The Absolute DPRK – Pyongyang Marathon & Kim Il Sung Birthday Special – Shanghai Departure – 6.5 Nights

6.5 Nights  –  from €1640

** Our price is all-inclusive of round-trip flights from Shanghai on Air Koryo & DPRK Visa **

Pyongyang Marathon – April 11, 2021

DEADLINE: February 28, 2021

In this comprehensive tour, take a break from your day-to-day to run the Pyongyang Marathon, plus be there to experience the festivities of arguably North Korea’s biggest holiday, the Day of the Sun, otherwise known as Kim Il Sung’s Birthday! During your week inside North Korea, you’ll see everything from the grand monuments of Pyongyang to the rugged mountains of the North and pristine beaches of the east, covering the country through the untouched countryside. This is sure to be one life-changing tour!

Book Now! Registration begins NOW and seats are selling fast! (Standard cancellation terms apply)

Approximate registration fees, to be paid in USD cash in Pyongyang (if fees change, the difference will be nominal)
RUN THE FULL MARATHON – separate registration fee of $150 USD
RUN A HALF MARATHON – separate registration fee of $100 USD
RUN A 10K – separate registration fee of $70 USD
RUN A 5K – separate registration fee of $50 USD

Almost anyone can run in the amateur marathon, half marathon, or 10K/5K alongside professional runners. There are no official qualifying times for the amateur marathon. However, the time limits to receive a registered time and finishers certificate are: Within 4 hours for the full marathon, 2.5 hours for the half marathon, and 2 hours for the 10k and 5k events. You can still take 3 hours in the 10k event and finish to a roaring crowd in Kim Il-Sung Stadium even though you’ve been disqualified from receiving an official time. The entry to Kim Il-Sung Stadium will close after 4 hours for the closing ceremony, the finishing line will be moved outside for full marathoners to register their times.

All participants will receive an official award certificate, participation medal, running shirt, timing chips, and other exclusive goodies. All winners will also receive an official souvenir and finishing shirts. Merchandise subject to change.

More information on the Pyongyang Marathon HERE

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Booking Options

Dates *

Room Accommodations

Rooms come standard with two twin beds. If signing up with a companion and sharing a room, the double rate applies. If requesting your own room, single rate applies. If sharing is requested, we do our best. But if we cannot, single supplement fee applies.

Pay a deposit of 500.00 per item

THURSDAY NIGHT (APRIL 8)

At 08:00pm (20:00) on April 8, meet the group at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport to check in for our 10:35am departure to Pyongyang. Approximate arrival into Pyongyang is at 01:55am (Friday, April 9) Our Korean tour guides will greet us on arrival at the airport. On arrival we will check in at the prestigious Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: Dinner on flight)

DAY 1 (APRIL 9) – KAESONG & THE 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 military 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. 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. Stop at the original Sonjuk Bridge, a UNESCO site. On our return to Pyongyang, stop at the iconic Arch of Reunification built to commemorate the proposals of reunification.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 2 – PYONGYANG CITY TOUR

Begin the day with a visit to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, an elaborate museum depicting the Korean people’s fight against foreign invaders. We’ll have a guided tour of the war remnants, exhibits, and dioramas and learn about the Korean war from the North Korean perspective. We’ll also board the USS Pueblo, the “American Spy Ship” captured in 1968.

Visit the Grand People’s Study House, North Korea’s national library and the heart of study on the revolutionary Juche ideology. Check out the local intranet, visit the music appreciation room and flick through a handful of the up-to 30 million books said to be available here!

Visit Pyongyang’s central square, Kim Il Sung Square, home to many of North Korea’s military parades broad internationally. We’ll walk through the city to the Foreign Languages Bookshop, the best chance in the DPRK to pick up souvenirs such as books, stamps, DVD/CDs and posters.

After lunch, head deep underground to take a 5-stop ride on the Pyongyang Metro, the deepest metro in the world and filled with mosaics, monuments, and plaques

Learn about North Korea’s national ideology, the Juche philosophy, on a visit to the iconic Tower of Juche Idea. We’ll take the lift 150-meters to the top for the best views in Pyongyang city!

We’ll head to the International Football School to tour the facilities and enjoy a casual kick around with the students. On the way, we’ll have a photo stop at the largest sporting stadium in the world (by capacity), the May Day Stadium!

Make a stop at the Arch of Triumph, the world’s largest triumphal arch. From the top, we will get a great panorama view of Pyongyang city.

We’ll then take a driving tour to familiarize you with the entire Pyongyang Marathon route. Dinner will be at the hotel where we will hand out bibs and timing chips for the Pyongyang Marathon.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 3 – THE PYONGYANG MARATHON!

Wake up bright and early (approximately 7am) to get ready for the PYONGYANG MARATHON! This is the sixth year in all of history that foreign amateur runners will be allowed to run in the Pyongyang Marathon. Stretch out, lace up and pound that Pyongyang pavement!

The race starts at approximately 9am and is over no later than 1pm. There is a pre-race ceremony starting at 8am and a post-race award ceremony starting at 1pm. Spectators are welcome to join this tour, as there will be plenty to see at the Kim Il Sung Stadium includng a local soccer/football match and the runners returning to the stadium in their last lap of the race.

After the race we will cool down at the hotel with time to shower and rest up before we have lunch.

For the rest of the day, expect easy sightseeing. We’ll first visit the Mansudae Fountain Park, a serene meeting spot for students in their free time and an often used backdrop for wedding photos. Then visit 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.

Pick up some supplies at the Kwangbok Department Store, a five-story department complex filled with local and imported products. It’s one of only two places in Pyongyang where tourists can exchange and use the local North Korean Won.

Cap off a race well run with a chance to taste local Korean draft beers at the Taedonggang Bar Brewery No. 3!

During dinner, we’ll have a small presentation to hand out your official marathon certificates! Dinner will be at a local Korean hotpot (jongol) restaurant, a favorite among locals.

(Meals: B, L, D)

This itinerary is subject to change at any time.

DAY 4 – NAMPO

This morning, drive the Youth Hero Highway to the west coast port city of Nampo. Nampo is best known for its trade and industry and you’ll get a feel for rural coastal life here.

Our first stop will be the Kangso Mineral Water Factory, a famous name within North Korea, to get a glimpse into the workings of the local industry.

We’ll then drop into the Chongsanri Cooperative Farm, a model collective farm catering to the agriculture needs of surrounding communities where we will meet a local farming family and see inside their home.

Then it’s onward to the jewel of Nampo, the West Sea Barrage, a massive dam and tidal wall built in five years across an 8-kilometer section of the rough sea. This is a major achievement well known to all North Koreans and a common backdrop in official state media.

Return to Pyongyang to visit the Mangyongdae Native House, a modest straw-thatched house in a serene park setting which is the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung. Line up your sights and show off your skills at the Meari Shooting Range, where you can fire a pistol, rifle or try your hand at archery.

On return to Pyongyang, dinner will be aboard the Taedonggang Dining Boat! Enjoy views of Pyongyang’s most iconic landmarks and an upbeat performance as we cruise the river Taedong.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 5 – PYONGSONG & MT. MYOHYANG

This morning we’ll continue our journey to the city of Pyongsong. Pyongsong is often referred to as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of North Korea due to its role as a major hub for science and technology research.

We’ll first stop at the Konji-Ri Revolutionary Site, the headquarters to the Korean People’s Army during the Korean War.

Drop in on an English class at Pyongsong Primary School where we will get to meet and interact with the students (school supply donations are very welcome!) The students here will also be eager to show off their sporting skills against you!

We’ll then visit Pyongsong Square, the central square of the city headed by two grand monuments of the Great Leaders. It is customary to lay flowers here.

After lunch, drive to the picturesque Mt. Myohyang (Myohyangsan). This is a drive filled with countryside scenery providing a great window into rural North Korean life.

On arrival, we’ll 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. Manphok Valley is a return route, there’s no obligation to reach the peak. Views are beautiful throughout!

We’ll then check in to the Hyangsan Hotel, North Korea’s self-confessed best hotel, with striking pyramid design nestled within the mountains. The facilities here are world-class with amenities including swimming pool, spa and massage facilities, barber and a bar with pool tables and ping pong!

Overnight at the Hyangsan Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 6 – MT. MYOHYANG

Our day begins with a visit to the International Friendship Exhibition, a massive complex housing the gifts given to the Great Leaders by foreign dignitaries. Gifts are displayed in over 150 rooms, everything from gem-encrusted swords to tea sets, bullet-proof vehicles and basketballs signed by NBA stars Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman.

We’ll then visit the ancient Pohyon Buddhist Temple founded under the Koryo Dynasty and which remains active with practicing Korean Buddhist monks today.

After lunch, we’ll return to Pyongyang and tour the Mansudae Art Studio, the most prestigious fine arts studio and gallery in North Korea, the only studio given permission to depict the Great Leaders in monuments, murals and mosaics.

We’ll then take a city walk of Ryomyong Street, an impressive boulevard home to Pyongyang’s most extravagant apartment complexes. Opened in just April 2017 to international media attention.

Visit the Koryo Stamp Museum, a great place not only for stamps but any last-minute souvenirs.

We’ll then to the Koryo Hotel bar brewery to try out the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ beers brewed onsite!

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 7 – DAY OF THE SUN (KIM IL SUNG’S BIRTHDAY!)

We’ll begin the day with a special holiday visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the grand mausoleum where the late leaders lie in state inside glass sarcophagi (formal dress required).

Take a stroll through Moran Hill, a central park buzzing with festivities as locals celebrate the Day of the Sun over a picnic with music and dancing, a great opportunity to join the fun!

look through the impressive exhibits at the Kimilsungia Flower Festival, a multi-floor display of the flowers named after each of the late leaders. This festival is only open twice a year, during February and April as part of birthday festivities of the Great Leaders.

We’ll take a photo stop at the Party Foundation Monument, 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’ll then catch a special performance which is expected as part of today’s festivities. This could be the circus, theatre, symphony or similar and is not confirmed until closer to (or on the day of) the Day of the Sun. The event will have an entrance fee which is an extra cost.

As part of today’s festivities, we’ll attend an unforgettable student Mass Dance event held in Pyongyang. Join in the dancing celebration for yourself, the sea of colour makes for magnificent photos!

We’ll then head back to the hotel to grab your luggage and head to the airport for an evening flight back to Shanghai. Approximate time of departure is 7:55pm from Pyongyang with arrival at Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 9:35pm. Please reserve connecting flights departing after 01:30am local time (+1 day), to allow sufficient time for immigration/customs clearance, baggage claim and re-check-in. Timings to be confirmed.

(Meals: B, L, D)

This itinerary is subject to change at any time.

What’s included in this tour:

  • DPRK visa fees and handling
  • Round trip flight ticket from Shanghai to Pyongyang on Air Koryo
  • 7 nights’ DPRK hotel accommodations (double occupancy, 4 stars)
  • 3 meals per day
  • Coach transportation in DPRK
  • Two local DPRK guides
  • One local driver
  • Admission fees (except those listed under exclusions)

What’s not included in this tour:

  • Marathon registration fee (detailed above) and Kim Il Sung Stadium festival for spectators ($28 USD)
  • Round-trip airfare to Shanghai from home country
  • Chinese visa fees and processing, if applicable
  • Travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance (required)
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, etc.)
  • Souvenirs
  • Extra drinks during meals (one complimentary beer included)
  • Tips for guides and drivers (please budget $10 per day per traveler)

Excluded Entrance Fees for Optional Events

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

  • Elevator to the top of the Juche Tower, 5 EUR
  • Elevator to the top of the Arch of Triumph, 5 EUR
  • Flowers to be laid at the Mansudae Grand Monument, 3-5 EUR
  • Pyongyang circus (if playing): 20 EUR
  • Taedonggang Dining Boat: 10 USD
  • Meari Shooting Range: rifle and per bullet fees apply
  • Kaeson Amusement park entrance and rides, approximately 1-7 EUR each

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

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