April 27 - May 2/3 2019

The May Day Short Tour

5 nights in North Korea for May
Day + Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join in the May Day celebration with locals in Pyongyang and escape the city
on a trip to the historic Kaesong and the DMZ during one of our favourite
times of year to visit Korea.

From 1,049 EUR per person

Please apply by 13th April, 2019.

The May Day Short Tour

5 nights in North Korea for May
Day + Beijing-Pyongyang travel
time

Join in the May Day celebration with locals in Pyongyang
and escape the city on a trip to the historic Kaesong
and the DMZ during one of our favourite times of year
to visit Korea.

From 1,049 EUR per person

  • Overall

    May Day is one of the best times to visit North Korea during the calendar year for the fine weather and festivities. Also known as International Workers’ Day, or Labour Day, the May Day celebration is a day off and locals take to the outdoors for picnics, dancing, and sports - and you can join in too! In Pyongyang, there is an annual festival held at Mt. Taesong with musical performances and traditional folk games.

    Spring is in the air and May Day offers a good chance to meet the locals and learn about everyday leisure in North Korea.

    In addition to the highlights of the North Korean capital Pyongyang and taking a day trip out to visit historic Kaesong and the DMZ, we’ll have time for walks in the city, dining at Pyongyang’s most famous restaurant, shopping at the local Kwangbok supermarket, a picnic lunch. Plus, a volleyball game against a Korean company team. Volleyball is one of the most popular sports in North Korea and almost every company, school, office, section, or unit has a team! See if you can beat them!

    On a budget? We have tours to suit everyone!

    Scroll down for an overview of the May Day Short Tour highlights, tour itinerary,transport options, DPRK tourist visa information, and extra add-ons.

    Highlights

    • May Day celebrations and festivities: picnics, music, dancing, and fun!
    • Visit Kumsusan Palace of the Sun (mausoleum of the leaders), the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and captured spy ship USS Pueblo, and other Pyongyang highlights
    • Dine on cold noodles, Pyongyang's speciality, at Okryugwan, Pyongyang's most famous restaurant
    • Shop with the locals at Kwangbok Supermarket
    • See historic Kaesong, Panmunjom, and the Korean Demilitarised Zone up close
    • A volleyball game against a local company team
  • Itinerary

    Briefing Day
    1. April 26 // 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 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.  
      • 17:00 // Train travellers depart Beijing Station by domestic sleeper train to Dandong, the Chinese city on the border with North Korea. 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 27 // Saturday

      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 JS 152 at 13:05. A 1.5-hour flight with basic lunch (no vegetarian option).
      • Flight arrival into Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport (FNJ) at 15:35. DPRK immigration and customs, meet your Korean guides, and transfer to the city.
      • Arch of Triumph // Massive archway commemorating the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule.  Made for the 70th anniversary of President Kim Il Sung in 1982.
      • Train arrival to Pyongyang Railway Station.
      • 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. April 28 // Sunday

      Pyongyang City Tour and Highlights

      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. 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.

      • 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. Visitations are by special request only and decent dress is required. No shorts or flip-flop sandals allowed here.
      • 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.

      • 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
      • Three-Charters of National Reunification Monument // Iconic arch over the Pyongyang-Kaesong Highway dedicated to joint meeting between Koreas, north and south. Also known as the ‘Arch of Reunification’.
      • Drive south along the 'Reunification Highway' to Sariwon, the provincial seat of North Hwanghae Province and a centre of agriculture and industry. A 1-hour drive. 
      • 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.
      • Continue to Kaesong, historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) and today located near the Korean Demilitarized Zone. A 1.5-hour drive.
      • Tomb of King Kongmin // Tomb of the 31st king of the Koryo Dynasty, a talented statesman and prolific painter, and his Mongolian wife. Set the end of a picturesque valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

      Overnight // Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong. Traditional style hotel where guests sleep on heated floors in Korean-style. Hot water not guaranteed and erratic electric supply. Please bring a torch. Beautiful setting in Kaesong old city with stream running through the centre and Ri dynasty furniture.
    4. April 29 // Monday

      Historic Kaesong and the DMZ Tour

      AM

      • Old City Walk and South Gate  // A morning stroll through Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the late Ri Dynasty to the city’s historic South Gate.
      • 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. A 45 minute drive each way from Kaesong through scenic countryside.
      • Janam Hill // Statues of the DPRK leadership on a hill overlooking Kaesong city and historic pavilion used for archery demonstrations in days of yore.
      • Drive back to Pyongyang. 2.5-hour drive.
      • Duck BBQ Restaurant // Famous restaurant in south Pyongyang specializing in duck meat barbecue on a grill. South central does it like nobody does!

      Overnight // Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    5. April 30 // Tuesday

      Pyongyang City Tour and Volleyball Match!

      AM

      • Manggyongdae Native House // Birthplace of and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung. A traditional Korean house in a park-like setting.
      • Mansudae Art Studio // The DPRK’s centre of artistic excellence, where the majority of sculptures, mosaics, and paintings around the country are made. Visit workshops to see artists at work and an exhibition where pieces are sold.
      • 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

      PM

      • May Day Stadium // Tour the grounds and facilities of one of the world’s largest stadiums. Once used for the Arirang Mass Games and now major sports events. No May Day tour is complete without the May Day Stadium.
      • 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.
      • Mansugyo Beer Bar // A new standing bar serving seven type of local beer (0.50 -1 EUR per beer). Popular with locals after work
      • Golden Lane Bowling Centre //Where Pyongyang locals go for their ten-pin fix, billiards and 90’s arcade games (2.5 EUR per person per game).
      Overnight // Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.
    6. May 1 // Wednesday

      May Day, or International Workers' Day, in Pyongyang

      AM

      • 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.
      • Mt. Taesong Folk Festival  // Each year on May Day, there is a festival featuring music performances and folk games. A great time to have fun with the locals on their day off.
      • Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery // Hilltop cemetery with dozens of bronze busts of those who took part in the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule. A presentation of flowers is customary here. At the top of the hill are the graves of Kim Jong Suk (wife of Kim Il Sung) and Kim Chaek (his right-hand man). Time permitting. Please note this location was undergoing renovation in 2017 and may not be available in 2018.

      PM

      • 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’.
      • 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).

      • 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.

      • Farewell dinner for the May Day Short Tour.

      Overnight // Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang.

    7. May 2 // Thursday

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

      AM

      • Flight departure from Pyongyang on Air Koryo Flight JS 151 at 08:55 with scheduled arrival at Beijing Capital Airport (PEK) Terminal 2 at 11:30.

      OR

      • Train departure by train to Beijing at 10:10 with transfer in Dandong. The scheduled arrival is to Beijing Station on Friday, May 3 at 08:39. For this tour the default option is hard sleeper (six beds per berth).
      End of Tour
  • 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 232 EUR you can upgrade to a one-way flight. A round-trip ticket costs an additional 420 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.

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    • 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.

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    • 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.

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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.

    • New for 2018: Take a cooking class in Pyongyang!

      This is a unique opportunity to cook with chefs of the Culinary Association of the DPRK, who will teach you how to cook Korean classics like Pyongyang cold noodles (raengmyon), kimchi, green bean pancakes, and other local delicacies. This optional cooking class costs 75 EUR for two hours, and will be followed by a dinner of your own making. Please do note that by participating in this cooking course, you might miss out on some evening activities and a dinner in Pyongyang.

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    • 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
      Train Beijing – Pyongyang with transfer at Dandong
      Train Pyongyang – Beijing with transfer at Dandong
      All meals on the tour except for the final pizza dinner and meals on the train
      Hotel accommodation
      Koryo Tours tour leader
      Two local Korean guides, and a driver per group
      All transportation in the DPRK
    • Not included
      North Korean (DPRK) visa fee 50 EUR
      Optional Air Koryo flights (one-way: 232 EUR; return: 420 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
      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 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 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 13th April, 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
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