April 13 - April 18/19 2019

Kim Il Sung Birthday Short Tour

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

Be in Pyongyang for one of North Korea’s biggest national holidays, that will see mass dances and other
festivities. We will also travel to Kaesong, visit the DMZ, and soak in the hot spas near Nampo. Round-trip
by train or upgrade to flight.

From 999 EUR per person

Please apply by 23rd March, 2019.

Kim Il Sung Birthday Short Tour

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

Be in Pyongyang for one of North Korea’s biggest national holidays,
that will see mass dances and other festivities. We will also travel
to Kaesong, visit the DMZ, and soak in the hot spas near Nampo. Round-trip
by train or upgrade to flight.

From 999 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Be in Pyongyang for one of North Korea’s biggest national holidays, President Kim Il Sung’s Birthday. Join in the celebrations in Pyongyang including mass dances and other festivities. Travel to Kaesong, the DMZ, and Nampo hot spring spa!

    Expect big celebrations on this trip to North Korea. April 15th, known as 'The Day of the Sun', is one of the biggest, if not the biggest holiday in North Korea and 2018 marks the 106th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1912.

    Festivities expected include mass dances, Kimilsungia flower exhibition and the possibility of viewing a North Korea firework display with locals in Kim Il Sung Square.

    This tour takes you to see the best of what Pyongyang has to offer, as well as a trip to the historic town of Kaesong, and North-South Korea DMZ border.

    Plus… Have that well-deserved break as we spend a night at the Dragon Hot Spa hotel in Nampo, a port city on the west coast, where you can visit the DPRK's economic heartland.

    The 'petrol' clam BBQ is a local speciality here not to be missed!

    Travel with Koryo Tours, professionals in North Korea travel for over 25 years, and rest assured you’re in safe hands during your trip to North Korea. Learn more about our team .

    Scroll down for an overview of the Kim Il Sung Birthday Short Tour highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    Highlights

    • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun: grand mausoleum of the DPRK leadership
    • Panmunjom and the Demilitarized Zone: signing hall of the 1953 armistice and Joint Security Area, patrolled by soldiers from both sides
    • The Day of the Sun, the birthday of Eternal President Kim Il Sung: join in the celebrations on the biggest national holiday of the year. Dance and sing with locals in Moranbong park after a picnic lunch, join in the Mass Dance organized by the students of Kim Il Sung University at the Arch of Triumph, watch the fireworks from one of Pyongyang's restaurant boat.
    • Tram ride along the 6-km long Kwangbok Street with 25,000 flats, finished in 1989 for the World Festival of Youth and Students.
    • The West Sea Barrage: An engineering megaproject at the mouth of the Taedong River
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. April 12 | 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.  
      • 17:27 | Train travellers depart Beijing Station by domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. Please arrange independent travel to the train station and arrive at least an hour and a half early for the train departure.

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

    2. April 13 | 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 JS152 at 13:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (no vegetarian option).
      • Flight arrival into Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 16:05. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides, and transfer to the city.
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | Tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. Renovated in 2012 and it exhibits the Korean War from the DPRK perspective with artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and displays of Korean People’s Army Hero Equipment and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station.


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

    3. April 14 | Sunday

      Kaesong City and DMZ Tour 

      AM
      • Drive 160 km south on the 'Reunification Highway' to Kaesong, historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) and today located near the Korean Demilitarized Zone. 2.5-hour drive.
      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ | The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, where negotiations between both sides once took place. Here we will be accompanied by military guides from the Korean People's Army.
      • Kaesong Koryo Museum | Once the Songgyung Academy, a Confucian school, and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from that era. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
      • Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more! One of the best postcard collections in the country and friendly staff.
      • Traditional Royal Korean Lunch (pangsanggi) | A meal made of 12 dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings of old. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest! Traditional Korean 'sweet meat soup' is an option here (5 EUR).

      PM

      • Janam Hill | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
      • Drive back to 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 2.5-hour drive.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea | Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy and located on the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for great views of the city (elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • 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.
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Shop with the citizens of Pyongyang and exchange for Korean currency! Try the snack stands for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang.

    4. April 15 | Monday

      The Day of the Sun, one of the DPRK’s largest holidays. April 15, 2019, is the 107th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung's birthday.

      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. Visitations are by special request only and formal dress is required. Men require collared shirt with tie, dark non-jean pants, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants, and closed toed shoes. The visit will take most of the morning and visitors are asked to bow a number of times inside. This is a state-administered site and visits are subject to local conditions. Cancellations are rare but possible.

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient and modern architecture from different eras.
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of the DPRK leadership overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here. Visitations are by special request only and decent dress is required. No shorts or flip-flop sandals allowed here.
      • Moranbong Park | We’ll take a stroll and have picnic lunch in Pyongyang’s central park popular with locals for picnics, dances, and sports. The park is filled with historic pavilions, walls, and monuments- modern and ancient, a few of which are among the traditional ‘Eight Great Sights of Pyongyang’.

      PM

      • Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
      • Arch of Triumph | A 60-m archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule and larger than its counterpart in Paris.
      • Mass Dance | Large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!
      • Kimilsungia and Kimjongillia Flower Exhibition | Exhibit of the two flowers named after the DPRK’s leaders and held on the occasion of their respective birthday anniversaries in February and April. See organizations and groups from across society compete to put on the best floral display.
      • Party Foundation Monument | Iconic structure featuring the hammer, sickle & writing brush which make up the emblem of the Worker’s Party of Korea and represent workers, farmers, and intellectuals.
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.
      • Fireworks over the Taedong River | watch with thousands of locals in Kim Il Sung Square as this holiday comes to an end. Wonderful mingling opportunities in a festive atmosphere

      Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang
    5. April 16 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour and drive to Nampo

      AM

      • A ride through Pyongyang from Pyongyang Station to Kwangbok Street on one of the city’s municipal trams made in former Czechoslovakia.
      • Chilgol Revolutionary Site | The native home of Kang Pan Sok, mother of President Kim Il Sung. A Statue of ‘the Mother of Korea’ sits outside. You can also visit the school where her husband and father-in-law once taught.
      • Mt. Ryonggak picnic and hike | A popular local picnic spot in a scenic valley with an interesting and huge concrete dragon winding through the area. Also a 45-minute walk to the top for a view of Pyongyang City.

      PM

      • Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to Nampo, the port city of Pyongyang at the mouth of the Taedong River on the West Sea.
      • Chongsam-ri Co-operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung, the place where the ‘Chongsam-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse, the local shop, and kindergarten, see the fields and greenhouses.
      • West Sea Barrage | An 8 km concrete, steel, and earthen barrage constructed between the Taedong River estuary and the West Sea for land reclamation, irrigation, flood prevention, and power generation. It also acts as a ship lock and fish ladder. One of the DPRK’s greatest engineering feats.

        Overnight | Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel, Nampo. Compound 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!

      • April 17 | Wednesday

        Nampo and drive back to Pyongyang

        AM

        • Nampo Square | Central square of Nampo City with statues of the DPRK leadership.
        • Tae’an Glass Factory | Factory producing glass and glass products for the domestic market. Watch the glass-making process from smelting to sheet-cutting and even try to break a sheet of strengthened glass.
        • Drive back to Pyongyang along the Taedong River.

        PM

        • Grand People’s Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean style and great views of the city.
        • Jonsung Revolutionary Site // A system of underground tunnels and bunkers used by the DPRK government’s cabinet during the 1950s exhibiting life underground during the Korean War.
        • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A beer bar serving seven types of beer.  Popular with locals after work and on weekends. Best place to drink pints with local people.
        • Farewell dinner at one of Pyongyang's Pizza Restaurant (there are three). Pizzas range between 5-12 EUR each.

        • Evening walk on Future Scientists Street a newly built residential district for scientists and academics to view its unique modern architecture.
        Overnight | Koryo Hotel, Pyongyang
      • April 18 | Thursday

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

        AM

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

        OR

        • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Friday, April 19 at 08:38. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

        End of Tour

    6. Extras

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

        This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang by train each way in a hard-sleeper carriage (6 bunks per compartment). The train journey takes 24 hours with a transfer at the city of Dandong. One-way or round-trip flights are also available. The flight takes around 90 minutes. For an extra 219 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 394 EUR. We recommend flight entry with a train return for the best overall experience on your trip.

      • Visit the DPRK border town of Sinuiju

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

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

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

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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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      • 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.

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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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      • 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.

    7. What is / is not included?

      • Included
        Train Pyongyang – Beijing – Pyongyang
        All meals on the tour apart from the meals on the train, and the farewell dinner at the Pizza Restaurant
        Hotel accommodation
        Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
        Koryo Tours tour leader
        All transportation in the DPRK
      • Not included
        DPRK visa fee 50 EUR
        Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 219 EUR; return: 394 EUR)
        Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
        Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
        Optional activities such as the lift up the Juche Tower (5 EUR) or a visit to the funfair (approx. 2 EUR entrance fee per person)
        Entry tickets for special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
        Meals include a complimentary beer and water, but you will need to purchase extra drinks if needed
        Spending money for souvenirs
        SINUIJU EXTENSION: RMB 50 for the bus across the bridge to Dandong to be paid on the spot to the local guides
    8. Notes

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

      Please note that when on tour your day-to-day itinerary may differ to what is advertised above. Your tour leader will ensure, however, that everything available at the time is covered, and replacement options are provided where needed. We will also add in extras when there is time (such as a visit to a local bar or amusement park). We visit the DPRK regularly so know all the best places to go, and how to make the most of your days there to guarantee the experience of a lifetime. After the tour, we will send out a list of all participants' emails so you can keep in touch, swap photos etc. If you do not wish to be on this list then please let us know.

    Please apply by 23rd March, 2019.

    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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