70th Anniversary Grand National Day & North East Tour with Mass Games
This is one of our most exciting trips of the year as we’re spicing up our annual DPRK Grand National Day Tour! We’ll not only be heading into Pyongyang for the massive national day celebrations marking North Korea’s 70th Independence Day, we’ll then be making our way well off the beaten track by jumping aboard an Air Koryo domestic flight to the far north east of Korea to the infamous city of Chongjin. We’ll explore the largely rural province of North Hamgyong and spend a highlight evening with a Korean family near the spectacular Mt Chilbo.
The Mass Games, the world’s largest performance with over 100,000 performers last held in Pyongyang in 2013 is making a one performance only return for this 70th Anniversary celebrations. Now is your chance to watch this incredible performance!
During our tour in Pyongyang we’ll be visiting the Kim Il Sung Square, stopping by a local fun fair, exploring the deep Pyongyang Metro, visiting the Mausoleum where Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lay in state, checking out the War Museum, heading down to the DMZ and much much more!
On National Day we’ll visit Moran Hill which is extremely popular for the locals to gather for BBQs, singing and lots of dancing! We will be taking part in every facet of the celebration process including the fireworks, mass dancing and other surprises along our way!
After the party finishes in Pyongyang, we’ll board our flight to Orang Airport located in the deep rural areas of the DPRK. We’ll spend our first night up in Chongjin city, after which we’ll then head down towards Mt. Chilbo, one of the very sacred and beautiful mountains in Korea. Here we’ll be able to meet, play, eat and stay overnight with a DPRKorean family. During the end of our tour we’ll head up towards Gyongsong city, a small city most famous for its mineral spa waters, before boarding a flight back to Pyongyang then finishing up back in Beijing by train or Air Koryo flight.
During your tour, we’ve been given special access to a Russian Mil Mi-17 helicopter to take for a whirl around Pyongyang city for a unique aerial tour of the capital.
We’ll swoop around the iconic, 105-story Ryugyong Hotel, do a low flyby of the Taedong River passing the Juche Tower, have a great glimpse of May Day Stadium – the world’s largest stadium, and explore the many districts sprawling across the city for fantastic and unique photography opportunities. This joyride is completely optional and is €250 per person on top of the tour costs. If you are interested please let us know while booking.
Don’t waste this perfect opportunity to explore a part of Korea that’s mostly forgotten by tourists while also joining us for all the festivities!
Meet your YPT guide at 1:30pm at the Beijing Zhong Gu Hotel near Beijing Railway Station found here. During this meeting, we’ll go through the tour’s itinerary, receive DPRK visas and tickets, as well as a great chance to meet your fellow travellers and to discuss any other questions you may have about the DPRK.
Train takers depart Beijing Central station at 5:25pm for the 24 hour sleeper ride to Pyongyang.
Thursday 6th September
Train group arrive at Dandong at 7:00am for Chinese border control then depart for Sinuiju at 10:00am for the extensive border control from the DPRK side
Flight takers depart Beijing Airport Terminal 2 on Air Koryo at 2:05pm (meet group at Air Koryo check in counter).
Flight group arrive in Pyongyang at 4:30pm to a warm welcome from your Korean guides
Train group arrive at 5:00pm to an equally warm welcome.
In the evening your YPT guide will show you around the hotel before taking you for drinks and to get to know your Korean guides
Dinner and overnight at the Yanggakdo Hotel
Friday 7th September
Up Nice and early to drive to Kaesong and the DMZ.
Koryo Museum- Korea’s first university and now a museum of history and culture. Also home of the best stamp and propaganda poster shop in the DPRK, so don’t forget your wallet!
The DMZ – See one of the tensest places on earth complete with a friendly KPA officer who will not only give you a guided tour but also keep you safe. Also the only place you can take photographs of and even with a soldier!
Lunch at the Thongil Restaurant in Kaesong City- try your hand at traditional Korean Pansangi- a series of dishes served in bronze bowls. (Optional extras- Dog soup 5 euro, Ginseng Stuffed Whole Chicken 30 euro- can be split between several).
Tomb of King Kongmin- the only original tomb of it’s kind still standing in the DPRK.
Drop by Sariwon City (Capital of North Hwanghae province) to walk in the local folkcustom park and view the city from the mountain top pagoda.
Try locally brewed Makkoli in the local tea house
Photo opportunity of the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, standing over the Thongil Highway.
Get back to Pyongyang for dinner at National restaurant with performance!
Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel
Saturday 8th September
Walk through Mansudae fountain park and see the mosaic pictures of President Kim Il Sung and the leader Kim Jong Il.
Visit Mansudae Grand Monument – the two large bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking the city. (Optional extra- you can present flowers if you wish: small bunches are 2 euro, larger ones 4). We expect it to be very busy at this time with locals paying their respect.
Grand People’s study House- Library and academic centre for adult learners, this grand building is built in the Korean style and affords a great view over the central Square.
Lunch at the Chongryu Korean Hot Pot restaurant
Foreign Language Bookshop- Shopping central for books, pins, DVD’s, CD’s and periodicals in English and other foreign Languages, followed by a brisk walk to:
Kim Il Sung Square- The central square of Pyongyang City.
Juche Tower- The tallest stone tower in the world it represents the eternally burning Korean Juche Ideology.
Monument to the Party Foundation- Built in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the worker’s party.
Drinks at the Taedongang #3 brewery with seven different beers on tap! (Beers 1.5 euro each)
Dinner at the Pyongyang Duck BBQ Restaurant.
Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel.
Sunday 9th September – National Day! Morning
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – The mausoleum for the Great Leader President Kim Il Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.
Pyongyang Metro! Ride from Stop 1 to Stop 2 then on to stop 6! Exiting to:
The Arch of Triumph- The largest Victory Arch on the planet- it celebrates the victory over the Japanese and the return of the general Kim Il Sung to his home city.
Helicopter Joyride option – we’ll drive to Pyongyang Airport for a VIP lunch (included) and board a Mil Mi-17 to take on a joyride for a 40 minute aerial tour of Pyongyang city.
Lunch at the Moran Hill Chicken Restaurant
Walk to Moran Hill to watch families and friends gather for picnic lunches along the hillside. Here we will have opportunities to take great photos and to even join in on the dancing!
Special celebratory events (optional: approx 20 euros) – Yet to be confirmed but we will take part in any birthday events that are possible for tourists to attend. These may include a parade, a circus performance, and possibly some other surprises.
Visit the recently renovated Korean War Museum – let the expert local guide show you around the enormous museum featuring dioramas, locally used weapons, tanks etc, and captured American equipment!
USS Pueblo – The only US Naval Ship still held captive by another nation.
Spectate and/or join in on the Pyongyang university students performing a mass dance near an iconic DPRK monument – fantastic for rare photo opportunities!
Dinner at a local restaurant to try the famous Pyongyang cold noodles or Korean Bibimbap
Spectate the Mass Games – The world’s largest performance is happening again! One time only. Ticket costs to be announced later
We’ll gather in Kim Il Sung Square to watch the fireworks amongst the locals to celebrate today’s event
Visit Kaeson Funfair – entry 2 euros and ride are 3 – 5 euros
Overnight in the Yanggakdo hotel
Monday 10th September
Drive to the newly opened city of Pyongsong – 45 minutes north of Pyongyang
Visit Mother Kim Jong Suk Middle School No. 1 – this school is famous for educating students wanting to be scientists or engineers. Their level of English is quite high so we help them by getting involved in their classes, doing introductions of ourselves and one on one activities with the students. We’ve had previous YPT tourists say this is one of the best experiences they had in the DPRK.
Explore the grand central square of Pyongsong city
Lunch at Jangsusan Hotel in Pyongsong
Head back to Pyongyang
Visit the new Science and Technology Park – here the DPRK have organised all the latest medical, scientific and warfare technology and have presented it in an interactive way
Visit Mansudae Art Studio – the nation’s most important art works and statues are created here. This is where we get to meet some of the local artists too.
Stop by the Gold Lanes Bowling Alley in downtown Pyongyang to relax, mingle with the locals and enjoy a cold drink.
Dinner at the Potonggang restaurant
Overnight in Yanggakdo Hotel
Tuesday 11th September
Depart 9:00am at Pyongyang Airport on Air Koryo flight to Orang Airport (near Chongjin city) – this is one of few unique opportunities to fly Air Koryo domestically within the DPRK!
Arrive at Orang Airport at 10:00am and drive onto Chongjin (2 hours) – Chongjin in DPRK’s third largest city and most famous for its steel industry.
Check in and lunch at the Chongjin Seamen’s Club – here you can try Chongjin’s best noodle dish
Visit the local Kim Chaek Steel Complex Kindergarten for a Children’s Performance – we can also bring some goodies for the kids here!
Pay our respects to the newly erected statues of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il.
Visit the Electronic Library where students gather to study materials on their domestic intranet and play computer games
Visit the Soviet Martyrs Cemetery – this cemetery was built to commemorate the Russians who landed in Chongjin to battle the Japanese Aggressors during WW2. The cemetery has a fantastic view of Chongjin’s East Port
Stop by the Chongjin Foreign Language Institute to greet the students and join in on a class. This is also a fantastic opportunity to speak with the students to get a better understanding of their lives in Chongjin
Dinner and drinks/bathing at the Chongjin Foreigners Hotel
Overnight in Hotel
Wednesday 12th September
Susongchon Foodstuffs Factory – where bread, soju and other sweets are made locally in Chongjin city
Drive to Mt Chilbo (2 hours)
Arrive at the entrance to Mt Chilbo for an explanation of the area using the world’s largest mineral painting map as a guide.
Continue to Home Stay Village
We will be greeted by our homestay families as they take us around to show us their neighbourhood and followed by lunch
Volleyball match with the home stay village residents – they’re quite competitive!
Drinks and snacks with the Home stay Chief and his family.
Dinner at the Home stay village.
Korean wrestling (Sirum or Ssireum) tournament with the villagers.
Bonfire party on the beach
Dinner and home stay overnight at the village – two guests per family (tourists travelling with US or Japanese passports must drive to stay at the Outer Chilbo hotel)
Thursday 13th September
Reunite with our Japanese and American tour members and have breakfast inside the home stay (for homestay guests we recommend helping your families with morning chores – not a must but a very polite gesture and an experience all of it’s own)
Jump on a local fisherman’s boat and drive out to see to see the magnificent Mt. Chilbo from afar (30 RMB extra)
Drive to Outer Chilbo area and explore Manmulsang – Mt Chilbo’s most beautiful scenary
Picnic lunch on top of the mountain
Hike back down and then drive onto Gyongsong (2 hours)
Enjoy a hot mineral bath at the local bathhouse in Gyonsong city (30 RMB extra).
Dinner and overnight at Gyongsong Hotel
Friday 14th September
Yombun revolutionary site- On the way we’ll stop at this beautiful scenic site named for being one of the first places on the East Coast where villagers discovered a new way to get sea salt despite the East sea being almost tideless.
Gyongsong Revolutionary Museum
Jipsam Revolutionary Site with picnic lunch
Drive to Orang to board our 1:30pm flight to Pyongyang
Arrive in Pyongyang at 2:50pm
Visit the Three Revolutions Exhibition center – the exhibition primarily showcases the three primary fields of revolution – ideological, technical, and cultural.
Stroll along the new Mirae Scientist Street to see one of the newest residential areas in Pyongyang
Dinner at Dongsong restaurant
Overnight at the Sosan hotel to experience another hotel in Pyongyang!
Saturday 15th September
Flight members depart at 8:20am for Beijing on Air Koryo. (Arriving at 9:55am Beijing time).
Train members depart at 9:55am for Beijing on train K28.
Sunday 16th September
Train members arrive at Beijing Railway Station at 9:00am
• Twin share accommodation (single supplements are available for an extra 40 EUR per night).
• Train in and out Beijing-Pyongyang-Beijing. Flights are extra.
• Domestic flight included.
• All meals in the DPRK unless specified in the itinerary.
• Korean and western guides.
• Air-conditioned bus and driver.
• All entrances (unless otherwise stated).