|13 Feb - 20 Feb|
A 7 night / 8 day ‘highlights’ winter package, this tour focuses on the southwest of the DPRK, the most developed and accessible corner of the country, and coincides with the ‘Day of the Shining Star’, the anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s birth—an important national holiday in the DPR Korea which is typically marked with a number of special events and celebrations.
We kickstart the adventure with a full day of sightseeing in Pyongyang before we enjoy a day trip as far south as is possible in the country—to visit Panmunjom and the DMZ. Back in Pyongyang for the national holiday we will spend two full days exploring this captivating capital in depth before we head to the beautiful Mt. Myohyang region for a 2 day / 1 night trip, where sightseeing will include the fascinating International Friendship Exhibition.
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 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 and pop into a local bar for a welcome drink or two (at your own expense), giving you the chance to chat with your affable guides and get a feel for the next few days. From here head to the Arirang Restaurant (one of our favourite options in the city) for a welcome dinner, before transferring to the Koryo Hotel and here checking in for a 5 night stay. Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure. (Snack On Flight/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 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). From the mausoleum head to the nearby 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 Il Sung. If the weather is clear you will from here be afforded good views over Pyongyang. Return to your hotel for lunch and, should you wish, the chance to change into more casual clothes. Start the afternoon on foot, as we enjoy a couple of hours exploring Pyongyang’s central ‘Chung’ District. Our first stops will be the Korean Stamp Museum & Shop and the impressive exterior of Pyongyang Station. From here head along Yonggwang Street to see the (exterior only) Pyongyang Grand Theatre. Continuing on foot we will arrive in Kim Il Sung Square, the heart of the city & nation. After time for obligatory photographs of the square we will pop into the nearby Vienna Coffee Shop to warm up over a hot drink (at your own expense). Returning to our private transport make the short drive to the Mansudae Fountain Park and from here ascend to the Mansudae Grand Monument, the centre piece of which is 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 statues before bowing in unison before them (flowers purchased locally for a small fee). Also see the nearby Chollima Monument. Enjoy dinner in a central restaurant before returning to your hotel for an evening of leisure after a busy full day of sightseeing. (B/L/D)
Departing the capital early, head south along the Reunification Highway towards and through Kaesong 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 of the history of the DMZ, before you move 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 you will be (local conditions permitting) escorted, possibly under the watchful eye of South Korean soldiers, into one of the huts which straddle the North-South Korean border. Return to Kaesong and enjoy lunch. This afternoon visit the Koryo History Museum and the Tomb Of King Kongmin (our favourite royal tomb in the country) before returning to Pyongyang. This evening enjoy dinner in the hotel. (B/L/D)
Start the day by heading 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 Il Sung Stadium. Spend the rest of the morning visiting two more landmark monuments in the capital, with visits to the Juche Tower and 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 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 and Taedong River. After the Monument to the Foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea we will also pop into the nearby Pyongyang Cultural Exhibition Hall. We expect to enjoy lunch in a hotpot restaurant and to have dinner this evening in one of the best restaurants in the country, aboard the Taedonggang Boat Restaurant. (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 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. At this time of year common events are Mass Dances in the main city squares, together with flower festivals, ice skating performances and synchronised swimming displays.
Start the day in Pyongyang’s western suburb of Mangyondgae, where we will visit the Mangyongdae Native House, birthplace of President Kim Il Sung. From here head west out of the city, entering South Pyongan Province. Drive along the Youth Hero Highway to & through Nampo City as you make your way to 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. En route back to Pyongyang visit the Chongsanri Cooperative Farm, a model farm where your tour is expected to 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. Enjoy lunch in the basement restaurant of the Kwangbok Area Supermarket. After lunch enjoy a visit to the supermarket itself—this 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 souvenir items such as Korean made foodstuffs, cosmetics or clothing, for example. Moving on visit Chongchun Sports Street and head to the Maeri Shooting Range, where those who wish can enjoy (for a small fee) a spot of target practice with sports pistols or rifles. Our last stop of the day will be Mirae Science Street, a modern high-rise residential district in the city. Here enjoy a walk along this impressive street—with plenty of opportunity for photography for those who wish. Return to the Koryo Hotel and this evening enjoy dinner at the hotel. (B/L/D)
This morning, after checking out of the Koryo Hotel, start the day with a visit to 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, as it would take days to see it all. Leaving Pyongyang we start slowly making the drive north to Mt. Myohyang, where we will spend the night at the Hyangsan Hotel. Our first stop will be in Pyongysong, a satellite city to the capital, where we will visit the Kim Jong Suk Secondary School— here tour the facilities and enjoy the chance to meet with and chat with some of the students. After lunch in Pyongsong’s Jangsusan Hotel we will head north to Mt. Myohyang and arrive at the Pohyon Temple, founded in 1042 yet sadly heavily damaged in the Korean War. After time to explore this tranquil spot we will make the short drive to the Hyangsan Hotel, where we will also have dinner. (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. Return to the Hyangsan to check out and have lunch. This afternoon make the 155km drive back to Pyongyang and return to the Koryo Hotel for our final night of the tour. 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 in the National Restaurant, as pleasant a spot as any in the city to enjoy our farewell meal. (B/L/D)
This morning you will be transferred to the airport to depart Pyongyang at 0835 on the JS151 flight to Beijing. On arriving in Beijing at 1000 your arrangements will end (times TBC). (B)
Supplement to depart Pyongyang by Train to Beijing: £50pp
13 Feb 2021
20 Feb 2021