At Young Pioneer Tours, we strongly believe in ethical tourism and providing opportunity to change perceptions of the DPRK (North Korea). We have a long and proud history of arranging cultural projects with the Korean people; be it through art, sport, or whatever medium which brings people together to exchange on cultural ideas.
Examples of the breadth and variety of what we can help you achieve are below. If you know of a sports team or artist who would like to visit, or if you have an idea for a project, please let us know.
DPRK: North Korea in Colour – September 2019
In collaboration with Dave Kulesza, we arranged his photography project focusing on the visual perspective of architecture & design of Pyongyang.
First North Korean Language Study Group in North Hamgyong province – July 2018
With our travel partners based in Chongjin, the third largest city of the DPRK, we arranged the first ever Korean Study Language Program in the rural region of North Hamgyong province at the Chongjin school of foreign languages for foreign visitors. This gave our tourists an incredibly rare opportunity to live life as an expat outside of Pyongyang.
North Korean cinema events – September 2016
In cooperation with the committee that are responsible for the annual Pyongyang International Film Festival, we held our first of many North Korean cinema evenings where we would select a famous North Korean film such as the Flower Girl, Hong Kil Dong, Order No. 027, My Happiness and have a chance to do a questionnaire with a member of the crew involved in the filming such as the director, leading actress and actor to learn more about the cinema scene in the DPRK.
Bicycle tour in Pyongyang – June 2016
After months of preparation and negotiating, YPT led the first ever group of tourists for a city bicycle tour of Pyongyang. One of the aspects that helped us over this hurdle was to use locally made DPRK bicycles as foreign bicycles were not allowed to be used by tourists in Pyongyang. We still continue to run our annual Bicycle tour which we believe to be the absolute best way to experience the North Korean capital.
Skill Training in Singapore – March 2016
In partnership with Aram Pam of DPRK360, a group of North Koreans involved in tourism travelled to Singapore for marketing, media and associated skills training. To most of them, this was their first time to leave North Korea. For this exceptional experience, YPT provided consultation, advice, and transportation logistics.
Flight tours over Pyongyang – November 2015
In cooperation with North Korea’s national airline, Air Koryo, Rowan Beard of YPT was the first to conduct an aerial tour over Pyongyang in a light aircraft, accompanied with Aram Pam of DPRK360. This also opened up access to Air Koryo’s Mil Mi-17 – a Soviet-era military transport helicopter, which was soon available for all other tourists visiting North Korea as an option to see the capital from the skies.
Laibach Concert – August 2015
In partnership with Morten Traavik, YPT helped arranged fans to attend the first ever rock concert in North Korea. Laibach, a rock group from the former People’s Federal Republic of Yugoslavia based in Slovenia, performed to a full house of North Koreans. We also arranged transport and logistics for the band and their entourage. This was one of the biggest events to hit North Korea as they were celebrating the anniversary of Liberation Day. A groundbreaking documentary was released in 2016 about the concert called Liberation Day.
Pyongyang Deaf & Blind Partnership – May 2015
In 2015, we met Robert Grund, the Pyongyang representative of the World Federation of the Deaf, the director of TOGETHER-Hamhung charity and Pyongyang’s only deaf foreign resident. He established the first kindergarten for the deaf in Pyongyang’s Moranbong District, wholly paid for and funded by a small German non-profit Disabled Persons Organization. We are proud to support the deaf kindergarten and the deaf & blind centre as a proactive way to give back to the people and improve the lives of the citizens of the DPRK.
Scuba Diving Tour – June 2014
After lengthy negotiations, we arranged for the first Western tourist in history to scuba dive in North Korean waters. The diving took place off the coast of Mt Chilbo, in North Hamgyong Province. The dive was assisted by local Koreans, whose village we then stayed overnight in. We will be extending this into our first ever DPRK Scuba Diving group tour in 2017.
Parkour Tour – August 2013
The first ever Parkour event in North Korea, arranged in conjunction with Breath Parkour magazine. Our group were taken to a number of places to practice, attracting much interest from local Koreans. It may not have sparked a parkour explosion in the DPRK, but it was extremely successful, and garnered media interest both in and out of the country.
Annual Five-a-side Football – June 2013
Every year, our football tour has our guests not only watching a live football game from top-level North Korean football teams, but taking part in a friendly football tournament with our Korean hosts at KITC (Korean International Travel Company).
Opening the Tumen Namyang Border – November 2012
Troy Collings of YPT was the first ever western visitor to cross the Chinese-Korean border at Tumen, Jilin, China into Namyang of North Hamgyong province in the DPRK. Previously only open to Chinese visitors, and after years of meetings and negotiations, we were able to make this available to all other nationalities. We now run regular group and independent tours to this rarely visited region of the country. The opening of this border, and the direct improvement to the lives of the people in the region through tourism, is one of our most successful cultural exchange programs we continue to arrange.
First North Korean Language Study Group in North Korea – March 2012
With our travel partners in the DPRK, we arranged the first ever Korean language study tour in North Korea. The first trip focused on the North Korean dialect, the Juche Idea, and the official state ideology of the country. It gained a lot of media interest both in and out of the country. As of 2018, we introduced the most affordable and in-depth North Korean study course to foreigners wanting to not only learn the northern dialect but to understand more of what it’s like to live in North Korea. We continue to hold our Pyongyang Language study tour every year at Kim Hyong Jik University.