Join YPT for this epic tour combo on the roof of the world for our pilgrimage to Tibet combined with Victory Day celebrations in the DPRK.
In this tour, we combine the main sights in Lhasa with a trip to Namtso Lake and also in Namba villages where we can see more about what life is like outside Lhasa. In North Korea, we will be taking part in any available DPRK celebrations, as well as hanging out and drinking with locals in the park, watching the fireworks and joining in the Mass Dance!
We’ll spend a couple of days in Lhasa looking around the Potala Palace and other lesser-known monasteries, as well as the Tibet Museum, where we learn the Chinese interpretation of Tibetan history and the role of British imperialism in the area. Then will spend a day out at the breath-taking Namtso Lake, the highest salt-water lake in the world and take the train out from the highest railway in the world!
In North Korea we’ll be hitting up all the must-see sights of Pyongyang also experience the deep Pyongyang metro as we ride not two, but six stations of line 1! We’ll also have an opportunity to visit the Korean War Museum and see the North Korean’s story of the war that took place against the Americans. No trip to the DPRK is complete without visiting Panmumjom (the DMZ) from the North.
Our longer tour will take us up to Mt Myohyang where we’ll visit the famous International Friendship Exhibition where gifts from all around the world were presented to the past and current leaders of the DPRK.
This tour starts in Beijing/Shanghai or Xi’an/Chengdu, but we can arrange travel from anywhere in China depending on your plans, get in touch for a quote. It finishes in Beijing where we will be continuing onto the DPRK for the next part of the tour.
Morning flight to Lhasa (from Beijing/Shanghai/Chengdu/Xi’an) and a traditional Nada welcoming ceremony from our Tibetan guides
Check in to the beautiful and welcoming Tashitakge Hotel deep in Lhasa’s old town and start acclimatising to the altitude and getting to know your guide and fellow travellers.
Free afternoon to wander the streets of Lhasa old town
Get your first taste of yak and other Tibetan foods when we go for dinner at a small but welcoming courtyard restaurant near the hotel
Overnight in Lhasa.
Monday 16th July
First things first, we’ve got to visit the world famous Potala Palace. This was the residence of the Dalai Lama until he fled to India in 1957, but had been the main seat of Tibetan government for centuries. Set on the mountaintop this is a site not to be missed!
Join the pilgrims on the Pilgrims Path for a walk around the palace.
Grab a quick lunch of Nepalese food in central Lhasa
Carry on a temple themed day visiting the Jokhang Temple – this temple is actually considered the most important of Lhasa’s temples by Tibetans and was built for the Nepalese Princess of the Tibetan King
Afternoon wander around Barkor Street market – this part of the old town is a major pilgrimage site and we can see locals prostrating themselves as they make their way clockwise around the roads
Dinner and drinks in the old town
Overnight in Lhasa.
Tuesday 17th July
Drive to Namtso Lake through stunning scenery and high mountain passes, stopping for photo opportunities as often as we want. Although it’s only just over 100 kms from Lhasa the winding, bumpy roads means it might take up to 4 hours, but the scenery makes the drive itself worth it.
Cross a pass that is 5190 metres high, with great views of snow topped mountains and down to the lake itself
Lunch in a lakeside restaurant
Hiking around Namtso Lake. We can ride horses down to the lake or walk around on foot. See who can get the best views for a photo or just hang out by the lakeside with the local Tibetans.
Drive back to Lhasa, dinner and overnight
Wednesday 18th July
Head to the Tibet Museum with exhibitions on Tibetan culture and history and a section on British imperialism in the area before 1949, a good chance to learn the Chinese interpretation of Tibetan history.
Climb up to the Drepung Monastery, built into the hillside outside of Lhasa
Head back into town and get Indian food for lunch
Visit the Sera Monastery where if we are lucky we will hopefully see the monks doing their customary afternoon debate. This monastery is one of the big ‘university monasteries’ of Tibet.
Dinner and overnight in Lhasa.
Thursday 19th July
Drive out to typical Namba Tibetan villages. Here we can get a picture of what life is like outside of Lhasa and the main urban centres, buy some things at the local markets, eat in local restaurants and chat with the locals.
Look around the villages, go horse riding or hiking in the mountains, take in the fresh air, blue sky and stunning scenery.
Drive back to Lhasa and hit the town for our last night in Tibet. We’ll visit the Tibetan bar street to see what the locals do on a night out in Lhasa!
Overnight in Lhasa.
Friday 20th July
Free morning for a last look around Lhasa and to get provisions for the mammoth train journey.
Train from Lhasa to Xi’an/Beijing. Although it’s a long journey, we will be travelling through stunning scenery and will have stocked up on Lhasa beer or Tibetan barley wine for the journey!
Saturday 21st July
Late evening arrival in Xi’an.
Sunday 22nd July
Morning arrival in Beijing
Free day to sightsee around Beijing
Monday 23rd July
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.
Tuesday 24th July
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 12.55pm (Group will meet at Air Koryo check in counter).
Flight group arrive in Pyongyang at 3:30pm 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.
Wednesday 25th July
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: 5 euros).
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.
Lunch at Chongyru Korean Hot Pot Restaurant
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.
Visit the Juche Tower – (optional 5 euro to go to the top).
Walk along the Taedong River in Pyongyang – a great place to take photos of Pyongyang locals.
Monument to the Party Foundation- Built in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the worker’s party.
Dinner at KITC restaurant to sample Pyongyang’s famous Cold Noodles dish or Korean Bibimbap
Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel
Thursday 26th July – Victory Day! Morning
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 most tense 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 people).
Drop by Sariwon City (Capital of North Hwanghae province) to walk in the local folkcustom park and view the city from the mountaintop 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 the National restaurant with performance!
Kaeson Youth Park (Entry 2 euros, rides 3 to 5 euros extra each depending on how awesome they are).
Taedonggang Beer Festival – this is the second year for the famous Pyongyang Beer Festival to be held and we have been invited to join the festival and to try Pyongyang’s finest beers on tap!
Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel.
Friday 27th July
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun- The mausoleum for the Great Leader President Kim Il Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.
Revolutionary Martyry’s Cemetery – The resting place of the greatest of the anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters each grave features a bronze bust of the hero laid to rest within.
Lunch at the Moranbong Chicken Restaurant
Visit Moranbong hill to dance, party and mingle with the locals as they celebrated the biggest holiday of the year!
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.
Special celebratory events (optional: approx 20 euros) – Yet to be confirmed but we will take part in any holiday events that are possible for tourists to attend. These may include a parade, a circus performance, and possibly some other surprises.
Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s palace- The largest of the schoolchildren’s palaces (extracurricular centres) in the DPRK, we’ll first observe some lessons then watch the amazing performance
Expected mass dance for Victory Day, join in or just watch for fantastic photography opportunities!
Stop by Mansugyo Beer Bar to join the locals for refreshments
Dinner at Duck BBQ restaurant
Join the locals on Kim Il Sung Square to watch the fireworks
Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel
Saturday 28th July
Group A Flyers depart Pyongyang at 8:30am on Air Koryo, arrive in Beijing at 9:55am local time.
Group A Train members depart at 10:10am for Beijing, arriving in Beijing at 9:00 am on Sunday 29th July.
Group B continue onto:
Drive out to the beautiful Mt Myohyang (2 and a half hours)
Visit the International Friendship Exhibition – Two large gift houses holding the gifts presented to both Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un from people, governments and institutions all over the world.
Pohyon Temple – One of the 5 famous temples of Korea and one of the largest Buddhist temples in the DPRK.
Lunch at the Chongchun hotel.
Walk around Hyangsan town, a traditional style Korean town
Ryongmun cavern – one of the most famous cave structures in Korea, it’s well known for its size and the uniqueness of its rock formations.
Drive back to Pyongyang
Dinner at Ri Ha restaurant
We’ll do a night stroll along the new Mirae Scientist Street to see one of the newest residential areas in Pyongyang
Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel
Sunday 29th July
Korean Film Studio – We’ll be able to dress up from characters from the old Koryo Dynasty (1 euro) and walk the streets of the backdrops such as Seoul during the 1960s, Tokyo during the 1940s and even an old European town.
Visit Mansudae Art Studio – the nation’s most important art work and statues are created here. This is where we get to meet some of the local artists too.
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 the Kwanbok department store where we can shop with the locals and have access to the local DPRK won currency!
Lunch at the Gold Cup 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
Munsu Water Park – With Indoor and outdoor pools and amazing 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). Another great place to mingle with local people!
Dinner at Potonggang Restaurant
Farewell drinks at the Taedonggang #3 Micro Brewery – The best place to get Taedonggang draft beer
Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel.
Monday 30th July
Group B Flyers depart Pyongyang at 8:30am on Air Koryo, arrive in Beijing at 9:55am local time
Group B Train members depart at 10:10am for Beijing, arriving in Beijing at 9:00 am on Tuesday 31st August
•All Tibet permits
•Local guide fees
•Transport on the tour
• Twin share accommodation (single supplements are available for an extra 40 EUR per night).
• Train in and out Beijing-Pyongyang-Beijing. Flights are extra.3. All meals in the DPRK unless specified in the itinerary.
• Korean and western guides.
• Air-conditioned bus and driver.
• All entrances (unless otherwise stated).