Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour - 7-Nighter
7 nights, 8 days in DPRK
Beijing → Pyongyang → Mt. Myohyang → Nampho → Kaesong → DMZ → Wonsan → Beijing
Get ready for an action-packed 8 days in the DPR of Korea! If you’re looking for a vacation that comes with bragging rights, you’ve found it! Start your adventure by celebrating Kim Il Sung’s Birthday alongside local North Koreans, seeing all of the Pyongyang highlights, traveling to the mystical mountains of Myohyang, seeing the DMZ from the North Korean side and participating in the holiday festivities! Then we’ll continue on for an East Coast swing to the far-less traveled coastal city of Wonsan. End our trip with a Pyongyang city Bike Tour, as we ride along the Taedong River and take in local life on the busy Kwangbok Street!
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.
PM: 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.
PM: 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.
PM: 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!
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!
PM: 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.
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: Road trip to Wonsan
AM: Wave goodbye to our friends who have completed their 5-night journey in the DPRK. Pack up and start our East Coast road trip as we make our first stop in the coastal city of Wonsan (4-5 hour drive from Pyongyang). Mid-way to Wonsan, we’ll stop at the Sinpyong Tea House where you can sip on authentic Omija tea, made from berries straight from the mountains of DPRK. Visit King Tongmyoung’s mausoleum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, founder of ancient Goguryeo Kingdom.
PM: We’ll have our first lunch in Wonsan, where seafood is so fresh, it may jump right off the plate. Visit the Songdowon International Children’s Camp, an international sleep-away camp that has made headlines in the recent months for its historical efforts to attract children from other countries. Take a walk through the University of Agriculture, touted as the country’s best agricultural university. Walk along the pier to the Jangdok Islet, a popular relaxation spot for locals. Overnight at the Masikryong Hotel!
Day 7: Journey back to Pyongyang
AM: Today, return to Pyongyang with a stop at the Ulim Waterfalls. In Pyongyang, meet local artists and purchase artwork at the Mansudae Art Studio, the most prestigious fine arts studio and gallery in the country. We recommend getting the ink block paintings here.
PM: Then, we enjoy the end of our trip with a leisurely bike tour through Pyongyang city! We bike along the Taedong River, through the sports village, and end on one of the busiest streets in Pyongyang: Kwangbok Street.
Day 8: Farewell
AM: Morning departure to Beijing via Air Koryo flight. Estimated time of arrival is 10:00 a.m. local time, although flight times are subject to final confirmation. 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.
- DPRK visa fees and handling
- Round trip ticket from Beijing to Pyongyang on Air Koryo
- 7 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)
- 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.)
- 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
- Extra a la carte items incurred during meals
- Elevator to the top of the Juche Tower, 5 euros)
- Beer at microbreweries ($1-3 per draft)