← Back to Signature Series Tours


Signature Series

Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour - 5-Nighter

5 Nights, 6 days in DPRK

Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour - 5-Nighter

Beijing → Pyongyang → Mt. Myohyang → Nampho → Kaesong → DMZ



This 5-night DPRK tour is uniquely timed to visit the DPRK during the 105th birthday anniversary celebration of the late DPRK President, Kim Il Sung. A major holiday in the DPRK, tour participants will have a first-hand chance to participate in festivities and public dances with locals. This is a time of the year that is perfect for visitors, as the weather warms and locals are gearing up for the holiday festivities. In this classic tour, see all of the Pyongyang highlights while still managing to travel outside of the capital to the western port city of Nampho and the must-see De-Militarized Zone between North and South Korea.


Day 1: Depart for Pyongyang

AM:  Meet us at Terminal 2 of the Beijing Capital International Airport receive your DPRK visas. These are stand-alone visas that will be taken upon departure from the DPRK, but you can snap a photo of it as a souvenir. Group transportation to the Beijing Capital International Airport will be provided.

Getting off Air Koryo Plane at the Sunan International Airport in PyongyangPM: Kick-start your North Korea adventure by boarding an Air Koryo flight. Catch up with the Pyongyang Times and see what’s new (or old) in North Korean films. Arrive in Pyongyang, capital of the DPRK and after clearing customs, your local Korean tour guides will greet you with a warm welcome. Drive to the Koryo Hotel, the “hotel on an island,” largest hotel in the country. En route to hotel, stop at the Arch of Triumph, the world’s largest triumphal arc, and the iconic Mansudae Grand Monuments. Then we’ll take a drive through town and get acquainted with this historic city! Check into the Koryo Hotel and have dinner. Rest of the evening is at your leisure—make sure to check out the Pyongyang views at the revolving restaurant on the 47th floor!

Day 2:  Kaesong / DMZ

AM:  Depart for Kaesong, the city surrounding the DMZ (2 hour drive by coach). Visit the De-Militarized Zone, the border between North and South Korea. Participate in a tour by a North Korean military officer where you can see the original building where the Armistice Agreement ending the Korean War was signed and the neutral blue houses that are shared by the North and South Korean sides. You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and take pictures.

DMZPM:  Enjoy traditional Kaesong cuisine for lunch. Then head over to the Koryo History Museum for the low-down on the ancient Koryo dynasty. Adjacent to the museum is the Koryo Stamp Shop, your one-stop shop for DPRK postcards, stamps and posters. We’ll continue our exploration of the ancient city of Kaesong at the historic Sonjuk Bridge. Finish our Kaesong journey at the Tomb of King Kongmin of the Koryo Dynasty before heading back to Pyongyang. Dinner and overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

Day 3:  Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations in Pyongyang

AM:  Start the day with a viewing at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where the late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state (formal dress is required for this event).  Visit the Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang’s 100,000m2 central library and take a walk in the famous Kim Il Sung Square. Pick up your favorite DPRK books and movies at the Foreign Languages Bookshop. Take part in the Kimilsungia Flower Festival held annually during this holiday.

Traditional dancing during Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations April 15, 2014PM:  Visit the newly renovated Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo in its new spot (the “American Spy Ship” captured in 1968). We’ll leave the rest of this afternoon flexible to take part in other festivities to be announced the day of (including a mass dance in the Kim Il Sung Square, circus or symphony event). Dinner will be at a local restaurant on Changjon Street, a complex of newly finished apartment buildings, stores and health centers. We’ll take an after-dinner walk through Changjon Street.  If we’re lucky, we might just catch a late-night fireworks show in the Kim Il Sung Square!
Fireworks above Juche Tower during Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebrations April 15, 2014

Day 4:  Mount Myohyang

AM:  Take your first road-trip outside of Pyongyang to the picturesque Mount Myohyang (160km / 2 hour drive), taking in all of the local countryside scenery along the way. Hike along the Manphok Valley trail (bring comfortable shoes; all hiking is optional and at your own pace). There will be plenty of opportunities for photos here!

Myohyang mountainsPM:  Visit the International Friendship Exhibition, a massive treasure house that contains gifts given to the Kim leaders in over 150 rooms. There’s even a basketball signed by Michael Jordan presented by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Take the elevator to the top floor and enjoy the mountain-view while sipping organic mountain root tea.  Visit the ancient buddhist Pohyon Temple, founded under the Koryo Dynasty. Overnight in the mountains at the luxurious Hyangsan Hotel.

Worker in the field at Chongsanri Cooperative Farm

Day 5: Nampho

AM:  After having breakfast at the hotel, we depart for the western port city of Nampho via Pyongyang. Our first stop is at the West Sea Barrage, an impressive system of dams built in five years across a 8-kilometer section of rough sea. We then make our way to the Chongsanri Cooperative Farm, where we speak with a farm caretaker about DPRK’s agricultural sector and developments in agricultural policies.

PM: After lunch, take a drive through rural Nampho and visit the Three Mausoleums in Kangso to see ancient and original Koguryo tombs. Return to the capital to take in a panorama view of Pyongyang on the top of the Juche Tower and take a ride on the Pyongyang metro. For our last night in Pyongyang, participants will have the option of seeing the Pyongyang circus, enjoying bowling with the locals or testing your skills at the Meari Shooting Range.

Day 6:  Farewell

Morning departure to Beijing.  Estimated time of arrival is 10:00 a.m. local time.  Please reserve connecting flights departing after 2pm 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.


  • Transportation to the Beijing airport before Pyongyang flight
  • 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
  • Coach transportation in DPRK
  • Two local DPRK guides
  • One local driver
  • Admission fees (except those listed below)

Not included

  • 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
  • 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)

  • Pyongyang circus: 20 Euros
  • Pyongyang symphony: 30 Euros
  • Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum & Pueblo: 10 Euros (new entrance fee due to re-opening and renovation of museum)
  • 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)
  • Elevator to the top of the Juche Tower, 5 euros)
  • Beer at microbreweries ($1-3 per draft)

For more information on the booking process, see How to Travel To North Korea
See here for more information on Terms and Conditions.