Day 4: Pyongyang/Kaesong (Casual dress code for the day)
AM: After breakfast we check out of hotel and we visit the newly-opened Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum (Korean War Museum). It built in 1953 right after the end of the Korean War on July 27th. In 2012 it was closed for renovation and opened again in July 2013. Doubled in size it is also the site of the USS Pueblo - the US spy ship which was captured in 1968. This was moored on the Taedong River until December 2012 when it mysteriously disappeared. Next we’ll visit the War Victory Monuments. Built on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Korean War 27th July 1993 (in DPRK referred to as the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War and the end of the war as “Victory Day”) - it comprises of a series of monuments which show the key battles during the war. Then we’ll take the drive to Mansudae Art Studio - the DPRK centre of artistic excellence where most of the paintings, mosaics, statues, etc are all made. It is possible to visit several workshops and see the artists at work - ink painting, oil painting, embroidery and ceramics. They also have a very good shop with some quality pieces of art and ceramics for sale.
PM: After Lunch we take a 2.5 hr drive south to Kaesong, an historical city near the DMZ which avoided being destroyed in the Korean War as it was chosen as the place for armistice talks. Kaesong was also a capital of Koryo Dynasty, 1st unified kingdom in the Korean history and an original place of Ginseng products, special product of DPRK. There is a service station halfway where we will stop for a rest. This is a popular place for tourists to take photos of themselves standing in the middle of this empty highway. Upon arrival in Kaesong we visit the Kaesong Koryo Museum, which is a beautiful old Confucian University, to learn about the history of the area. There is also a collection of steles and pavilions from around the area. The stamp shop here is excellent too. We then take a 20 minute drive to visit the beautiful Tomb of King Kongmin - the twin-domed tomb of the 31st King of the Koryo Dynasty (918 - 1392 AD) and his wife which remained largely undamaged during the Korean War. Ask the guide to tell you the story of how the area got its name of “Oh dear hill”. We then return to Pyongyang for our farewell dinner.
OVERNIGHT: Kaesong Minsok(Folk) Hotel (beautiful courtyard hotel with Korean feudal dynasty housing where guests sleep on heated floors in traditional Korean style; basic - sporadic hot water and frequent power cuts but a great experience as you are living literally next door to the local inhabitants).