|14 Apr - 23 Apr|
This in-depth, nine night tour of North Korea focuses on the south west of the DPRK, the most developed and accessible part of the country. We kickstart the adventure with two full days of sightseeing in Pyongyang. Our time in this captivating capital has been planned to coincide with a major national holiday: the anniversary of the birth of President Kim II Sung. Once we finish in Pyongyang, we head north to the beautiful Mt. Myohyang region for a two night stay. From the mountains head as far south as possible, via the lesser visited city of Anju, to spend two nights in Kaesong, where sightseeing will include a visit to the DMZ and Panmunjom. Make the most of the journey back to Pyongyang, as we travel via backroads to see Sariwon, Sinchon and the West Sea Barrage. Enjoy a final full day of sightseeing in the capital before this introductory tour sadly comes to an end.
This small group tour will operate for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of just 12 persons.
This morning make your own way to Beijing Capital Airport, Terminal 2, to depart on the Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang. The short flight will bring you into Pyongyang around the late afternoon. 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) and make the most of the opportunity to chat with your guides and get a quick insight into plans for the next few days. After a welcome dinner in the Arirang Restaurant, transfer to the Yanggakdo Hotel and check in for a three night stay. (Snack On Flight/D)
Enjoy the full day sightseeing in Pyongyang, starting with a visit to the western suburbs of the city to take in the Magyongdae Native House, birthplace of President Kim II Sung - a fascinating visit on any day of the year, but particularly so today. Returning to central Pyongyang visit the Monument to the Foundation of the Workers' Party of Korea 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 II 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.(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. Celebration events in Korea are normally not known until the 11th hour, and we have thus today factored a fully flexible afternoon in Pyongyang, allowing the group the best chance of seeing any events and getting the most out of the day.
Enjoy a further full day of sightseeing in the capital, starting with a walk in the city centre from the exterior of the Pyongyang Grand Theatre to Kim II 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). Heading to Taesong District in the east of Pyongyang visit the Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery on Mt. Taesong, home to the graves of more than 200 of Korea's leading resistance figures over the years of Japanese rule and the Korean war, including the wife and mother of Kim II Sung. After lunch, visit 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 II Sung and Kim Jong II. 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.
Next head underground 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 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 II Sung Stadium. End the day with a walk in Ryomyong New Town, a new high-rise residential district, and have dinner in Ryomyong also before returning to your hotel after another busy day of sightseeing. (B/L/D)
This morning, check out of the Yanggakdo Hotel and 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 II Sung Square affords a spectacular vista of central Pyongyang. Before departing Pyongyang and driving to the satellite city of Pyongsong also visit the Mansudae Art Studio. In Pyongsong have lunch in the Jangsusan Hotel before slowly heading north to Mt. Myohyang, travelling along a lesser used inland road. In the mid-afternoon, take in the rarely visited Songam Cave (warm clothing and a head torch are recommended) before finally pushing onto Mt. Myohyang. On arrival in the mountains, check into the Hyangsan Hotel for a two night stay, and here also have dinner. (B/L/D)
Start the day with a visit to the picturesque Pohyon Temple, founded in 1042 yet sadly heavily damaged in the Korean War. Spend the rest of the morning touring the impressive International Friendship Exhibition, a massive complex housing the many thousands of diverse gifts presented to Kim II Sung, Kim Jong II & Kim Jong Un 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 quality of the paths, but we plan for a walk of around 3-4 hours. Those who would prefer a more sedentary 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)
Depart the comfort of the Hyangsan Hotel and begin the long day of driving as you head south to Kaesong. The morning will be spent driving towards Pyongyang, 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 Pakesang Pavilion and the Anju City Chinese People's Volunteer's Cemetery, the latter a poignant re minder of China's heavy involvement in the Korean War. Upon arriving in Pyongyang, enjoy lunch in a pizzeria and a walk along Mirae Science Street before pushing further south. Before arriving in Kaesong, enjoy a detour to take in the 37m Pakyon Waterfall and nearby Kwanum Temple, which dates back to 970AD. Arrive in Kaesong and check into the Janamsan Hotel for dinner and a two night stay. (B/L/D)
This morning pay a brief visit to 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 post cards 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. En joy lunch at the Panmunjomkwan Restaurant inside the DMZ. This afternoon visit the Concrete Wall or "Wall of Division," an 8 metre high concrete wall built by US forces along much of the southern perimeter of the DMZ from 1976 to 1979. A senior army guide will here likely explain the history of the wall and the current border tensions with the south. Before returning to your hotel visit the UNESCO world heritage listed Tomb of King Kongmin, one of the best preserved royal tombs in the country. This evening enjoy dinner in a city restaurant near the hotel. (B/ L/D)
Departing Kaesong, spend the day slowly returning to Pyongyang. In the mid-morning arrive in Sariwon, provincial capital of North Hwanghae. 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 and farmlands in the distance. Also visit the Sariwon Vinyard, one of the rare locations in the country manufacturing wine (usually available for purchase in the small factory shop). After lunch in the Sariwon March 8th Hotel visit the Sariwon Migok Cooperative Farm, a model farm where your tour will likely take in a farmer's home - as good a place as any to try and get a glimpse into and understanding of rural life in the country.
Departing Sariwon, head west and spend the bulk of the afternoon passing through large chunks of lesser visited South Hwanghae province as you slowly head towards the Woljong Temple in the southern foothills of Mt. Kuwol. If possible the group will also visit the Sinchon War Crimes Museum, a harrowing museum highlighting the atrocities which occurred dur ing the UN/ROK occupation of the region during the Korean War, but this can only be confirmed locally. Beyond Mt. Kuwol, arrive at the West Sea Barrage, 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. Driving on, travel the length of the Youth Hero Highway and arrive back in Pyongyang. Upon arriving back in capital check into the Yanggakdo Hotel for a two night stay and have dinner at the hotel. (B/L/D)
Today enjoy your final day in North Korea with a full day of further sightseeing in Pyongyang. Kickstart the morning with a stroll through Moranbong, the main city park, a pleasant spot in the heart of the city sprinkled with old city walls, gates and pavilions, and an ideal spot for people-watching and attempting to mingle with locals. Heading into the western suburbs, visit 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. Late this morning 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 lunch in a nearby restaurant.
This afternoon, visit 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, although, time and the groups inclination permitting, we may pop into the nearby Mansugyo Bar for a quick drink, as this is one of the best 'normal' bars in the city. We have factored in flexibility this afternoon to strive to take in any sights missed from earlier in the tour, or to visit any areas the group may be keen to visit. After some time to freshen up back at the hotel head out for a farewell dinner aboard the Taedonggang Restuarant Boat. (B/L/D)
This morning you will be transferred to the airport to depart Pyongyang at 1000 on the JS151 flight to Beijing. On arriving in Beijing at 1130 your arrangements will end (times TBC). (B)
OPTIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO DEPART BY RAIL
Day 10, Thursday 23rd April: This morning transfer to the train station and depart Pyongyang on the 1025 train to Beijing via Dandong, which takes approximately 24 hours to make the 1349km journey. The train will head north and reach the border in the late afternoon, and after border formalities on the Korean and Chinese side change carriages onto a domestic Chinese train. For the overnight section of the journey you will normally be accommodated sharing in four-berth compartments. Meals are not provided on the train, but a restaurant car serves reasonably priced meals if required. Toilets are locked at the border. (B)
Day 11, Friday 24th April: You will this morning arrive into the Chinese capital at 0840. All arrangements will end with your arrival into Beijing.
We can arrange your international flights to Beijing at an additional cost if desired, please speak to Carl Meadows for further information.
|Itinerary Dates||From Price||Single Room Supp.|
14 Apr 2020
23 Apr 2020