September 3 - September 12/13 2020

North Korea National Day Long Tour | Pyongyang & Kaesong to Hyangsan

9 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

A 9-night journey inside North Korea from Kaesong and the DMZ to Hyangsan and the International Friendship
Exhibition. Be in Pyongyang for National Day, one of the largest North Korean holidays. Round-trip by
train or upgrade to flights.

From 1,449 EUR per person

Please apply by 14th August, 2020.

North Korea National Day Long Tour | Pyongyang & Kaesong to Hyangsan

9 nights in the DPRK +
Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

A 9-night journey inside North Korea from Kaesong and the DMZ to Hyangsan
and the International Friendship Exhibition. Be in Pyongyang for National
Day, one of the largest North Korean holidays. Round-trip by train or
upgrade to flights.

From 1,449 EUR per person

  • Overall

    National Day on September 9 is one of the largest North Korean holidays. Be in Pyongyang for the 72nd anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK for mass dances and possible fireworks.

    In addition to the must-see Pyongyang attractions, we’ll take a ride on both lines of the Pyongyang Metro and take on the locals in a game of volleyball.

    September is one of the best times of the year to tour North Korea for fine weather and long days. This 9-night adventure gets you out of Pyongyang to explore a range of places, from the DMZ at Kaesong to Hyangsan (Mt. Myohyang) and the enormous International Friendship Exhibition - exhibition hall of gifts to the DPRK leaders. We’ll visit plenty in between, including the port city of Nampo Sariwon, Pyongsong, and Anju - a rarely visited industrial city.

    Year to year this one of Koryo’s most popular tours, this tour has it all: grand monuments, museums, historic sights, industry, agriculture, and more!

    See even more on the road inside North Korea on our 25-night National Day Mega Tour - the extended option fo this tour.

    Scroll down for a summary of trip highlights, full tour itinerary, transport options, DPRK tourist visa service, and tour extras.



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    Image credit: Christian Petersen-Clausen

    Highlights

    • Pyongyang for DPRK National Day on September 9
    • The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, Mansudae Grand Monument, and International Friendship Exhibition
    • Full tour of the Pyongyang Metro to rarely-visited stations
    • Panmunjom tour at the DMZ near historic Kaesong
    • Beautiful Mt. Myohyang - the 'mountain of mysterious fragrance' - and Mt. Kuwol - the September Mountain
    • The DPRK's agricultural and industrial heartland
    • Hiking, picnics, shopping, and volleyball to get you out among the locals
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. September 2 | 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.  
      • 17:27Train 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 our office! Those travelling by train will spend the night on the train.
    2. September 3 | Thursday

      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 JS252 at 14:00. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (no vegetarian option).
      • Arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 17:00. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides and transfer to the city.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station at 18:45.
      • Walk on Future Scientists' Street | An evening stroll through one of Pyongyang's newest neighbourhoods.

      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. September 4 | Friday

      Pyongyang City Tour

      AM
      • City Walk in Central Pyongyang:
        • Victory (Sungni) Street | Walk from Pyongyang Grand Theatre to Kim Il Sung Square along one of post-war Pyongyang's oldest streets.

        • 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!

        • 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.

        • 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).

      • 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
      • Grand People's Study House | National library and public correspondence university with Neo-traditional Korean and great views of the city.
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum | A world-class museum led by a local museum guides. Renovated in 2012 and its exhibits of Korean War from the DPRK perspective containing 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 spy ship USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip. Unmissable.
      • FULL Pyongyang Metro Tour | One of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride both lines and stop off at smaller stations, rarely visited by tourists.
      • Kwangbok Department Store | Exchange for Korean currency and shop with the citizens of Pyongyang! Try the snack stands for some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
      Overnight |  Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    4. September 5 | Saturday

      Pyongyang and Nampo

      AM
      • Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a beautiful natural surrounding.
      • National Gifts Hall | An exhibition hall displaying gifts of all kinds given to the DPRK leaders by Koreans in China, Japan and overseas.
      • Mt. Ryonggak BBQ | A BBQ lunch in a woodland setting just outside of the city.
      PM
      • Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to Nampo (45 minutes to 1-hour drive), the port city of Pyongyang at the mouth of the Taedong River on the West Sea.
      • Chongsan-ri Co-Operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung (there is a bronze statue of him and various farm workers here), the place where the ‘Chongsam-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse and the local shop & kindergarten, see the fields and greenhouses.
      • 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.
      • 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.
      • Pi Island | A local beach next to West Sea Barrage. Go for a swim or join the locals for a karaoke.
      • Clam BBQ | A North Korean style clam bake!
      Overnight: Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel // Compound with holiday houses and a main building for dinner and entertainment. Bring a torch! 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.
    5. September 6 | Sunday

      Drive from Nampo to Kaesong via Mount Kuwol, the 'September Mountain', the scenic Chaeryong Plains, and Sariwon. We'll cross the West Sea Barrage at the mouth of the Taedong River in the morning.

      AM
      • Mt. Kuwol | A scenic mountain area on the West Coast of Korea. We’ll pass through this region on a full-day drive between Nampo and Kaesong after crossing over the West Seat Barrage in the morning.
      • Woljong Temple | Buddhist temple established in the middle of the 9th century and later rebuilt at the start of the Ri Dynasty.
      • Sinchon Town and Museum of US War Crimes | Recently renovated museum dedicated to ‘crimes committed by the US imperialists’. Located on the site of a civilian massacre, the museum has an array of harrowing exhibits, displays, and panoramas on the haunting events that took place in this region during the war. Not for the faint at heart and sensitivity is called for here. Please note that this location was closed to foreign visitors in 2018 following the DPRK-US Summit Meeting. If the situation changes, we will visit this site.
      PM
        • Sariwon Folk Village and City View | Mock-up of a traditional Korean town which includes a history museum, food street, and pavilions. There is a small tavern selling Makkoli, traditional rice wine. Climb a nearby hill for a view of Sariwon City and the surrounding plains.
        • Unjong Livestock Farm and Mask Dance |
        • Continue south to Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 AD). Once located in South Korea, the city changed hands during the Korean War. It is now located just north of the DMZ.
        • Traditional Korean Royal Meal with Kayagum Performance | Also known as pansanggi, the meal is made up of different dishes served in small brass bowls. The more dishes, the more distinguished the guest!
        Overnight | Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong. Traditional style hotel where guests sleep on heated floors in Korean style. Housed in beautiful courtyards of Kaesong’s old city, structures date back to the Ri Dynasty. Basic bathroom facilities. Hot water not guaranteed and erratic electricity supply – please bring a torch.
      • September 7 | Monday

        Historic Kaesong and Panmunjom

        AM
        • Old City Walk and South Gate | A stroll from the hotel through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the Ri Dynasty from the city’s historic South Gate.
        • Panmunjom and DMZ | Perhaps the most famous place in the entire country. The iconic manifestation of the tragic division between North and South Korea. The ‘truce’ village where several huts straddle the Central Military Demarcation Line (de facto border) with soldiers from each side standing guard. A tour here starts with a briefing at the edge of the DMZ, a visit to the Armistice Negotiation Hall and Armistice Signing Hall, seen as symbols of victory over foreign aggression on this side of the line. Then to Panmunjom itself – cross the border inside one of the blue huts, experience the uncanny feeling of crossing the front line of a sad and needless division of one society, and then take a higher view from the Panmun Pavilion looking over the line from above. A Korean People’s Army officer will be there to explain their side of things and will willingly pose for some photos too. A completely and utterly unmissable place.
        • Sonjuk Bridge | Small stone bridge built in 1290, which in 1392 was the site of the assassination of the last loyal Koryo Dynasty minister Jong Mong Ju by a son of Ri Song Gye (founder of the next, and final, dynasty). This bloody act extinguished the Koryo which had ruled over Korea for 474 years and is said to have left a permanent mark on the bridge that can be seen to this day.
        • Kaesong Koryo Museum (Songgyungwan Academy) | A former Confucian school and now a museum on the Koryo Dynasty exhibiting historical objects, statues, pagodas, and porcelain from the time. One of Kaesong’s many UNESCO World Heritage Site. The buildings are in Koryo Dynasty style but date back to the early 17th century following their destruction in the Imjin War.
        • Stamp Shop | Store selling stamps, postcards, local ginseng, souvenirs, art, and more. One of the best postcard collections in the country.
        PM
        • Pakyon Waterfall | Light walking with a picnic lunch in a relaxing wooded area. Local people commonly visit here for picnics and sometimes swimming in the series of pools above the falls.
        • Gwanum Temple | Located a 30-minute hike, above Pakyon Waterfalls, the temple dates back more than a thousand years and is dedicated to the Buddhist Bodhisattva of Mercy. There is an ornate marble Bodhisattva statue the nearby cave. The current building dates back to the Ri Dynasty and has an interesting tale associated with its construction.
        • Tomb of King Wanggon | Resting place of the founder of the Koryo Dynasty, who died in 943. The tomb is largely reconstructed after looting by the Japanese occupiers and general disrepair. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
        • 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. A 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
        • Janam Hill and Old City View | Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
        Overnight | Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong.
      • September 8 | Tuesday

        Haeju

        AM
        • Drive to the rarely visited town of Haeju (approx. 2 hrs drive, very dependent on road conditions but a guaranteed adventure), the provincial seat of South Hwanghae Province and a port city on the West Sea.
        • Picnic lunch at Sokdam Ravine | Made up of 9 valleys spread over a large area the Sokdam scenic area is a worthy place to visit for the views alone. Sokdam ravine means the scenic spot which was seated on the 9 ravines with mountains, rocks and streams.
        PM
        • Haeju Central Square and Statues
        • Puyong Pavilion | The largest pavilion in the whole DPRK and the only one in Korea built on footstalls in water, originally built in 1500.
        • Koryo Fortress | A major military base in its day, this fortress is situated above the magnificent Suyang Waterfall.
        • Drive back to Pyongyang (approx. 2.5 hrs drive, depending on road conditions)
        Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang
      • September 9 | Wednesday

        National Day, the 72nd anniversary of the foundation of the DPRK

        AM

        • Mass Dance | We'll watch as hundreds of locals, many in brightly coloured national dress, join together in a beautiful choreographed dance in the heart of the city (and maybe even join in ourselves!)
        • 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).
        • 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.
        • 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.

        • Moranbong Park | We’ll take a stroll 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

        • Volleyball game against a local company team | Most work units whether it be a factory, a farm, or white-collar office has its own volleyball team.
        • Pyongyang Circus (optional) | A one hour circus show including clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers, and much more. Pyongyang has two circuses: the Military Circus (no animals) and the Civilian Circus (with animals).
        • Tram Ride | A ride through Pyongyang on one of the city’s trams from Kwangbok Street. A Koryo exclusive!
        • Kaeson Funfair | We’ll take on the rides of Pyongyang’s newest funfair with the locals: pirate ship, vominator, rollercoaster, bumper cars, arcades, and more. Tickets purchased on the spot (1 EUR entry, 2-7 EUR for rides).
        Overnight | Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang
      • September 10 | Thursday

        Kumsusan Palace of the Sun 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.

        • Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery | Hilltop cemetery with dozens of bronze busts of those who took part in the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule.
        PM
        • Drive to Anju a mid-sized industrial city located on the road and rail line north of Pyongyang on the Chongchon River. During the Korean War, major battles were fought near here between North Korean-Chinese forces and UN-South Korean forces. Coal is mined nearby.
        • Paeksang Pavilion and Anju City Walls | The greatest pavilion in Kwanso (Pyong’an Province,) which overlooks the Chongchon River. Rebuilt after destruction in the Korean War.
        • Continue driving to Mt. Myohyang.
        • Manpok Valley Hike | Various options for hikes of a range of distances/difficulties. Passing waterfalls, hermitages, interesting rocks, lovely wooded areas, and viewing points.

        Overnight | Huichon Hotel, Mt. Myohyang. 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.

      • September 11 | Friday

        Mt. Myohyang

        AM

        • International Friendship Exhibition | A semi-subterranean 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. Presentable dress required.
        • Pohyon Buddhist Temple | A peaceful temple dating back to 1042 CE with stone pagoda and repository of print blocks and historic text of the Tripitaka Koreana, Buddhist scriptures first produced to invoke divine assistance from foreign invasions during the Koryo Dynasty.
        PM
        • Drive back to Pyongyang (2.5-3 hours) with a stop at Ryongmun Caves | A subterranean complex of limestone caves and grottoes. Led by an experienced local guide, you will see weirdly (and suggestively) shaped rocks and stalactites/stalagmites and hear a wealth of stories and legends about each - some not appropriate for young audiences.
        • June 9th Middle School | So named due to Kim Il Sung ordering its construction on June 9th 1969 this is one of the model schools of Pyongyang. Here you can join in an English lesson, see science, revolutionary history, music, and art rooms, also outside is a dirt football pitch so bring a ball and get a kick-about going with some of the students. After all soccer is simply the world’s language and the best way to interact with people in the DPRK.
        • Farewell dinner at Duck BBQ Restaurant | Famous restaurant in south Pyongyang specializing in duck meat barbecue on a grill. Southcentral does it like nobody does!
        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.
      • September 12 | Saturday

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

        AM
        • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 at 08:35 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 09:50.

        OR

        • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:25 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Sunday, September 13 at 08:40. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).
    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 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.

      • 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.

        See more
      • 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.

    7. 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 apart from the meals on the train back to Beijing
        Hotel accommodation in the DPRK
        Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
        A Koryo Tours tour leader
        All transportation in the DPRK (including three national charter flights)
      • Not included
        DPRK visa fee 50 EUR
        Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 265 EUR; return: 435 EUR)
        Optional single room supplement of 40 EUR per night
        Tips for the local Korean guides and driver (approx 10-15 EUR per day)
        The lift up the Juche Tower (optional) 5 EUR and other optional activities
        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 14th August, 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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