Essential North Korea 4 Days- Shanghai Departure
3.5 Nights, 4 Days in DPRK
Shanghai → Pyongyang → Kaesong/DMZ → Mt. Myohyang → Shanghai
In this short but comprehensive 4 days,we’ll take you to explore the city of Pyongyang. It is a city of over 4000 years of history, but everything has been rebuilt in the past 60 years in the aftermath of the Korean War. Then explore the DMZ to see how geopolitics have played a role in the current division of Korea. You’ll drive through the beautiful untouched countryside of North Korea and spend a night in the Myohyang mountains which exposes you to yet another aspect of life in DPRK which is 80% mountainous terrain. This tour is sure to be a comprehensive intro on modern-day DPRK.
SUNDAY NIGHT: Depart for Pyongyang
Check-in at 10:30pm: Head to the Air Koryo counter Terminal 1 at the Pudong International Airport to check in for 12:30am Monday departure to Pyongyang. Approximate arrival into Pyongyang is at 3:00am. Our local tour guides greet you at the airport. We’ll check in at the Koryo Hotel (where you’ll be staying during the trip). (Meals: Dinner on flight)
Monday: Pyongyang City Tour
9:30AM: Start the morning at the Mansudae Grand Monument. This important site is famous for its large, bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Visitors are asked to follow local custom by bowing and laying flowers at the feet of the statues (flowers can be purchased at the stand for 10-20 RMB each). Take a walk in the Kim Il Sung Square, the 3rd largest public square in the world and home to many of the North Korean military parades broadcasted internationally during large holiday events. Stop in at the Foreign Languages Bookshop to pick up your favorite DPRK trinkets and publications.
After lunch, tour the Grand People’s Study House, the national library. Stop at the Mansudae Art Studio, the most prestigious fine arts studio in the country (we recommend the ink block paintings here). Get a dose of history (from a different perspective) at the newly renovated Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo in its new spot (the “American Spy Ship” captured in 1968). After dinner, check out the local scene at the Kaeson Amusement Park (optional). (Meals: B, L, D)
Tuesday: Kaesong / DMZ
AM: Start the day with a drive through the countryside to the city of Kaesong. Then we start our adventure to the De-Militarized Zone of Korea where we’ll hear from our guides a perspective of the Korean War that oft gets discredited or unheard. At the DMZ, we will explore Panmunjom, shake hands at the exact place that the Armistice Agreement was signed between UN forces and the DPRK, and wave hello to the South at the blue houses.
PM: Enjoy Pansanggi, the traditional Kaesong cuisine for lunch. Learn about the Koryo Dynasty (where the name Korea originates) at the Koryo History Musuem. Pick up some of the best postcards in the country at the Koryo Stamp Shop. We’ll stop at the Sonjuk Bridge, the original site where an important Koryo Dynasty figure was assassinated (now an UNESCO site). Then head back to Pyongyang to enjoy dinner.
Wednesday: Pyongyang Life
AM: Visit the Mangyongdae Native House, the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung. Catch the Pyongyang Metro during rush hour to get a glimpse of daily life in Pyongyang. We’ll stop for some pictures at the Arch of Triumph. Take a stroll through the city before heading to lunch.
PM: At the Tower of Juche Idea, learn about the Juche philosophy that serves as the national ideology. For those who wish to take the lift up 150-meters to the top, you’ll have an opportunity to take in a panorama view of the entire Pyongyang city. Go to the Party Foundation Monument and then sit in on a class at the Pyongyang Middle School. In the evening, we start our drive to Mount Myohyangsan (160km / 2 hour drive), a UNESCO designated “world biosphere reserve”. Take in the beautiful countryside of Korea and check into the luxurious Hyangsan Hotel for dinner and overnight. . (Meals: B, L, D)
AM: Visit the International Friendship Exhibition, a national treasure house that contains gifts given to the Kim leaders in over 150 rooms. At the top of the building, look out into the mountains and enjoy the views over tea/coffee. We’ll walk around the historic Buddhist Pohyon Temple, built in 1042 but rebuilt between 1441 and 1765.
PM: Take a hike up to Manphok Valley (for those hiking up, there are handrails and carved out steps; please bring comfortable shoes). We’ll picnic in the mountains if weather permits. Journey back to Pyongyang for leisure and pick up souvenirs at the Korea Stamp Shop. Enjoy Korean dolsot bibimbap (mixed rice on a hot stone). Head to the airport for an evening flight back to Shanghai. Approximate time of departure is 1030pm from Pyongyang with arrival at Pudong at 11:30pm. (Meals: B, L, D)
RETURN TO SHANGHAI PUDONG AT 2230 ON THURSDAY NIGHT
This itinerary is subject to change at any time.
- DPRK visa fees and handling
- Round trip ticket from Shanghai to Pyongyang on Air Koryo
- DPRK hotel accommodations (double occupancy, 4 stars)
- 3 meals per day
- Coach transportation in DPRK
- Two local English-speaking Korean guides
- One local driver
- Admission fees (except those listed below)
- China accommodations
- Chinese visa fees and processing, if applicable
- Travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance (required)
- Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, etc.)
- Extra drinks during meals (one complimentary beer included)
- Tips for guides and drivers (please budget $10 per day per traveler)
Special Entrance Fees for Optional Events
(Some entrance fees are priced in Euros. We strongly recommend to bring exact change in Euros to pay at the door; USD is accepted, but may be subject to an unfavorable exchange rate)
- Meari Shooting Range: rifle and per bullet fees apply
- Extra a la carte items incurred during meals (i.e., dog meat soup, Kaesong chicken soup, wine at the pizza/pasta restaurant, specialty restaurants such as the Okryu cold noodle restaurant, all roughly $5-10)
- Amusement park entrance and rides, approximately 1-3 Euros each, elevator to the top of the Juche Tower, 5 euros)
- Beer at microbreweries ($1-3 per draft)