Pyongyang Marathon + Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour 10N (via Air China) - April Marathon Only
10 Nights, 11 Days
Beijing → Pyongyang → Kaesong → Wonsan → Myonghang → Nampho → Pyongyang → Beijing
Pyongyang Marathon - April 8, 2018
Registration Deadline is January 1st, 2018
In this extended long tour, take a long break from your day-to-day to run the Pyongyang Marathon while celebrating Kim Il Sung’s birthday with the locals. This tour is a comprehensive trip that takes you from coast to coast through the breathtaking and raw landscapes of North Korea’s countryside. Experience the country’s mountains, hot springs, coasts and several major cities.
Seats are selling fast. Book Now! Early registration begins NOW - reserve your spot with a $600 deposit. (Standard cancellation terms apply)
Approximate registration fees (if fees change, the difference will be nominal)
RUN THE FULL MARATHON (separate registration fee of $150 USD)
RUN A HALF MARATHON (separate registration fee of $100 USD)
RUN A 10K (separate registration fee of $70 USD)
WATCH THE MARATHON (separate $28 USD fee to watch a soccer event in the stadium)
Almost anyone can run in the amateur marathon, half marathon, or 10K alongside professional runners. There are no official qualifying times for the amateur marathon. However, you must either FINISH or STOP within 4 hours and 30 minutes for all lengths.
All participants will receive an exclusive Pyongyang Marathon medal, Pyongyang Marathon branded t-shirt, timing chips, and other exclusive goodies.
More information on the Pyongyang Marathon HERE
April 6 Day 1: Depart for Pyongyang
11 AM: Meet the group at the Beijing Capital International Airport for check in at the Air China counter (Terminal 3).
We begin our North Korea adventure by boarding our Air China flight bound for Pyongyang, the capital of the DPRK. After clearing customs, your local Korean tour guides will greet you with a warm welcome. Our first stop in Pyongyang will be at the Arch of Triumph, the world’s largest triumphal arc, and the Mansudae Grand Monument, the large, bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. The rest of the evening is at your leisure at the prestigious Koryo Hotel where we’ll have dinner.
Day 2: Pyongyang
AM: We’ll start the day with 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. Then visit the Mangyongdae Native House, the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung.
PM: After lunch, 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). We’ll then take a tour of the Kim Il Sung Stadium, where the Pyongyang Marathon will start and begin. Then take a driving tour of the entire marathon route to get ready for the run. Stretch out and rest up at the Koryo Hotel. We will then have dinner with a view at the revolving restaurant in the Koryo Hotel where we will hand out runner bibs, t-shirts and timing chips. Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.
Day 3: Pyongyang Marathon
AM: We’ll have an early start (approximately 7am) to get ready for the PYONGYANG MARATHON. This is the fifth year in all of history that foreign amateur runners will be allowed to run in the Pyongyang marathon. Stretch out, lace up and pound that Pyongyang pavement! Race starts at approximately 9am and is over no later than 1:30pm. There is a pre-race ceremony starting at 8am and a post-race award ceremony starting at 1:30pm. Spectators are welcome to join this tour, as there will be plenty to see at the Kim Il Sung Stadium - local soccer/football match and runners returning to the stadium in their last lap of the race.
PM: We’ll cool down at the hotel and give you time to shower and rest up after the race. After a well-deserved meal, we’ll stop at the Tower of Juche Idea to learn about the Juche philosophy that serves as the national ideology. You’ll get an unrivalled panoramic view of Pyongyang from the top. Then take a ride on the Pyongyang Metro, the deepest metro system on earth. We will then visit Kwangbok Supermarket, the only place in Pyongyang you’ll be able to exchange and use local currency. Dinner will be at the banquet hall in the Koryo Hotel where we will have our awards ceremony. Afterwards, drink to a race well run at the Taedonggang Microbrewery No. 3.
Day 4: Kaesong / DMZ
AM: This morning, get ready to cross to the other side - South Korea that is. We will be visiting Panmunjom, the portion of the DMZ where the two sides are only separated by concrete only a few feet high and wide. We take you right into the neutral blue house which straddles both sides - you will be one of the few to say that you were in both Koreas at the same time. 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. The drive to the DMZ is about 2 hours by bus.
PM: Enjoy traditional Kaesong cuisine called Pansanggi for lunch. Then head over to the Koryo History Museum for prime photo opportunities and a lesson 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 will then return to Pyongyang and enjoy a bike ride around the heart of the city taking in the sights and new streets from a new perspective!
Day 5: Wonsan
AM: This morning, we’ll depart for the city of Wonsan. Short stop at the Sinpyong Tea house for coffee/tea and the fresh mountain air. Check into the extravagant Masikryong Hotel for a quick tour of the grounds.
PM: Then drive 40 minutes into the city of Wonsan and see the Revolutionary Sites that played a prominent role in the fight against Japanese occupation and the Korean War. Get a tour of the Wonsan University of Agriculture, touted as the top institution for agricultural development in the country. Then walk along the pier to the Jangdok Islet where you can buy seafood that was caught just seconds ago from local vendors and see the Wonsan skyline. It’s a popular spot for Wonsan residents and fishermen. (There’s a 1 Euro fee to be paid at the entrance.) Have dinner in town and enjoy an evening stroll through Wonsan before returning to the Masikryong Hotel for rest.
Day 6: Masikryong; Return to Pyongyang
AM: Wake in the mountains and enjoy a breakfast made with locally sourced ingredients. Then take the new Masikryong ski lift to the peak and enjoy the incredible view. (The ski lift is optional and there is a $15 fee that can be paid at the ski lift.)
PM: Return to Pyongyang (4 hours by bus) via the Ullim Waterfalls. If it’s nice out, we’ll picnic there.
Day 7: Pyongyang and 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 8: 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 9: Nampo
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 then discover the DPRK’s latest technological advances at the newly developed atom-shaped Sci-Tech Complex. Afterwards, relax and enjoy either bowling at Golden Lane Bowling with the locals or test your skills at the Meari Shooting Range, before finally going for a walk down the brand new Ryomyong Street. After dinner, you’ll get the option to visit the Kaeson Youth Amusement Park.
Day 10: Day of the Sun 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). Afterward we will get to see a performance of either the Pyongyang Circus or Theatre.
PM: After lunch, we will then take part in the Kimilsungia Flower Festival held annually during this holiday (a multi-floor display of the flowers named after each of the late leaders). Visit the Party Foundation Monument, built to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Afterwards we will take part in the day’s festivities which will usually include a mass dance event in Kim Il-Sung Square where you’ll get to join and celebrate with the locals. 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!
April 16 Day 11: Leisure Day and Farewell
We will first visit the Pyongyang Cooperative Farm, the largest of its kind and the largest source of Pyongyang’s fresh produce. We will then visit the Pyongyang Zoo. Afterwards, it is a leisurely afternoon in Pyongyang with optional recreational activities including the shooting range, bowling alley, horse-riding centre or light flight.
In the evening, depart Pyongyang on Air China flight CA122 1720 1805 to Beijing. Please allow at least 3 hours for connecting flights for immigration/customs clearance, baggage claim and re-check-in.
- DPRK visa fees and handling
- Round trip ticket from Beijing to Pyongyang on Air China
- 10 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)
- Marathon registration fee (detailed above) and Kim Il Sung Stadium festival for spectators ($28 USD)
- 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)
- 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)