The DPRK Highlights – May Day Special – 5 Nights

5 Nights  –  from €1460

This 5-night special tour of North Korea will join the festivities of May Day (Labour Day) on May 1 and is designed to visit all the major must-see sights in one extensive action packed itinerary you’ll never forget. You’ll visit the major political highlights in Pyongyang such as the Tower of Juche Idea, Mansudae Grand Monument, Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and even the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where the Great Leaders lie in state. You’ll experience aspects of North Korean culture through a visit to the Sci-Tech Complex, a ride on the Pyongyang metro, a night out with locals at the Kaeson Youth Amusement Park and a performance of the incredible Pyongyang Circus. You’ll witness rural life go by with a drive through North Korean countryside to visit Mt. Myohyang to hike the fragrant mountains, complete with a picnic lunch. You’ll even get to stay in North Korea’s self-confessed finest hotel, the Hyangsan Hotel tucked away in the mountains. Experience coastal life with a visit to the port city of Nampho, and of course, no visit to North Korea would be complete without a visit to the DMZ dividing North and South Korea and we will do so a day-trip that includes other historic UNESCO sites! This is a varied tour you can’t miss!

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Room Accommodations

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 – 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.

We will then take a road trip outside of Pyongyang into countryside North Korea to reach the picturesque Mt. Myohyang (Myohyangsan). This will be a 2 hour drive filled with beautiful scenery, providing a great look at what life is like outside of the capital. Overnight will be at the self-confessed best hotel in North Korea, the luxurious Hyangsan Hotel, a hotel with striking pyramid design nestled within the mountains. This is also the only hotel in North Korea with regular internet access available to foreigners!

Overnight at the Hyangsan Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 3 – MT. MYOHYANG

After breakfast we will visit the International Friendship Exhibition, a massive complex containing 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. We will then visit the ancient Buddhist Pohyon Temple, founded under the Koryo Dynasty and remains populated by practicing Korean Buddhist monks.

After lunch, we will get the chance to hike the Manphok Valley trail, this area is 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. Test your skills at the Meari Shooting Range before we head to a local restaurant for dinner to enjoy Jeongol, a Korean-style hotpot.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 4 – MAY 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 May 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 May Day, and our last night, at the Taedonggang Microbrewery.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 3 – 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! Afterwards, celebrate 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 5 – 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
  • 5 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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