• Arch of Triumph on Liberation Day, Pyongyang (DPRK)
    Liberation Day

August Tour North Korea - Liberation Day 2017

August Tour North Korea - Liberation Day 2017, anniversary of the end of Japanese colonial rule on the Korean peninsula. The application deadline for this tour is July 10 2017. Our group sizes tend to be small, with an average of less than 10 people. The number of Westerners going to the DPRK each year is also very limited. However, this is the busiest period in DPRK tourism terms. We therefore kindly ask you to apply by the application deadline as it can be hard to book any late plane and train tickets during this period.

This tour consists of 5 nights in the DPRK plus one night on the train (plane exit option is also available). This tour covers highlights and celebrations in Pyongyang, the lively city of Sariwon, the ancient city Kaesong and of course the DMZ. A truly amazing and compact way of experiencing the trip of a lifetime!

Day 1 - August 12 (Saturday)

  • Depart from Beijing at 13.05 flight JS 152 Terminal 2, Beijing Capital Airport
  • Arrive in Pyongyang at 15.35 (Pyongyang time)

PM

  • Arch of Triumph - bigger that its Parisian counterpart, this gigantic structure marks the years that President Kim Il Sung left and returned to Korea to fight in the struggle against Japanese occupation. It is located on the spot where he first gave a speech in Pyongyang after returning to Korea. A gigantic mosaic portrays this occasion and the Kim Il Sung Stadium is also located here.
  • Brief walk around the area.
  • Hotel check-in: Yanggakdo Hotel
  • Welcome Dinner: KITC Restaurant, Pyongyang

Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

Day 2 - August 13 (Sunday)

AM

  • Kumsusan Memorial Palace - This is the most sacred place in the DPRK, where the Leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state. This is a very important place in the DPRK and you are kindly asked to dress in formal attire.
  • Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery - busts of natioal heroes of the DPRK who fought in the anti-Japanese struggle.

PM

  • Lunch: Hotpot restaurtant, Pyongyang
  • Mangyongdae Native House - this is the birhplace of President Kim Il Sung.
  • Drive to Sariwon City - this lively city is located in North Hwanghae Province and is one of the largest in Korea
  • Migok Cooperative Farm - see how farmers and their families live in this model cooperative farm, typical of communist countries. We will be able to see the fields and visit a farmer's home and meet the whole family and/or the farmers' children school. These are all located within the farm.
  • Folk Street & Ancient Model Pavilions - we will see how Koreans lived in ancient times and check some model pavilions of times past in Korea
Playing a shooting game with North Koreans in the city of Sariwon, capital of North Hwanghae Province, DPRK

  • Walk up Mt. Kyongnam - the walk itself is only 5 to 10 minutes but we will have views of the whole city and of the surrounding region.
  • Food Street - we will walk around this street and have the chance to check a local Sul-Jib (alcohol house) and try some delicious Makoli (Korean rice wine with very low levels of alcohol). The walk around here is always interesting. There are usually street games and activities too where we can of course join in!
Walk around the Folk Village in Sariwon, North Korea (DPRK)

  • Mt. Chongbang Fortress - medieval fortress built in the 1100s under the Koryo Dynasty
The South Gate of Mt. Jongbang Fortress (aka Chongbang) in Sariwon, North Korea (DPRK)

  • Songbul Temple - we will visit this medieval temple in Mt. Chongbang that attracts local painters because of its landscape. A local monk will guide us around
Local monk shows us around Songbul Temple, Mt. Chongbang, Sariwon, North Korea (DPRK)

  • Drive back to Pyongyang
  • Golden Lane Bowling Alley - chance to have a game where locals gather on weekends. There is also an area with 1990s arcade games!
  • Dinner: Local restaurant, Pyongyang

Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

Day 3 - August 14 (Monday)

AM

  • Breakfast: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang
  • Depart to Kaesong (Panmunjom, the DMZ) - we leave the capital early in the morning for a 2.5 hour drive due south. We will have a break on the way (great chance to take some pictures of the almost empty highway). Our Korean guides will explain to us the basis of Reunification of the Korean Peninsula and they are always very friendly and open to any questions we may have regarding this. There will be some military check-points on the way and it is strictly forbidden to take any pictures here (we will be notified each time we approach a check-point).
  • 38th Parallel - chance to enter the famous blue negotiation rooms where talks between North & South Korea have taken place. We will be escorted by a KPA soldier on our bus which provides us with a great chance to interact with a DPRK soldier. It is not uncommon for them to ask us questions regarding our views about Korea and the Korean War.
Negotiation rooms at the DMZ, North and South Korea

Technically in the South - Korean soldiers prepare to leave the negotiation rooms as we exit. The microphones shown on the table mark the diversionary line between North & South

  • Koryo Museum (Kaesong) - dating back to the 900s, this museum shows what life was like in Korea in the past. It was initially a university.
  • Stamp shop - a variety of stamps can be purchased as well as other souvenirs such as books and paintings. This is located just by the museum and will therefore not consume much of our time.

PM

  • Lunch at Tongil Restaurant (Kaesong) - Meaning Reunification restaurant. Dishes are served is small gold plated bowls. With up to 12 small bowls per person, there is plenty of variety
  • Tomb of King Kongmin and his wife - A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013, these tombs are extremely well conserved. They have gone through little restoration. On the way there we will drive by some generals' tombs which remain in their original states.
  • Drive back to Pyongyang
  • Stop at the Re-unification Monuments - good chance to take some pictures
  • Children's Palace - see a performance put on by extremely talented children who attend this extra-curricular activities centre
  • Drinks at a local bar - The Taedongang Number 3 Beer Bar is one of our favourite ones not only because the beer is brewed there but also because it is a major hangout place for locals.
  • Dinner: Local restaurant in Pyongyang

Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

Day 4 - August 15 (Tuesday) - Liberation Day, National Holiday

AM

  • Breakfast: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang
  • Mansudae Grand Monuments - Giant Bronze Statues of the Leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il
  • Views of Chollima Statue - a symbol of the domestic policy that followed the Korean War and consisted of reconstructing the country at great speed
  • War Museum - learn about the North Korean version of the war. This museum, which was moved to a much larger complex, shows original vehicles and weapons used during the Korean War as well as of course the DPRK version of the first armed conflict of the Cold War which is officially still ongoing over than 60 years later...
Children at the War Museum in Pyongyang, DPRK (North Korea)

  • USS Pueblo - US spy ship captured in 1968. This is the only US vessel held by a foreign country and is shown to Koreans and foreigners as a trophy

PM

  • Lunch: Local restaurant, Pyongyang - chance to see locals celebrate a national holiday
  • Kim Il Sung Square - walk around one of the most iconic places of the DPRK. Located in the heart of Pyongyang, this is the square we see on TV all around the world when parades and mass rallies are held.
  • DPRK Foreign Language Bookstore - we walk from the square to this shop. We will have the chance to read and purchase DPRK books that have been translated into English, German, French, Spanish, etc. We can also purchase samples of the newspaper The Pyongyang Times.
Walk from Kim Il Sung Square to the foreign bookstore in Pyongyang, North Korea (DPRK)

  • Ride on Pyongyang Metro (extended ride) - at an average of 100 metres below ground we will take a ride with locals
  • Moranbong Park - where locals gather on national holidays. Chance to see locals celebrating, singing, eating and having fun on a national holiday. You will more likely than not be asked by curious and friendly Koreans to join in the fun!
North Koreans celebrating Liberation Day in Moran Park

  • Party Foundation Monuments - consisting of a hammer, sickle and brush
  • Expected Mass Dances - Chance to dance with North Korean university student during the celebrations of this National Holiday. Hundreds of women wear traditional Korean dresses and men suits while they dance in a synchronised way
  • Juche Tower - if you decide to go up the tower you will have a panaramic view of the whole of Pyongyang by going up 150 metres (the tower is 170 metres tall including its flame). The entrance fee is 5 Euros. If you would rather not go up you can wait the few minutes that this takes by the riverside. It is also very pleasant to sit on the steps and see locals
  • Dinner: Number 1 Pyongyang Duck BBQ Restaurant. An ideal way to end a compact but diverse trip to North Korea!
  • Kaeson Funfair - after dinner - you can take rides with locals, but even if you'd rather not, this is a great opportunity to join Koreans during their celebrations and to mingle with them. Rides cost from 1.5 to 5 Euros and are optional.
  • If there are any celebrations such as a firework display in the evening we will be able to attend these.

Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

Day 5 - August 16 (Wednesday)

AM

  • Breakfast: Yanggakdo Hotel
  • Drive to Mount Myohyang - we head to the Northern interior part of the DPRK to one of its most secluded and beautiful spots; Mount Myohyang (meaning fragrance mountain).
  • International Friendship Exhibition Centre- No other area better portrays how much the leadership of the country is revered than this place. The two buildings, built into the mountains and consisting of endless corridors and several floors, show thousands of gifts given to the leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and Comrade Kim Jong Suk (wife of President Kim Il Sung and mother of General Kim Jong Il). There is now a section too for the current leader Kim Jong Un.
  • Pohyon Temple- initially built in 1042, it used to be the centre of Buddhism in the region.
  • Drive back to Pyongyang
  • Grand People's Study House - you will be able to see Koreans studying. When going into the English classroom some curious students may try to practice their language skills with you. The views of Kim Il Sung Square are stunning from here!
  • Dinner: Local restaurant in Pyongyang

Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

Day 6 - August 17 (Thursday)

AM

  • 10.10 am train to Beijing - if interested in flying back please contact us

PM

  • Stopover at Sinuiju train station bordering China - DPRK customs will be carried out on the train

Day 7 - August 18 (Friday)

Arrive in Beijing at 08:31 am

End of tour our DPRK Liberation Day Extended Tour

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"The whole experience was actually even better than I thought, especially the Mass Games which I can’t even find words to describe." P. Simon - attending the Ocotober 10th Military Parade rehearsal "We had a very enlightening trip and were most impressed with how well organised it all was...and would not have changed anything..."

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