The name of the tour says it all. This is
the real deal. This entire tour includes the rural northeast of the DPRK which
is way off the usual tourist trail and combining the must-see sights of
Pyongyang and the DMZ with a connecting domestic flight, something that is
certainly unique for experience in North Korea.
Our journey first starts in Beijing. If you’d like to make more of your time in China, why not visit its best ghost city in our Ordos-Kangbashi ghost city tour? Then, from Beijing, we’ll board our overnight sleeper train to Tumen, a border town of China that lays directly across the Tumen River from the DPRK, only a stone’s throw away. Once arriving, we’ll have time to explore this unique town and spend the evening at a local hotel.
The following morning we’ll go through
Chinese immigration and become one of the very few western tourists to walk
across a bridge into North Korea. Here we’ll be met by our friendly local
Korean guides and head directly to Wangjaesan grand monument, one of the
most impressive in the country and a must-see for any fan of grand
We’ll then make our way to Hoeryong city,
a beautiful town popular for pretty girls, apricots and the hometown of Kim
Jong Suk (Kim Jong Il’s Mother). Other highlights include Kim Ki Song
middle school where we’ll involve ourselves in an English class; most of these
students have most likely never seen a Westerner before.
Next on our agenda will be the infamous
Chongjin industrial city, where we’ll be able to visit a local kindergarten
where the workers of the Kim Chaek steelworks factory send their children to
study. We’ll also explore the recently renovated square centered in the DPRK’s
third largest city and the revolutionary museum that holds history on the
battle for liberation against the Japanese during WWII.
Our next destination is Mt Chilbo, famous
for its incredible nature of both land and sea. Here we’ll indulge in the
only homestay available in the country for two nights. This is a one of a
kind experience will lead us to spend our time eating, drinking, playing
sports and exchanging photos with our Korean homestay family. We’ll also
take advantage of the mountains here and go for gentle hikes along the peaks
for spectacular views. After saying goodbye to our Korean families, we’ll make
our way to Orang Airport to board one of the very few domestic flights to
Pyongyang city! This concludes our adventure of the rural northeast
Once arriving in Pyongyang, we’ll dig deep into the must-see sights of the capital. We’ll be visiting the Mausoleum of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the Korean War Museum, riding the deep and mystifying Pyongyang Metro, drinking at the local microbreweries, Kim Il Sung Square and much much more. And of course, no trip to North Korea is ever complete without a day visit to the DMZ to see where both North and South Korea separate their land.
Meet your YPT guide at 10:00am 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.
Take the overnight sleeper train at 1:00pm for Tumen City.
During the journey, your YPT guide will be happy to answer any DPRK based questions you might have and use his Chinese ability to keep you stocked up with drinks and food for the journey.
Sunday 24th October
Arrival in Tumen at 3:06pm
Check into a hotel situated within walking distance of the border
A chance to hang out by the river to have dinner and look over the border in the DPRK, this is also a great place to buy local souvenirs
Dinner at local Chinese restaurant with North East Chinese specialty dishes – 50RMB
Overnight in Tumen
Monday 25th October
Up early to drive to the border to go through some very relaxed but also extremely curious Chinese customs.
Walk the bridge into the DPRK to meet your local guides and some friendly but amazingly thorough DPRK customs officials.
Get your first taste of North Korean Cuisine with Lunch at a local restaurant in Namyang city square complete with a performance!
Drive to Wangjaesan Grand Monument – one of the most spectacular monuments in the DPRK.
Drive to Hoeryong city (2 hours)- Population 140,000, This city is famous for white apricots, ceramics and beautiful girls! It’s also the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung’s revolutionary hero wife- Kim Jong Suk.
We’ll pay a very special visit to Kim Ki Song Middle School – they have an English class here full of students learning basic English. We use this time to join the students, ask them questions and let them ask us questions. This is one of our favourite stops on the tour!
Check into the Hoeryong Hotel
Dinner, drinks and overnight at the hotel
Tuesday 26th October – Korean Homestay
Visit the statue of Mother Kim Jong Suk (Mother of General Kim Jong Il) and her revolutionary Museum.
Visit the native home of Mother Kim Jong Suk
Drive to Chongjin City (2 hours) – Chongjin in DPRK’s third-largest city and is most famous for its steelworks industry.
Check-in at Chongjin Hotel and have lunch
Visit the newly renovated city square to see the statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il
We’ll walk around the square to visit the newly built E-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 local Kim Chaek Steel Complex Kindergarten for a Children’s Performance – we can also bring some goodies for the kids here!
Chongjin Art Gallery – The best place to pick up unique Korean 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 a fantastic 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.
We will 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
Wednesday 27th October – Korean Homestay
Drive to Mt. Chilbo (3 hours) stopping along the coastal road for some gorgeous scenic views
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
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.
Dinner and homestay overnight at the village – two guests per family
Thursday 28th October
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 (30 RMB extra)
Optional Korean wrestling and volleyball tournament with the villagers.
Dinner at the homestay village
Bonfire party on the beach with the villagers, singing songs and dancing.
Overnight with our Korean Homestay families.
Friday 29th October
Morning chores with homestay family – not a must but a very polite gesture
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
Drive to Orang Airport and board a local domestic Air Koryo flight at 3:00pm flying to Pyongyang city – here we’ll say goodbye to our local North Hamgyong Korean guides!
Arriving in Pyongyang at 3:50pm and be greeted by our new local Pyongyang guides
Visit the Three Revolutions Exhibition center – the exhibition primarily showcases the three primary fields of revolution – ideological, technical, and cultural.
Stroll along the new Ryomyong Street to see one of the newest residential areas in Pyongyang, with the third tallest building in Pyongyang
Dinner at a local Korean restaurant on Ryomyong Street
Overnight in Sosan Hotel
Saturday 30th October
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.
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.
Visit Kwangbok department store – here we can buy locally made items and exchange our foreign currency into local DPRK Won!
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.
Overnight at Sosan Hotel
Sunday 31st October
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 Chicken Restaurant
Walk along Moran Hill where Korean families gather for outdoor BBQ, singing and dancing on their day off. Fantastic for photos.
Stop by the Mansudae Art Studio where all the art works, portraits and monuments from the government are produced
Monument to the Party Foundation- Built in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the worker’s party.
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.
Drinks at the Taedongang #3 brewery with seven different beers on tap! (Beers 1.5 euro each). Softdrinks and coffee available
Dinner at the Pyongyang Duck BBQ Restaurant.
Overnight in Sosan Hotel.
Monday 1st November
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 Sosan Hotel.
Tuesday 2nd November
Flight members depart at 8:50am for Beijing arriving 9:50am in Beijing local time
Train members depart at 10:25am for Beijing.
Wednesday 3rd November
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-Tumen and then Pyongyang-Beijing. Flights are extra.
• All meals in the DPRK unless specified in the itinerary.
• Korean and western guides
• Air-conditioned bus and driver.
• All entrances (unless otherwise stated)