October 20 - October 25/26 2018

Koryo's 25th Anniversary Tour with Nick Bonner — founder, expert, raconteur

5 nights in North Korea. Come
celebrate our Silver Jubilee!

Nick Bonner founded Koryo Tours in 1993. This is your chance to travel with him to Pyongyang,
and beyond, on a special anniversary tour celebrating Koryo’s 25 years of groundbreaking work
in North Korean tourism

From 1,199 EUR per person

Please apply by 7th October, 2018.

View package Tour Full

Koryo's 25th Anniversary Tour with Nick Bonner — founder, expert, raconteur

5 nights in North Korea. Come
celebrate our Silver Jubilee!

Nick Bonner founded Koryo Tours in 1993. This is your chance
to travel with him to Pyongyang, and beyond, on a special anniversary
tour celebrating Koryo’s 25 years of groundbreaking work in
North Korean tourism

From 1,199 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Western tourism to North Korea didn’t really exist before Nick Bonner founded Koryo Tours back in 1993. Of course, we would say that, but do your own research online and the truth is you’ll struggle to find anyone who has been doing this as long as us, or as well as us…

    Our staff have made hundreds of trips, and looked after tens of thousands of tourists over the last 25 years. We believe it’s important that if you travel to a country as complicated as the DPRK, you do so with people that have proven experience leading safe and successful tours. 

    But, more than that, this tour is a celebration of 25 years of responsible tourism and cultural engagement — of 25 years working to make a positive difference in a difficult place to work in, but most in need of the human connection Koryo and Nick Bonner have been committed to for so long.

    Nick very rarely leads tours himself these days — as he’s usually too busy with one of his many North Korea-related projects. For example: he’s made three documentaries there; co-directed a feature film (the first North Korean film to be shown to a public audience in South Korea); not to mention breaking new ground by helping to unite creatives from both North and South on the award-winning Korea pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale.

    So this is your chance to join Koryo’s founder on tour. Sign up for a five-night experience like no other as Nick takes you to the top sights in the DPRK, as well as some of his personal favourites. Spending time with him will also allow you to gain a unique insight in to what it’s like to have worked in North Korea for 25 years — in tourism, engagement and the arts.

    There’s no other tour in the world like this. Happy silver jubilee!

    Please read the following for important information about your transport options for this tour, and how each one relates 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 // Round-trip train (Beijing-Pyongyang-Beijing): A 24-hour train journey each way in hard-sleeper class (six bunks per berth) with a transfer in Dandong, China. The train arrives in Pyongyang approximately three 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 departure (Beijing-Pyongyang // 90 minutes) + train return (Pyongyang-Beijing // 24 hours): In our view, this is the most comprehensive way to visit the DPRK. We highly recommend this option: it maximizes your time and sightseeing opportunities; lets you experience both Air Koryo and the international train; plus allows you to start the trip rested, while taking the leisurely route home. [+199 EUR]

    Option 3 // Train departure (Beijing-Pyongyang // 24 hours) + flight return (Pyongyang-Beijing // 90 minutes): An alternative to Option 2. This option is ideal for those wishing to take the train one-way of the journey, but need to transit through Beijing by flight on their return. Please note the train arrives in Pyongyang approximately three hours after the flight so train arrivals will miss one or two activities in the city. [+199 EUR]

    Option 4 // Round-trip flight (Beijing-Pyongyang-Beijing):Choosing the round-trip flight option gets you between Beijing and Pyongyang in 1.5 hours (each way), and lets you experience the infamous Air Koryo ‘burger’ twice! For many nationalities, this also allows for the possibility of transiting in Beijing, rather than having to get a Chinese visa (please see below). This option is for those with little time to spare, travellers wanting simply to transit through China, or aviation enthusiasts. [+299 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 consider entry and exit procedures in China for your trip. This can be obtained at a Chinese embassy 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. If you don't want to visit China as part of your trip, this could be the easiest option for you. It is not possible to obtain a transit-waiver when using a train for entry or exit from China.

    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

    • Special interpretive tour of *both lines* of Pyongyang's underground metro system with an artist from Mansudae Art Studio — a rare opportunity indeed!
    • Visit Kumsusan Palace of the Sun (mausoleum of the leaders); the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum; the captured spy ship USS Pueblo; plus other Pyongyang highlights
    • Dine on cold noodles — Pyongyang's specialty — at the capital's most famous restaurant
    • Shop with the locals at Kwangbok Supermarket (and use local currency!)
    • See historic Kaesong, Panmunjom, and the Korean Demilitarised Zone up close
    • Visit the provincial city of Sariwon — a centre of agriculture and industry
    • This special tour will be personally led by Koryo's founder Nicholas Bonner, who has visited North Korea on a regular basis since 1993, and has produced three full-length documentaries and one feature film in the country.
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. October 19 // 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 that same afternoon, and another briefing 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 90 minutes before the train's scheduled 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. Would you like us to say train again? Train.

    2. October 20 // Saturday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang — the adventure begins!


      AM

      • [TRAIN OPTION] 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.
      • [PLANE OPTION] 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 JS 152 at 13:05. A 1.5 hour flight with basic lunch (no vegetarian option).
      • FLIGHT arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 16:05 (local time). Clear DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides, and transfer to the city.
      • Arch of Triumph // Massive archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982.
      • 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, and beer brewed on location.

    3. October 21 // Sunday

      Pyongyang City Tour and Highlights

      AM

      • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun // Mausoleum of the DPRK leadership where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state. This is 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/trousers, and dark shoes. Women require covered shoulders, knee-length dress or pants/trousers, 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. The Palace closes for maintenance between late April/early May to July. The exact dates will be confirmed closer to the tour. Should the Palace not be accessible to the group, this visit will be substituted with an alternative location.
      • 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. But it's late October, anyhow, so you probably won't be in shorts, anyhow.
      • 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. You can also buy DVDs, postcards, and small works of art here. Capitalism knows no bounds.
      • Okryugwan // A meal at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant. Our tours very rarely go here. So you'll be one of the lucky ones — thanks Nick Bonner! Housed in a huge traditional building on the banks of the Taedong River. Okryugwan specialises in Pyongyang Cold Noodles. They're delicious.

      PM

      • Moranbong Park // We’ll take a stroll in Pyongyang’s central park. The park is filled with historic pavilions, walls, and monuments (both modern and ancient), a few of which are among the traditional ‘Eight Great Sights of Pyongyang’.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea // Iconic tower dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy. Located on the banks of the Taedong River. Take the elevator to the top for truly great views of the city (the elevator ticket is 5 EUR).
      • Monument to the Party Foundation // Iconic structure featuring hammer, sickle, and writing brush, which together represent the workers, farmers, and intellectuals of the Workers' Party of Korea.
      • Film Screening of Comrade Kim Goes Flying (2012) at the Yanggakdo International Cinema // Comrade Kim Goes Flying is the first joint DPRK-UK feature film. Not familiar with this cult classic? Well, its a romantic comedy about a rural women pursuing her dreams of joining the Pyongyang Circus. The film was co-produced by Koryo's founder Nicholas Bonner. He'll be with you too, of course, so can offer some insight into the making of this movie, and its reception in both North and South Korea. 
      Overnight // Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    4. October 22 // Monday

      Pyongyang Highlights, including a special interpretive tour of the Pyongyang Metro | overnight in Kaesong


      AM

      • Mansudae Art Studio // The DPRK’s centre of artistic excellence, where the majority of the country's sculptures, mosaics, and paintings are made. Visit workshops to see artists at work, plus visit an exhibition where pieces are sold.
      • Pyongyang Metro Tour with a Mansudae Art Studio Artist // This is a super-rare opportunity, folks. We'll tour the stations of *both* of the system's lines (named Chollima and Hyoksin) — each with distinctive murals, mosaics, or bronze work reflecting the station's name — and will be accompanied on our underground adventures by an artist from the DPRK's distinguished Mansudae Art Studio. Thanks to Nick Bonner!
      • Kwangbok Department Store // Shop with the citizens of Pyongyang and get your hands on Korean currency at the market rate! Try the snack stands for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.

      PM

      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum // Tour this world-class museum led by a local guide. Renovated in 2012, it shows the Korean War from the DPRK perspective, including 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. This stop is central to an understanding of the country today, and a highlight of the trip for many.
      • Drive to Kaesong — historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) and today located near the Korean Demilitarised Zone. This is a 2.5 hour drive.
      • Kayagum Performance // Traditional Korean stringed instrument performance at the Minsok Folk Hotel. One of the most beautiful sounds you will ever hear. 

      Overnight // Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong. Traditional hotel where guests sleep on heated floors in the Korean style. Hot water not guaranteed and erratic electricity supply. Please bring a torch. Beautiful setting in Kaesong old city with stream running through the center and Ri dynasty furniture.

    5. October 23 // Tuesday

      Kaesong, the DMZ, and Sariwon

      AM

      • Old City Walk and South Gate  // A morning stroll through Kaesong’s historic district — lined with homes dating back to the late Ri Dynasty — to the city’s historic South Gate.
      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ // Visit the site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, plus a trip to the demarcation line between north and south. On some days it is possible to visit the hut straddling the line, which is 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 consisting 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 also an option here (+5 EUR).

      PM

      • Janam Hill // Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city, plus historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
      • Gwanum Temple, Taehung Mountain Fortress, and Pakyon Waterfall // Light hike in a forested valley from a Ri Dynasty temple (devoted to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy) to a scenic waterfall. Part of the temple's facade remains unfinished — thereby recalling the filial devotion of the master craftsman charged with the temple's construction. A nearby cave grotto contains an intricately carved marble statue dating back to the Koryo Dynasty. The valley walk and waterfall are flanked by inscriptions from both ancient and modern visitors. Part of a mountain fortress, once charged with the defense of the ancient capital, bisects the hike. The autumn scenery provides an extra treat!
      • Drive north to Sariwon, the provincial seat of North Hwanghae Province and a centre of agriculture and industry. This is a 1.5 hour drive.
      • Sariwon Folk Village and City View // Mock-up of a traditional Korean town, which includes a history museum, food street, and pavilions. There is also a small tavern selling Makkoli — traditional rice wine. Climb a nearby hill for a view of Sariwon City and the surrounding area.
      Overnight // March 8th Hotel, Sariwon. March 8th is Women’s Day — a noted holiday in the socialist world. This hotel is a quirky one as it is quite gaudily furnished by beds and chairs from a South Korean furniture magnate (during friendlier times). Good restaurant and some basic leisure facilities; rarely used by foreign guests due to its proximity to Pyongyang. This is certainly a ‘different’ option...
    6. October 24 // Wednesday

      Sariwon and Pyongyang


      AM

      • 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.
      • Three-Charters of National Reunification Monument // Iconic arch over the Pyongyang-Kaesong Highway dedicated to a joint meeting between Koreas, north and south. Also known as the ‘Arch of Reunification’.
      • May Day Stadium // Tour the grounds and facilities of one of the world’s largest stadiums. Once used for the Arirang Mass Games, and now major sports events.

      PM

      • Pyongyang Circus (or other available performance) // We will leave time this afternoon to try and catch a local performance — either of the Pyongyang Circus, theatre, or a revolutionary opera. Schedules are typically announced only a few weeks before the trip. If no performances are available, we will find an alternative activity in the city. Tickets to be paid on the spot (from 5-25 EUR) depending on the available performance
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar // A new standing bar serving seven types of local beer (0.50-1 EUR per beer). Popular with locals after work.
      • Bulgogi Dinner // A Korean barbecue meal cooked over a grill.
      • Golden Lane Bowling Centre // Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix, billiards and arcade games (2.5 EUR per person per game).

      Overnight // Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    7. October 25 // Thursday

      Departure Day from Pyongyang // Return to Beijing by FLIGHT or TRAIN. Please confirm your preferred transport method upon booking*

      AM

      • FLIGHT departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS 251 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 a transfer in Dandong). The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Fri Oct 26 at 08:30. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).

      TOUR ENDS

  • Extras

    • Entry and Exit Method

      This tour travels between Beijing-Pyongyang 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.

    • 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.

      See more
  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Train from Beijing to Pyongyang (with transfer at Dandong)
      Train from Pyongyang to Beijing (with transfer at Dandong)
      All meals on the tour (apart from the meals on the train back to Beijing)
      Hotel accommodation
      Two local Korean guides (and a driver) per group
      Koryo's founder Nicholas Bonner as your tour leader
      All transportation in the DPRK
    • Not included
      North Korea (DPRK) visa fee (50 EUR)
      Optional flight entry at the start of the tour (+199 EUR)
      Optional round-trip flight for the tour (+299 EUR)
      Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
      Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
      Entry tickets or fees for other special events if applicable – for example Pyongyang Circus (approx. 20 EUR per person)
      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

    For this special Silver Jubilee Tour, Koryo's founder Nick Bonner will accompany the trip. Nick's group will be capped at 25 people — one person for each of Koryo's 25 years! As well as being accompanied by Koryo's founder, this group will be in the experienced hands of two or three local Korean guides.

    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 7th October, 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