Young Pioneer Tours

Undiscovered North Korea: North Hamgyong Province

The undiscovered North Hamgyong Province has by far become one of our favorite destinations — not only in North Korea but also in the whole world. Nestled up in the far north-east of the country, this area is ripe with history, untouched mountain ranges, incredible food and some of the most hospitable people in the DPRK. The 3-4 tours a year we run to this region always have an extra star next to them on our calendar and are very highly anticipated.

Hiking in the Mount Chilbo Area one of the 5 sacred mountains of Korea.

Here are a few reasons — in no particular order — that detail why we love North Hamgyong Province.

A view into a different North Korea

North Hamngyong Province provides a great look at life outside of Pyongyang and the areas that surround the capital. Perfect for those who have already been to Pyongyang and want a new and different experience than their first time around, or similarly perfect for first-timers who want to see something different than the usual Pyongyang. North Hamgyong province will not leave you disappointed: from impressive monuments to rarely-visited provincial capitals and pristine countryside, this is much different than a tour to Pyongyang.

The City of Iron

Chongjin is the third biggest city in North Korea and the industrial heartland of the country. Unofficially known as the “City of Iron”, It is figuratively and literally miles away from the glitzy lights of Pyongyang, but this city has its own unique charm and fascinating history. Though hard hit by the economic difficulties of the 90s, witness the resilient strength of the local people and learn about how they have moved on. Highlights of visiting this city include a visit to the Kim Chaek Steel Complex kindergarten for a performance, a visit to the Chongjin Foreign Languages school to meet kids with some seriously impressive English, and finally dinner at the Namgang Restaurant which has some of the best seafood on offer in the DPRK.

Below: Photos around Chongjin including the monuments to President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il.

Below: Teaching a class at the Chongjin Foreign Languages school and a group photo with the Kindergarten performers at Kim Chaek Kindergarten.

North Korea’s only homestay

We have talked about North Korea’s Homestay before, but seriously this is in our humble opinion is the most fascinating place to stay in North Korea.  Located at the foot of the gorgeous Chilbosan mountain range, this is the best place for local interaction as we will spend our days and nights drinking, talking and playing sports with our host families.

Below: Photos with the locals of the homestay

Below: Volleyball with the village locals and a well-deserved lunch inside a North Korean home.

World-class hiking in North Hamgyong

A highlight of any trip to North Hamgyong Province is the chance to hike in the stunning and world-class Chilbosan Mountain Range. We hike to the top of Tokgol and Gangsonmun, which are the highest peaks in the area and provide breathtaking views of the surrounding land and sea. Beautiful in any season, this proves a nice change of pace from the usual revolutionary museums and sights.

Untouched beaches in North Hamgyong

In addition to the hiking, another thing you probably did not expect to be doing on your tour to North Korea would be lazing on the beach. North Hamgyong province has miles of untouched coast along the Chilbo Sea. Perfect swimming temperature in the summer, an afternoon at the beach is a staple on our North East tours and usually ends with us hiring local Fishermans’ boats to take us out for amazing views of both the mountains and sea.

The people of North Hamgyong

From our Korean Guides to the friendly locals, The people of North Hamgyong province are among some of the most friendly and hospitable people you will ever meet. Although this area of North Korea is very off the beaten path and accommodation standards can sometimes be a bit lower than in other areas of the country, it is more than made up for by the locals and their friendly smiles.

We currently have 3 tours scheduled to this rarely-visited area of North Korea. Our All Koreas 2 Tour in June, Our September Grand National Day and North East tour and finally our Real Deal Tour in October.

Spots for these tours fill up quite fast so don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing where one of our sales agents will guide you through the process of booking an adventure of a lifetime.

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