The 7-Night Classic - Shanghai Departure
7 Nights, 7 Days in DPRK
Shanghai → Pyongyang → Kaesong/DMZ → Mt. Myohyang → Masikryong → Wonsan → Shanghai
In this comprehensive 7 night classic tour, you’ll see everything from the grand monuments of Pyongyang to the rugged mountains of the North and pristine beaches of the east. All the while traveling through the remote countryside and taking in the raw beauty of Korea. We start this tour with a look at the ancient history of Korea to present day division in one fascinating trip through the city of Kaesong. In Pyongyang, ride the Pyongyang metro, see the USS Pueblo and the Tower of Juche Idea. Visit the International Friendship Exhibition, a national treasure house that is the biggest and grandest of its kind in the entire world, in the Myohyang Mountains as well as see the ancient Pohyon Temple built when Korea’s national religion was Buddhism. End the trip with a journey all the way east to the city of Wonsan for a dose of local life and fresh seafood on the pier. This will be one life-changing week.
*NOW running every Friday - Thursday from April to the end of October at group rates. Click “Choose your own dates” at checkout and let us know which Friday - Thursday you want in the notes section.
THURSDAY NIGHT: Depart for Pyongyang
Meet us at 10:00pm: Head to the Air Koryo counter at the Pudong International Airport to check in for 12:30am Friday 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)
Day 1: Pyongyang City Tour
10 AM: Start the morning at the Mansudae Grand Monument. This important site is famous for its large, bronze statutes 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)
Day 2: 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. You have a choice in the afternoon of recreation with the locals at the Golden Lanes Bowling Alley, the Rollerskate Park or the Meari Shooting Range! Enjoy DPRK craft brew at the Taedonggang Microbrewery (optional). (Meals: B, L, D)
Day 3: 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.
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 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: 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 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 7: 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. Enjoy your last dinner in the DPRK. Grab your luggage and head to the airport for an evening flight back to Shanghai. Approximate time of departure is 10:30pm from Pyongyang with arrival at Pudong at 11:30pm. (Meals: B, L, D)
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)
- Meals as specified
- Coach transportation in DPRK
- Two local English-speaking Korean guides
- One local driver
- Admission fees (except those listed below)
- Private sedan transportation from Shanghai International Airport to hotel (approximately $75)
- Round-trip airfare to Shanghai from home country
- Shanghai hotel accommodations
- Chinese visa fees and processing, if applicable
- Travel and medical insurance
- Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, etc.)
- Extra drinks during meals (one complimentary beer included)
- Beer at microbreweries ($1-3 per draft)
- Extra a la carte items incurred during meals
- Tips for guides and drivers (please budget $10 per day per traveler)
Excluded Entrance Fees for Optional Events
Entrance fees are priced in Euros but RMB and USD accepted.
- Elevator to the top of the Juche Tower, 5 euros
- Entrance to the Wonsan Lighthouse Pier, 2 euros
- Lift fee at the Masikryong Ski Resort, 15 USD
- Pyongyang circus (if playing): 20 Euros
- Meari Shooting Range: rifle and per bullet fees apply
- Amusement park entrance and rides, approximately 1-3 Euros each