This is one of our most exciting trips of the year as we’re spicing up our annual DPRK Grand National Day Tour! We’ll not only be heading into Pyongyang for the massive national day celebrations marking North Korea’s Independence Day, we’ll then be making our way well off the beaten track by jumping aboard an Air Koryo domestic flight to the far north east of Korea to the infamous city of Chongjin. We’ll explore the largely rural province of North Hamgyong and spend a highlight evening with a Korean family near the spectacular Mt Chilbo.
During our tour in Pyongyang we’ll be visiting the Kim Il Sung Square, stopping by a local fun fair, exploring the deep Pyongyang Metro, visiting the Mausoleum where Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lay in state, checking out the War Museum, heading down to the DMZ and much much more!
On National Day we’ll be taking part in every facet of the celebration process including the fireworks, mass dancing and other surprises along our way!
After the party finishes in Pyongyang, we’ll board our flight to Orang Airport located in the deep rural areas of the DPRK. We’ll spend our first night up in Chongjin city, after which we’ll then head down towards Mt. Chilbo, one of the very sacred and beautiful mountains in Korea. Here we’ll be able to meet, play, eat and stay overnight with a DPRKorean family. During the end of our tour we’ll head up towards Gyongsong city, a small city most famous for its mineral spa waters, before boarding a flight back to Pyongyang then finishing up back in Beijing by train or Air Koryo flight.
During your tour, we’ve been given special access to a Russian Mil Mi-17 helicopter to take for a whirl around Pyongyang city for a unique aerial tour of the capital.
We’ll swoop around the iconic, 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.
Don’t waste this perfect opportunity to explore a part of Korea that’s mostly forgotten by tourists while also joining us for all the festivities!
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 8th September
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 12:00pm (meet group at Air Koryo check in counter).
Flight group arrive in Pyongyang at 3:00pm to a warm welcome from your Korean guides.
Train group arrive at 6:45pm to an equally warm welcome.
Dinner at a local Korean restaurant on Ryomyong Street
Check in and overnight at the Sosan Hotel.
Wednesday 9th September – National Day!
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 – the two large bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking the city. (Optional extra- you can present flowers if you wish: small bunches are 2 euro, larger ones 4). We expect it to be very busy at this time with locals paying their respect.
Foreign Language Bookshop- Shopping central for books, pins, DVD’s, CD’s and periodicals in English and other foreign Languages, followed by a brisk walk to:
Kim Il Sung Square- The central square of Pyongyang City.
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 the Chongryu Korean Hot Pot restaurant.
Walk along Moran Hill where Korean families gather for outdoor BBQ, singing and dancing. Fantastic for photos.
Special celebratory events (optional: approx 20 euros) – Yet to be confirmed but we will take part in any events that are possible for tourists to attend. These may include a circus performance, red orchestra, or possibly some other surprises.
Juche Tower- The tallest stone tower in the world it represents the eternally burning Korean Juche Ideology.
Monument to the Party Foundation- Built-in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the worker’s party.
Spectate and/or join in on the Pyongyang university students performing a mass dance near an iconic DPRK monument – fantastic for rare photo opportunities!
Dinner at a local restaurant to try the famous Pyongyang cold noodles or Korean Bibimbap with a special performance from the waitresses
To be confirmed: We’ll gather in Kim Il Sung Square to watch the fireworks amongst the locals to celebrate today’s event.
Overnight at Sosan Hotel
Thursday 10th September
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – The mausoleum for the Great Leader President Kim Il Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.
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.
Helicopter Joyride option – we’ll drive to Pyongyang Airport for a VIP lunch (included) and board a Mil Mi-17 to take on a joyride for a 40-minute aerial tour of Pyongyang city. (250 euros)
Lunch at the Moran Hill Chicken 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.
Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace – the DPRK’s largest schoolchildren’s palace. We’ll have a chance to visit classrooms to see students studying their elective subjects including dancing, sports, musical instruments, calligraphy, computer science, embroidery and more. The students of the palace will put on a spectacular performance.
Visit Kwangbok department store – here we can buy locally made items and exchange our foreign currency into local DPRK Won!
Drinks at the Taedongang #3 brewery with seven different beers on tap! (Beers 1.5 euro each).
Dinner at the Pyongyang Duck BBQ Restaurant.
Overnight in Sosan Hotel.
Friday 11th September
Depart 10:00am at Pyongyang Airport on Air Koryo flight to Orang Airport (near Chongjin city) – this is one of few unique opportunities to fly Air Koryo domestically within the DPRK!
Arrive at Orang Airport at 10:50am and drive onto Chongjin (2 hours) – Chongjin in DPRK’s third largest city and most famous for its steel industry.
Check in and lunch at the Chongjin Seamen’s Club – here you can try Chongjin’s best noodle dish
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 newly erected statues of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il.
Visit the Electronic Library where students gather to study materials on their domestic intranet and play computer games
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
Stop by the Chongjin Foreign Language Institute to greet the students and join in on a class. This is also a fantastic opportunity to speak with the students to get a better understanding of their lives in Chongjin
Dinner and drinks/bathing at the Chongjin Foreigners Hotel
Overnight in Hotel
Saturday 12th September – Homestay!
Susongchon Foodstuffs Factory – where bread, soju and other sweets are made locally in Chongjin city
North Hamngyong Mushroom Factory – Here we can see how mushrooms are produced as well as sample the local product.
Drive to Mt Chilbo (2 hours)
Arrive at the entrance to Mt Chilbo for an explanation of the area using the world’s largest mineral painting map as a guide.
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
Trip Highlight – We’ll drive to the homestay village where we’ll be greeted by our families and then taken to our homes.
Time to get to know our host families
Dinner and home stay overnight at the village – two guests per family
Sunday 13th September – Homestay!
Morning breakfast – we recommend helping your families with morning chores the next morning – not a must but a very polite gesture and an experience all of it’s own.
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!
Return to the homestay for an afternoon of activities
Jump on a local fisherman’s boat and drive out to see to see the magnificent Mt. Chilbo from afar (30 RMB extra)
Volleyball match with the homestay village residents – they’re quite competitive!
Drinks and snacks with the Homestay Chief and his family.
Korean wrestling (Sirum or Ssireum) tournament with the villagers.
Bonfire party on the beach
Dinner and overnight at Homestay
Monday 14th September
Head back north to Yombun revolutionary site- On the way we’ll stop at this beautiful scenic site named for being one of the first places on the East Coast where villagers discovered a new way to get sea salt despite the East sea being almost tideless.
Gyongsong Revolutionary Museum
Jipsam Revolutionary Site with picnic lunch along the coastline
Explore the Gyongsong City Walls – Ancient city wall of Gyonsong city dating back to the Koryo Dynasty
Gyongsong Health Spa (50 RMB) – Public sauna and bathing facilities. Gyongsong Health Spa is famous around North Korea for its reputation of increasing the recovery of those with physical injuries such as back, neck and shoulder pains. This retro facility is well worth checking out.
Dinner and overnight at Gyongsong Hotel
Tuesday 15th September
Gyongsong Revolutionary site – A house once used by the DPRK Leadership in the area. Here we will learn about their exploits in the region.
Explore Changyon lake with scenic views
Picnic lunch along Changyon lake – here we’ll meet with local fishermen and prepare freshly caught seafood over BBQs
Drive to Orang to board our 3:00pm flight to Pyongyang
Arrive in Pyongyang at 3:50pm
Stroll along the new Mirae Scientist Street to see one of the newest residential areas in Pyongyang
Dinner at Dongsong restaurant
Overnight in the Chongnyon Hotel this hotel has the only outdoor swimming pool in Pyongyang!
Wednesday 16th September
Up nice and early for the drive to Kaesong city (2 and a half hours)
Panmunjon 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).
The concrete wall of the DMZ – this is a little off the beaten track and gives us a great glimpse at the wall which was erected by the South Koreans during the 70’s. We can even see South Korean watch towers along the hill from the DPRK post
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. Also if you like you can try Makkoli in a local Makkoli Bar.
Photo opportunity of the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, standing over the Reunification Highway.
Dinner at the Lamb BBQ Restaurant.
Overnight at the Chongnyon Hotel.
Thursday 17th September
Flight members depart at 10:30am for Beijing arriving 11:30am in Beijing local time
Train members depart at 10:25am for Beijing.
Friday 18th September
Train members arrive at Beijing Railway Station at 9:00am.
• Twin share accommodation (single supplements are available for an extra 40 EUR per night).
• Train in and out Beijing-Pyongyang-Beijing. Flights are extra.
• Domestic flight included.
• All meals in the DPRK unless specified in the itinerary.
• Korean and western guides.
• Air-conditioned bus and driver.
• All entrances (unless otherwise stated).