The name of the tour says it all. This is the real deal. This entire tour includes the rural north east of the DPRK which is way off the usual tourist trail, and combining the must see sights of Pyongyang and the DMZ with a connecting domestic flight, something that is certainly unique for an experience in North Korea.
Our journey first starts in Beijing where we’ll board our overnight sleeper train to Tumen, a border town of China that lays directly across the Tumen River from the DPRK, only a stone’s throw away. Once arriving we’ll have time to explore this strange town and spend the evening at local hotel.
The following morning we’ll go through Chinese immigration and become one of the very few western tourists to walk across a bridge into North Korea. Here we’ll be met by our friendly local Korean guides and head directly to Wangjaesan grand monument, one of the most impressive in the country and a must see for any fan of grand socialist monuments.
We’ll then make our way to Hoeryong city, a beautiful city famous for pretty girls, apricots and the hometown of Kim Jong Suk (Kim Jong Il’s Mother). Other highlights include Kim Ki Song middle school where we’ll involve ourselves in an English class; most of these students have most likely never seen a Westerner before.
Next on our agenda will be the infamous Chongjin industrial city, where we’ll be able to visit a local kindergarten where the workers of the Kim Chaek steelworks factory send their children to study. We’ll also explore the recently renovated square centred in the DPRK’s third largest city and the revolutionary museum that holds history on the battle for liberation against the Japanese during WWII.
Our next destination is Mt Chilbo, famous for its incredible nature of both land and sea. Here we’ll indulge in the only homestay available in the country. This is a one of a kind experience will lead us to spending our day and night eating, drinking, playing sports and exchanging photos with our Korean homestay family. We’ll also take advantage of the mountains here and go for gentle hikes along the peak for spectacular views. After saying goodbye to our Korean families we’ll make our way to Orang Airport to board one of the very few domestic flights to Pyongyang city! This concludes our adventure of the rural north east of Korea.
Once arriving in Pyongyang we’ll dig deep into the must see sights of the capital. We’ll be visiting the Mausoleum of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the Korean War Museum, riding the deep and mystifying Pyongyang Metro, drinking at the local micro breweries, Kim Il Sung Square and much much more. And of course, no trip to North Korea is ever complete without a day visit to the DMZ to see where both North and South Korea separate their land.
And there you have it! All the must see sights of the DPRK in one very convenient and not to be missed package.
Meet your YPT guide at 10:00am 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.
Take the overnight sleeper train at 1:20pm for Tumen City.
During the journey your YPT guide will be happy to answer any DPRK based questions you might have and use his Chinese ability to keep you stocked up with beer and food for the journey
Thursday 18th October
Arrival in Tumen at 3:30pm
Check into hotel situated within walking distance of the border
Chance to hangout by the river to have dinner and look over the border in the DPRK, this is also a great place to buy local souvenirs
Overnight in Tumen
Friday 19th October
Up early to drive to the border to go through some very relaxed but also extremely curious Chinese customs.
Walk the bridge into the DPRK to meet you local guides and some friendly but amazingly thorough DPRK customs officials.
Drive to Wangjaesan Grand Monument – one of the most spectacular monuments in the DPRK.
Drive to Hoeryong city (2 hours)- Population 140,000, This city is famous for white apricots, ceramics and beautiful girls! It’s also the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung’s revolutionary hero wife- Kim Jong Suk.
Lunch at the Chongryangumryo Restaurant in Hoeryong City
Visit the statue of Mother Kim Jong Suk (Mother of General Kim Jong Il) and her revolutionary Museum.
Visit the native home of Mother Kim Jong Suk
Check into the Hoeryong Hotel
Dinner, drinks and overnight at the hotel
Saturday 20th October
We’ll pay a very special visit to Kim Ki Song Middle School – they have an English class here full of students learning basic English. We use this time to join the students, ask them questions and let them ask us questions. This is one of our favourite stops on the tour!
Drive to Chongjin City (2 hours) – Chongjin in DPRK’s third largest city and is most famous for its steelworks industry.
Check in Chongjin Hotel and have lunch
Visit the newly renovated city square to see the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il
We’ll walk around the square to visit the newly built E-Library – here the locals have a chance to use their local intranet for research, practice their typing skills and to play locally made computer games
Visit the Revolutionary Museum of Chongjin
Stop by the local Seamen’s Club to have a bath in their local hot baths (30RMB extra) – Billiards and a bar is also available
Dinner and drinks at Namgang Restaurant – during dinner we’ll have the option to dance and sing with the Korean waitresses
Overnight at Chongjin Hotel
Sunday 21st October
Visit the local Kim Chaek Steel Complex Kindergarten for a Children’s Performance – we can also bring some goodies for the kids here!
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.
Drive to Mt. Chilbo (3 hours) stopping along the coastal road for some gorgeous scenic views
Arrive at the entrance to Mt. Chilbo for an explanation of the area using the world’s largest mineral painting map as a guide.
Lunch at Outer Chilbo Hotel
We’ll begin our easy hike through the mountains of Chilbo – this region is the most famous part of North Hamgyong province and has lots of colourful stories to explain the various rock structures
We’ll stop by Kaesim Buddhist Temple and meet the local monk
Hike back to the hotel for dinner, drinks and overnight
Monday 22nd October – Home Stay!
We’ll begin another hike, this time up to Tokgol and Gangsonmun areas – these are the highest peaks of the Mt. Chilbo area and we’ll have stunning views of both the land and the sea.
Picnic lunch once we reach the top!
Trip Highlight – We’ll drive to the home stay village where we’ll be greeted by our families and then taken to our homes
Spectate or play volleyball with the locals, play with the children, help with some light chores or walk around to meet the neighbours!
Optional Korean wrestling and volleyball tournament with the villagers.
Bonfire party on the beach with the villagers, singing songs and dancing.
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 at this point)
Tuesday 23rd October
For homestay residents help your families with morning chores – not a must but a very polite gesture
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 Gyongsong county (2 hours)
Lunch at Gyongsong Hotel
Drive to Orang Airport and board a local domestic Air Koryo flight at 1:30pm flying to Pyongyang city – here we’ll say goodbye to our local North Hamgyong Korean guides!
Arriving in Pyongyang at 2:50pm and be greeted by our new local Pyongyang guides
Check in and lunch at the Yanggakdo Hotel
Visit the Juche Tower – 170 meters tall, we can visit the top for a fantastic view for 5 euros extra
Stop by Gold Lane Bowling Alley to compete in a bowling game with our guides (a great way to get to know each other better) and to mingle with other locals. 2.5 euros per game
Stop by Taedonggang Brewery #3 for micro brewed beers, juices or coffee!
Dinner and drinks at Dongsong Restaurant
Overnight in Yanggakdo Hotel
Wednesday 24th October
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 euro).
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 in a local Korean restaurant to try the local famous Pyongyang Cold Noodles or the traditional Korean dish of Bibimbap!
Pyongyang Metro – ride 5 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.
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.
Dinner at the National restaurant with performance!
Overnight at the Yanggakdo Hotel.
Thursday 25th October
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 Gold Cup Restaurant.
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.
Visit a local department store to see how the middle class workers of Pyongyang shop
Stop by the Party Foundation Monument – this monument is 50 meters high and displays the socialist hammer, sickle and writing brush
Dinner and drinks at the Moran Hill Restaurant
Overnight at the Yanggakdo Hotel.
Friday 26th October
Wake up early and make our way down to Kaesong City
Panmunjom DMZ Village – see the DMZ and the treaty and conferences rooms where the armistice was signed all in the company of a friendly KPA officer guide. (You can also take pictures of soldiers here!)
Koryo Museum – the oldest university in Korea and now a converted museum of local history, also the site of the best propaganda and stamp/postcard shop in the DPRK!
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.)
Drop by Sariwon City (Capital of North Hwanghae Province) to walk in the local folk custom park and view the city from the mountain top pagoda. You can also try locally brewed Makkoli in a local bar.
Photo opportunity of the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, standing over the Thongil Highway.
Dinner at the Famous Duck BBQ Restaurant.
Taedonggan Diplomat’s Club. There’s local and imported drinks, karaoke, billiards, ping pong and a great chance to meet some local Pyongyang expats.
Overnight at the Yanggakdo Hotel
Saturday 27th October
Flight members depart at 9:00am for Beijing on Air Koryo arriving at 9:55am Beijing time.
Train members depart at 10:25am for the overnight train to Beijing and enjoy the peaceful countryside of both the DPRK and China
Sunday 28th October
Train members arrive 9:00am in Beijing Railway Station.
• Twin share accommodation (single supplements are available for an extra 40 EUR per night).
• Train in and out Beijing-Tumen and then Pyongyang-Beijing. Flights are extra.
• All meals in the DPRK unless specified in the itinerary.
• Korean and western guides
• Air-conditioned bus and driver.
• All entrances (unless otherwise stated)