⬇⬇


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    Highlights

    • 2025 PYONGYANG MARATHON!
    • Join in on Day of the Sun celebrations Tour 
    • Explore the cave labyrinth that is the International Friendship Exhibition in stunning Mt Myohyang and get to the rarely visited cities of Anju and Huichon 
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. April 10 | Thursday

      Briefing Day

      Meet your Koryo Tours tour guide and fellow travellers at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) for a pre-tour briefing and check-in (Air Koryo check-in desk in Terminal 1 at 20:00) for your late night flight to Pyongyang. This briefing will last approximately one hour and is designed so that you will get the most out of your tour. It will cover travel etiquette, safety, and practicalities for travel in the DPRK. Have your last minute questions answered and meet your fellow travellers.

    2. April 11 | Friday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang - Kaesong and DMZ Tour

      AM

      • Flight departure from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) Terminal 1 on Air Koryo flight JS158 at 00:20.
         
      • Flight arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 03:20. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides and transfer to hotel.
         
      • Koryo International Hotel | After the very early arrival, this will be our first stop for an early check-in, time for a short sleep, freshen-up, breakfast and then on with the day!
      • Kaesong | Drive 160 km south the 'Reunification Highway ' to the historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) and today located near the Korean Demilitarized Zone. A 3-hour drive.
      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ | The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and the demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, where negotiations between both sides once took place. Here we will be accompanied by military guides from the Korean People's Army.
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in the country and friendly staff.
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal made of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet meat soup' is an option here (5 EUR).

      PM

      • Return to Pyongyang (2.5-3 hours).
      • Monument to the Three Charters of Reunification | A large stone archway over the highway memorializing joint agreements between north and south.
         
      • City Walk | Optional activity for those feeling energetic or keen to explore Pyongyang more we'll have a walk through Pyongyang from the hotel to Kim Il Sung Square and finishing at the Taedong River. For those who would prefer to rest you can relax at the hotel. Dinner will be at the hotel tonight.

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang. Pyongyang’s premier hotel, built in 1985, and located in the heart of downtown, near Pyongyang Station. The go-to for visiting delegations, both foreign and domestic. Shops, bookstore, cafes, a revolving restaurant, beer brewed on-site.

    3. April 12 | Saturday

      Nampo

      AM

      • Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to this port city of Pyongyang on the Taedong River estuary. A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
      • Chongsam-ri Co-operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung, the place where the ‘Chongsam-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse, the local shop, kindergarten and see the fields and greenhouses.
      • Local Factory | Nampo is a major industrial area of the DPRK, we'll visit one of the local factories to see and learn more about the industrial side of the country. We will visit either a glass factory, mineral water bottling plant or if we're lucky the famous Chollima Steelworks. Please note that factory visits may depend on on-site activities/conditions.
      • West Sea Barrage | An 8 km concrete, steel, and earthen barrage constructed between the Taedong River estuary and the West Sea for land reclamation, irrigation, flood prevention, and power generation. It also acts as a ship lock and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.
      • Lunch | At a local restaurant in Nampo

      PM

      • Return to Pyongyang. A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
         
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
         
      • Arch of Triumph | A massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
         
      • Kim Il Sung Stadium & Marathon Route Preview | Visit the stadium where you will start and finish your race, and then drive the marathon route to familiarise yourself with the roads, turning points and toilet stops.
         
      • Yanggakdo International Cinema | Optional screening of Run and Run. A DPRK film about marathon runner Yong Ho who faces the physical and mental struggles of marathon participation. After both his father and work unit manager tell him to stop running, he becomes more determined to achieve his marathon dream (80 RMB entry fee paid on the spot). A Koryo Tours exclusive and sure to provide you with motivation ahead of the big event!

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang

    4. April 13 | Sunday

      The big event! The Pyongyang Marathon 2025!

      AM

      The full route, which has been certified by both World Athletics and AIMS, leads right through the city centre, past a number of iconic landmarks, and then out into Pyongyang's less urban districts. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to see more of the capital and interact with people along the course.

      PM

      • Shower, resting time and lunch | After the ending ceremony of the marathon, we'll be heading back to the hotel to recharge, shower and rest.
      • Munsu Water Park | We’ll take a break at this outdoor and indoor water park with water slides, lap pools, and hot tubs. Bar, coffee shop, and shops for non-swimmers (Entry fee 2 EUR; swimming fee- 10 EUR with suit rental; tennis- 5 EUR).
      • Beer Bar | Visit a local beer bar for a well-deserved locally brewed beer.
      • Pyongyang Marathon Banquet | Dinner tonight will be at the annual Pyongyang Marathon Banquet. Celebrate your run and toast the marathon with your fellow runners, guides and local event organisers. A casual affair, no dress code requirements.

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang

    5. April 14 | Monday

      Pyongsong

      AM

      • Drive 45 minutes north to Pyongsong, a satellite city of Pyongyang, a centre of science and technological research, and the provincial seat of South Pyong’an province.
      • Pyongsong City Square | Central square of Pyongsong City with statues of the DPRK leadership and flanked by the provincial revolutionary museum. Presentation of flowers customary.
      • Tok Song Primary School | The area's top primary school for gifted students. Tour the school's classrooms & facilities, watch music & dance performances by the students, and test your ping pong skills against them in the gymnasium.
      • Konji-ri Revolutionary Site | Location of the headquarters of the Korean People's Army & home of Kim Il Sung during the Korean War. Tour the renovated buildings and learn about life there during the war.

      PM

      • Return to Pyongyang after lunch in Pyongsong

      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
         
      • Kimilsungia and Kimjongillia Flower Exhibition | Exhibit of the two flowers named after the DPRK’s leaders and held on the occasion of their respective birthday anniversaries in February and April. See organizations and groups from across society compete to put on the best floral display.
         
      • Grand People's Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. April 15 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      The Day of the Sun – one of the DPRK's largest holidays. April 15, 2025, is the 113th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung's birth

      On April 15th there may be large-scale celebrations in Pyongyang. A Military Parade is possible, in which case the itinerary for the day will be subject to change. Foreign travellers are typically allowed to view military units as they exit the city from the parade course and the city's residents come out en masse to greet them. Be prepared to potentially wait around for a few hours, but it will be well worth it. For The Day of the Sun we also expect student-organised mass dances at prominent locations throughout the city and the possibility of evening fireworks. Whatever happens this holiday, it will be impressive and unforgettable. Not to be missed!

      AM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient, socialist, and modern architecture.
         
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 mile) horse’ -a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • Party Foundation Monument | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle & writing brush which make up the emblem of the Worker’s Party of Korea and represent workers, farmers, and intellectuals.
      • Kim Il Sung Square | Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museums, and The Grand People’s Study House.
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop | Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.

      PM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient and modern architecture from different eras.
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here (5 EUR). Please note this is a government-administered sight and visits are subject to cancellation. Visits are optional and require a certain dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders).
      • Chollima Monument | or ‘thousand ri (400 km or 250 mile) horse’ -a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
         
      • Kimilsungia and Kimjongillia Flower Exhibition | Exhibit of the two flowers named after the DPRK’s leaders and held on the occasion of their respective birthday anniversaries in February and April. See organizations and groups from across society compete to put on the best floral display.
         
      • Monument to the Party Foundation | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which make up the emblem of the Worker’s Party of Korea and represent workers, farmers, and intellectuals.
         
      • Mass Dance | Large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!
         
      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) | We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance.
         
      • Dinner and sunset boat cruise along the Taedong River | We will take a cruise on the Taedong River while having dinner with live music performance and waiting for the fireworks.

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang.

    7. April 16 | Wednesday

      Mt Myohyang

      AM

      • Drive to Mt. Myohyang (approx. 3hrs)
         
      • International Friendship Exhibition | A subterranean exhibition hall displaying gifts of all kinds given to the DPRK leaders by foreign states, leaders, and organizations. The exhibition is a fascinating look into material culture in the second half of the 20th century. Highlights include a plane given by the Soviet Union, basketball signed by Michael Jordan from the US State Department, and vodka given by Dennis Rodman. The visit takes most of the morning.
         
      • Pohyon Buddhist Temple | A peaceful temple dating back to 1042 with stone pagoda and repository of print blocks and historic text of the Tripitaka Koreana, Buddhist scriptures first produced to invoke divine assistance from foreign invasion during the Koryo Dynasty.

      PM

      • Drive back to Pyongyang via Anju | a mid-sized industrial city located on the road and rail line north of Pyongyang on the Chongchon River. During the Korean War, major battles were fought near here between North Korean-Chinese forces and UN-South Korean forces. Coal is mined nearby. Rarely visited by foreigners.
      • Return to the capital city. A 1-hour drive.
      • Golden Lane Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix (2.5 EUR per person per game). Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range (approximately 6 EUR per 20-round cartridge) and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang.

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang

    8. April 17 | Thursday

      Pyongyang & Departure Day

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun | Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state and the most solemn location on the itinerary. Please note formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.
      • Check out and lunch at hotel.

      PM

      • City Walk | We'll be taking it easy this afternoon, going for a leisurely walk through Pyongyang City to take in some more of the capital's sights – from the obscure to the normal – focusing on the lesser-visited east side of Pyongyang.
         
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Opportunity to use Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stand on the first floor for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
      • We make our way to Pyongyang Sunan Airport for dinner in one of the very best restaurants in the country, a rare treat and somewhere almost never used by tourists.
         
      • Air Koryo flight JS157 from Pyongyang to Shanghai departing at 21:40 with scheduled arrival to Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) Terminal 1 at 23:00 – end of this unforgettable adventure!

      End of Tour

  • Extras

    • Pyongyang Marathon — official race entry

      The Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon is now open to foreign amateur runners. You can run the 5k, 10k, Half or Full Marathon. All four take place on the same day in April, and follow the same course, which is fully recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations. We are the EXCLUSIVE travel partner for foreign amateurs. Don't miss out on this rare opportunity to become one of the few people in the world to have run the Pyongyang Marathon. We'll see you at the start line!

    • Pyongyang Marathon - running shirt size

      Koryo Tours will provide free running shirts to everyone signed up for a Koryo Tours Pyongyang Marathon Trip. Male shirts are a regular fit, while female shirts are a slim fit. Please pay attention to the sizes as they are smaller than western shirt sizes.

    • Insurance (7 to 9 nights)

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

    • Upgrade to your own room

      All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself then you can upgrade for an extra 40 EUR per night.

      See more
  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Return flight Shanghai (Pudong) - Pyongyang - Shanghai (Pudong)
    • All meals on the tour
    • Hotel accommodation in the DPRK
    • A Koryo Tours tour leader, two local Korean guides and a driver (per group)
    • All transportation in DPRK
    • Official running shirt, finisher's medal, and race certificate

    NOT INCLUDED

    • Marathon race fees - to be paid in cash (clean USD notes only) before the race in Pyongyang, amounts are 5 km: $50 USD / 10 km: $70 USD / Half Marathon: $100 USD / Full Marathon: $150 USD
    • DPRK visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
    • Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx. 70-90 EUR total per tourist)
    • The lift up the Juche Tower (optional activity at EUR 5)
    • Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example, a visit to the funfair
    • Meals will have a complimentary beer (and water), but you will have to pay for extra drinks above those provided.
    • Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
  • Notes

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and an experienced Koryo Tours' Tour Leader.

    Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park).

    We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

Please apply by 28th February, 2025.

April 10 - April 13 2025

Pyongyang Marathon | Weekend Tour from Shanghai

3 days in North Korea including
return flights Shanghai - Pyongyang

A weekend tour from Shanghai to
North Korea to run the Pyongyang
Marathon

From 1345 EUR per person

Please apply by 28th February, 2025.

Pyongyang Marathon | Weekend