February 14 - February 21/22 2019

Kim Jong Il Birthday Tour

7 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join in the celebrations over one of the biggest holidays in the DPRK’s
calendar – the birthday of Kim Jong Il on February 16th. Plus Nampo
and Mt. Myohyang!

From 1,399 EUR per person

Please apply by 29th January, 2019.

Kim Jong Il Birthday Tour

7 nights in North Korea +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join in the celebrations over one of the biggest
holidays in the DPRK’s calendar – the birthday
of Kim Jong Il on February 16th. Plus Nampo
and Mt. Myohyang!

From 1,399 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Join in the celebrations over one of the biggest holidays in the DPRK’s calendar, and one of the best for North Korea tourism. Visiting during Kim Jong Il's birthday you can expect many special events in Pyongyang over this time, such as the Kimjongilia Flower Exhibition, a performance of the Pyongyang Circus and a mass dance performance.

    North Koreans have this special day off so they’ll be spending their day joining in the celebrations throughout Pyongyang city. Come and join in the celebrations with the locals!

    North Korea tourism doesn’t get much better than this as apart from the birthday celebrations, our comprehensive Kim Jong Il Birthday Tour includes a full city tour of Pyongyang and a day trip to the North-South Korea DMZ border. Be one of the first tourists to be able to cross the demarcation line and visit the tree planted by Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In.

    This tour also includes going to the port city of Pyongyang, Nampo, where you can enjoy the exclusive hot spring hotel and the famous BBQ petrol clams, as well as a drive out to see the Friendship Exhibition House in the beautiful Mt. Myohyang region.

    It is also possible to add a 2-night skiing extension to this tour at Masik Pass. Try skiing at North Korea’s only ski resort open to foreigners.

    Having a busy February? Join in the celebrations on our short Kim Jong Il Birthday Short Tour, whilst packing in the must-see sights of Pyongyang!

    Scroll down for an overview of leader Kim Jong Il’s Birthday tour highlights, tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    Highlights

    • Day of the Shining Star - Celebrations on General Kim Jong Il's Birthday
    • Visit Kumsusan Palace of the Sun (mausoleum of the leaders), Pyongyang Metro, and other Pyongyang highlights
    • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and captured US spy ship USS Pueblo
    • Shop with locals at Kwangbok Supermarket
    • Ride one of Pyongyang's oldest trolleybuses
    • See historic Kaesong, Panmunjom, and the Korean Demilitarised Zone up close
    • West Sea Barrage in Nampo
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. February 13 | Wednesday

      *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 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. February 14 | Thursday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang

      AM

      • Train transfer at Dandong Station from overnight sleeper train to the Dandong-Pyongyang local train. 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 JS252 at 14:00. A 1.5 hour flight with basic lunch (no vegetarian option).
      • Flight arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 17:00. 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!
      • Walk on post-war Pyongyang's oldest street Victory (Sungni) Street from Kim Il Sung Square to Pyongyang Grand Theatre.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.

      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. February 15 | Friday

      Kaesong and the DMZ
      • Drive 2 ½ hours south along the ‘Reunification Highway’ to Kaesong, ancient capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD) located near today’s Korean Demilitarised Zone, 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.
      • 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.
      • Ginseng Products Factory | Factory producing a variety of quality ginseng products, Koryo Insam. Kaesong has been famous for its ginseng products and trade since the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD).
      • We'll drive around two hours to Sariwon City and Folk village - recently built mock-up of a traditional Korean walled city which includes a history museum, food street and pavilions. Make sure to try the homemade makkolli here!
      • Migok Co-Operative Farm | Learn about rural life in the DPRK at this farming community on the bucolic plains of Sariwon. Visit the farm's museum, viewpoint, and a local home.
      • Continue driving to Pyongyang. A 1 hour drive.
      • 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.
      Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    4. February 16 | Saturday

      DPRK Holiday - Birthday of General Kim Jong Il

      AM
      • 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.
      • 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.

      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and USS Pueblo | We’ll tour this world-class museum led by a local museum guide. 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.
      PM
      • This afternoon we will have the chance to attend one or more special performances held specially to commemorate the birthday of Kim Jong Il. All of these performances are stunning and usually involve an entrance fee of approx. 20 EUR each.
      • Mass Dance | As it's a national holiday, we also expect to see large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!
      • 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.
      • 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 organisations and groups from across society compete to put on the best floral display.
      • 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).
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar | A bar serving seven types of beer. Popular after work and on weekends, it's the best place to drink pints with the locals!

      Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    5. February 17 | Sunday

      Pyongyang City Tour and drive to Mt. Myohyang

      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 in the country. 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.
      • 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 | Massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.
      PM
      • Trolleybus Ride | A ride through Pyongyang on one of the city’s famous trolleybuses.
      • Munsu Water Park | Take a break at this outdoor and indoor water park with water slides, lap pools, and hot tubs. Bar, coffee shop, and shops for non-swimmers (Entry fee 2EUR; swimming fee with suit rental 10 EUR).
      • Drive north passing rivers valleys and hills to Mt. Myohyang, the ‘mountain of mysterious fragrance’. A 2.5 hour to 3 hour drive.
      Overnight | Huichon Hotel, Huichon City. Basic but clean hotel located 30 minutes north of Mt. Myohyang. Very good local food much different from the lowlands, on-site sauna, and limited electricity. A must for those wishing to visit every province in the DPRK as it is situated just across the border into the otherwise tourist-devoid Jagang Province.
    6. February 18 | Monday

      Mt Myohyang

      AM
      • International Friendship Exhibition | An exhibition hall displaying gifts of all kinds given to the DPRK leaders by foreign states, leaders, and organizations. The exhibition is a fascinating look into material culture in the second half of the 20th century. Highlights include a plane given by the Soviet Union, basketball signed by Michael Jordan from the US State Department, and vodka given by Dennis Rodman. The visit takes most of the morning.
      • Pohyon Buddhist Temple | A peaceful temple dating back to 1042 with stone pagoda and repository of a print blocks and historic text of the Tripitaka Koreana, Buddhist scriptures first produced to invoke divine assistance from foreign invasion during the Koryo Dynasty.

      PM
      • Manpok Valley Walk | A gentle stroll passing waterfalls, interesting rocks, lovely wooded areas and viewing points.

      • Drive back to Pyongyang. 2.5 - 3 hour drive.
      • Golden Lanes Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix. Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang.
      Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang. 
    7. February 19 | Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM
      • War Heroes’ Cemetery | Cemetery dedicated to heroes of the Korean War. Opened in 2013 and centred around a monument of a rifle and red flag.
      • Three Revolutions Exhibition | Exhibitions halls showing the nation’s achievements of the Technological, Cultural, and Ideological revolutions. Somewhat akin to an expo centre – large exhibition halls also used for the biannual Pyongyang International Trade Fair.
      • 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 Pyongyang Cold Noodles.
      PM
      • Paekdu Architectural Academy | Major studio responsible for designing many of Pyongyang’s iconic buildings. Meet architects, see urban plans and building blueprints here.
      • Grand People’s Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city.
      • Pyongyang Schoolchildren’s Palace | Tour of 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, the port city of Pyongyang at the mouth of the Taedong River on the West Sea.
      Overnight | Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel. 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!
    8. February 20 | Wednesday

      Nampo and Pyongyang City Tour

      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.
      • 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
      • Jonsung Revolutionary Site | A system of underground tunnels and bunkers used by the DPRK government’s cabinet during the 1950’s exhibiting life underground during the Korean War.
      • Kang Pan Sok Middle School | One of Pyongyang's prestigious schools with a high admittance rate to the DPRK's best universities and with one of the best basketball teams in the country. Tour the school and watch the students' performance.
      • Moran Beer Bar | A recently renovated local bar with cheap brews (0.50-1 EUR beers). Also serves food.
      • Duck Barbeque Restaurant | South Pyongyang’s famous grilled duck restaurant that has seen many a teary-eyed farewell.
      Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    9. February 21 | 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 February 22 at 08:30. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).
      End of Tour
  • Extras

    • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea

      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 199 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 299 EUR. We recommend flight entry with a train return for the best overall experience on your trip.

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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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    • Hit the slopes at Masik Pass Ski Resort

      The DPRK’s ski season — yes, it has a ski season! — usually runs from December to March. Add on two extra nights to your winter tour and you'll have the rare chance to try out the nine main runs at Masikryong — the DPRK’s only ski resort. This place has been widely reported on, yet is not often visited. Sign up to this ski option, and be one of the first to experience it.

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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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    • 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 (7 to 9 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.

  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Train Beijing – Pyongyang with transfer at Dandong
      Train Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
      All meals on the tour except for meals on the train
      Hotel accommodation
      Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
      For groups of 10 or more, a Koryo Tours tour leader
      All transportation in the DPRK
    • Not included
      North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 50 EUR
      Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 199 EUR; round-trip: 299EUR)
      Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
      Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
      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

    Groups will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides and a 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 North Korea 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 29th January, 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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