|05 Oct - 14 Oct|
An exciting 9 night tour of the country, this trip focuses on the southwest of the DPRK, the most developed and accessible part of the North Korea. We kickstart the adventure with two full days of sightseeing in the captivating capital before we head north, passing through the small city of Anju as we travel to the beautiful Mt. Myohyang region, where we will stay for two nights. We shall return to Pyongyang on the 10th October, a major national holiday, and on this day we will strive to take in & witness as many celebrations and special events as possible. Moving on, we shall head almost as far south as possible—to Sariwon and Kaesong, where we will spend 1 night. From Kaesong visit the DMZ / Panmunjom and a couple of our favourite rural sights in the area before we return to Pyongyang for one further full day of sightseeing, after which our adventure sadly comes to an end.
This morning make your own way to Beijing Capital Airport, Terminal 2, to depart at approximately 1305 on the Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang (schedules TBC). The short flight will bring you into Pyongyang at approximately 1605 local time. On arrival meet with your Korean guides and driver. After passing through immigration and customs head into the city centre to visit the Benevolence Bar (or similar) for a drink or two (at your own expense), giving the opportunity to chat with your guides and get a quick insight into plans for the next few days (non-alcoholic drinks also available). After a welcome dinner in the centrally located Arirang Restaurant transfer to the Yanggakdo Hotel and here check in for a three night stay. (Snack On Flight/D)
Enjoy a full day of sightseeing starting with a walk in the city centre from the exterior of the Pyongyang Grand Theatre to Kim Il Sung Square and then onto the Foreign Language Bookshop, a good spot to pick up a wide range of publications, postcards and the like. From here pop into the Vienna Coffee Shop to relax over a hot drink (at your own expense). Refreshed, we shall make the short drive to the Mansudae Fountain Park. From here ascend Mansu Hill to visit the Mansudae Grand Monument, the centrepieces of which are the spectacular 20-metre tall bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Here, millions of Koreans visit annually to pay their respects to the leaders, and the group will be expected to lay a wreath of flowers at the foot of the monument before bowing in unison before it (flowers purchased locally for a small fee). You will also see the nearby Chollima Monument. After lunch in central Pyongyang visit the Grand People’s Study House— the national library and a major centre of learning. The view from the balcony atop the Study House down onto Kim Il Sung Square affords a spectacular vista of central Pyongyang. Heading underground our next visit will be for a journey on the impressive Pyongyang Metro, travelling one stop from Puhung to Yonggwang (arguably the two most impressive stations) before pressing on four stops to recently refurbished Kaeson. At Kaeson station surface beside the Arch of Triumph, 10 metres higher than its Parisian counterpart; for a small fee it is possible to ascend (by lift and then foot) to a viewing platform near the top of the arch—from where you will have a good view over north central Pyongyang, including a number of buildings such as the TV Tower & Kim Il Sung Stadium. After a brief walk in Moranbong (the main city park) we shall head to Ryomyong New Town, a new high-rise residential district, and here have before returning to our hotel after a busy first full day of sightseeing. (B/L/D)
Start the day with a visit to the awesome Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the former residence of Kim Il Sung, and now the Mausoleum for both Kim Il Sung & Kim Jong Il. You will here see the bodies of both leaders lying in state. The Mausoleum itself is followed by exhibits showcasing medals of honour bestowed upon the leaders. (Please note for this site you will be expected to dress smartly). Moving on head to Mt. Taesong to visit the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery, home to the graves of more than 200 of Korea’s leading resistance figures over the years of Japanese rule and beyond, including Kim Jong Suk, the wife of Kim Il Sung. If the weather is clear you will from here be afforded good views over Pyongyang. Returning to your hotel change into more casual clothes (should you wish), and here enjoy lunch. This afternoon we head to the city’s western suburb of Mangyongdae and enjoy a very special visit to the Supreme Court of the DPR Korea, a sight extremely rarely visited by foreigners (at least of their own accord)! Before you get too confused by the local guides explanation of the DPRK’s complex legal & criminal system we will move on for a tour of the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace, an extra-curricular activity centre for some of the capital’s most gifted youth. Enjoy a tour of this complex before taking in a performance from the students. Our last stop of the day will be to the Kwangbok Area Supermarket. This shop is the only ‘normal’ Pyongyang supermarket that can be visited by tourists (and one of the only places in the country where one can obtain Korean currency at the ‘normal’ exchange rate) - the best location to pick up some small items such as Korean made foodstuffs, cosmetics or clothing, for example. We will enjoy dinner nearby before returning to our hotel after another full day of sightseeing. (B/L/D)
After checking out of our hotel we start the day with the Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo, an 850 ton US spy boat captured in 1968 by the Koreans off the coast of Wonsan. The very large museum dedicated to this devastating war has some truly fascinating displays and exhibits and we will visit just some of the highlights before it is time to move on. In the late morning visit Mansudae Art Studio, a state-run complex which is believed to be the largest centre of art production in the entire world. After lunch in Pyongyang we will spend the afternoon driving to Mt. Myohyang, breaking the journey partway into the drive for a visit to the rarely visited city of Anju, where the group will make a quick stop at the Paeksang Pavilion and the Anju City Chinese People’s Volunteer’s Cemetery, the latter a poignant reminder of China’s heavy involvement in the Korean War. From this cemetery one is afforded a tranquil view of the farmlands and city below. On arrival in the mountains visit the picturesque Pohyon Temple, founded in 1042 yet sadly heavily damaged in the Korean War. From the temple make the short drive to the Hyangsan Hotel and check in for a two night stay. This evening enjoy dinner at the hotel. (B/L/D)
Spend the morning touring the impressive International Friendship Exhibition, a massive complex housing the many thousands of diverse gifts presented to Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong ll, Kim Jong Un & Kim Jong Suk over the years. The buildings, built into the mountainside, are home to seemingly endless corridors and rooms lined with diverse gifts from all over the world – keep an eye out for the gifts from Regent Holidays! After lunch enjoy the option of an afternoon hike in the hills. The difficulty and duration of the hike will depend on the inclination of the group, weather and current quality of the paths, but we plan for a walk of around 3-4 hours. Those who would prefer a more sedentary Saturday afternoon may relax in the comfort of the Hyangsan Hotel, which offers all manner of facilities to keep one busy for a few hours. This evening enjoy a Lamb BBQ dinner back at the hotel. (B/L/D)
Departing the comfort of the Hyangsan Hotel we will drive this morning directly to Pyongyang and, on arrival, commence sightseeing in the city with a visit to the Monument to the Foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea. From here visit the Pyongyang Cultural Exhibition Hall and the Juche Tower. The Juche Tower is a symbol of the Juche Idea (national self reliance, literally “Master of one’s self”) penned by Kim Il Sung. Those who wish can pay a small fee (5 Euros at current) and be whisked via a lift to the top of the tower for spectacular views over the city. Return to the Yanggakdo Hotel, check in for an overnight stay and here have lunch. (B/L/D)
Today is an important national holiday, and as such we anticipate various special events and celebrations, and a general jovial atmosphere across the city. Celebrations / events in Korea are normally not known until the 11th hour, and we have thus today factored a fully flexible afternoon – allowing the group the best chance of seeing any events and getting the most out of the day. All meals will of course be included, and your guides will do their upmost to ensure you will see as much as is permitted on this special day. Local fees will be payable to attend any special events. At this time of year common events are mass dances in the main city squares, together with commemorative opera/circus performances. Dinner is expected to be in the National Restaurant, one of our favourite options in the city.
Departing Pyongyang we will drive this morning to the small city of Sariwon, provincial capital of North Hwanghae Province. Here visit the Folk Customs Street and enjoy a brief tour of the area before visiting the Kyongam Pavilion. Should you wish, a short steep path leads from here to the Songun Pavilion—from where you will be afforded good views of the city below and farmlands in the distance. Also visit the Sariwon Vineyard, one of the rare location in the country manufacturing wine (usually available for purchase in the small factory shop). After lunch in the March 8th Hotel spend the afternoon slowly travelling south to Kaesong, taking in a number of lesser visited sights en-route, including the 37m Pakyon Waterfall, Kwanum Temple (which dates back to 970AD) and Ryongthong Temple. Upon arrival in Kaesong check in the Janamsan Hotel for an overnight stay. Before dinner (at the hotel) enjoy a brief tour of Kaesong, to include Janam Hill, the Kwandok Pavilion and Nam Gate. (B/L/D)
After checking out of our hotel we will pay a brief visit to the historically significant Sonjuk Bridge before visiting the pleasant Koryo History Museum. Also visit the nearby Stamp Shop – a great spot for picking up a wide range of postcards and stamps. From here head to Panmunjom - the DMZ and border with South Korea. Upon arrival at Panmunjom, which is often the highlight of any visit to North Korea, you will meet with an army escort who will explain the background to the history of the DMZ, before moving on to the Armistice Talks’ Hall and the building (and attached small museum) where the armistice was signed. From here head right down to the border itself, where the group will be (local conditions permitting) escorted, possibly under the watchful eyes of South Korean soldiers, into one of the huts which straddle the North/South Korean border. (Please do note that in the last couple of years, more often than not, access to the border hut hasn't been possible). Enjoy lunch at the Panmunjomkwan Restaurant inside the DMZ. This afternoon we will visit the UNESCO world heritage listed Tomb of King Kongmin, one of the best preserved royal tombs in the country. Departing Kaesong we will spend the rest of the day returning to Pyongyang, breaking the journey halfway to visit the Unjong Cooperative Farm, one of the few places in the country where traditional ‘talchum’ masked dancing is still practised. Here we will enjoy a quick tour of this farm and hopefully take in a brief talchum performance. On arrival in Pyongyang check into the Yanggakdo Hotel for dinner and a 2 night stay. (B/L/D)
Enjoying a final full day of sightseeing, we will start with a visit to the Mangyongdae Native House, birthplace of President Kim Il Sung. From here we shall drive west along the Youth Hero Highway to visit the West Sea Barrage. The West Sea Barrage is a most impressive 8km long barrage built in the 1980’s along the estuary of the Taedong River, near Nampo City. This immense building project is of great pride to the Korean people and you will likely enjoy a video in the visitors centre showing this massive undertaking. After lunch in Nampo’s Hanngu Hotel we will return to Pyongyang and drop into the Mansugyo Bar (or similar) for a drink or two (at your own expense) and the chance to relax and reflect on the day’s events so far. (Non alcoholic drinks available also). We have factored in flexibility this afternoon to strive to take in any sights missed from earlier in the tour, or to revisit any areas the group may be keen to see once more. After some time to freshen up back at the hotel head out for a farewell dinner aboard the Taedonggang Boat Restaurant, as pleasant a spot as any to enjoy our farewell meal. (B/L/D)
This morning you will be transferred to the airport to depart Pyongyang at 1000 on the JS151 Air Koryo flight to Beijing. On arriving in Beijing at 1130 your arrangements will end (times TBC). (B)
|Itinerary Dates||From Price||Single Room Supp.|
05 Oct 2021
14 Oct 2021