The Absolute DPRK – Liberation Day Special – 7 Nights

7 Nights  –  from €1720

In this comprehensive special tour of North Korea, you’ll join the Liberation Day festivities on August 15 and see absolutely everything from the political sites of Pyongyang to the historical city of Kaesong, right over to the west-coast industrial port city of Nampho and even Pyongsong, often referred to as North Korea’s ‘Silicon Valley’. You will visit the DMZ, the border between North and South Korea, and in Mt. Myohyang you will hike the fragrant mountains, see an extravagant treasure house filled with gifts given to the Great Leaders by foreign dignitaries and stay in North Korea’s self-confessed finest hotel. In Pyongyang you’ll visit all the major highlights, and on top of that, our extensive schedule will allow a visit to the grand mausoleum of the Great Leaders and also a tour and performance at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace, both essential sites open just twice a week! You will ride the Pyongyang Metro, visit the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, board the American ‘Spy Ship’ USS Pueblo, and scale the iconic Tower of the Juche Idea for the best views in Pyongyang. Take a road-trip east to the coastal city of Nampho for a dose of local port life and in Pyongsong, visit a primary school and sit in (and teach if you’d like!) a local English class where you’ll also get to take on the children at ping pong. This will be one life-changing week sure to satisfy some of the curiosity you have in this fascinating country!

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Pay a deposit of 500.00 per item

DAY 1 – DEPART FOR PYONGYANG

At 10am, meet us at Terminal 2, Air Koryo counter E, of the Beijing Capital International Airport to check in (flight times to be confirmed but usually Air Koryo flights depart at 1pm). We will hand out your DPRK visas at this time.

We will then fly to Pyongyang, the capital of the DPRK and home to many of the most iconic monuments and political sites. Our Korean tour guides will be meet us at the airport with a warm welcome. En route to the hotel, our guides will point out the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs Cemetery with its striking monument of a bayonet before we stop at the Arch of Triumph, the world’s largest triumphal arch. From the top, we will get our first panorama view of Pyongyang city! Afterwards, we will head over to the Mansudae Grand Monument, an important site famous for its large, bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il. It is customary to bow and lay flowers here. We will then check into the Koryo Hotel, our deluxe accommodation in the heart of Pyongyang popular with local residents, foreign diplomats, delegations, NGOs. We will then have an optional visit to the Kaeson Youth Amusement Park where the thrillseekers among us can brave the rides with Pyongyang locals on a night out. Our welcome dinner will be in style at the Koryo Hotel’s top floor revolving restaurant!

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: L, D)

DAY 2 – LIBERATION DAY!

Begin the morning with a stroll through Mansudae Fountain Park, a serene meeting spot for students in their free time and often used as a backdrop for wedding photos. We will then the Victorious Fatherland War Museum, where we will get a guided tour of the war remnants, exhibits, and dioramas and learn about the Korean war, from the North Korean perspective! We will also visit and board the ‘American Spy Ship’ USS Pueblo docked beside the museum. Afterwards, visit Kwangbok Supermarket, a five-story department complex filled with local and imported product and the only place in Pyongyang where foreigners are able to exchange and use the local North Korean Won.

After lunch, we will go walking on Moran Hill, a park place buzzing with festivities as locals celebrate the Liberation Day with picnics and dancing! Catch a special performance of the incredible Pyongyang Circus (extra 20 euros paid at the door) — it’s especially popular on national holidays. Afterwards, we will take part in the day’s festivities which will usually include an unforgettable mass dance event in Kim Il-Sung Square where you’ll even get to join and celebrate with the locals if you wish.

Let your hair down and show off your curveball to the locals at the Golden Lane Bowling. For dinner, we will have Korean bibimbap and get the chance to taste local Korean draft beers and celebrate Victory Day, and our last night, at the Taedonggang Microbrewery.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 3 – PYONGYANG CITY TOUR

We will start the morning off with a visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the grand mausoleum where the late leaders lie in state inside glass sarcophagi (closed in May and June; formal dress required). Afterwards, take a walk in the Kim Il Sung Square, the 3rd largest public square in the world and home to many of the North Korean military parades broadcasted internationally during important holiday events. Take a stroll through the city to the Foreign Languages Bookshop which provides the best chance in the DPRK to pick up postcards, publications, posters and other trinkets that make perfect souvenirs. We will visit the Mangyongdae Native House, the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung.

After lunch, we’ll then learn about the DPRK’s defining ideology, the Juche philosophy, on a visit to the iconic Tower of Juche Idea. For those who wish to take the lift 150-meters to the top, you’ll enjoy the best views in Pyongyang city! We will also have a photo stop at the massive Monument to Party Founding, built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea, recognizable by the communist hammer and sickle but with an added North Korean twist!  We will then head deep underground to take a 5-stop ride on the Pyongyang Metro, the deepest metro in the world also filled with mosaics, monuments, and plaques commemorating the DPRK’s revolutionary history. We will then tour the grounds and be treated to a children’s performance at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace, an extracurricular facility for young students to further their talents in arts and sport.

Test your skills at the Meari Shooting Range before we have dinner at a local restaurant. Finish the evening with a casual walk on the new Ryomyong Street, home to Pyongyang’s most extravagant apartment complexes and opened in just April 2017 to international media attention.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 4 – DMZ

Take a morning drive through the countryside to the historic city of Kaesong. We will head for the DMZ where we’ll hear from our guides a perspective of the Korean War that often gets discredited or unheard. At the DMZ, explore Panmunjom, shake hands at the exact place that the Armistice Agreement was signed between UN forces and the DPRK, and wave hello to the South at the blue houses in the Joint Security Area. Afterwards, we will head to the Koryo History Museum, a UNESCO site, to learn about the Koryo Dynasty (where the name Korea originates). You’ll also have a chance to pick from the most varied range of postcards in the country at the Koryo Stamp Shop.

For lunch, enjoy Pansanggi, a historic Kaesong cuisine traditionally served for royalty. Afterwards, stop at the original Sonjuk Bridge, a UNESCO site. Return to the capital for a look into the DPRK’s push towards technological advancement at the newly developed atom-shaped Sci-Tech Complex. We will then have dinner at a local Korean BBQ restaurant, a favorite among locals where we will cook our own meats at the table!

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 5 – NAMPHO AND DRIVE TO PYONGSONG

After breakfast we depart for the western industrial port city of Nampho. Our first stop will be the Chongsanri Cooperative Farm, part of a system of collective farms catering to the agriculture needs of surrounding communities. We will meet a local caretaker to learn of their role here, see inside their home, and also visit the impressive bronze monument of President Kim Il-Sung with local farmers. Afterwards, we will visit the Three Mausoleums of Kangso, a UNESCO site, to see ancient and original Koguryo tombs. Drive through Nampho city to see local port life go by and stop at the Nampho City Square containing large monuments depicting the Great Leaders.

For lunch we will enjoy a famous Nampho specialty, Gray Mullet Soup. Then it’s onward to the jewel of Nampho, the West Sea Barrage, a massive dam and tidal wall built in five years across a 8-kilometer section of rough sea. This is a major achievement well known to all North Koreans and a common backdrop in official state media. If time permits (and subject to availability) we will stop at either the Chollima Steelworks or Kangso Mineral Water Factory, both famous names within North Korea, to get a glimpse into the workings of local industry. On arrival back to Pyongyang, do it as the locals do with a unique bicycle ride through the capital! This will take us down the elaborate Mirae (Future) Scientists and Changjon Streets and even right through the Kim Il-Sung Square.

Afterwards, we begin our short drive to the satellite city of Pyongsong where our overnight will be in the basic but clean Jangjusan Hotel, the only hotel foreigners are permitted to stay in Pyongsong.

Overnight at the Jangjusan Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 6 – PYONGSONG AND MT. MYOHYANG

After breakfast, witness Pyongsong come to life as we drive through the city and into the countryside to reach the Paeksong Revolutionary Site. This is a tranquil forested area where Kim Il Sung University was relocated during the Korean War. It is now commemorated by preserved buildings, murals and monuments. Afterwards, visit Pyongsong Square, the heart of the city headed by two grand monuments of the Great Leaders. It is customary to purchase and lay flowers here. We will then have a guided tour of the Revolutionary Museum of South Pyongan Province, a lavish multi-floor museum exhibiting the revolutionary exploits of the Great Leaders from the anti-Japanese period, the Korean War and the subsequent rebuilding, right through into present day.

After lunch, visit the Pyongsong Primary School where we will get to meet and interact with an English class (school supply donations are very welcome!), then enjoy a special musical performance. The children will also be eager to show off their sporting skills to you here, we urge you to play them at Ping Pong…if your ego can handle the loss, that is!

We will then road-trip to picturesque Mt. Myohyang (Myohyangsan). This is a 2 hour drive filled with countryside scenery providing a great window into rural North Korean life. Our first stop will be the ancient Buddhist Pohyon Temple founded under the Koryo Dynasty and which remains populated by practicing Korean Buddhist monks today. Overnight will be at the Hyangsan Hotel, the self-confessed best hotel in North Korea with striking pyramid design nestled within the mountains. It’s also the only hotel in North Korea with regular internet access available to foreigners!

Overnight at the Hyangsan Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 7 – MT. MYOHYANG AND RETURN TO PYONGYANG

Our day begins with a formal visit to the International Friendship Exhibition, a massive complex housing the gifts given to the Great Leaders by foreign dignitaries over the years, displayed proudly in over 150 rooms. There’s even a basketball signed by Michael Jordan presented by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Take the elevator to the top floor and enjoy the mountain view and fresh air while sipping organic mountain root tea. Join the scenery as we hike the Manphok Valley trail, an area popular with picnicking locals and filled with dense forest, waterfalls and temples with great views (bring comfortable shoes; all hiking is optional and at your own pace). There will be plenty of opportunities for photos here!

On return to Pyongyang we will visit the Mansudae Art Studio, the most prestigious fine arts studio and gallery in North Korea. This studio is the only one given permission to depict the Great Leaders in monuments, murals and mosaics. We recommend getting the ink block paintings here. For dinner we will enjoy Jeongol, a Korean-style hotpot at a popular local restaurant before celebrating a great trip gone by with farewell drinks at a bar brewery beside the Koryo Hotel, where you’ll be able to come and go as you please!

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 8 – FAREWELL

Morning departure to Beijing. Estimated time of arrival is 10:00 a.m. local time. Please reserve any connecting flights departing after 1pm local time to allow sufficient time for immigration/customs clearance, baggage claim, re-check-in and security.

(Meals: B)

This itinerary is subject to change at any time.

What’s included in this tour:

  • DPRK visa fees and handling
  • Round trip ticket from Beijing to Pyongyang on Air Koryo
  • 7 nights’ DPRK hotel accommodations (double occupancy, 4 stars)
  • Meals as indicated
  • Coach/car transportation in DPRK
  • Two local English-speaking Korean guides
  • One local driver
  • Admission fees (except those listed under exclusions)

What’s not included in this tour:

  • Private sedan transportation from Beijing International Airport to hotel (approximately $75)
  • Round-trip airfare to Beijing from home country
  • Beijing hotel accommodations
  • Chinese visa fees and processing, if applicable
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, etc.)
  • Souvenirs
  • Extra drinks during meals (one complimentary beer included)
  • Beer at microbreweries ($1-3 per draft)
  • Extra a la carte items incurred during meals
  • Tips for guides and drivers (please budget $10 per day per traveler)

Excluded Entrance Fees for Optional Events

Entrance fees are priced in Euros but RMB and USD accepted.

  • Elevator to the top of the Juche Tower, 5 euros
  • Elevator to the top of the Arch of Triumph, 5 euros
  • Flowers to be laid at the Mansudae Grand Monument, 3-5 euros
  • Pyongyang circus (if playing): 20 Euros
  • Meari Shooting Range: rifle and per bullet fees apply
  • Kaeson Amusement park entrance and rides, approximately 1-3 Euros each

For more information on the booking process, see How to Travel To North Korea
See Terms and Conditions for our refund policy and other disclaimers.

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