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 12, 2020

DEADLINE: February 28, 2020

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 9)

At 08:00pm (20:00) on April 9, 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 10) Our local tour guides will greet you at the airport. On arrival we will check in at the prestigious Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: Dinner on flight)

DAY 1 (APRIL 10) – KAESONG & THE DMZ

After breakfast, 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. Afterward, stop at the original Sonjuk Bridge, a UNESCO site and then visit the Mausoleum of King Wanggon, the tomb of the founder of the Koryo dynasty. Return to Pyongyang and on the way, take an iconic photo stop at the Arch of Reunification. Finish the evening with a casual walk on the new Ryomyong Street, home to Pyongyang’s most extravagant apartment complexes opened in just April 2017 to international media attention. Dinner will be 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 2 – PYONGYANG CITY TOUR

First up we will visit the Kim Il Sung Square, the 3rd largest public square in the world, home to many of the North Korean military parades broadcast internationally. Walk 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. Then get the best views in Pyongyang at the Tower of the Juche Idea where you will learn about the DPRK’s defining ideology, the Juche philosophy. Visit 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! You’ll also be able to board the ‘American Spy Ship’ USS Pueblo docked beside the museum. For lunch we will have tolsot bibimbap at a specialty restaurant.

After lunch, visit the Grand People’s Study House, an extensive library used for further education, and the heart of study on the national Juche ideology. We will see a foreign language lesson in session here. 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. On the way to the International Football School, where we will view the facilities and enjoy a casual kick around with the students, we will also see 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 will 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 fifth 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 – local soccer/football match and runners returning to the stadium in their last lap of the race.

After the race we will cool down at the hotel and give you time to shower and rest up before we have lunch. After a well-deserved meal, it will be easy sightseeing by visiting the Kimilsungia Flower Festival, a multi-floor display of the flowers named after each of the late leaders which is only open during this time of year. Then visit the Mangyongdae Native House, the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung. Then 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. Before dinner we will hand out your official marathon certificates. Dinner will be at a local Korean hotpot (Jongol) restaurant, a favorite among locals.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 4 – WONSAN

This morning, we’ll depart for the city of Wonsan. There will be a short stop at the Sinpyong Tea House for coffee or tea in the fresh mountain air. Our first destination will be the grand Masikryong Hotel inside the Masikryong Ski Resort complex that was built at the order of Marshal Kim Jong-Un in 2013. We will check-in, have lunch and have a quick tour of the grounds.

Then drive 40 minutes into the city of Wonsan and have a guided tour of the Revolutionary Sites that played a prominent role in the fight against Japanese occupation and the Korean War. We’ll then visit the Songdowon Schoolchildren’s Camp, a socialist summer camp for both international and Korean children. We drop in for a visit at the Wonsan University of Agriculture, touted as the top institution for agricultural development in the country.

Visit the Wonsan City Docks which includes a central square and bronze monuments to the Great Leaders. Walk along the pier between dozens of fisherman to the Jangdok Islet where you can buy seafood that was caught just seconds ago by local vendors (there’s a 1 Euro fee to be paid at the entrance). We will get a picturesque view of the Wonsan skyline from here. We’ll then settle in for dinner at a local seafood restaurant. Return to the cozy Masikryong Hotel for a great nights sleep!

Overnight at the Masikryong Hotel

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 5 – MASIKRYONG AND RETURN TO PYONGYANG

Wake in the mountains and watch the sunrise from your private balcony before enjoying a hearty breakfast made with locally sourced ingredients. Before we depart, we will take the Masikryong ski lift to the peak for an incredible morning view over the untouched mountain ranges (the ski lift is optional and there is a $15 fee to be paid at the ski lift.)

On our way back to Pyongyang, we will go via the stunning Ullim Waterfall discovered relatively recently by the Korean People’s Army. It’s a waterfall you will hear well before you see. If it’s a nice day we will enjoy a picnic lunch here. We will then make a stop at the Tomb of King Tongmyong, the royal tomb of the founder of the ancient Koryo kingdom.

Watch North Korean countryside life go by as we head back to Pyongyang, and on our arrival, we will be treated to an evening cruise and performance on the Taedonggang Dining Boat, docked on the Taedong River across from the Juche Tower ($10 entrance fee).

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 6 – KIM IL SUNG’S BIRTHDAY & MT. MYOHYANG

After breakfast, we will then visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the grand mausoleum where the late leaders lie in state inside glass sarcophagi (formal dress required). 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. Afterward, stroll through the Mansudae Fountain Park, a serene meeting spot for students and an often used backdrop for wedding photos.

After lunch, go walking on Moran Hill, a park place buzzing with festivities as locals celebrate the Day of the Sun with picnics and dancing! We will then witness a special performance of either the Pyongyang Circus, Theatre or Symphony (pending the event of the day!)

Afterward, 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. The Day of the Sun usually includes a fireworks display and we will be there in Kim Il-Sung Square to witness it. 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.  Overnight will be at the Hyangsan Hotel, the self-confessed best hotel in North Korea with striking pyramid design nestled within the mountains.

Overnight at the Hyangsan Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 7 – MT. MYOHYANG

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. Afterward, we will see the ancient Buddhist Pohyon Temple founded under the Koryo Dynasty and which remains populated by practicing Korean Buddhist monks today.

After lunch, 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 taste local Korean draft beers at the Taedonggang Microbrewery before having our final dinner together and making our way 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.

(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 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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