June 25 - July 4 2020

North Korea Dragon Boat Festival Weekend + Northeast Adventure Extension

8 nights in the DPRK +
North Korea-China travel
time

Cycle the streets of Pyongyang and take an internal
flight in North Korea to the rarely explored Northeast.

From 1,899 EUR per person

Please apply by 4th June, 2020.

North Korea Dragon Boat Festival Weekend + Northeast Adventure Extension

8 nights in the DPRK +
North Korea-China travel
time

Cycle the streets of Pyongyang
and take an internal flight in
North Korea to the rarely explored
Northeast.

From 1,899 EUR per person

  • Overall

    This tour is designed for those who are looking for an active weekend in North Korea during the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival long weekend and many more.

    The North Korea Dragon Boat Festival tour is an action-packed introduction to the DPRK through outdoor and indoor activities. Early risers can have a morning run on Pyongyang's Sports Street and be overtaken by DPR Korea athletes during their morning training. We'll hang out with the locals in Moranbong Park - a popular place for picnic, drinking sessions, and dancing - on their day off. Plus, get the rare chance to tour the highlights of Pyongyang by bike as we go on a cycle tour of Pyongyang before finishing off at Munsu Water Park to relax with the locals.

    As well as visiting the DMZ and Kaesong, this Dragon Boat Festival tour takes you to one of the least explored areas of North Korea - the Northeast. Experience an AirKoryo internal flight as we travel North to enjoy a local health spa, and experience a home-stay in North Korea. See the beautiful landscapes of Mt. Chilbo , visit Chongjin city, and take a local train from North Korea back to China.

    You can't get much more off the beaten path than this!

    Why not escape China at one of its busiest times for Chinese National Day too?

    Scroll down for an overview of the North Korea Dragon Boat Festival Tour highlights, tour itinerary, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    Highlights

    • Pyongyang City Cycling: explore the capital’s impressively wide streets and marvel at its Soviet-style architecture and iconic monuments from a completely different angle.
    • Internal Flight to Chongjin
    • Panmunjom and the Demilitarized Zone: signing hall of the 1953 armistice and Joint Security Area, patrolled by soldiers from both sides.
    • Home stay in the Northeast
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. June 25 // Thursday

      *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.

      AM

      • 09:00 // Our group assembles for a pre-tour group briefing at the Koryo Tours office in Beijing.
      • 11:00 // Free bus from the Koryo Tours office to Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 2.

      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, museums 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.

      Overnight // Ryanggang Hotel, Pyongyang. The two rivers hotel (so named as it sits on a hill overlooking the point where the Potong river and Taedong Rivers meet). The hotel offers great views over different parts of the city (depending on which side of the building you stay on) from the open balconies, and also from the ‘swivelling’ restaurant. The underground karaoke room here is excellent and the bar in the lobby is also great.
    2. June 26 // Friday

      Kaesong and the DMZ

      AM

      • 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 Demilitarized Zone.
      • 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
      • Concrete Wall and view of DMZ // View of a complex fortification system erected on the southern boundary of the DMZ accompanied by a military guide. The wall is seen as evidence of intent to permanently divide the nation. 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Korean BBQ dinner in the Bowling Alley's bulgogi restaurant.
      Overnight // Ryanggang Hotel, Pyongyang
    3. June 27 // Saturday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM

      • Optional morning run for the early risers on Sports Street past stadiums and halls whose architecture reflects the sports played within.
      • 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.
      • 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 dress code (close-toed shoes and covered legs and shoulders). Here we will also see the Chollima Monument, or ‘thousand ri [400 miles] horse’ – a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
      • 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.

      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.
      • Grand People’s Study House // National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Kaeson Funfair // Take on the rides of Pyongyang’s small but excellently located central funfair with the locals: pirate ship, ‘vominator’, rollercoaster, bumper cars, arcades, and more. Entry and ride tickets purchased on the spot.
      Overnight // Ryanggang Hotel, Pyongyang
    4. June 28 // Sunday

      Pyongyang City Tour and City Cycling

      AM

      • Optional morning run for the early risers on Sports Street past stadiums and halls whose architecture reflects the sports played within.
      • Mangyondae Native House // Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.
      • City Cycling // Tour Pyongyang on a bike (please note that bicycles are limited to 20 spots) starting from Kwangbok Department Store through downtown Pyongyang to Munsu Water park stopping at:
        • 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!

        • 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.
      • Moranbong Park // Picnic lunch and a walk through Pyongyang’s central park through historic monuments, ancient and modern architecture.

      PM

      • Taekwondo Class | A 60 minute introductory class at the Taekwondo Areana on Sports Street to taekwondo the national martial art which all children learn to a certain degree in school.
      • Munsu Water Park // We’ll 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 2 EUR; swimming fee 10 EUR with suit rental).
      • Taedonggang Bar No. 3 // Upscale bar across the street from the Tower of the Juche Idea. There are a variety of beers on tap produced at Pyongyang’s Taedonggang Brewery outside of town (2-2.5 EUR per glass).
      Overnight: Ryanggang Hotel, Pyongyang
    5. June 29 // Monday

      Pyongyang

      AM
      • Conversational Korean Languages Class | Two 90 minutes long introductory Korean classes held by a local teacher at Pyongyang Tourism College. This lightning course will prepare you to be able to communicate on a basic level with your host family in Mt. Chilbo.
      PM
      • Walking tour in Pyongyang | City tour in Pyongyang on foot discovering the historical past of the city.
      • Korean Revolution Museum | Situated since 1972 in the building behind the giant statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill this museum is fronted by a giant mosaic of Lake Chon and the peak of Mt. Paekdu which forms the backdrop to the Mansudae Grand Monument complex. We will visit the rooms on the Anti-Japanese Revolutionary Struggle to give some historical context to our visit to North Hamgyong Province.
      Overnight: Ryanggang Hotel, Pyongyang
    6. June 30 // Tuesday

      Domestic flight to North Hamgyong Province and Mt. Chilbo

      AM
      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on domestic Air Koryo Flight JS4101 at 10:00 with scheduled arrival at Orang Airport (RGO) at 11:00.
      PM
      • Upon arrival at Mount Chilbo, we will start our tour of the mountain range. The ‘Seven Treasures’ mountain is one of the DPRK’s most remote and scenic areas with a vast array of strangely shaped peaks and unique geologic formations. This primordial landscape is home to many colourful (and suggestive) legends and offers a contrast to the densely populated cities and agricultural areas seen in much the rest of the country.
      • Local games and picnic at homestay village | The only place in the DPRK where foreigners can stay with local families. Brush up on your Korean (or body-language) as for an evening spent with the family. It is also possible to play volleyball against or wrestle the village team.

      Overnight | Homestay Village, Mount Chilbo. The only place in the DPRK where foreigners can stay with local families in either a Korean-style or European-style home. Each home has a bedroom and washroom for guests.

    7. July 1 // Wednesday

      Mount Chilbo to Chongjin

      AM
      • We’ll leave Mount Chilbo by way of the scenic coastal road (weather permitting) that leads to Kyongsong and Chongjin.
      PM
      • Kyongsong | Once one of the primary cities in Hamgyong Province, from which ‘Kyong’ derives, now eclipsed by neighbor Chongjin. Kyongsong is renowned for its hot spas which provide needed relaxation after days on the road and outdoor activities at Mt. Chilbo.
      • Kyongsong Revolutionary Site | Japanese colonial-era house once used by the DPRK leadership and telling of their exploits in the region.
      • Health Spa | There are many of these in Kyongsong, some belong to the military, some to the Party, some are open to the public. Here you can use the saunas and bathing facilities. The water coming up from the ground in a kind of panacea and historical records show it has long been considered good for recovering health and especially fertility (ca. 50 RMB admission fee).
      • Chongjin Orphanage Kindergarten | Where parentless children are cared for and raised.
      Overnight | Gomalsan Guesthouse, Chongjin. Limited facilities but this is more than made up for by the exclusivity of the place and the views of the city from the rooms.
    8. July 2 // Thursday

      Chongjin and drive to Hoeryong

      AM
      • Gomalsan Revolutionary Site | Birds eye view of Chongjin and memorial site honoring the Soviet troops who helped liberating this area.
      • Chongjin Revolutionary Museum | Museum depicting the revolutionary struggles of the region.
      • Chongjin Central Square | Central Square of Chongjin city with statues of the DPRK leadership.
      • North Hamgyong Province E-Library | A library, study, and computer centre for the province, located just off Chongjin Central Square.
      • Chongjin Trolley Bus |  We’ll take a ride down Chongjin’s main drag on one of the city’s trolleybuses.
      PM
      • Mushroom Factory | See how a North Korean factory works, and learn about the production process of different mushrooms. You can even taste the products if you're lucky.
      • Kim Ki Sung Middle School  | Local school named after the brother of Kim Jong Suk in Hoeryong City. Tour the facilities, drop in on classrooms to help practice English, or play football in the schoolyard.
      • Hoeryong Schoolchildren's Palace | Center of extracurricular activities in the arts, music, and sports for local children.
      Overnight | Hoeryong Hotel, Hoeryong. A basic hotel featuring large rooms with air conditioning but no hot water, separate sauna/shower block, small shop and bar, and large banquet hall.
    9. July 3 // Friday

      Hoeryong, Wangjaesan, and cross over to China

      AM
      • Central Square and Statue of Mother Kim Jong Suk | Bronze statue of ‘The Mother of Korea’ in central Hoeryong. A presentation of flowers (2-4 EUR) is customary here.
      • Native House of Kim Jong Suk | Traditional Korean home of Kim Jong Suk set among a peaceful apricot orchard.
      • Hoeryong Revolutionary Museum  | Museum depicting the revolutionary struggles of the region. Particularly interesting for its giant mural depicting the ‘Three Generals of Mt. Paekdu’ during the anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle. The painting was made by artists from the Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang and smaller replicas of it can be found throughout the country.
      PM
      • Wangjaesan Grand Monument | Large tower and socialist realist sculpture group set atop a prominent mountain and dedicated to the anti-Japanese guerilla struggle. One of three grand monuments in the DPRK: the others are at Mansudae in Pyongyang and Samjiyon near Mt. Paekdu. Rarely visited by foreigners as only practicable for those crossing the border at Tumen-Namyang.
      • Wangjaesan Revolutionary History Museum | Next to the Grand Monument this museum tells the tale of revolutionary activity in this area. Some great examples of the famous ‘slogan trees’ can be found here.
      • Crossing over to China | Next up is our final drive in the DPRK - we head south along the Tumen River to Tumen River Bridge in Namyang, 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!
      • Train back to Beijing | We catch a high-speed train from Tumen North at 19:00 to Changchun where we transfer to a sleeper train to Beijing. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Saturday, July 4 at 08:36. 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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    • 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.

    • 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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  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      Flight Beijing – Pyongyang
      Train Tumen – Changchun – Beijing
      Domestic flight to Orang
      All meals on the tour
      Hotel accommodation
      Two local Korean guides, a driver, and a Koryo Tours tour leader
      All transportation in the DPRK
    • Not included
      DPRK visa fee 50 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
  • 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 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 4th June, 2020.

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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