Myanmar and North Korea Christmas and New Year Combo
Join YPT for our second ever Christmas tour to Myanmar, and jump into the DPRK to celebrate and welcome in the New Year in Pyongyang style!
Myanmar, also known as Burma, was long considered a pariah state, isolated from the rest of the world. Tourism there is still a growing market, with Myanmar receiving fewer visitors than any of her surrounding neighbors, so take this chance to see it whilst it’s still off the beaten track and not yet entrenched in the typical South East Asia backpacker route.
The tour kicks off in Yangon, former capital and largest and most vibrant city in the country. After visiting temples, local markets, and traditional villages, we make our way through the country to watch sunsets over ancient ruins, drink in bars perched on lakes and party it up at a night carnival.
Home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas and ruins in the world, this stunning country boasts some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. Mix that with the YPT ethos of good times, jam-packed itineraries and a healthy dose of partying, and you’ve found the perfect place to spend your Christmas this year!
During New Year’s Eve, we start the evening off dropping by a few bars and then hanging out with locals and expats alike in “The Diplo” and then heading off to Kim Il Sung Square to watch the firework show! During our frosty visit, we’ll visit the Mausoleum where both leaders lay in state, ride the Pyongyang Metro, visit the Korean War Museum… and what better way to start off the New Year’s than by visiting the KPA Soldiers at the DMZ to hear an explanation of the division of both Koreas.
During our tour, we’ve been given special access to a RussianMil Mi-17helicopter to take it for a whirl around Pyongyang city for a unique aerial tour of the capital.
We’ll swoop around the 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.
We’ve included an extra day into this tour for the same cost as a regular five-day tour! So don’t waste any time, book with us now and secure your spot for a one of a kind New Year’s celebration!
Arrival at your own leisure into Yangon, former capital and largest city in Myanmar.
Transfer to our hotel. Meet the rest of the group before heading out to watch sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda, then out for dinner and a few drinks. We’ll go for our first Burmese meal and almost certainly check out various ‘beer stations’, the traditional way to enjoy a cold pint!
Overnight in Yangon.
Friday 21st December
Up nice and early for a tour of Yangon’s main sights.
Check out the stunning Kandawgyi Lake, Reclining Buddha, and Temples. (Pack trousers or a skirt that cover the knees, and something to cover your shoulders).
Walking tour through the bustling markets before we head downtown past colonial buildings and Sule Pagoda. But most importantly we check out the Martyr’s Mausoleum, housing Aung San – father of modern Burma – and containing the remains of various people including the former Secretary General U Thant, but more famous in recent history for being the site of an assassination attempt on the South Korean president by North Korean agents
Lunch on some local delicacies.
Next, we hop on the Dallah Ferry to visit a traditional Burmese village. Plenty of opportunity to take incredible pictures!
If you’re looking for an authentic travel experience, this is it! After stocking up on dinner, snacks, and of course traditional Burmese booze, we jump on the overnight bus to Bagan.
Saturday 22nd December
Early morning arrival in Bagan.
Transfer to hot air ballooning (optional extra) or to temple for one of the best sunrises in Myanmar.
Check into hotel and a quick bite to eat before we head out for the day.
Big city tour of Bagan, an ancient city steeped in history and home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, and ruins in the world.
After watching sunrise surrounded by temples we head to the river for sunset.
Head to the Night Market/Carnival. This is a real party place and quite the eye opener! Dinner and drinks.
Overnight in Bagan.
Sunday 23rd December
Up nice and early for the five hour transfer to Mandalay, with a stop for snacks.
Arrival in Mandalay, the second biggest and most important city in Myanmar. Check into hotel.
Nice lunch before a quick city tour including Mandalay Hill, and the obligatory Temples and Stupas.
Afternoon drive down to Amarapura for an incredible sunset over the U Been Bridge.
At night we take it a bit risque by watching a show performed by the legendary Mustache Brothers, former dissidents that have done hard time in jail over their comedy. Dinner and drinks.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Monday 24th December
Internal flight to Heho Airport.
Transfer straight to Kalaw to grab a few supplies before we embark on a beautiful hike between Kalaw and Inle Lake, with a night in a local village in the hills.
Christmas Eve night at local village homestay, dinner prepared by the family we are staying with. One of the best meals you will have in Myanmar! Finishing off with a few drinks with the family (don’t forget to bring some local whiskey or rum).
Tuesday 25th December
Merry Christmas! We celebrate Christmas morning by saying goodbye to our local homestay family and continue with our stunning hike through the hills and rice paddy fields to Inle Lake.
Arrive at Nyuangshwe, the most popular village in Inle Lake. Check in to hotel, quick freshen up before we go to Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery for some well deserved Christmas celebratory drinks and watch the sunset over Inle Lake.
Back to Nyuangshwe village for Christmas dinner and a few more drinks to wind up a Christmas like no other.
Wednesday 26th December
Up nice and early for a full day out on the lake with floating markets and gardens, lotus weaving, cigar making, and traditional wooden huts poking above the water.
Quick dinner before an overnight bus back to Yangon.
Thursday 27th December
Early morning arrival in Yangon and flight to Beijing.
Friday 28th December
Depart Beijing Airport Terminal 2 on Air Koryo at 2:00pm (meet group at Air Koryo check in counter).
Arrive in Pyongyang at 4:30pm to a warm welcome from your Korean guides.
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 Sosan Hotel.
Saturday 29th December
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 to show our respects to the President Kim Il Sung and the Leader Kim Jong Il. (Optional extra – you can present flowers if you wish: small bunches are 2 euro, larger ones 4.)
Taken to the Chollima Statue, with an explanation about the Chollima Movement.
Foreign Language Bookshop – with a large selection of books in English and other European Languages as well as other souvenirs followed by a short walk to:
Kim Il Sung Square – the central square of Pyongyang city and the place where all the action happens.
Lunch at Chongryu Hot Pot Restaurant.
Pyongyang Metro- ride 6 stops on the famous Pyongyang Underground!
Exiting at the Arch of Triumph – the largest Victory Arch in the world, built to celebrate the triumphant return of Kim Il Sung after the anti-Japanese war.
Juche Tower – Monument to the everlasting Juche Ideology (optional 5 euro to go to the top).
Visit the Worker’s Party Foundation monument – the giant hammer, sickle and intellectual writing brush.
Drinks at Rakwon Beer Bar, home of the 50 cents pint.
Dinner at KITC Restaurant on Kwangbok Street – try the famous Pyongyang cold noodles or Korean Bibimbap dish.
Overnight in Sosan Hotel.
Sunday 30th December
Grand People’s Study House – library and academic centre for adult learners. This grand building is constructed in the Korean style and affords a great view over the central square.
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.
Helicopter Joyride option – we’ll drive to Pyongyang Airport for a VIP lunch (included) and board an Mil Mi-17 to take it on a joyride for a 40 minute aerial tour of Pyongyang city.
Lunch at the Moran Hill restaurant
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 Pyongyang’s largest department store! – here we can shop for locally made items and also have the chance to spend local DPRK Won currency!
Visit Mansudae Art Studio – the nation’s most important art work and monuments are created here. This is where we get to meet some of the local artists too.
Dinner at Ji Ha restaurant.
Take an evening stroll along the new Future Scientist Street – fun for photo shoots with the locals
Overnight at the Sosan Hotel.
Monday 31st December – New Year’s Eve!
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – the mausoleum for the Great Leader President Kim Il Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.
Revolutionary Martyr’s Cemetery – the resting place of the greatest anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters, each grave features a bronze bust of the hero laid to rest within.
Lunch at the New Stamp Shop restaurant.
Head to Munsu Water Park to warm up! – With Indoor heated pools and modern waterslides, the park also features plenty for those who don’t want to swim, including a Haemaji coffee shop, a beer bar, table tennis, billiards, massage, or a beauty salon (various services extra charge, swimming and access to the gym, table tennis and billiards is 10 euro). We expect this day to be very busy this new years!
We go for a very special dinner and drinks session at the national restaurant, accompanied by the beautiful singing and dancing waitresses.
We continue the pre-drinks and celebration at the Taedonggang Diplomatic Club for local and imported drinks, karaoke, and a great chance to meet some local expats.
Happy New Year!” – join the locals at Kim Il Sung Square for fireworks and to celebrate the arrival of 2018!
Drinks and overnight at Sosan Hotel.
Tuesday 1st January – New Year’s Day!
Drive to Kaesong and the DMZ.
Koryo Museum – Korea’s first university and now a museum of history and culture… and 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 solider!
Lunch at the Thongil Restaurant in Kaesong City- try your hand at traditional Korean Pasangi – 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.)
Drop by Sariwon City (capital of North Hwanghae Province) to walk in the local folk custom park and view the city from the mountain pagoda.
Stop by a local Makkoli bar to try some locally-brewed Korean Makkoli
Photo opportunity of the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification that stands over the Thongil Highway.
Dinner at Duck BBQ restaurant.
Overnight at the Sosan Hotel.
Wednesday 2nd January
Flight members depart at 8:30am for Beijing on Air Koryo arriving in Beijing at 9:55am local time.
Train members depart at 10:10am for the overnight train to Beijing and enjoy the peaceful countryside of both the DPRK and China.
Thursday 3rd January
Train members arrive 9:00am in Beijing Railway Station.