This morning make your own way to Beijing Capital Airport, Terminal 2, to depart at approximately 1300 on the Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang. On clearing customs/immigration meet your Korean guides and driver. From the airport head to the city and check into the Koryo Hotel for a 2 nights. After time to freshen up head out for a leisurely welcome dinner in the National Restaurant. (D)
Enjoy the full day sightseeing in Pyongyang, 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. Head to the Mansudae Fountain Park. Ascending Mansu Hill visit the Mansudae Grand Monument, the centre piece 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). We will also see the nearby Chollima Monument.
After lunch, head underground to journey on the impressive Pyongyang Metro, travelling from Puhung to Yonggwang (the two most impressive stations) and continuing to Kaeson to surface beside the Arch of Triumph, 10 metres higher than its Parisian counterpart. Heading into the Mangyondae District, visit the Kwangbok Area Supermarket. This is the only “normal” Pyongyang supermarket that can be visited by tourists and the best place to pick up Korean-made foodstuffs, cosmetics or clothing. Enjoy a special visit to the Supreme Court of the DPR Korea, a sight extremely rarely visited by foreigners, before heading out for dinner in a nearby restaurant. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure. (B/L/D)
Start the day with a visit to the 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, followed by exhibits showcasing medals of honour bestowed upon the leaders. 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, 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 the hotel for lunch. This afternoon drive south to Kaesong, stopping en-route to visit the Monument To The Three Point Charter For National Reunification. Before arriving in Kaesong visit the UNESCO world heritage listed Tomb of King Kongmin, one of the best preserved royal tombs in the country. Upon arrival check into the Janamsan Hotel for dinner and a two night stay. (B/L/D)
This morning visit the Sonjuk Bridge before heading South to Panmunjom - the DMZ and border with South Korea. Upon arrival meet 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.
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. Enjoy lunch at the Panmunjomkwan Restaurant inside the DMZ. This afternoon return to Kaesong and visit the Koryo History Museum before driving to 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. This evening enjoy dinner in a city restaurant near the hotel. (B/L/D)
Depart Kaesong and drive north to Hyangsan, beside the beautiful Mt. Myohyang. Break the journey in Pyongyang to enjoy lunch in the KITC Ryomyong Restaurant, located in the Ryomyong New Town— a modern high-rise residential district. After lunch enjoy a brief walk in the area before pushing on towards Hyangsan. On arrival in the late afternoon we will visit the picturesque Pohyon Temple, founded in 1042 yet sadly heavily damaged in the Korean War. Check into the luxurious Hyangsan Hotel for dinner and a two night stay. (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 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 an optional 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 Sunday 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)
Return to Pyongyang. Today is a national holiday so the itinerary in Pyongyang will be flexible and we hope to mingle with locals and take in some landmark monuments by visiting 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. Perhaps choose to take a lift to the top of the tower for spectacular views over the city. Enjoy time to in Moranbong, the main city park, a great location for people watching and to admire the scenery of the Taedong River below, particularly on national holidays such as today. Drive to Nampo City and here check into the Hanggu Hotel for dinner and an overnight stay. (B/L/D)
Drive to Nampo Port and board a private motor boat to cruise down the Taedong River, arriving at the West Sea Barrage, an impressive 8km long barrage built in the 1980’s along the estuary. 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. Retun to Pyongyang enjoy a leisurely stroll along Mirae Scientists Street, a newly developed high-rise street in central Pyongyang.
After lunch transfer to the airport to board a chartered aircraft for and travel north to Samjiyon. This border region is home to Mt. Paektu – a peak of great spiritual symbolism to the Korean people, enhanced by the fact that it was the home of the Korean People’s Army during the war against the Japanese. Arriving in Samjiyon visit the impressive and beautifully located Samjiyon Grand Monument at Lake Samji before transferring to the Pegaebong Hotel for dinner and a two-night stay. (B/L/D)
Drive to Mt. Paektu. Ascend to the crater rim of the mountain by funicular and choose to press on up to the highest point in the Korean Peninsula, Janggun Peak, at 2750 metres in height or head down the 2160 steps to the shore of Lake Chon.
Descending the mountain, find a pleasant spot for a picnic lunch before visiting the Paektu Secret Camps, from where the Army was based and Kim Il Sung headquartered from 1936 to 1943. This site is also the “official” birthplace of Kim Jong Il. Visit Rimyongsu Falls before returning to our hotel. This afternoon enjoya couple of hours free to relax in the hotel. Subject to local confirmation those who wish may, with a guide, be able to head out for a walking tour of Samjiyon. Dinner at the hotel. (B/L/D)
Transfer to the airport to board a chartered aircraft for the short flight to Orang. Orang is a military airport, and on previous Regent trips through here we have often spotted MiG fighter jets in the air and on the tarmac! On arriving in Orang head north along the attractive coastal road to Chongjin, the administrative capital of North Hamgyong Province. Chongjin is an industrial and port city which receives few foreign visitors - closer to Vladivostok than Pyongyang. On arriving in Chongjin, enjoy lunch in the Foreign Sailors’ Club before an afternoon of sightseeing.
Visit the Susongchon Combined Foodstuffs Factory, the Chongam Kindergarten (and the Chongjin Foreign Language Institute. At the institute you will likely have the chance to meet English-language students. This evening enjoy dinner in the hotel. (B/L/D)
Enjoy further sightseeing in Chongjin with visits to the Russian War Memorial (which also affords good views over the city) and the Chongjin Art Studio. Tour the central city from a privately chartered trolleybus. Drive south to the attractive coastal site of Yombun. After lunch in Kyongsong drive to Orang and take a flight to Hamhung, North Korea’s second most populous city and a major industrial hub. On arriving, travel overland back to Pyongyang. From the airport transfer to the Majon Hotel, a beachfront hotel and one of the best hotels in Korea. Check in for a two night stay. Dinner at the hotel. (B/L/D)
After a busy few days of travelling today enjoy a more leisurely pace. This morning tour Hamhung, with visits to the Hungnam Fertiliser Factory, Hamhung Bongung (the house where Ri Song Gye, founder king of the Ri dynasty resided) and the exterior of the Hamhung Grand Theatre in the main city square. Enjoy lunch in central Hamhung at the Sinhunsan Hotel. Returning to the Majon Hotel enjoy a few hours of leisure time— those who wish can enjoy a dip from the private hotel beach into the East Sea Of Korea (Sea of Japan), or enjoy the various facilities on offer in the hotel (fees apply). This evening enjoy a Lamb BBQ dinner on the beach. (B/L/D)
Departing Hamhung, head south to the Dongbong Co-Operative Farm before pressing onto the pleasant city of Wonsan, likely breaking the journey en-route at the Ko Song Ryong Tea House. Arriving in Wonsan check into the Tongmyong Hotel. After a welcome lunch enjoy a walk to Jandok Islet, a lovely spot from where one can mingle with the locals at leisure (a small entry fee applies to enter Jandok). Also this afternoon visit an art shop, one of the best spots in the country to purchase socialist realist art, before enjoying a walk along the city centre’s waterfront and to the main square. This evening enjoy dinner in the hotel. (B/L/D)
Checking out of the Tongmyong Hotel enjoy further sightseeing in Wonsan. Start the day with a visit to the Songdowon International Schoolchildren's Camp, a large and recently refurbished facility offering all sorts of leisure activities for local children and, being an International camp, the occasional foreign child. Back in the city centre visit the Wonsan Railway Museum before departing the city and driving to Masikryong. On arrival check into the Masikryong Hotel, a newly constructed hotel that is the hub for the recently opened Masikryong Ski Resort. Whilst out of season, this is still a lovely place to stay, and one of the best hotels in all of the country. After lunch those who wish can walk or take a ski lift into the hills, or just relax in the hotel, which offers more than enough facilities to keep one occupied. Dinner at the hotel. (B/L/D)
This morning depart Masikryong and drive to Pyongyang, breaking the journey en-route at the Sinphyong Tea House. After lunch at the hotel 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. Visit some of the highlights before it is time to move on for a tour of the Mansudae Art Studio—the organisation responsible for the most famous artworks and statues in the DPRK. Before dinner in a city restaurant enjoy refreshments in the nearby Mansugyo Bar, a popular bar for locals to knock back a cold beer or two. (B/L/D)
Today enjoy your last day in Korea with a full day of sightseeing in the capital. The day will start with a visit to Mangyondae in the western suburbs to visit the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung. From here return to the city centre to tour the Grand People’s Study House — the national library and a major centre of learning. 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 Taedonggang Diplomatic Club, one of the top restaurants in the city. (B/L/D)
This was probably the best guided tour holiday we have ever had. The tour leader, Carl, was brilliant, making sure we all got as much out of the trip as possible. North Korea is a fascinating country and we are sure to visit again.
Overall, a fabulous trip with brilliant guides and an excellent driver. I hope to be booking with Regent again. Thank you for a truly fascinating trip – I loved every minute and am keen to return.