Beijing → Pyongyang → Kaesong → DMZ → Mt. Myohyang → Beijing
In this anytime-of-year classic tour, see all of the major must-see spots of North Korea. See all of the Pyongyang highlights: Mansudae Grand Monument, Tower of Juche Idea and more. Experience aspects of North Korean culture through a visit to a schoolchildren’s palace, a ride on the Pyongyang metro, a visit to the newly re-opened Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and USS Pueblo, and a cooperative farm. Take a day trip to Mount Myohyang and hike the fragrant mountains, enjoying a picnic lunch in between. See the DMZ along the 38th parallel dividing North and South Korea and visit the recently re-opened Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the late leaders lie in state.
*NOW running every Saturday to Thursday all year round at group rates. Click “Choose your own dates” at checkout and let us know which Saturday to Thursday you want in the notes section.
Day 1: Depart for Pyongyang
AM: Meet the group at the lobby of the hotel to receive DPRK visas and for group transportation to the Beijing Capital International Airport.
PM: Fly to Pyongyang, capital of the DPRK and home to many of the country’s most famous cultural sites. Local North Korean tour guides greet you at the airport. Your stay in Pyongyang will be at the famous Koryo Hotel, complete with a karaoke bar, sauna and other amenities. En route to the hotel, stop at the Arch of Triumph, the world’s largest triumphal arc. Then we’ll visit the Mansudae Grand Monument. This important site is famous for its large, bronze statutes of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Visitors are sometimes asked to follow local custom by bowing and laying flowers at the feet of the statues. Check into the hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner. Optional evening activity: Get on some rides at the Kaeson Youth Amusement Park, a popular DPRK amusement park.
Day 2: Pyongyang City Tour
AM: Start the day at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where the late leaders lie in state (closed in May and June; formal dress is required for this event). Continue your tour of Pyongyang by walking through the Kim Il Sung square. Stop in at the Foreign Languages Bookshop for DPRK souvenirs and trinkets.
PM: Have lunch at a local Korean restaurant. Visit the Mangyongdae Native House, where late president Kim Il Sung was born. Take a 5-stop ride on the Pyongyang Metro. Take a ride up the elevator (5 Euros) to the top of the Juche Tower to get a panorama view of the city! Visit the Party Foundation Monument. Then have the option of seeing the world-famous Pyongyang circus (20 Euros entrance fee). You will not regret it! Take a walk through the city and in the afternoon, take part in local recreation at the skate park, bowling alley or the Meari shooting range. Overnight at the Koryo Hotel. (Meals: B, L, D)
Day 3: DMZ
AM: Take a morning drive to the city of Kaesong. We will head for the DMZ where we’ll hear from our guides a perspective of the Korean War that oft gets discredited or unheard. At the DMZ, 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. Learn about the Koryo Dynasty (where the name Korea originates) at the Koryo History Musuem, a UNESCO site. Pick up some of the best postcards in the country at the Koryo Stamp Shop.
PM: Enjoy Pansanggi, the traditional Kaesong cuisine for lunch. Stop at the original Sonjuk Bridge, a UNESCO site. Return to Pyongyang and learn about the Korean War through the perspective of the North Koreans at the newly renovated Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo in its new spot (the “American Spy Ship” captured in 1968). Enjoy a last taste of Korean cuisine bibimbap and local beer at the Taedonggang Microbrewery (optional). Overnight at the Koryo Hotel. (Meals: B, L, D)
Day 4: Myohyang Mountains
AM: Today, we continue our exploration of Pyongyang life and society. Start at the Mansudae Art Studio, the most prestigious fine arts studio and gallery in the country. We recommend getting the ink block paintings here. Then check out the Korea Film Studio where all of the famous DPRK movies are shot.
PM: After lunch, sit in on a kindergarten class and visit the Grand People’s Study House, akin to the Library of Congress. Take some photos at the Mansudae Fountain Park and check out a Children’s Performance at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace. 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.
Day 5: Myohyangsan
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 your last chance to pick up souvenirs at the Korea Stamp Shop. Enjoy Korean dolsot bibimbap (mixed rice on a hot stone). Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.
Day 6: Farewell
AM: Morning departure to Beijing. Estimated time of arrival is 11:35 a.m. local time, although flight times are subject to final confirmation. Please reserve connecting flights departing after 3pm local time, to allow sufficient time for immigration/customs clearance, baggage claim and re-check-in.
This itinerary is subject to change at any time.
- DPRK visa fees and handling
- Round trip ticket from Beijing to Pyongyang on Air Koryo
- 5 nights’ DPRK hotel accommodations (double occupancy, 4 stars)
- 3 meals per day (except a la carte meals; see below)
- Coach transportation in DPRK
- Two local DPRK guides
- One local driver
- Admission fees (except those listed below)
- Private sedan transportation from Beijing International Airport to hotel (approximately $75)
- Round-trip airfare to Beijing from home country
- Chinese visa fees and processing, if applicable
- Travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance (required)
- Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, etc.)
- Souvenirs and extra drinks
- Extra meal expenses incurred during a la carte meals (i.e., Pyongyang pizza/pasta restaurant and specialty restaurants such as the Okryu cold noodle restaurant requires an additional $5-10 depending on individual order)
- Expenses associated with optional events (i.e., amusement park entrance and rides, approximately 1-3 Euros each; elevator ride to the top of the Juche Tower, 5 Euros) Tips for guides and drivers (please budget $10 per day per traveler)
Special Entrance Fees for Optional Events
(Entrance fees are typically 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)
- Pyongyang circus: 20 Euros