April 9 | 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.
For Pyongyang Marathon tours, we will hold several briefings - in the morning for those departing by train in the afternoon, and in the afternoon for those departing by flight the next day.
- Recommended latest arrival in Beijing.
- Briefings for those departing by train, expected time is 10:00 am (to be confirmed)
- Briefings for those departing by flight, expected times are 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm (to be confirmed)
- 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 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.
April 10 | Friday
Arrival day in Pyongyang
- 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.
- An approx. 5-hour long train journey will take you through the Korean countryside to Pyongyang Railway Station with expected arrival at 6:45 pm, where you will meet your guides and then transfer to your hotel for check-in & dinner.
- Free bus from the Koryo Tours office to Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 2. Exact time TBC at the pre-tour briefing. Alternatively, meet the group at the Air Koryo check-in counter.
- Flight departure from Beijing on Air Koryo - flight times are TBC and subject to change. Currently expected to depart around midday/early afternoon. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch.
- Arrival to Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ). DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides and transfer to the city.
- Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station expected at 6:45 pm.
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-site.
April 11 | Saturday
- 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 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 USS Pueblo. Central to the understanding of the country today and highlight of the trip.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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 | A massive archway made for the 70th anniversary of the birth of President Kim Il Sung in 1982 and commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. Larger than its counterpart in Paris.
- Kim Il Sung Stadium & Marathon Route Preview | Visit the stadium where you will start and finish your race, and then drive the marathon route to familiarise yourself with the roads, turning points and toilet stops.
Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
- Optional screening of Run and Run | A DPRK film about marathon runner Yong Ho who faces the physical and mental struggles of marathon participation. After both his father and work unit manager tell him to stop running, he becomes more determined to achieve his marathon dream. The film will be shown at the Pyongyang International House of Cinema (80 RMB entry fee paid on the spot). A Koryo Tours exclusive and sure to provide you with motivation ahead of the big event!
April 12 | Sunday
The big event! The Pyongyang Marathon 2020!
- The 2020 Pyongyang Marathon | this is your chance to run the streets of Pyongyang in the DPRK’s largest annual sports event!
Join the Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km or 5km race — all of which follow a return course that starts and ends in Kim Il Sung Stadium in front of a 50,000-strong capacity crowd of local Koreans.
The full route, which has been certified by both the IAAF and AIMS, leads right through the city centre, past a number of iconic landmarks, and then out into Pyongyang's less urban districts. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to see more of the capital and interact with people along the course. Prizes are available for the winners of each race.
Shower, resting time and lunch | After the ending ceremony of the marathon, we'll be heading back to the hotel to recharge, shower and rest.
- 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; tennis- 5 EUR).
- Local Beer Bar | Relax at one of Pyongyang’s local bars to wrap up an exciting day.
Overnight | Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang.
April 13 | Monday
Nampo & Pyongsong
- Nampo | Drive west along the ‘Youth Hero Highway’ to the port city of Pyongyang on the Taedong River estuary. A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
- Chongsam-ri Co-operative Farm | The DPRK’s most famous and iconic model farm. Visited hundreds of times by Kim Il Sung, the place where the ‘Chongsam-ri Method’ was developed (they will explain on-site). See how the farming system works, visit a farmhouse, the local shop, kindergarten and see the fields and greenhouses.
- Local Factory | Nampo is a major industrial area of the DPRK, we'll visit one of the local factories to see and learn more about the industrial side of the country. We will visit either a glass factory, mineral water bottling plant or if we're lucky the famous Chollima Steelworks. Please note that factory visits may depend on on-site activities/conditions.
- 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.
- Lunch | At a local restaurant in Nampo
- Pyongyang | Return to the capital city A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
- Mangyongdae Native House | Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.
- Kwangbok Department Store | Opportunity to use 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.
- Pyongsong | Drive north to the capital of South Pyongan Province. A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
Overnight | Jangsusan Hotel, Pyongsong | The only hotel in Pyongsong open for tourists and one of the most fun in the whole country! Basic facilities with fairly reliable electricity and hot water. One of the best bartenders in the country mans the bar. Billiards, karaoke, hairdresser, and outdoor eateries in summer.
April 14 | Tuesday
- Pyongsong City Square | Central square of Pyongsong City with statues of the DPRK leadership and flanked by the provincial revolutionary museum. Presentation of flowers customary.
- Tok Song Primary School | The area's top primary school for gifted students. Tour the school's classrooms & facilities, watch music & dance performances by the students, and test your ping pong skills against them in the gymnasium.
- Konji-ri Revolutionary Site | Location of the headquarters of the Korean People's Army & home of Kim Il Sung during the Korean War. Tour the renovated buildings and learn about life there during the war.
- Pyongyang | Drive back south to Pyongyang. A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
- Grand People’s Study House | Huge national library and public university housed in a large neo-traditional Korean building overlooking Kim Il Sung Square and the downtown Pyongyang.
- 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.
- Duck Barbecue Restaurant | South Pyongyang’s famous grilled duck restaurant.
Overnight | Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang.
April 15 | Wednesday
The Day of the Sun, one of the DPRK’s largest holidays. April 15, 2020, is the 108th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung's birthday.
- 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 on the itinerary. Please note 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. Cancellations are rare but possible.
- Mansudae Fountain Park | The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school 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 km or 250 mile) horse’ -a symbol of speed- commemorating the quick rebuilding of the country in the 1950s following the Korean War.
- Moranbong Park | We’ll take a stroll and have picnic lunch 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’.
- 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 organizations and groups from across society compete to put on the best floral display.
- Artistic Performance | Expect to see a performance on the day, while the type of performance is to be confirmed we have been able to see circus, musical and other performances on this day, typically 20-50 EUR per person depending on nature of performance.
- Mass Dance | Large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!
- Fireworks over the Taedong River | watch with thousands of locals in Kim Il Sung Square as this holiday comes to an end. Wonderful mingling opportunities in a festive atmosphere
Overnight | Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang.
April 16 | Thursday
Kaesong and the DMZ
- Kaesong | Drive south along the 'Reunification Highway' to the historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) and today located near the Korean Demilitarised Zone. A 3-hour drive
- 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 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).
- 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.
- Pyongyang | Return to Pyongyang from Sariwon.
Overnight | Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang.
April 17 | Friday
Wonsan City and Korea’s East Coast
- Wonsan | Drive east across the width of the peninsula to a major port city, stopping at scenic spots along the way. A 4-hour drive.
- Sinpyong Lake Rest Stop | Known as ‘Little Kumgang’ this scenic lakeside rest stop is a preview of the scenery to come.
- Ulim Waterfall | Hidden amongst the mountains on the road to Wonsan, ‘Echo’ Waterfall is a scenic stopover to enjoy lunch, stretch your legs, or go for a dip in the pool beneath.
- 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 Germans living in the area in the early 20th century.
- 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, birdhouse, gymnasium, and more!
- Kangwon Province Art Gallery | Small art exhibition selling artwork by local artists.
- Jangdok Island and Lighthouse | Take a stroll on the breakwater to a small island in the middle of Wonsan harbour (1 EUR/USD entry fee).
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.
April 18 | Saturday
- Mt. Kumgang | Drive along the East Sea to see the ‘Diamond Mountain’ noted in East Asian history and famous in Korean legend. Home of some of Korea’s most spectacular natural landscapes and best hiking. A 2.5-hour drive.
- Samil Lagoon | A charming green-water coastal lagoon lined by pine forests. Named for the ‘three-day’ stay (sam-il) of a king in days-gone-by to take in the full beauty of the area
- Hiking at Kuryong Waterfall | An 8 km (round-trip) hike to a scenic waterfall through forests, along mountain streams and by emerald pools. A beautiful place to sit, relax and spend a few hours in nature. Feel like a rewarding challenge? Extend your hike by tackling Sangpaldam Peak.
Kumgangsan Hotel, Mt. Kumgang | A comfortable hotel with good hot water supply and clean rooms. Top floor bar and karaoke, outdoor balcony barbeque, billiards, gift shops, and small sauna facilities.
April 19 | Sunday
Return to Pyongyang
- Pyongyang | Return to the capital city (full day drive) making rest stops along the way.
- Sijung Lake Beach | Take a break at this beachside facility on the East Sea. Take a stroll in the sand or go for a swim (2 EUR entry fee includes shower).
- Golden Lane Bowling Centre | Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix (2.5 EUR per person per game). Also has billiards and arcade games. Non-bowlers can head next door to the Kumrung Leisure Centre for an airgun shooting range (approximately 6 EUR per 20 round cartridge) and some of the best coffee in Pyongyang.
- Haeyang Restaurant | Farewell dinner at one of Pyongyang's famous restaurants.
Overnight | Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
April 20 | Monday
Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train.
End of Tour.
- Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo with a expected arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 by midday.
- Train departure by local train to the Korean-Chinese border at 10:25, transfer in Dandong and onward travel to Beijing with scheduled arrival to Beijing Station on Friday, April 21st at 08:30 am. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).