September 18 - September 25/26 2018

Pyongyang International Film Festival Tour - North Korean Film in Focus

7 nights in the
DPRK + 1 on the

Join us for the biennial Pyongyang International Film Festival
and an in-depth look at 'Chollywood', North Korea's film

From 1,799 EUR per person

Please apply by 30th August, 2018.

Pyongyang International Film Festival Tour - North Korean Film in Focus

7 nights in the
DPRK + 1 on the

Join us for the biennial Pyongyang International
Film Festival and an in-depth look at
'Chollywood', North Korea's film industry

From 1,799 EUR per person

  • Overall

    A special in-depth tour focused on ‘Chollywood’, the North Korean domestic film industry, and the biennial Pyongyang International Film Festival (PIFF). PIFF is one of the major international events held in the DPRK and hosts both international and domestic films.

    We will attend the festive PIFF Opening Ceremony, meet people involved in the DPRK film industry, visit shooting locations for classic North Korean films in Pyongyang and Kaesong, and learn the subtle (or often not so subtle) message and cultural significance of DRPK cinema. Specifically we will look in-depth at the classic film Flower Girl (1972), the romantic comedies They Met on the Taedong River (1993) and O Youth! (1994) and the first joint DPRK-foreign production Moranbong (1957), the joint UK-Beligum-DPRK production Comrade Kim Goes Flying (2012), as well as North Korean sports and action films.

    Included in this tour are a special film screening of the Koryo Tours' co-production 'Comrade Kim Goes Flying' (2012) in Pyongyang, as well as a Q&A with those involved in the film’s production and promotion. This option will also have a special tour to view Pyongyang’s cinemas and their unique architecture.

    The tour also covers the main highlights of Pyongyang, Kaseong, and Nampo, such as the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Pyongyang Metro, Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo, the Juche Tower, the Korean Demilitarised Zone, West Sea Barrage, and the Chollima Steelworks. We'll stop by the concurrent Pyongyang International Autumn Trade Fair for a look around too!

    Koryo Tours has been a partner of the Pyongyang International Film Festival (PIFF) since 2002 and has produced three full-length documentaries and one feature film in the DPRK, three of which have shown at PIFF:

    'The Game of Their Lives' (2002)

    'A State of Mind' (2004)

    'Crossing the Line' (2006)

    'Comrade Kim Goes Flying' (2006)

    For more information see:


    • Pyongyang International Film Festival Opening Ceremony
    • Exclusive DPRK film screening and talk with North Korean filmmakers
    • Tour of Pyongyang cinemas and filming locations
    • Interpretive tour of the Korean Feature Film Studio
    • Pyongyang Cinema Tour
    • Pyongyang highlights: the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and USS Pueblo, the Pyongyang Metro, and the Juche Tower
    • The DMZ and filming locations in Kaesong
    • Nampo's West Sea Barrage and the Chollima Steelworks
    • Optional participation in film festival events.
    • Gift set of North Korean films! (*Please note these DVDs cannot be taken into the DPRK.)
    • Pyongyang International Autumn Trade Fair at the Three Revolutions Exhibition
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. September 17 - Monday


      • Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.


      • 16:00: Our group assembles for a pre-tour group briefing at the Koryo Tours office in Beijing. This briefing will last approximately one hour and 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 travelers. Please be punctual - you can come early, pay any outstanding tour fees and browse our collection of Korean art.
      • An optional film screening of Koryo Tours' documentary 'Crossing the Line' will follow the briefing to get in the spirit of the Pyongyang International Film Festival. Crossing the Line (2006) is the story of US army defector Joe Dresnok, who crossed into North Korea in 1962 where he raised a family and lived out the rest of his days. Wine included.

      Overnight: Hotel in Beijing not included in the tour. Contact us for recommendations near our office!

    2. September 18 - Tuesday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang


      • Free bus from the Koryo Tours office to Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 2. Exact time TBC at the pre-tour briefing. Alternatively meet the group at the Air Koryo check-in counter.


      • Flight departure from Beijing on Air Koryo flight JS 152 at 13:00. A 1.5 hour flight with basic lunch (no vegetarian option).
      • Arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 14:30. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides, and transfer to the city.
      • 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! Filming location for numerous North Korean films and parades!

      • Foreign Languages Bookshop - Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, and Spanish. Also pick up film DVDs, postcards, and small works of art.
      • Walk in the city centre and riverside  - Walk from Pyongyang's central square to the Pyongyang Grand Theatre and then On the way we'll pass government ministries, 1950's socialist apartments, and theatres. We'll also take a walk along the riverbank for a distant view of the Yanggakdo International Cinema, the main venue for the Pyongyang International Film Festival.
      • Exclusive Film Screening of Comrade Kim Goes Flying with the film actors -  Comrade Kim Goes Flying is the first joint DPRK-UK and is a romantic comedy about a rural women pursuing her dreams of becoming a trapeze artists at the Pyongyang Circus. The film was co-produced by Koryo Tours' founder Nicholas Bonner. Free popcorn! 

      Overnight: The Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang - Great views of the city and creature comforts on an island in the middle of the Taedong River. Home away from home for the majority of tour groups visiting Pyongyang. Shops, bookstore, cafes, revolving restaurant, beer brewed on-site.  

    3. September 19 - Wednesday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      • 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. This location appears in numerous North Korean films.
      • Grand People’s Study House -National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city. Filming location for O Youth! (1994).
      • 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. Filming location of for numerous Korean films, including the joint DPRK-Italian co-production Ten Zan - The Ultimate Mission (1988).
      • Arch of Triumph - Massive archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982. This location appears in numerous DPRK films.
      • Pyongyang International Film Festival Opening Ceremony - Attend the opening ceremony to PIFF 2018 and mingle with the movers and the shakers of Cholliwood. Opening ceremony tickets included in the tour.
      • Post-opening ceremony drinks at Paradise Micro-Brewery (0.5 EUR per glass) and noodle dinner at the Pyongyang Ramen House operated by famous Japanese chef Kenji Fujimoto. Ramen noodles included in the tour fee; sushi can be ordered on the spot; dishes starting from 50 EUR).

      Overnight: The Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang
    4. September 20 - Thursday

      Kaesong Day Trip and DMZ

      • Drive south along the 'Reunification Highway' to Kaesong, historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) and today located near the Korean Demilitarised Zone. A 2.5 hour drive.
      • Panmunjom Truce Village and DMZ - 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.
      • Old City Walk and South Gate - A morning stroll through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the late Ri Dynasty to the city’s historic South Gate. Filming location of Moranbong (1957).
      • Home of Jong Mong Ju - The former home of the last loyal Koryo Dynasty minister Jong Mong Ju. Fimling location for many North Korean historic movies. 
      • Sonjuk Bridge - Small stone bridge built in 1290 which was the site of the assassination of Jong Mong Ju by a son of Ri Song Gye, founder of the next 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.


      • Janam Hill - Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore. Filming location of Moranbong (1957).

      • Tomb of King Kongmin - Tomb of the 31st king of the Koryo Dynasty, a talented statesman and prolific painter, and his Mongolian wife set at the end of a picturesque valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site. Filming location of Moranbong (1957).

      • Pakyon Waterfall and Gwanum Temple - Light hike in relaxing wooded valley past a scenic waterfall and to a beautiful Ri Dynasty era temple and a cave with a marble Bodhisattva dating back to the 10th century.  
      • Drive back to Pyongyang with a stop at the Monument to the Three Charters of Reunification, a large stone archway over the highway memorializing joint agreements between north and south. 2.5 hour drive

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang
    5. September 21 - Friday

      Pyongyang Film Locations Tour

      •  Korea Film Studio - A special interpretive tour through the studio which has produced many of Korea's films. We'll tours the sets and learn about the North Korean classic Flower Girl (1974) as well as other movies made here.
      • Pyongyang International Autumn Trade Fair at the Three Revolutions Exhibition - While the trade fair has almost nothing to do with film, it is a good chance to learn about commerce in the DPRK, see some interesting products, and mingle with the locals.

      • 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.
      • 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). This location appears in numerous DPRK films.
      • 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.
      • Farewell dinner of Korean barbecue at the Golden Lanes Bowling Centre, where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix (2.5 EUR per person per game). Also has billiards and arcade games.
      • Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to Nampo, the port city of Pyongyang on the Taedong River estuary. A 45 minute to 1 hour drive.
      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 22 – Saturday

      Nampo City and Korean industry

      • 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. Watch the famous 15 minute West Sea Barrage Documentary on location.
      • Wau Islet - Picnic lunch at this riverside park with pavilions overlooking the Taedong River.


      • Chollima Steelworks - A major heavy industry site of the DPRK, known to Koreans as the birthplace of the Chollima Movement and famous for making ‘Juche Steel’. Filming location of Comrade Kim Goes Flying (2012).

      • Return to Pyongyang along the old riverside road driving past the country's industrial heartland.

      • Walk along Sports Street past stadiums and halls whose architecture reflects the sports played within and on to the enigmatic Youth Hotel and modernist Kwangbok Street. Filming location for O Youth! and numerous North Korean films.
      • 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.
      • 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: The Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang.
      • September 23 – Sunday

        Pyongyang - Cinema Tour and Kumsusan Palce of the Sun, mausoleum of the DPRK leadership

        • 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.

        • Sunday walk from the Changgwangsan Hotel past the Pyongyang Ice Rink (exterior only), Pyongyang Indoor Stadium (exterior only), Russian Embassy, and Supreme People's Assembly to downtown Pyongyang.
        • Okryugwan - Pyongyang Cold Noodles at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River.
        • Sunday walk in Central Pyongyang through downtown and along the Taedong River. Filming location for They Met on the Taedong River (1993). Optional row boating (weather dependent).
        • Pyongyang Cinema Tour - This special tour will drop by the exterior of a number of Pyongyang local cinema's to photograph their unique architecture. Visits to interiors TBC pending PIFF events and openings.
        • To be confirmed event with with North Korean filmmakers. In years past we have had meetings with directors, actors and actresses, and score-composers.

        Overnight: The Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang.
      • September 24 – Monday

        Pyongyang City Tour

        • 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.
        • Taekwondo Demonstration - A special demonstration of the Korean martial art Taekwondo as seen in many an action film. 


        • May Day Stadium - We’ll tour the grounds and facilities of one of the world’s largest stadiums, once used for the DPRK’s Arirang Mass Games and now major sports events.

        • Jangchon Vegetable Farm - A taste of modern DPRK farming life just outside of the capital. Tour the farm’s cultural centre, kindergarten, home, and research laboratory. 

        • Walk on Future Street - A walk through a newly built residential apartments for scientists and academics with its unique architecture
          • Farewell dinner at the Pizza Restaurant (Not included; 7-10 EUR paid on the spot).
          Overnight: The Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang.
        • September 25 – Tuesday

          • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 10:00am. Please note there is a 50 EUR surcharge for flight return.

          • Train departure by domestic train to Dandong at 10:10 AM, transfer in Dandong with onward travel by sleeper train to Beijing with scheduled arrival to Beijing Station on Wednesday September 26 at 08:30. We typically book soft sleeper (four beds per cabin) for the return journey. Please note that in some rare instances, soft sleeper tickets may sell out and we will book hard sleeper (six beds per cabin) instead.

          End of Tour
      • Extras

        • 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 50 EUR you can opt for the plane back instead. The flight takes around 90 minutes.

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        • 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.

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        • 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.

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        • 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.

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        • 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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        • Insurance (8 to 12 days)

          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
          Flight Beijing – Pyongyang
          Train Pyongyang – Beijing
          All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train back to Beijing
          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
          Film festival opening ceremony
          DPRK film screening in Pyongyang
          DPRK film screening in Beijing
        • Not included
          DPRK visa fee 50 EUR
          Optional flight back to Beijing at end of the tour (50 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 additional film screenings (approx. 20 EUR per person)
          Entry tickets 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. Furthermore, for groups of 10 or more, a member of the Koryo Tours team will accompany the trip.

        This tour will be combine with the Pyongyang International Film Festival Tour - Introduction to North Korean Film and Korea Highlights for the first four-nights of the tour.

        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 August, 2018. | + 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),
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