Witness celebrations to mark the birthday of Kim Jong Il on this exciting tour of North Korea's capital, Pyongyang and its surrounding areas. Unearth the awesome Kumsusan Sun’s Palace, talk a stroll from the exterior of the Pyongyang Grand Theatre to Kim Il Sung Square and visit the Koryo History Museum. Visitors will also be able to join in on festivities taking place on February 16th - a national holiday in North Korea, and gain an insight into life under this previous leader. Visit Mt. Myohyang and the Friendship Exhibition which houses thousands of gifts presented to the North Korean leaders over the years.
This morning make your own way to Beijing Capital Airport, Terminal 2, to depart on the Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang (schedules TBC). The short flight will bring the group into Pyongyang and here meet with your Korean guides and driver. After passing through immigration and customs head into the city centre to visit the Mansugyo Bar 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. After a welcome dinner in the National Restaurant transfer to the Koryo Hotel, here checking in for a three night stay. After checking in enjoy the rest of the evening free at your leisure. (D)
Leaving Pyongyang head south along the reunification highway, passing through Kaesong to Panmunjom - the DMZ and border with South Korea. This is a highlight of any trip to North Korea and on arrival you will be met by an army escort who will explain the background of the history of the DMZ, before you move on to the Armistice Talks' Hall and the building where the Armistice was signed, which also houses a small museum. From here you will head down to the border where (local conditions permitting) you will enter one of the huts that straddle the border, possibly under the watchful eye of South Korean soldiers. Return via Kaesong and visit the Koryo History Museum and Stamp Shop and on the way back to Pyongyang stop at the Monument to the Three-Point Charter for National Reunification. Have dinner at the Pyongyang Duck BBQ restaurant. (B,L,D)
Have a full day sightseeing in Pyongyang, starting with a walk in the city centre from the Pyongyang Grand Theatre to Kim Il Sung Square and then to the International Bookshop, which is a great place to pick up publications, postcards and other souvenirs. Stop for a coffee at the Vienna Coffee Shop (at your own expense) before continuing to Mansudae Fountain Park and then the iconic Mansudae Grand Monument which is home to 20-metre tall bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. The monument is visited by millions of Koreans each year and the group will be expected to lay a wreath of flowers at the base of the statues before bowing in unison.(B,L,D)
Today is an important national holiday, and as such we anticipate various specials 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 in Pyongyang - 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.
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 and 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 reasonably 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 the Korean war. If the weather is clear you will be afforded good views over Pyongyang from here. Return to the hotel for lunch and the chance to change into more casual clothes. After lunch head underground for a journey on the impressive Pyongyang Metro, trav-elling one stop from Puhung to Yonggwang (arguably the two most impres-sive stations) before pressing on four stops to Kaeson. At Kaeson station surface beside the Arch of Triumph, 10 metres higher than its Parisian counterpart. To make the afternoon a hat-trick of Pyongyang monuments also visit the Juche Tower and the monument to the Foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea. 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. Enjoy a drink at the Taedonggang Microbrewery Bar nearby before driving 150km to Mt Myohyang in North Pyongyang Province. Check-in to the Hyangsan Hotel for dinner and an overnight stay. (B,L,D)
This morning visit the Pohyon Temple, founded in 1042 but heavily damaged during the Korean War. From here visit the Internatinoal Friendship Exhibition, a huge complex built into the mountainside housing the many thousands of diverse gifts presented to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il over the years - including some from Regent holidays! After lunch back at the hotel return to Pyongjang where there may be some time for further sightseeing opportunities, which you can discuss with your guide. You could visit the Shooting Range, mingle with the locals at the Golden Cup Bowling Lanes or have a beer or two at the Rakwon Restaurant. Have a farewell dinner in the Taedong Diplomatic Club, one of the most exclusive restaurants in the country. (B,L,D)
This morning you will be transferred to the airport to depart Pyongyang at 0850 on the JS151 flight to Beijing. On arriving in Beijing at 0950 your arrangements will end (times TBC). (B) OPTIONAL SUPPLEMENT TO DEPART BY RAIL Day 6 - Tuesday 19th February This morning transfer to the train station and depart Pyongyang on the 1025 train to Beijing, 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 7 - Wednesday 20th February You will this morning arrive into the Chinese capital at 0838. All arrangements will end with your arrival into Beijing. We can also arrange for the tour to end upon your arrival in Dandong. This will normally result in a minor reduction in tour cost. Please contact us for further details.
Supplement to depart Pyongyang by Train to Beijing: £50pp