Grand National Day & North East Tour With Mass Games
This is one of our most exciting trips of the year as we’re spicing up our annual North Korean 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 third largest city, Chongjin. We’ll explore the largely rural province of North Hamgyong and spend two evenings with a Korean home stay family near the spectacular Chilbo mountain region.
During our tour in Pyongyang, we’ll be visiting the must-see sights such as Kim Il Sung Square, exploring the deep mysterious Pyongyang Metro, visiting the Mausoleum where Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lay in state, the Korean War Museum, head down to the DMZ and explore two cities south of Pyongyang.
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 celebrations in Pyongyang, we’ll board our flight to Orang county 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 North Korean 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.
The Mass Games, the world’s largest performance with over 100,000 performers is expected to take place during this tour! Now is your chance to watch this grand spectacular performance. Tickets are on-top of the tour cost and are paid in cash during your tour in Pyongyang. We highly recommend securing your spot on tour early as we expect spaces to fill up very quickly.
Ticket costs for Mass Games below:
Original Price (Per Person)
€100 / 800RMB
€300 / 2,300RMB
€500 / 3800RMB
€800 / 6000RMB
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 7th 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 8th September
Morning walk along Pyongyang’s main avenue from Pyongyang Grand Theatre down towards Kim Il Sung Square
Explore Kim Il Sung Square
The Foreign Language Bookshop- A great place to buy books, pins, posters and Korean DVD’s
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: 40RMB or 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 the Chongryu 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.
Juche Tower- The tallest stone tower in the world it represents the eternally burning Korean Juche Ideology. (40RMB or 5 euros to visit the top for panoramic views of the city)
Monument to the Party Foundation – Built-in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the worker’s party.
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 for 20RMB a pint. Coffee and soft drink also available
Dinner at the Pyongyang Duck BBQ Restaurant.
Overnight in Sosan Hotel.
Thursday 9th September – National Day holiday
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.
Lunch at the Moran Hill Restaurant
Walk along Moran Hill where Korean families gather for outdoor BBQ, singing and dancing. Fantastic for photos.
Special celebratory events (optional: 150RMB or 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.
Spectate and/or join in on the Pyongyang university students performing a mass dance near an iconic DPRK monument – fantastic for rare photo opportunities!
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.
Dinner at a local restaurant to try the famous Pyongyang cold noodles or Korean Bibimbap with a special performance from the waitresses
Spectate the Mass Games – The world’s largest performance. Tickets can be purchased with cash only and reserved whilst on tour in North Korea.
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
Friday 10th September
Depart 10:00am from Pyongyang Airport on an Air Koryo flight to Orang county – this is one of few unique opportunities to fly Air Koryo domestically within North Korea
Arrive at Orang Airport at 10:50am and drive onto Chongjin (2 hours) – Chongjin is North Korea’s third-largest city with a heavy focus on the steelworks and fishing industry.
Check-in at Chongjin Hotel – formally a hotel used to accommodate Soviet scientists back in the 80’s
Lunch at the Chongjin Seamen’s Club – here you can try Chongjin’s best noodle dish
Visit the newly renovated Chongjin Square to see the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il
Explore the square to visit the newly built Electronic 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
Visit the Kim Chaek Steel Complex Kindergarten for a children’s performance – before visiting we can stop by a local store to pick up some stationary or candy for the students
Chongjin Art Gallery – One of the best art galleries in the country to offer unique propaganda artwork
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 an incredible view of Chongjin’s east port.
Dinner and drinks at Namgang Restaurant – during dinner we’ll have the option to dance and sing with the Korean waitresses.
You can have the option to visit the new Namgang hot spot for a hot bath and swimming. (60 RMB extra)
Overnight and drinks at Chongjin Hotel
Saturday 11th September – North Korean home stay
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
Susongchon Foodstuffs Factory – where bread, soju and other sweets are made locally in Chongjin city
Drive to Mt. Chilbo (3 hours) stopping along the coastal road for some gorgeous scenic views
On the way stopping at the North Hamngyong Mushroom Factory – Here we can see how mushrooms are produced as well as sample the local product.
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
Begin your 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.
On the way stopping by Kaesim Buddhist Temple and meet the local monk
Trip Highlight – Drive to the home stay village where we’ll be greeted by our families and then taken to our homes. We encourage to bring gifts and photos from your home countries as a nice gesture.
Dinner and home stay overnight at the village – two guests per family
Sunday 12th September – North Korean 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
Spectate or play volleyball with the locals, play with the children, help with some light chores or walk around to meet the neighbours!
Jump on a local fisherman’s boat and drive out to see to see the magnificent Mt. Chilbo from afar (20 RMB extra)
Optional Korean wrestling and volleyball tournament with the villagers.
Dinner at the home stay village
Bonfire party on the beach with the villagers providing entertainment by singing songs and dancing.
Overnight with our Korean home stay families.
Monday 13th September
Morning chores with home stay family such as sweeping, washing dishes, watering vegetables in the front yard, playing with the dog, etc– not a must but a very polite gesture as a thank you for accommodating you
Drive to Orang county on the way stopping at:
Yombun revolutionary site – 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.
Jipsam Revolutionary Site with picnic lunch along the beach
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 14th 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 county to board our 3:00pm flight back 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 15th 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 16th 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 17th 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.
• Return Air Koryo domestic flights
• All meals in the DPRK unless specified in the itinerary.
• Korean and western guides.
• Air-conditioned bus and driver.
• All entrances (unless otherwise stated).