September 8 - September 16 2018

DPRK National Day 70th Anniversary Tour + unique train across the DPRK!

8 nights in the DPRK
+ China-DPRK travel
time

Two ultimate North Korea tours combined: see the mass games, experience the biggest holiday of the
year (military parade expected!) and join our most epic train journey to the remote Northeast and
Rason Special Economic Zone!

From 1,880 EUR per person

Please apply by 17th August, 2018.

DPRK National Day 70th Anniversary Tour + unique train across the DPRK!

8 nights in the DPRK
+ China-DPRK travel
time

Two ultimate North Korea tours combined: see the mass games, experience
the biggest holiday of the year (military parade expected!) and join
our most epic train journey to the remote Northeast and Rason Special
Economic Zone!

From 1,880 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!

    On this tour, we will visit Pyongyang, Kaesong, and Nampo, and take you on a local train across to the DPRK's East Coast and then onward up to the extreme North of the country; the Rason Special Economic Zone. See how locals travel by train, mingle with fellow-passengers, and get amazing access to parts of the country no tourist has ever seen.

    We will explore Rason; a fascinating and very different part of North Korea, visited by very few international tourists, then head back to the Korean Autonomous Region of China to close out the tour — far beyond the 'usual' tourist experience in North Korea. Another specially curated trip from Koryo Tours!

    Please read the following for important information about your transport options for this tour, and how each one related 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 // Train entry (Beijing-Pyongyang): A 23-hour train journey in hard-sleeper class (six bunks per berth) with a transfer in Dandong, China. The train arrives in Pyongyang approximately two 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 entry (Beijing-Pyongyang // 90 minutes): We highly recommend this option: it maximizes your time and sightseeing opportunities; lets you experience both Air Koryo and the train; plus allows you to start the trip rested, while taking the leisurely route home. In our view, this is the most comprehensive way to visit the DPRK. [+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 arrange a Chinese visa for your trip obtained at a Chinese diplomatic mission 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.

    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
    • National Day Celebrations with an expected parade
    • Pyongyang highlights (Kumsusan Memorial Palace, Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Pyongyang Metro and more)
    • Historic Kaesong, the Panmunjom Truce Village, and the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
    • Industrial Nampo and the healing waters of Dragon River Hot Spa
    • TRAIN TRIP - travelling across the country on a train with local people - as far as the train can go!
    • Travelling through unseen areas and off-limits cities and towns - a unique chance to see more than ever of the country
    • Rason - free trade zone in the remote north. Little-visited and very different to the rest of North Korea
    • Cross into China's remote northeast - to the city of Yanji - home of China's Korean population
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. September 7 // 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 8 // 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 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.
      • 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.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station.
      • Walk on Future Scientists' Street // An evening stroll through one of Pyongyang's newest neighborhoods.

      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 9 // Sunday

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

      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 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.
      PM
      • Moranbong Park // We’ll take a stroll in Pyongyang’s central park popular with locals for picnics, dances, and sports, especially on national holidays. 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’
      • 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!
      • 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). This visit is weather-dependant.

      Overnight // Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    4. September 10 // Monday

      AM
      • 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 // 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 // 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
      • 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
      • 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.
      • 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 // Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    5. September 11 // Tuesday

      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.
      • 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 a beautiful natural surrounding.
      PM
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to Nampo (45 minutes to 2 ½ hour drive), the port city of Pyongyang at the mouth of the Taedong River on the West Sea.


      Overnight // Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel, Nampo. Compund with holiday houses and a main building for dinner and entertainment. 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. Bring a torch!

    6. September 14 // Wednesday

      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 locks and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.
      • Chongsan-Ri Cooperative Farm // Famous cooperative farm on the road between Pyongyang and Nampo. Learn about life in rural Korea by visiting the farm's green houses and their kindergarden.
      • Kangso Mineral Water Factory // Bottling plant of the DPRK's most famous spring water. Tour the production line and have a sip yourself.
      • Drive back 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 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. 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.
      • Farewell dinner at Duck Barbeque Restaurant //  South Pyongyang’s famous grilled duck restaurant that has seen many a teary-eyed farewell.
      Overnight // Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    7. September 13 - Thursday

      Riding the Local Train!

      AM

      • Board the train at Pyongyang Station – it departs at 07:50 but we will have time to find our bunks, say annyonghasimnikka to our fellow-travellers, and take some photos on the platform. Say goodbye to Pyongyang and off we go!
      • Most of the morning is spent travelling through relatively flat land. The fist main stop is the city of Pyongsong which is visited on many tours, then the train sets off on a zigzagging path across the spine of the country heading for the East Coast

      PM

      • Through the afternoon we will go through valleys, over bridges and through tunnels, stopping at remote and unheard-of stations. Amazing views throughout!
      • Into the evening the coast approaches. The tunnels become fewer as the mountains give way to a narrow strip of plains, and the city of Hamhung is reached. This is a major city and here the train will pause for a while before switching from an easterly course to a northerly one
      • It will be dark by now, time for bed. Each person will have a comfortable bunk for the night and the train is slow and smooth. The Korean countryside is very dark so not much to see out of the windows until dawn
      Overnight: On the train - Comfortable soft sleeper beds with fresh bedding for each person


    8. September 14 - Friday

      Aboard the Train - Arrival in Rason

      AM

      • When we wake up we will be heading up the coast. Seaside views and fishing villages to the right, fields leading to hills to the left. The train doesn’t totally follow the coast though as it passes on the inland side of the Chilbosan Mountain range
      • We will pass Orang airport and the town of Kyongsong shortly before arriving in the major city of Chongjin. Another moderately long stop here before heading eve further north. Our destination approaches but still some sights to be seen and stops to make
      • 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. The guards will board the train and check tickets and passports. They may be surprised to see foreigners on this train, but be friendly and they will be too!

      PM

      • Arrival at Rajin station after the train journey from Pyongyang – get off the train and meet local guides
      • General intro to Rason area – drive through Rajin city and check into the centrally located Namsan Hotel
      • After freshening up (you’ve spent more than a day on the train after all!), visit the Statues of the DPRK’s Leaders situated on a hill behind the hotel and offering a great view over the city and bay
      • 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 - Centrally located and locally-famous. Right in the heart of Rajin city


    9. September 15 - Saturday

      Rason - Special Economic Zone

      AM

      • 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
      • Emperor 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

      • After returning to Rajin city the next stop is the Foreign Language School – here local children learn English, Chinese, and other languages. Step in and help out with some lessons!
      • Rajin Port – here you will see what kind of industry is going on; fishing, shipping goods I and out, and look out for some very non-Korean people; one of the three piers is operated by Russians who live on site!
      • 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
      • 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!
      • In the evening spend some leisure time getting a massage if you like as one of Rajin’s many health centres, or visit a park, or local bar near the hotel before dinner
      Overnight: Namsan Hotel - Centrally located and locally-famous. Right in the heart of Rajin city


    10. September 16 - Sunday

      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 – which exhibits 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 - 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 2 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 f this adventure, and an overnight stay to bring our tour to a close. Congratulations to you for being with us on this amazing journey!
      Overnight: Yanji, China


    11. September 17 - Monday

      Final Day
      • Our tour sadly ends today 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!


  • Extras

    • 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
    • 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.

      See more
    • Entry options for train tours with exit from Rason

      This tour enters Korea by train from Beijing. A fight upgrade is available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. The tour exits Korea overland from the the Rason Special Economic Zone in northeast Korea to the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Region of China. You will need to arrange onward transportation from the Chinese city of Yanji.

  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Train Beijing – Pyongyang with transfer at Dandong
      Train Pyongyang – Rason
      Transportation from Rason - Yanji (China)
      All meals on the tour except for the final pizza dinner and meals on the train
      Hotel accommodation & Overnight train 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)
      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
      Onward travel from Yanji, China - we can advise and assist with options though
  • 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 requires 6 participants to be guaranteed to operate - Koryo Tours will keep anyone who signs up notified of booking levels

    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 17th 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
Download contact card