July 30 - August 7/8 2019

North Korea Today | What's happening in North Korea?

8 nights in North
Korea from Dandong

A special tour with DPRK-expert Andray Abrahamian focused on the
society, economy, and culture of North Korea today. Roundtrip from
Dandong by train.

From 1,399 EUR per person

Please apply by 10th July, 2019.

North Korea Today | What's happening in North Korea?

8 nights in North
Korea from Dandong

A special tour with DPRK-expert Andray Abrahamian
focused on the society, economy, and culture
of North Korea today. Roundtrip from Dandong
by train.

From 1,399 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Interested in what’s happening in North Korea today? This 8-night special tour with DPRK-expert Andray Abrahamian explores the realities of North Korea as it is in 2019, focusing on recent developments under the leadership of Kim Jong Un since 2012. Learn about how the country works behind the headlines.

    Starting in the Chinese city of Dandong, the ‘gateway to North Korea’ and main trade entrepot, you’ll by train through the country’s northwest by train to the capital Pyongyang.

    In Pyongyang, we’ll visit some of the most prominent sites associated with current leader Kim Jong Un, including the remodeled Mansudae Grand Monument and the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and discuss what they mean in context, as well as some of the traditional highlights such as the Pyongyang Metro and the Juche Tower.

    We’ll also take a look at the modern economy from developments in consumerism to leisure at the Kwangbok Supermarket and Munsu Waterpark to more traditional hallmarks such as factories and farms across the country.

    Outside of Pyongyang, we’ll visit the DPRK industrial heartland in the Taedong River Valley and cross the country to the east coast to see the DPRK’s second largest city, Hamhung, and the port city of Wonsan. Wonsan is the centre of major state-led development projects and planned investment.

    We’ll also make time for some rest and relaxation at the beaches along Korea’s east coast.

    Come along for what will be an insightful trip inside North Korea today and perfect for students, academics, and anyone interested in the modern trajectory of this fascinating country. Spots are limited to 20 participants.

    Andray Abrahamian is the 2018-2019 Koret Fellow at APARC, Stanford University. He is an Affiliate Researcher at Korea University and an Adjunct Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute. Working for a non-profit organisation (Choson Exchange) has taken him to the DPRK 30 times. He has also lived in Myanmar and has published extensively on the two countries.

    Scroll down for the the highlights and full itinerary of the North Korea Today Tour, optional add-ons, and tour notes.

    Highlights

    • A guided look at major Pyongyang developments and consumer culture since 2012
    • Tours of North Korean industry and agriculture
    • North Korea's east coast and the cities of Hamhung, a major industrial centre, and Wonsan, port city and planned foreign investment zone
    • DMZ tour at Panmunjom near historic Kaesong
    • Summer fun and leisure at beaches and parks
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. July 29 | Monday

      *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. Please be punctual for the briefing. A proper briefing is an essential part of travel to North Korea.

      The pre-tour briefing for this tour will be held in Dandong, the Chinese border city on the Yalu River across from North Korea.

      AM

      • Recommended latest arrival in Dandong, China.

      PM

      • TBC | Per-tour briefing and dinner at a restaurant in Dandong.

      Overnight | Hotel in Dandong not included in the tour for those taking the flight the next day. Contact us for recommendations.
    2. July 30 | Tuesday

      Arrival day in Pyongyang, capital of North Korea


      AM

      • Train departure at Dandong Station. Train crosses the China-North Korea border followed by North Korean customs and immigration.

      PM

      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station.
      • Walk on Future Scientist Street, one of Pyongyang's newest streets with housing for scientists and academics valued in the new economy.
      • Snow White Coffee Shop | hidden away on Mirae Street, a large Starbucks-style place. Great coffee, very good food too, a hidden gem!
      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. July 31 | Wednesday

      Farms and Factories in the Taedong River Valley near Pyongyang

      AM

      • Drive west along the Youth Hero Highway, an 8-lane highway made by student shock brigades, to Kangso.
      • Kangso Water Bottling Plant | Bottling plant for North Korea's largest brand of sparkling water.
      • 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 along the old Taedong Riverside road past shipping, industry, and construction sites.
      • 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
      • Taedonggang Beer Brewery | A special visit to factory producing the country's number one beer.
      • Jangchon Vegetable Farm | A taste of modern rural life just outside Pyongyang city. Visit the farm’s cultural centre, kindergarten, home, and research laboratory.
      • Yanggakdo International Cinema | An exclusive showing of a Korean film at one of Pyongyang’s major cinemas. Subtitles in English. Optional activity - 10 EUR paid on the spot. There is also a bar here. 
      Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    4. August 01 | Thursday

      Tour of the new Pyongyang

      AM

      • Mansudae Fountain Park | Centrally-located pleasant park popular with local citizens afterschool, on weekends. Flanked by examples of representative architecture from different eras.
      • Mansudae Grand Monument | Enormous bronze statues of the DPRK leadership overlooking downtown Pyongyang. A presentation of flowers and bow by the group is customary here.
      • 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. train carriages formerly used in West Berlin are used on this line, along with a new domestically made train too.
      • Arch of Triumph | 60-m archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule and larger than its counterpart in Paris. Viewing platform has a fee (€)
      • 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.
      PM

      • 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 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 spyship USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip. Unmissable.
      • Pyongyang Catfish Factory | A full-scale facility where you can learn about the fascinating science of catfish production.
      • 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.

      Overnight | Janamsan Hotel, Kaesong. A basic hotel with distinct Soviet-style architecture and friendly staff. Ideal for those wanting a western bed, hot water, and reliable electricity.
    5. August 02 | Friday

      Panmunjom and DMZ Tour in Kaesong, historic capital of the medieval Koryo Dynasty

      AM
      • 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 Ginseng Factory | see how this famous panacea is harvested and processed into various forms (tea, candy, powder, etc). Also learn the history of the root – it was first cultivated in Kaesong, the ‘home of ginseng’

      PM
      • Pakyon Waterfall | Light walking in relaxing wooded area to a scenic waterfall. There are hiking trails of various lengths. Local people commonly visit here for picnics and sometimes bathing/swimming.

      • Gwanum Temple and Taehungsan Fortess | located behind Pakyon Waterfalls this complex of mostly ruined buildings dates from more than a thousand years ago. Most of the temple remains intact since its last renovation in the 17th century

      • 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.
      • 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).
      Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    6. August 03 | Saturday

      Drive to Hamhung, the DPRK's second largest city and centre of heavy industry, stopping at sights along the way.

      AM
      • Drive east across the width of the peninsula before heading north to Hamhung, the second largest city of the DPRK and major centre of industry. A 6 to 7 hour drive with rest stops at Sinpyong Lake and Ulim Waterfall. Hidden amongst the mountains on the road to Wonsan, ‘Echo’ Waterfall is a scenic stopover to enjoy lunch, stretch you legs, or go for a dip in the pool beneath.
      • Tomb of King Tongmyong | Largest of the UNESCO listed Koguryo Tombs spread through the area, this is the beautiful tomb complex of the founder of the Koguryo Dynasty two thousand years ago. Statues, a Buddhist Monastery, and lovely wall paintings make this a fascinating visit for history buffs

      PM
      • Tongbong Co-operative Farm | Local farm in the outskirts of Hamhung. View the machinery barn, a local home, and the farm shop to buy some locally made products.
      • Hungnam Fertiliser Factory | Massive chemical-industrial plant producing various kinds of fertilisers. Tour of the plant control room, production facilities, and packing plant - just don’t light up next to the Ammonium Nitrate!
      Overnight | Majon Beach Guesthouse, Majon. A beachside holiday compound with basic but comfortable chalets. Rooms have heated floors but no running water. Bring a torch! There is a main building with restaurant, bar, billiards, table-tennis, bookshop, and Korean karaoke.
    7. August 04 | Sunday

      Hamhung and Wonsan, the DPRK's major port city on the east coast of Korea

      AM
      • Late departure from Majon to enjoy the seaside.
      • Hungnam Fertiliser Factory | Massive chemical-industrial plant producing various kinds of fertilisers. Tour of the plant control room, production facilities, and packing plant - just don’t light up next to the Ammonium Nitrate!
      • Hamhung Grand Theatre and Central Square | Exterior view of the DPRK’s largest theatre on the city’s central square.
      • Drive to Wonsan, a major port city on the east coast of Korea.
      PM
      • Wonsan Agricultural University | The DPRK’s premier agricultural university set among beautiful hillside scenery. Tour the grounds and the neo-Romanesque teaching hall, originally built by German monks living in the area in the early 20th century.
      • Jangdok Island and Lighthouse | Take a stroll on the breakwater to a small island in the middle of Wonsan harbor (1 EUR or USD entry fee). Local fishermen flock to this area, chat with them along the way. Also good for romantic evening walks.
      Overnight | Dongmyong Hotel, Wonsan. Waterfront hotel with stunning seaside views of Wonsan Harbor. Limited hours of hot water, bar, billiards, ping-pong, barber shop, beauty salon, dry-sauna, and indoor seawater swimming pool.
    8. August 05 | Monday

      Wonsan

      AM

      • Songdowon International Schoolchildren’s Camp | A classic socialist summer camp where Korean and international children can spend two weeks learning socialist values and teamwork. Tour the recently renovated dormitories, aquarium, bird house, gymnasium, and more!
      • Wonsan City Centre and Docks | Central square and ship terminal in downtown Wonsan. The Mangyongbong-92 ferry/cargo ship which one shuttled Koreans living in Japan back and forth across the East Sea of Korea is moored here.
      • Kangwon Province Art Gallery | Small art exhibition selling artwork by local artists, where you can purchase paintings.
      PM
      • Chonsam-ri Co-operative Farm | Learn about rural life at this farm specialising in rice and persimmons. Visit the cultural centre, farm house, and fish pond.
      • Songdowon Beach | Time to rest and relax at one of Wonsan's major beaches
      Overnight | Dongmyong Hotel, Wonsan.
    9. August 06 | Tuesday

      Wonsan and return to Pyongyang

      AM

      • Drive back west to Pyongyang with a rest stop at Masik Ski Resort, North Korea's largest ski resort. Take a break for coffee and look around the modern facility.

      PM

      • 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).
      • Party Foundation Monument | Iconic Monument made up of stone depictions of hands gripping the hammer, sickle, and writing brush – symbols of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Built in 1995 for the 40th anniversary of this Party.
      • Pizza Restaurant | Dinner at one of Pyongyang’s Italian eateries (there are three). Pizzas range between 5-12 EUR each.

      Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    10. August 07 | Wednesday

      Departure day to Dandong by train. Flights are also available to Shenyang by Air Koyro or Beijing by Air China. Enquire for details. 

      AM

      • Train departure by train to Dandong at 10:25 crossing to China at approximately 17:00. From Dandong onward travel is possible to Beijing or Shenyang. 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.

      See more
    • 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
    • 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 Dandong – Beijing
      Train Pyongyang – Dandong
      All meals on the tour except the final pizza dinner
      Hotel accommodation
      Koryo Tours Tour Leader
      Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
      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 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 10th July, 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
Download contact card