OCTOBER 2024: NORTH KOREA'S SECRETS

 

02 – 12 October 2024

2 SPACES AVAILABLE

 

A rare voyage in North Korea, this adventure cover almost all sites open for foreign tourists including Rason Special Economic Zone where the DPRK is testing its new economic policy, Mt.Chilbo where we will experience a unique home stay and spend the night with a Korean family, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at the border with South Korea. October 10th is the Worker’s Party of Korea 79th anniversary. The celebration include an amazing Mass Dance and Pyongyang will feature holiday decorations.

PROGRAM

 

02  October
Flight to the city of Yanji, home for the largest Korean-Chinese community in China, the main city of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and today is an important transportation and trade hub between China and North Korea
Overnight at Hotel yanji International or similar****:

03  October
In the morning we will cross by bus the Sino-Korean bridge, and arrive in the Free Economic Zone of Rason and drive to Tumangang, a Korean town at the border with Russia where we visit the Korean−Russian Friendship House, it is a museum dedicated to the history of Russia-Korea relations. Later we move to Sungjon pavilion, located on a hill dominating the area, it is a traditional style pavilion next to the Victory Monument to Admiral Li Sun Sin, inventor of the legendary turtle battleship. This pavillion represents a fantastic observation platform to enjoy a breathtaking view on Tri-border area. Picnic lunch with a view on Tri border area, a unique place where 3 borders (China, DPRK and Russia) meet each other and Korean−Russian Friendship Bridge, a railway bridge, the only land connection between Russia and the DPRK. The DPRK-Russia border is only 17 km long and it is the shortest border Russia has with any of its neighboring countries.
In the afternoon we will pass by Tumangang Railway Station and visit local shop in front of it. We will continue our drive to Sonbong, the second biggest city in Rason, where we will visit Sonbong Revolutionary Site, the place where the mother Kim Jong Suk with the 3 year old leader Kim Jong Il returned back to Korea after the end of World War II
We will end our day driving to Rajin, the biggest city in Rason
Overnight at Hotel Rajin or similar***.

04  October
The Rajin Foreign Language School will be our first goal, a great chance to interact with local young peoplelearning English. After the school we move to Rajin city center and check out Monument of the Sun, unveiled in April 2015, and Rajin Golden Triangle Bank, the only place where tourists can exchange their money to Korean Won at market rate. The Rajin City Port, a place of active Chinese and Russian investments, a home for the DPRK passenger cruise ship as well as occasional Russian cruises will be our next destination followed by a Shoes Factory, a small scale factory producing many types of shoes for all seasons, and the Rason Soft Drinks Factory, a small factory producing different kinds of non-alcoholic drinks and alcoholic beverages. It is possible to have a look at manufacturing process and buy ready products at the factory shop.
After lunch we will visit the Rajin city market, the only market in North Korea where tourists are allowed to visit and buy various local products, and the Hae’an Rajin Beach Park, a recently renovated seaside/beach park, one of the most popular places in the city. A Czech draft beer bar will be our last visit today.
Overnight at Hotel Rajin or similar***.

05  October
After breakfast we drive to Chongjin, the city of iron, the DPRK’s third largest city, a large industrial hub on the North East coast. It is estimated to have a 24% share of the DPRK’s foreign trade. Our first stop will be at the Chongjin central square, the main city square featuring renovated in September 2014 monument to the Korean leaders, followed by the Chongjin Electronic Library, a place in possession of more than 300 computers connected to Pyongyang. Quite often here schoolchildren take a test exam coordinated from the capital, and the Chongjin Art Gallery.
After lunch we will visit the Chongjin steelworks kindergarten, here you will see a musical and dance performance by the local children. You may prepare some candies, food or pens to give to children after the show. Chongjin liberation tower, monuments to the Soviet soldiers fallen in the battles for the city’s liberation from Japanese forces. The monument is located on the mountain which is the highest point of the whole area, and thus we will have a great view of the city and nearby Chongjin port. And later the Korean People’s Army Martyrs’ Cemetery, the cemetery of Korean soldiers who fought for the city’s liberation in August 1945, will conclude our afternoon.
Later we will not miss the Chongjin port, one of the country’s main harbors, and the Susongchon General Foodstuff Factory, recently opened to foreign visitors, this factory is located outside of the city at the source of natutal mineral water which is used in production of various breads and traditional spirits.
Dinner and after dinner at the Seaman’s Club, restaurant, bar, karaoke, gym and sauna at Chongjin city center. You can try some incredible Cold Noodles (Nae-Meng).
Overnight at Chongjin Hotel ** or similar.

06  October
After breakfast we will drive to Mt.Chilbo, the Mountain of 7 Treasures, it is one of the most famous scenic spots in the DPRK. Mt Chilbo is put on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. En route visit Yombun Revolutionary site, located 4 km from Kyongsong, it is called “yonbunjin” after being the first place on the East Coast where a new way to get salt was discovered. It is a collection of memorial spots where President Kim Il Sung talked with the fishermen calling them to build a new country.
After an open air picnic lunch at mountain waterfalls we drive to Inner Chilbo, the area stretches to the inland region of the Mt.Chilbo. The towering peaks are covered with pine trees viewed like green carpets. The Sungson Pavilion, literally means “ascending to heaven”, the name refers to a legend about fairies who visited Mt.Chilbo and bathed in the Kuryong Pool, danced and ascended to heaven. The great observation spot to see all rocks in Inner Chilbo; and the Kaesim Buddhist Temple, built in 826 it is situated in the Mt.Pothak, central part of Inner Chilbo, are the highlights of the area. After we will drive to the Homestay Village, located at the beautiful sea shore, it is the only place in the DPRK where it is possible for tourists to stay with Korean family, expect basic facilities at Sea Chilbo.
Overnight at Monte Chilbo Homestay * or similar.

07  October
In the morning visit Outer Chilbo, the area that extends between Inner Chilbo and Sea Chilbo. The Outer Chilbo is higher than Inner Chilbo. It offers skyscraping peaks, precipitous rocks, sheer cliffs, cascades, pools and fords. Departure to Orang, a tiny town, home of Chongjin’s airport, from where we will take a early afternoon domestic flight to Pyongyang.
Arrived in Pyongyang we drive to the downtown, walk in Taedong Park, a great place a few minutes away from Kim Il Sung Square to enjoy a peaceful park and a walk along the Taedong river. We move to the nearby Kim Il Sung Square, Pyongyang’s central square where Korea’s massive military parades normally take place, it is the 30th largest square in the world. We then walk from Kim Il Sung Square to Pyongyang Grand Theatre and Kwangbok Supermarket, located at one of the biggest city’s street, it is the only place in Pyongyang where visitors can shop in local currency Won and exchange money according to the market exchange rate.
Overnight at Hotel Yanggakdo International or similar****.


08  October
We will begin the day with a visit to the Mansudae Fountain Park, composed of many beautifully designed in shape of dancing women fountains, this park is a place to enjoy jets of water reaching up to 80 meters. Followed by the Mansudae Grand Monument, the huge bronze statues of the leaders standing in the center of the composition with two monuments titled “Anti-Japanese Revolutionary Struggle” and “Socialist Construction” on both sides. We will end the morning with the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, unveiled in 2013 by the leader Kim Jong Un after massive renovation. This museum explains the origins of the Korean War (1950-53) between South and North. Here you will see the only US ship captured by a foreign country, the spy ship USS Pueblo, as well as American weapons and shot down planes. The museum features amazing displays and excellent dioramas.
After lunch drive to Sariwon, the southern gateway to Pyongyang. With population well above 300000 Sariwon is one the most densely populated cities of the DPRK and it is famous for its Maccoli Korean traditional rice wine. Mt.Jongbang, 481m high mountain near Sariwon is famous for its many spots to enjoy beautiful landscapes and historical fort dated back to Koryo Dynasty. Next stop will be at Sariwon Folk Customs Street, opened in 2007, it is aimed to show traditions and customs of Korean people, followed by the Songbul Temple, one of the famous temples in Korea. It was first built in 898 and later rebuilt in Koryo dynasty. Migok Cooperative Farm, is a great opportunity to visit a greenhouse to see how vegetables are grown using snails for environmental pest control and tour into one of the houses of the people working on the fields to experience farmer’s life. After the visit we will drive to Kaesong, capital of Korea up to the 15th century. Kaesong is the only city in Korea which has preserved its original historical make up as it hasn’t been destroyed during the Korean war. It is a home for 12 historic sites from the UNESCO World Heritage List. Kaesong is considered to be home of Koryo insam (ginseng) don’t miss the opportunity to buy some of the best insam in the Far East. Dinner at traditional Korean restaurant – you will be enjoying eating your dinner in a Korean way on the floor.
Overnight at
Hotel Minsok Folk Custom Hotel or similar***.

09  October
This morning we will walk on the old streets of Kaesong from Minsok Hotel to Nam gate southern gate of ancient Kaesong wall city and visit Janamsan Park, located on a hill overlooking the city it is a great place to enjoy the beautiful panorama of the old Kaesong; Sonjuk Bridge, a small stone bridge dating back to 1216, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later we will drive to Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea, it is one of the most militarized area on our planet. Followed by Panmunjom, a village where in 1953 Armistice Talks were held between the DPR Korea and the United Nation Command. Visit the blue tent-like building located exactly on the borderline between Koreas. You can walk around the conference room and hop from South to North Korea while you are in this building. This is one of the few places where you can take pictures of the DPRK military.
We then drive back to Kaesong and have lunch at Tongil restaurant,”Tongil” means “Reunification” in Korean, it is one of the most famous restaurants in Kaesong where you will enjoy Traditional Royal Korean Lunch with 12 side-dishes served in brass bowls fit for the kings. For anyone wanting to supplement their lunch, there will be an opportunity to sample Korea’s famous ginseng chicken soup (at extra charge).
After lunch drive to the Tomb of King Kongmin, UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the original mausoleum of the 31st king of the Koryo Dynasty – King Kongmin and his Queen dated back to 14th century. Continue driving back to Pyongyang where we will visit the Monument to the Three Charters for National Reunification,representing the desire of Korean people for reunification. It is shaped in form of two Korean women holding Korean peninsula over the Thongil highway from Pyongyang to DMZ.
After dinner at the Golden Lane Bowling Center, a huge entertainment center, a good chance to mix with locals and watch some stellar displays of local bowling talent and relax after long sightseeing day.

Overnight at Hotel Yanggakdo International or similar****.

10  October
Today is the Worker’s Party of Korea 79th Anniversary. Our first activity will be at the Kumsusan Palace of Sun, the Mausoleum of president Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il. To visit the Mausoleum tourists should be at least 17 years old and follow a strict dress code: no shorts, T-shirts and sandals, no blue jeans and mini-skirts. Followed by the Juche Tower, at 150 m it is the highest stone monument in the world, and the Monument to Workers’ Party of Korea, opened in Juche 84 (1995) the monument depicts the hammer, sickle and brush seized by a worker, a farmer and an intellectual. The round belt means the single-hearted unity of the leader, party and people.
After lunch will walk the Moranbong Park, a recreation area where locals have picnics and sing songs during weekends. It is a unique opportunity to socialize with local people.Later will attend at the Mass Dance, one of the most well known images of North Korea: students of local universities get on the main city’s squares and dance dressed in traditional Korean suit. At the end of the dance we will visit the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace, recently renovated center for local children’s extra curricular education. The palace was opened in 1989 and it features striking post-modern piece of design. In 2016 it was re-opened after massive reconstruction and now it is one of the most striking building in the country. After excursion you will have a chance to enjoy amazing children’s performance. A drink at Mansugyo Beer Bar is the perfect way to end the afternoon. A new beer bar in Pyongyang where you can try all types of famous Taedonggang beer including black beer with chocolate and coffee flavour. Great opportunity to meet locals.
After dinner at Kaeson Youth Funfair, one of the most popular amusement parks and nightspots in Pyongyang, it was recently renovated. This is a great place to observe local people and take pictures with them.
Fireworks are expected on the occasion of the Worker’s Party of Korea Anniversary
.
Overnight at Hotel Yanggakdo International or similar****.

11  October

After breakfast visit the Korean Film studio, DPRK’s version of Hollywood. The leader Kim Il Sung liked to be here and give on spot guidance to movie directors. You will see European, Japanese and South Korean villages set for movie production. Next stop will be at the Grand People’s Study House, located at the Kim Il Sung Square it is one of the most famous buildings in Pyongyang. It was built in a traditional Korean style over a period of 21 months and opened in April of 1982 to honor Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday. From the balcony you will enjoy a breathtaking view on Kim Il Sung Square, Taedong River and Juche Tower. Last visit of our morning will be the Pyongyang Foreign Language Book Shop, the popular shop where you can buy propaganda posters, books and other souvenirs.
We will start our afternoon with the Pyongyang Circus, it was completed in 1989 and is located on Kwangbok Street, one of Pyongyang’s largest avenues. You can enjoy a fantastic performance by the best DPRK acrobats and other artists. Followed by the Pyongyang Metro, one of the deepest subways in the world, it was designed to serve as a bomb shelter in case of war. The stations’ interiors are stunning with superb lighting and mosaics. This is a great chance to interact with local people and explore several subway stations. Arch of Triumph, built in 1982 to commemorate President Kim Il Sung’s role in resisting Japanese rule, it is the second tallest triumphal arch in the world. Each of its 25,500 blocks of finelydressed white granite represents a day of his life up to that point; and Walk on Mirae (Future) Street, opened in 2015, this street features futuristic looking buildings. Korean government allocated apartments at this street to scientists and university teachers; will be our last visits of this amazing voyage. Farewell dinner at Duck Barbecue Restaurant
Overnight at Hotel Yanggakdo International or similar****.

12  October
Transfer to the airport in time for the flight to Beijing.
*FROM BEIJING YOU CAN CONTINUE HOME OR FLY TO CHENGDU AND JOIN THE VOYAGE WILD CHINA.

Included in the price:

–  Double room accommodation breakfast included.
–  All meals from 03 to 11 October.
–  All mentioned excursions.
–  English speaking guide.            

Not included:

–  Meals not mentioned above.
–  The flgihts.
–  Visa.

Voyage Map

 

PRICE PER PERSON  Euro 3900,00

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