September 1 - September 11/12 2018

National Day MEGA Tour - The Highlights

10 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

This is one of our longest tours to North Korea that will show you ALL the highlights of
the DPRK— including rarely visited places like Sinchon, Sariwon, and Haeju! See the Mass
Games and maybe a military parade!

From 1,599 EUR per person

Please apply by 10th August, 2018.

National Day MEGA Tour - The Highlights

10 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

This is one of our longest tours to North Korea that will show
you ALL the highlights of the DPRK— including rarely visited
places like Sinchon, Sariwon, and Haeju! See the Mass Games
and maybe a military parade!

From 1,599 EUR per person

  • Overall

    September 9th is National Day and in 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 1948. On this occasion we expect large-scale celebrations in the capital Pyongyang in the form of mass dances, performances, and/or fireworks.

    After a five-year hiatus the Mass Games are now confirmed to take place from September 9 to September 30, 2018. This is an event not to be missed! Witness the largest event of its kind in the world as up to 100,000 people coordinate dance, gymnastics and more.
    This is an exciting time to be in the DPRK!

    This tour is one of our longest tours in the DPRK. We will cover all the best bits of Pyongyang, see the giant gift halls of Mt Myohyang, get down to Kaesong and the DMZ and venture over to the west coast to the port city of Nampo. But that's not all - you'll also get to go to the less frequently visited towns of Sinchon, Sariwon and Haeju - for more insight in DPRK countryside, history and culture. A very comprehensive and unforgettable trip awaits those who sign up for this tour!

    Please read the following for important information about your transport options for this tour, and how each one relates to the visa requirements for China. The default option is round-trip train travel from Beijing to Pyongyang, and back again. Flight upgrades are available. See below for more details.

    Transport Options

    Option 1 // Round-trip train (Beijing-Pyongyang-Beijing): A 24-hour train journey each way in hard-sleeper class (six bunks per berth) with a transfer in Dandong, China. The train arrives in Pyongyang approximately three hours after the flight so train arrivals will miss one or two activities in the city. This option is for those travelling on a budget with time to spare (and train enthusiasts, of course). [+0 EUR]

    Option 2 // Flight departure (Beijing-Pyongyang // 90 minutes) + train return (Pyongyang-Beijing // 24 hours): In our view, this is the most comprehensive way to visit the DPRK. We highly recommend this option: it maximizes your time and sightseeing opportunities; lets you experience both Air Koryo and the international train; plus allows you to start the trip rested, while taking the leisurely route home. [+199 EUR]

    Visa Information

    We arrange your North Korean visa as part of your tour package [+50 EUR]. However, given the tour starts and finishes in China you may also need to consider entry and exit procedures in China for your trip. This can be obtained at a Chinese embassy abroad. We recommend obtaining at least a double-entry Chinese visa for your trip.

    Over 50 nationalities can obtain a visa-waiver for up to 144 hours when in transit through Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) using direct international flights. Most other nationalities can transit for up to 24 hours. If you don't want to visit China as part of your trip, this could be the easiest option for you. It is not possible to obtain a transit-waiver when using a train for entry or exit from China.

    Please be sure to check your visa status for travel through China while planning your trip. We are unable to arrange Chinese visas, but can provide documentation in support of visa applications upon payment of a tour deposit.

    See below for an overview of all tour options and extras.

    Highlights

    • See the Mass Games - one of the greatest shows on earth
    • Pyongyang highlights
    • Mysterious Mt. Myohyang
    • Nampo, port city of Pyongyang and the DPRK's industrial heartland
    • Beautiful Mt. Kuwol and the Chaeryong Plains
    • Historic Kaesong and the DMZ
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. August 31 // 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.  
      • 17:00 // 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 out office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.
    2. September 1 // 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.
      • Free bus from the Koryo Tours office to Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 2 for those taking the flight. Exact time TBC at the pre-tour briefing. Alternatively meet the group at the Air Koryo check-in counter.

      PM

      • Flight departure from Beijing on Air Koryo flight JS 152 at 13:05. A 1.5 hour flight with basic lunch (no vegetarian option).
      • Arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 16:05. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides, and transfer to the city.
      • Heroes' Cemetery // Large gun, flag, and bayonet monument surrounded by rows of tombstones commemorating individual heroes of the Korean War.

      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 2 // 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.
      • Pyongyang Central Zoo // Newly renovated zoological gardens at the foot of Mt. Taesong popular with locals.

      PM
      • 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.
      • Walk along Ryomyong Street  // Take a stroll along Pyongyang's newest residential street past futuristic architecture.
      • Underground Revolution Museum //  Tour of this enormous museum describing the construction of the Pyongyang Metro.
      Overnight //  Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    4. September 3 // Monday

      Pyongyang City Tour and Nampo

      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. (approx. 2 EUR to go to the top for a great view over Kim Il Sung Stadium and residential areas)

      • 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 BBQ //  A BBQ lunch in a woodland setting just outside of the city.

      PM
      • Chongsan-ri Co-Operative Farm // Learn about farming and rural living in the DPRK at this farming community.
      • Kangso Mineral Water Factory // Bottling plant for the DPRK's most popular brand of sparking water.
      • 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 locks and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.

      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.
    5. September 4 // Tuesday

      Sinchon, Sariwon, and Mt. Kuwol

      AM
      • 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.
      • Shinchon Town and Museum of US War Crimes //  Recently renovated 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.
      AM

        • 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.
        • Drive from Sariwon to Kaesong (approx. 1,5 hours)

        Overnight // Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong. Traditional style hotel where guest sleep on heated floors in Korean-style. Beautiful setting in Kaesong old city with stream running through the center and Ri dynasty furniture. Basic bathroom facilities. Hot water not guaranteed and erratic electric supply – please bring a torch.
      • September 5 // Wednesday

        Kaesong

        AM
        • Janam Hill // Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
        • Panmunjom Truce Village // 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 (Songgyungwan Academy) // 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.
        • Stamp Shop // Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more. One of the best postcard collections in the country.
        PM

        • 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. 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
        • Pakyon Waterfall // Light walking in relaxing wooded area to a scenic waterfall.

        Overnight //  Janamsan Hotel, Kaesong. A basic hotel similar to those found in the DPRK’s smaller cities. Ideal for those who do not want on the floor or want limited hot water. Recommended in winter. Friendly staff and within walking distance of Sonjuk Bridge.

      • September 6 // Thursday

        Haeju

        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.
        • Gyenam Stock Farm // A livestock farm with goats, cows, and also rabbits. You can see all the processing facilities at this farm, one of the only places in the whole DPRK where tourists can see livestock.
        • 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 back to Pyongyang (approx. 2.5 hrs drive, depending on road conditions)

        Overnight // Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
      • September 7 // Friday

        Pyongyang and drive to Mt Myohyang

        AM
        • Pyongyang Feature Film Studio // See the home of 'Cholliwood', the DPRK's domestic film industry. Visit sets of traditional Korea, colonial Korea, China, Europe, and more!
        • Drive 45 minute north to Pyongsong, a satellite city of Pyongyang, centre of science and technological research, and the provincial seat of South Pyong’an province.
        PM
        • Kim Jong Suk Higher Middle School // One of the DPRK’s top middle schools for gifted students where we will drop by an English class to provide some
        • 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.

        • Drive approx. 2 hours further north passing rivers valleys and hills to Mt. Myohyang, the mountain of mysterious fragrance.

        Overnight //  Chongchon Hotel, My Myohyang. Basic but clean hotel at Mt. Myohyang. Book and souvenir shop, billiards, ping-pong, and karaoke

      • September 8 // Saturday

        Mt Myohyang

        AM
        • 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. Presentable dress required.
        • 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 hike passing waterfalls, interesting rocks, lovely wooded areas and viewing points.
        • 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.
        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.
      • September 9 // Sunday

        National Day! We expect large scale celebrations in Pyongyang today - the exact details of which will be confirmed on the spot.

        AM
        • Mansudae Fountain Park // The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens afterschool 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). 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.
        • Mangyondae Native House // Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.
        • Moranbong Park // We’ll 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
        • 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.

        • Mass Dance // As it's a national holiday, we expect to see one of these -Large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!
        • Golden Lane 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 // Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang.
      • September 10 // Monday

        Pyongyang City

        AM

        • Mansudae Art Studio // The DPRK’s centre of artistic excellence, where the majority of sculptures, mosaics, and paintings around the country are made. Visit workshops to see artists at work and an exhibition where pieces are sold.

        • Grand People’s Study House // National library and public university in traditional Korean style with great views of Kim Il Sung Square. Learn about education in the DPRK.
        • 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.
        PM
        • Tram Ride // A ride through Pyongyang on one of city’s trams from Kwangbok Street. A Koryo exclusive!
        • 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.
        • Mansugyo Beer Bar // A new standing bar serving seven type of beer (50 cents a pint). Popular with locals after work and on weekends!
        • Mass Games! // The Mass Games are an art form in North Korea, developed over decades, which can involve up to 100,000 performers in massive synchronised displays of gymnastics and dance. Not to be missed! Tickets from 80 EUR.
        Overnight // Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang.
      • September 11 // Tuesday

        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 JS 151 at 08:50 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:50. Please note that for bookings made on or after June 21, 2018 only the train exit option is available.

        OR

        • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:10 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Wednesday September 12 at 08:30. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

        End of Tour.

    6. Extras

      • Entry and Exit method - National Day Mega Tour The Highlights

        This tour travels between between Beijing-Pyongyang 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 to Pyongyang is also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to the one-way flight.

      • 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
      • Helicopter flight over Pyongyang

        Why not take a helicopter sightseeing flight over the DPRK's capital? Grab this rare opportunity to tour the skies above the city in a 40-minute helicopter trip aboard an Air Koryo Mi-17 chopper. The flight offers an unrivalled view from above, and great opportunities for photos and video from a completely different angle.

        See more
      • Hotel booking in Beijing

        Koryo Tours is able to arrange hotel bookings in Beijing at the following hotels on behalf of people travelling with us. We have four hotels on offer with different levels of comfort and all located a short walk from our office. Select which hotel you are interested in and your Tour Manager will confirm the dates and cost for you. We will make the booking and add the cost to your tour invoice.

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      • New for 2018: Take a cooking class in Pyongyang!

        This is a unique opportunity to cook with chefs of the Culinary Association of the DPRK, who will teach you how to cook Korean classics like Pyongyang cold noodles (raengmyon), kimchi, green bean pancakes, and other local delicacies. This optional cooking class costs 75 EUR for two hours, and will be followed by a dinner of your own making. Please do note that by participating in this cooking course, you might miss out on some evening activities and a dinner in Pyongyang.

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    7. What is / is not included?

      • Included
        Train Beijing – Pyongyang with transfer at Dandong
        Train Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
        All meals on the tour except for the final pizza dinner and meals on the train
        Hotel accommodation
        Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
        For groups of 10 or more, a Koryo Tours tour leader
        All transportation in the DPRK
      • Not included
        North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 50 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)
        Mass Games ticket (from 80 EUR per ticket)
        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
    8. Notes

      Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides. Furthermore, for groups of 10 or more, a member of the Koryo Tours team will accompany the trip.

      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 10th August, 2018.

    info@koryogroup.com | + 86 10 6416 7544
    27 Bei Sanlitun Nan (East Courtyard).
    Chaoyang District. Beijing 100027. P.R China

    中国北京市朝阳区北三里屯南 27 号 (东侧院),
    邮编:100027
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