North Korea

Specialist Tours
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Koryo Tours specialise in taking you out of the usual and into rather unusual travel destinations, and we’ve been experts in it for over 25 years.

If you’re after something extra special, though, Koryo Tours also offer specialist North Korea tours. These tours are designed to be more in-depth, more informative, and unique. All whilst upholding a high level of professionalism and expertise that sets Koryo Tours aside from the rest, and ensures the highest level of security (and fun!) during your time in North Korea!

Specialist North Korea tours we offer include;

Expert Tour Leader Tours:

• Tours run by resident expert tour leaders, including founder Nick Bonner. These Specialist North Korea tour gives you a unique insight into North Korea, hearing it directly how it is from the people who know it best.

Specialist Activities Tours:

• From studying in North Korea for a month, to taking the railway across the North Korean countryside - we have experience in planning a wide range of specialist activities all over the country.

Special Interest Tours:

• Koryo Tours can also create tour packages to adapt to those with special interests, including film tours, architecture tours, or our Photography Tours. (link to photography when its up).


Have a special interest or want to plan something different in North Korea? With over 25 years experience working in North Korea, Koryo Tours are the right people to come to if you have something different in mind. As one of the first tour companies to begin leading tours to North Korea, we have

Whether you’re a foodie who wants to eat their way through Pyongyang, or a football fanatic after seeing a game (or joining in on one!), if you have an idea for something you’d like to do, let us know!

Contact us for private tours or check out our selection of specialist group tours below.

August 2020 — 1 tour

August 17 - August 22/23 2020

Brewery Industry Tour

5 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

A very unique & rare opportunity to learn
about North Korean beer from the people
that make it!

From 1,249 EUR per person

Please apply by 27th July, 2020.

Tour Closed Tour Details

Brewery Industry Tour

5 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

A very unique & rare opportunity
to learn about North Korean
beer from the people that make
it!

From 1,249 EUR per person

  • Overall

    North Korean beer is a surprise to many visitors to the country in its quality, range of brands and locations where you find beer being brewed. There is more to it than just the ubiquitous Taedonggang Beer!

    Koryo Tours wanted to learn more about the beer of North Korea so we pioneered the first-ever brewery tour of North Korea in 2018 where we literally took the lid off the little known beer industry of North Korea. This coming August we’re excited to confirm we’ll be running the 2020 edition of our Brewery Industry Tour.

    We’ll be given access to places that are otherwise off-limits to tourists which will include the North Korean breweries of Taedonggang, Ponghak and Kyonghung plus other locations beer is being brewed and served. It’s a rare opportunity to meet the people brewing North Korean beer to learn from them about their beer, what they think makes their products stand out from the others and generally learn about brewing beer in North Korea.

    Beer is just one part of North Korea, so we’ll also take the time to explore the rest of the country to gain a good understanding of its history, culture and people. This carefully developed itinerary includes an extensive tour of Pyongyang including the Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Kumsusan Palace of the Sun and Pyongyang Metro. We’ll then head to Kaesong in the south where we’ll visit the DMZ that divides the Korean peninsula, and the bustling city of Pyongsong that plays a vital role in industry, science and education for the country.

    Please note: this is *not* a tour for those looking for a drinking holiday – this educational itinerary is designed for the fans of beer out there who are genuinely interested in discovering and learning about the brewery industry in North Korea, its practices, and the beers the country produces.

    Discounts available for those working in the beer brewing industry as well as group bookings of three or more people and for full-time students.

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

    ⬇⬇⬇


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    Highlights

    • Visit the North Korean beer breweries of Taedonggang, Ponghak and Kyonghung
    • Sample the range of North Korean beers found in popular bars through to hidden away microbreweries
    • Experience Pyongyang in-depth including the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the Pyongyang Metro and other highlights 
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. August 16 | Sunday

      *Pre-Tour Briefing | We require all travelers 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 travelers, 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 travelers depart Beijing Station by domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with the DPRK (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 is 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 17 | 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.
      • 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 12:00pm. A 2 hour flight with basic lunch.
      • Arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 3:00pm. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides, and transfer to the city.
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with 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.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station
      • Check in & dinner at hotel
      • Yanggakdo Hotel Brewery | Our "local" microbrewery hidden away in the Yanggakdo Hotel, we'll meet the brewery and bar staff to learn about this beer that is produced in our home away from home.

      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. August 18 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang

      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.
         
      • 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.
         
      • 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.
      • Lunch at 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 Raengmyeon or Pyongyang Cold Noodles.

      PM

      • Kyonghung Brewery | North Korea's newest brewery, hidden away in residential Pyongyang. We'll tour the factory, meet the very friendly staff and sample their product fresh from the production line.
         
      • 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 the Party Foundation | Iconic stone hammer, sickle, writing brush representing the workers, farmers, and intellectuals which make up the Worker's Party of Korea.
      • 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 artifacts, 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 popular bar in Pyongyang, it is one of the only places in the world you can try all seven beers produced by the mighty Taedonggang Brewery. It is also the first and only place in Pyongyang that offers beer flights to allow proper sampling of all seven beers! A flight of beer is 5 EUR or individual beers are 1 EUR each.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    4. August 19 | Wednesday

      Historic Kaesong and the DMZ

      AM

      • Drive 160 km south the 'Reunification Highway' to Kaesong, the historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) and today located near the Korean Demilitarised Zone. 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.
      • Lunch at Panmunjomgwan | We'll enjoy a traditional royal Korean lunch inside the DMZ! The meal known as pangsanggi is made up of multiple dishes served in brass bowls. Meal upgrade options here include 'sweet meat soup' (5 EUR) or Samgyetang also known as Ginseng Chicken Soup (30 EUR, serves 3-4 people)

      PM

      • We'll drive around two hours to Sariwon City and Folk village - a recently built mock-up of a traditional Korean walled city which includes a history museum, food street and pavilions. Make sure to try the home brewed makkolli here!
      • Continue driving 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. A 1 hour drive.
      • Paradise Beer Bar | Tucked away on the top floor of a department store, they brew their own fresh beer that is popular with tourists and locals looking to relax after shopping. Beer is 50 cents per glass.
      • 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.

    5. August 20 | Thursday

      Pyongyang

      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.
      • Ryugyong Kimchi Factory | A new factory mass producing Korea's famous kimchi. We'll learn all about kimchi and how they have developed the production process. For the uninitiated, kimchi and beer have a lot in common.

      PM

      • Coffee Shop | Pyongyang has a burgeoning cafe scene, we'll stop at one for a post lunch coffee and to recharge ourselves for the afternoon.
         
      • 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.
         
      • Drive to Pyongsong. A 45 minute to 1 hour drive.
      • Ponghak Brewery | A unique brewery in North Korea, we'll learn about it's history and unique beer production processes. We'll then get to sample fresh Ponghak beer which is very different to bottled Ponghak - it is the only place in the world you can do this! 

      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 best bartenders in the country mans the bar. Billiards, karaoke, hair dresser, and outdoor eateries in summer.

    6. August 21 | Friday

      Pyongsong
      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 Middle School | We'll visit the area's top middle school to learn about the education system in the country and tour the facilities. We'll then interrupt a class to talk with the students and help them practice their English.
         
      • 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
         
      • Return to Pyongyang. A 45 minute to 1 hour drive.

      PM

      • Taedonggang Brewery | North Korea's biggest and best-known brewery, it's nicknamed the Pride of Korea! We'll tour the production line and learn about what sets their beer apart from others in Korea and the world. We'll then head to the brewery's own bar to try the freshest Taedonggang available. 
         
      • 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.
         
      • 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!
      • Farewell dinner at one of Pyongyang's excellent BBQ restaurants for Korean BBQ

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    7. August 22 | Saturday

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

      AM

      Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 8:50 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 10:00.

      OR

      Train departure by sleeper train to Beijing at 10:25 (via transfer in Dandong) with scheduled arrival to Beijing Station on Sunday 23rd August at 08:30. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      End of Tour.

  • 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.

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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 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)

      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.

  • What is / is not included?

    INCLUDED

    • Return train Beijing – Pyongyang - Beijing with transfers 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
    • All transportation in the DPRK

    NOT INCLUDED

    • North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 60 EUR
    • Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 239 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

    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 27th July, 2020.

Next tour departure dates

Brewery Industry Tour

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[email protected] | + 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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