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

August Tour North Korea - Liberation Day 2017

Tourism North Korea – anniversary of the Liberation Day of Korea. This date marks the independence of Korean from Japanese colonial rule. The Korean Peninsula was under Japanese control for over 35 years and independence from Japan is celebrated on both sides of the 38th Parallel on the Korean Peninsula.

Our groups tend to be small in size (on averages less than 10 people per departure), a fact that we believe gives our travellers the chance of being able to get along well with the local Korean guides and to have greater flexibility once in the DPRK, something simple not possible with large groups. However, August and September are busy periods in terms of North Korea tourism. We kindly ask you to please apply by the deadline, July 12 2017, so as to ensure that your transportation means can be booked with enough time in advance. If you apply after the deadline we will be able to notify you within one working day if it will be possible for you to join the trip.

This trip is a very complete one and will allow to explore a wide set of aspects of life in North Korea. You will see all the main Pyongyang highlights, the west coast (staying there overnight), head south to the DMZ and to top it all up we will literally drive across the DPRK travelling through smaller cities and counties until you reach the east part of the country.

It is possible for non-US citizens to enter by train and something we strongly recommend as it allows to experience much more of the DPRK. Please let us know if this option may interest you.

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 - gigantic arch built to commemorate President Kim Il Sung's speech upon returning to Korea after the colonial rule of Japan.
  • Brief walk around the area, see the enormous mural showing the Leaders Kim Il Sung giving his famous speech upon returning to Korea after the liberation of the counrty from Japan.
  • Hotel check-in: Yanggakdo Hotel
  • Welcome Dinner: KITC Restaurant, Pyongyang

Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

Day 2 - August 13 (Sunday)

AM

  • Kumsusan Memorial Palace - Most sacred place in the DPRK; it is where the Leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il remain in state. Please note that this is the most sacred place in the DPRK and that there is a dress code to follow. We should also be on our best behaviour when here. You will be fully briefed in Beijing regarding how to behave in the DPRK in order for you to make the most out of this, for many, once in a lifetime journey.
  • Revolutionary Martyrs' Cemetery - busts of DPRK national heroes. who dedicated their lives to the liberation of Korea. Located on a hill in the outskirts of Pyongyang, it offers amazing views of the capital of North Korea.

PM

  • Lunch: Hotpot restaurtant, Pyongyang
  • Mangyongdae Native House - this is the birhplace of President Kim Il Sung. We will see pictures of his family members and of the President as a young man.
  • 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 see how Koreans lived in ancient times and check some model pavilions of times past in Korea
Walk around the Folk Village in Sariwon, North Korea (DPRK)

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

  • Songbul Temple - we will visit this ancient temple in Mt. Chongbang and will be guided by a Korean monk. It is common to see painters here given the beautiful landscape offered.
Local monk shows us around Songbul Temple, Mt. Chongbang, Sariwon, North Korea (DPRK)

  • Drive back to Pyongyang
  • Golden Lane Bowling Alley - test your bowling skills where locals gather on weekends. There is too a coffee shop, pool tables and an area with 1990s arcade games! Even if you decide not to play, a visit here offers us a great chance to relax and see locals enjoying their leisure time.
  • 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 of North Korea early in the morning. The ride to Kaesong takes 2.5 hours and we will have a break in the middle. We will be explained by our North Korea guides how the DPRK would like to achieve the reunification of the Korean Peninsula. They are always very friendly and opened to answering any questions we may have.
  • Please note that there are military points on the way and it is forbidden to take pictures of these. We will be notified before passing each check-point.
  • As we approach Kaesong we will be able to see the Kaesong Industrial Park at a distance on our lefthand side as well as the train station that has the railway leading to South Korea (which is not in use).
  • 38th Parallel - chance to enter the famous blue negotiation rooms where talks between North & South Korea have taken place as well as where the War Armistice was signed. A KPA soldier will join us on our coach and then show us around this highly symbolic area of Korea and of the Cold 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) - the first university on the Korean Peninsula it dates from the 900s. Kaesong was the capital of the Koryo Dynasty.
  • Stamp shop - chance to buy unique collections of stamps, postcards, paintings, etc. Even if not purchasing any, browsing around the material is always entertaining as the stamps vary considerably to what is offered in the West. Please note that this shop is just located outside of the Koryo Museum and will therefore not take up much of our time.

PM

  • Lunch at Tongil Restaurant (Kaesong) - a variety of dishes served in gold plated covered bowls.
  • Tomb of King Kongmin and his wife - These are one of the best preserved tombs in the DPRK having undergone little restoration. We will see too, on our way there, some tombs of generals that 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 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
  • 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)

  • Extended Ride on the Pyongyang Metro - 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 local university students 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.
  • 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 north to this beautiful part of the DPRK.
  • International Friendship Exhibition Centre- showing 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 Leader Kim Jong Un.
  • Pohyon Temple- first 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

  • Transfer to Wonsan (east coast) - drive through second tier cities and counties seeing areas not many have the chance to as you literally go across the DPRK from west to east. This fascinating drive will take around 4.5 hours. We will have a 30 minute break on the way at the Sinpyong Guest House facing the lake.
  • Guesthouse Break - stop by a lake on the way. Chance to try some snake liquor if you wish!

PM

  • Lunch: Local restaurant, Wonsan
  • Local beach - Chance to swim in the sea with locals.
  • Walk to Jangdok Islet - we go across the beaches and then have a panoramic view of the seafront of Wonsan.
  • Walk around Central Square and the pier - You can walk by children skating, men finishing, and soak in the atmosphere of main port city of North Korea.
  • Wonsan port, North Korea (DPRK)

  • Dinner: local restaurant, Wonsan

Overnight: Songdowon Hotel, Wonsan

Day 7 - August 18 (Friday)

AM

  • Breakfast: Songdowon Hotel, Wonsan
  • Songdowon Children's Summer Camp - Chance to see children enjoying their summer vacation. Please note that you will be a novelty for them!
  • Wonsan Agricultural University - walk around the campus and visit several building located on campus. Interesting chance to have more of an insight into the higher educational system in the DPRK
DPRK east coast ride

PM

  • Return to Pyongyang via the beautiful Ullim Waterfalls - (Ullim meaning echo in Korean). These were discovered by soldiers in 2001. A great, relaxing way to end a fascinating trip to North Korea.
  • En-route picnic lunch / local restauran
  • Arrival in Pyongyang
  • Evening walk around by the Taedong River in the centre of Pyongyang ending at Kim Il Sung Square where we can have a pre-dinner coffee break in an Austrian - DPRK coffee shop located right by the square.
  • Farewell Dinner: Local restaurant in Pyongyang

Overnight: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

Day 8 - August 19 (Saturday)

  • 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 9 - August 20 (Sunday)

Arrive in Beijing at 08:38 am

End of tour our DPRK Liberation Day Extended Tour II

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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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