3 Nights – from €1220
Kick off your shoes, take the weekend off and join the festivities in Pyongyang to celebrate President Kim Il-Sung’s Birthday on April 15 on this short-but-sweet tour of one of most fascinating places in the world! In this 3-night weekend tour, be transported to another world as you explore Pyongyang, the capital city of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka “North Korea”). Visit all of the iconic DPRK monuments like the Tower of Juche Idea, a massive 150-meter concrete structure defining the national ideology, take a ride on the Pyongyang metro, the deepest in the world, and see the newly renovated Fatherland Liberation War Museum alongside the USS Pueblo. On the second full day in the DPRK, take a road-trip to the DMZ, the border between the North and South Korea and learn a different perspective of history. Arrive safely back in Beijing in the morning, a perfect weekend getaway.
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. Afterwards, stroll through the Mansudae Fountain Park, a serene meeting spot for students and an often used backdrop for wedding photos. 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, we will visit the Mangyongdae Native House, the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung. 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.
After lunch, we will go walking on Moran Hill, a park place buzzing with festivities as locals celebrate the Day of the Sun with picnics and dancing! 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. Then check out 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. 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. The Day of the Sun usually also includes a fireworks display and we will be there in Kim Il-Sung Square to witness it. We will continue the celebrations over a Korean bibimbap dinner and get the chance to taste local Korean draft beers 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. On our return to Pyongyang, we will visit the newly renovated Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo in its new spot (the “American Spy Ship” captured in 1968). We will then enjoy dinner at a local Korean BBQ restaurant, a favorite among locals where we will cook our own meats at the table! End the night with a casual evening 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 – 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.
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
- 3 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.)
- 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