Day 1: Beijing/Pyongyang (casual dress code for the day)
AM: This morning we will together head to Beijing Airport Terminal 2 for our flight Beijing to Pyongyang (1.5 hrs) - the showcase capital of the DPRK with a population of approximately 3 million.
PM: Upon arrival in Pyongyang (approximately 4pm - DPRK is one hour ahead of China), we proceed through immigration and customs and meet our guides who will accompany us during our stay. On our way to the hotel we’ll visit the Mansudae Grand Monument - statues of DPRK leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il flank ed by powerful sculptures telling the story of the anti-Japanese War, the rebuilding of the country and finally the Korean War. President Kim Il Sung's statue has been here since 1972 but General Kim Jong Il's was added in 2012 on the occasion of President Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday. This is a very important place for Koreans and visitors are requested to follow the local custom and bow in front of the statues after placing down a bouquet of flowers. And we will visit the Arch of Triumph –bigger than the one in Paris. Important in Korean history as the first place President Kim Il Sung gave a triumphal speech to the Korean people after the surrender of the Japanese.
OVERNIGHT: Yanggakdo International Hotel, one of the deluxe-class hotels (Koryo hotel is the best) Pyongyang, in DPRK located on an island in the River Taedong which flows through the middle of the city.
Day 2: Pyongyang/Kaesong (casual dress for the day)
AM: After an early breakfast 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 take a short drive (approx 15 minutes) to Panmunjom/DMZ where North and South Korea continue their decades old face-off. It is possible to go into one of the huts that straddle the demarcation line and actually cross over into South Korea! This is one of the few places you can take pictures of - and even with - members of the DPRK military. Next we head back into Kaesong and 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. Lunch is a traditional bansanggi meal-up to 10 different dishes served in gold bowls.
PM: This afternoon we’ll return to Pyongyang (2.5 hrs) and go deep underground for a ride on the Pyongyang Metro - the deepest underground system in the world and the designs of the main stations are stunning with superb lighting and mosaics. We start at Puhung (Rehabilitation) Station, and then take the train to the next station Yonggwang (Glory). Here we get off to take pictures before getting back on the train and going through 3 stops and getting off at the fourth which is Kaeson (Triumphant Return). A total of six stations. A great chance to have interaction with the locals if you are prepared to learn basic greetings in Korean - and if you meet students get them to greet you in English!
OVERNIGHT: Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang
Day 3: Pyongyang/Nampho/Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel (business casual dress code for the day)
AM: This morning we’ll check out of the hotel and go to the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun where DPRK leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state. Opened 3 years after the demise of President Kim Il Sung in 1994, the building used to be his offices. In 2011 it closed after the demise of General Kim Jong Il but re-opened at the end of 2012. This is a place of utmost importance for Koreans and tourists should behave accordingly. Men should wear a shirt and tie, women should dress smartly. The entire visit takes around 1.5 hrs and you are not allowed to take your camera in but after visiting the rooms inside we come back out to take photos from the square in front of the impressive building. And take a walk on Kim Il Sung Square - Pyongyang’s largest square in the heart of the city. This is where the military parades pass through and the mass dances take place - you can see the podium on which the leaders stand to view these incredible displays - not even an annual event. From here we walk to the Foreign Languages Bookshop - read up on what you are seeing here and buy your gifts and night time reading and Pyongyang Grand Theatre- another chance to walk with locals in the downtown.
PM: After lunch we begin the afternoon driving along the Youth Hero Highway which leads to Nampho, a coast port city of Korea West Sea. This 10-lane highway was built by student shock brigades during the Arduous March in the late 90's. Upon arrival in Nampho we’ll the West Sea Barrage overlooking the picturesque scene- an 8km visit long dam separating the Taedong River from the West Sea of Korea. It stops Pyongyang being flooded by preventing tidal surges as well as providing more agricultural land. Regarded as a great feat of engineering, the project was personally overseen by President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il. Our final destination for the day is the Dragon River Hot Spa guesthouse - a complex of guesthouses where each room has a private bath which can be filled with water direct from the hot springs - said to have many medicinal benefits. Time permitting, it is here that we can experience the famous Nampho petrol clam BBQ (costs EUR 5 per person but you can still watch for free if you don't want to have any of the clams).
OVERNIGHT: Ryonggang Hot Spa Hotel, Nampho
Day 4: Nampho/Pyongyang/Wonsan/Masikryong Ski Resort
(casual dress code for the day)
AM: After breakfast we’ll check out of Hot Spa Hotel and on the way back to Pyongyang we’ll visit a local industry at the Kangso Mineral Water factory, initially a South Korean and North Korean joint project but with the deterioration of relationships during the Lee Myung Bak presidency the major market in South Korea was closed. Next we visit Mangyongdae Native House - the native birthplace of DPRK President Kim Il Sung.
PM: After lunch we drive to the east coast of the country-Wonsan (population around 400,000), which is a major port on the east coast and is also famous to Koreans for being the place that President Kim Il Sung first stepped onto the soil of a liberated Korea in 1945. After we arrive at Wonsan, We then tour the Songdowon Schoolchildren’s Camp, Songdowon Beach (2 euro per person), Triumphal Square and we drive to Masikryong Ski Resort- a comprehensive winter sports center with 10 ski slopes for expert with an average length of 17,000 m and varying width 40 to 120 m including the slope which starts from the summit of Taehwa peak 1,360m high above sea level and runs down 5,000 m, the slopes for beginners and intermediate slopes, snow playground for children and a skating ground. We drive to ski resort (40 min) and check in.
OVERNIGHT: Masikryong Hotel (newly opened deluxe-class hotel in 2013)
Day 5: Masikryong Ski Resort (Sportswear)
AM: After breakfast we have leisure time at ski resort (it’s ok to have a rest at the rooms or enjoy skiing) and lunch at the hotel PM: We make several teams with locals and have an Amateurs’ Ski Championship
OVERNIGHT: Masikryong Hotel
Day 6: Masikryong Ski Resort/Pyongyang
AM: This morning we’ll check out of the hotel and drive back to Pyongyang
PM: After returning to Pyongyang we have lunch at local restaurant in Pyonyang and visit Mansudae Fountain Park, which is beautiful and it is the Central Park in Pyongyang. And we head to Juche Tower, the highest stone monument in the world (topped with a flickering red torch). We are given an explanation of the country's guiding Juche philosophy often translated as 'self-reliance'. You can take the lift to the top for stunning views over Pyongyang (for your own expense). At last we will go to a shop store in pyongyang, where we can go shopping and learn the life about north korea.
OVERNIGHT: Yanggakdo International Hotel
Day 7: Pyongyang/Beijing
Today is departure day. For those taking the flight out option, the flight departs Pyongyang at 09:00am and arrives in Beijing at approx 10:00am
TOUR FEE INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
∙Round-trip airfare on Air Koryo from Beijing to Pyongyang
∙All entry fees
∙DPRK visa fee
∙Two guides and a driver per group
∙All transportation in DPRK
NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOUR FEE:
∙Spending money for drinks and souvenirs
∙Tip for the guides
∙Entry tickets for Mass Games and special events if applicable – for example Revolutionary Opera, Pyongyang Circus if being staged, or a visit to the funfair
∙Lift ticket up the Juche Tower
∙Meals will include a complimentary beer but you will have to pay for additional drinks. If you are vegetarian or have special dietary requirements then please inform us beforehand
∙Room upgrades available – please ask for more information.
DURATION: 6 nights, 7 days
TOUR DATES: Tours depart December 2015 through February 2016
December 10th-16th • December 20th-26th • January 5th-11th • January 19th-25th • February 12th-18th • February 19th-25th • February 26th-March 3rd
TOUR PACKAGE PRICE: $2200/person
Masikryong Ski Resort • Mansudae Grand Monument • DMZ – the border with South Korea • Kaesong • Mt. Myohyang and Pohyon Temple • Junche Tower • Arch of Triumph • Kaesong Koryo Museum • The newly-opened Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum Korean War Museum • Pyongyang National Gift Palace • Grand People’s Study House • Mangyongdae Native House • West Sea Barrage • A ride on the Pyongyang Metro • Kim Il Sung Square • Schoolchildren’s Palace or Local School • Ryonggang Hot Spa Resort • Wonsan • Mansudae Fountain Park • Songdowon Beach • Kaesong Koryo Museum