April 6 - April 16/17 2019

Pyongyang Marathon and Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebration Tour (from Beijing)


The Ultimate Spring tour of North Korea is here - take part in the unique Pyongyang
Marathon, join the locals celebrating the Day of the Sun and get out to Korea's
stunning east coast!

From 1,749 EUR per person

Please apply by 7th March, 2019.

Pyongyang Marathon and Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebration Tour (from Beijing)


The Ultimate Spring tour of North Korea is here - take
part in the unique Pyongyang Marathon, join the locals
celebrating the Day of the Sun and get out to Korea's
stunning east coast!

From 1,749 EUR per person

  • Overall

    Spring is one of the best times to visit North Korea, as the cold winds have gone and flowers begin blooming and lining the beautiful and spotless Pyongyang streets.
    Taking part in the Pyongyang Marathon is sure to be an experience you won’t forget, and something few foreigners get to do.

    What’s more, you’ll have two celebrations to look forward to, since we’re in Pyongyang for the most important date in the Korean calendar - the birthday of Eternal President Kim Il-Sung. For this, we can expect a day of merriment for the locals as they enjoy their time off work, and spend their time mass dancing in the day and gathering together at Kim Il-Sung Square to watch the incredible firework display at night.

    For the truly adventurous traveller, this 10-night tour will get you across to the east coast where you’ll tour the seaside city Wonsan and then go hiking on Mt. Kumgang – also known as the diamond of Korea.
    You’ll also go south to Kaesong and the DMZ, where North and South Korea continue their face-off, as well as the lively city of Pyongsong, where you will meet the incredibly talented students at a local school and see a performance at the Pyongsong Conservatory of Performing Arts.

    And for all the serious marathon runners out there, the Pyongyang Marathon is an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race with AIMS Certification. Come back with some of the most unique running shirt, finisher's medal, and race certificates around.

    Want to take part in the Pyongyang marathon but can't get the time off work? We have the biggest range of Pyongyang marathon tours to suit everybody!

    Scroll down for the Pyongyang Marathon tour highlights, full tour itinerary, transport options, add-ons, and notes on the tour.


    • Port City of Wonsan on the East Coast
    • The beautiful mountains of Kumgangsan
    • Historic Kaesong
    • Panmunjom & the DMZ
    • Pyongyang City
    • Pyongsong
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. April 5 — 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 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.

    2. April 6 — Saturday

      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.
      • 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 JS152 - flight times are TBC and subject to change. Currently expected to depart at 1:05 pm. 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.
      • 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.
      • Optional screening of Comrade Kim Goes Flying // a DPRK film about a young rural coal miner, Kim Yong Mi, who dreams of becoming a trapeze artist at the Pyongyang Circus. Her plans are complicated by the arrogant trapeze star Pak Jang Phil who believes miners belong underground and not in the air. North Korea’s first “girl power” movie about a young woman achieving her dreams. Produced and directed by a British, Belgian, and Korean team. The film is 78 minutes long and will be shown at the Pyongyang International House of Cinema, a short distance from our hotel. (100 RMB entry fee). A Koryo Tours Exclusive!


      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.

    3. April 7 - Sunday

      The big event! The Pyongyang Marathon 2019!


      • The 2019 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 marathon's closing ceremony, 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 a local bar to wrap up an exciting day.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    4. April 8 - Monday

      Pyongyang City Tour


      • Mangyongdae Native House // Birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in what is today a quiet suburban park.
      • Tower of the Juche Idea // The tallest stone monument in the world and dedicated to the DPRK's guiding philosophy. Take the elevator to the top (5 EUR ticket) for a panoramic view of Pyongyang.
      • Kim Il Sung Square // Pyongyang’s central square lined with government ministries, museum and The Grand People’s Study House.
      • Foreign Languages Bookshop // Store selling Korean publications translated into English, German, French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic.


      • Pyongyang Metro Tour // One of the deepest metro systems in the world with artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
      • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum // World-class museum exhibiting the DPRK perspective of the Korean War with artefacts, documents, photos, and lifelike dioramas. The exterior grounds house the War Victory Monument and captured equipment from the US military, including the USS Pueblo. Central to understanding the country today.
      • Drive to Pyongsong. A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.

      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.
    5. April 9 - 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 & dangers there during the war.


      • Pyongsong Conservatory of Performing Arts // Local school focusing on talents in the performing and visual arts, see an excellent performance here.
      • Pyongsong Foodstuffs Factory // tour one of the area's local factories to learn about what they make, sample their products and purchase some unique souvenirs.
      • Drive to Pyongyang. A 45 minute to 1-hour drive.
      • Kwangbok Supermarket // Large department store selling Korean-made and foreign goods. Here it is possible to exchange foreign currency for Korean won to shop with the locals.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

    6. April 10 – Wednesday

      Historic Kaesong and the DMZ


      • Drive 160 km south the 'Reunification Highway' to Kaesong, the historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) and today located near the Korean Demilitarised Zone. 3 hour drive.
      • Panmunjom Armistice Village and DMZ // The site of the signing of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and the 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).


      • 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.
      • Drive back to Pyongyang via 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.
      • Monument to the Three-Charters of the Reunification // Iconic arch over the Pyongyang-Kaesong Highway dedicated to joint meetings between Koreas, north and south. Also known as the ‘Arch of Reunification’.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    7. April 11 – Thursday

      Wonsan City and Korea’s East Coast


      • Drive east across the width of the peninsula to Wonsan, 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.

    8. April 12 – Friday

      Mt. Kumgang


      • Drive along the East Sea to the Mt. Kumgang, 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.


      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.

    9. April 13 – Saturday

      Return to Pyongyang


      • Start back to Pyongyang (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).


      • Continue drive back to Pyongyang
      • 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.

      Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    10. April 14 – Sunday



      • 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. 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.
      • Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery // Hilltop cemetery with dozens of bronze busts of those who took part in the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule.


      • 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.
      • City Tram Ride // A ride through Pyongyang on one of the city’s trams from Kwangbok Street.
      • Future Street // Walk in the newly built residential district for scientists and academics to view its unique modern architecture.
        • 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. Ride tickets between 2-7 EUR.

        Overnight: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang

      • April 15 – Monday

        The Day of the Sun, one of the DPRK’s largest holidays. April 15, 2019, is the 107th anniversary of the birthday of President Kim Il Sung.


        • Mansudae Fountain Park // The historic centre of Pyongyang popular with local citizens after school and on weekends. Flanked by examples of ancient and modern architecture from different eras.
        • 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.
        • 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.


        • 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’.
        • The Pyongyang Circus // A circus show including clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers, and much more. The shows here are especially popular with locals on national holidays and will leave you amazed at the skill of the performers (approx. 20 EUR per person).
        • Mass Dance // Large student organised dances held around Pyongyang on major holidays (weather dependent). Join in the fun!
        • Party Foundation Monument // 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.
        • 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 International Hotel, Pyongyang

      • April 16 – Tuesday

        Departure Day from Pyongyang and Return to Beijing by flight or train.


        • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS151 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 10:00 am.


        • Train departure by local train to the Korean-Chinese border at 10:10, transfer in Dandong and onward travel to Beijing with scheduled arrival to Beijing Station on Wednesday, April 17th at 08:30. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).
        End of Tour
    11. Extras

      • 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
      • Helicopter flight over Pyongyang

        Why not take a helicopter sightseeing flight over the DPRK's capital? Grab this rare opportunity to tour the skies above the city in a 40-minute helicopter trip aboard an Air Koryo Mi-17 chopper. The flight offers an unrivalled view from above, and great opportunities for photos and video from a completely different angle.

        See more
      • Pyongyang Marathon - running shirt size

        Koryo Tours will provide free running shirts to everyone signed up for a Koryo Tours Pyongyang Marathon Trip. Male shirts are a regular fit, while female shirts are a slim fit. Please pay attention to the sizes as they are smaller than western shirt sizes.

      • Pyongyang Marathon — official race entry

        The Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon is now open to foreign amateur runners. You can run the 5k, 10k, Half or Full Marathon. All four take place on the same day in April, and follow the same course, which is fully recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations. We are the EXCLUSIVE travel partner for foreign amateurs. Don't miss out on this rare opportunity to become one of the few people in the world to have run the Pyongyang Marathon. We'll see you at the start line!

      • 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.

        See more
      • Upgrade to your own room — marathon tour

        All hotel rooms on our all-inclusive group tours feature twin beds, and will be shared. If you'd like a room to yourself during the extremely busy Pyongyang Marathon period then you can upgrade for an extra 50 EUR per night.

      • Transport | Train and Flights to North Korea (Marathon)

        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 239 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 439 EUR.

      • Insurance (10 to 13 night)

        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.

    12. 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 between Beijing-Pyongyang
        Hotel accommodation in the DPRK
        A Koryo Tours tour leader, two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
        All transportation in the DPRK
        Official running shirt, finisher's medal and race certificate
      • Not included
        Marathon race fees - to be paid in cash (clean USD notes only) before the race in Pyongyang, amounts are 5 km: $50 USD / 10 km: $70 USD / Half Marathon: $100 USD / Full Marathon: $150 USD
        North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 50 EUR
        Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 239 EUR; return: 439 EUR)
        Optional single room supplement of 50 EUR per night
        Tips for the local Korean guides + 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
    13. 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 7th March, 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),
    Download contact card