Have you ever sought to discover beyond the hysteria and misconceptions of everyday media? Your time has come. In June 2019 you are invited to join Visit North Korea in our Political Insights Tour, an academic and analysis focused program which focuses on grasping an understanding of North Korea’s political system, the principles of the Juche Ideology, as well as the historical relationship between China and North Korea. Do you have a deep abiding in … » Learn More about 2019 Political Insights and Mass Games Tour
- Trip Outline
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Have you ever sought to discover beyond the hysteria and misconceptions of everyday media? Your time has come. In June 2019 you are invited to join Visit North Korea in our Political Insights Tour, an academic and analysis focused program which focuses on grasping an understanding of North Korea’s political system, the principles of the Juche Ideology, as well as the historical relationship between China and North Korea.
Do you have a deep abiding in politics and international relations? Or are you a student? The trip will be a fantastic opportunity for all regardless!
The tour diverges from classical itineraries of North Korea by combining popular sites with some unique analytical experiences. Besides the usual thrills of the DMZ, we’ll be having a real discussion and Q&A session with an actual North Korean party cadre, where we will have the chance to ask questions about the Juche ideology and the country’s politics. Additionally, we’ll be visiting the little known Chinese War Cemetery in Hoechang, where we can witness the grave of Chairman Mao’s son who died in the Korean War. Last but certainly not least, we won’t be missing out on some of the most popular sites around Pyongyang, including the local metro, the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and Juche Tower.
For those who are already interested in our Maoist tour in China, the Politics of the DPRK tour makes the perfect extension. Dive deep into the world of 1950s and 1960s China & North Korea, discover how an alliance was forged in resistance to the United States and then reflect about its relevance today. If you’re looking for a learning experience, this is a tour well worth considering!
Monday 17th June
- Meet your guide at 1:30pm at the Beijing Zhong Gu Hotel near Beijing Railway Station. Here we’ll be going through the tour itinerary, handing out your DPRK visas and tickets and getting to know your group. We'll be able to answer any other questions you may have about the DPRK.
- Those heading to the DPRK by train will then head to Beijing railway station to depart on the 5.25pm K27 train to Dandong
Tuesday 18th June
- We arrive at Dandong for around 7am with a couple of hours to spare and grab breakfast before we head through customs and board the train for North Korea. We can check out the Yalu riverside and witness the DPRK for the first time too.
- For those flying, we'll be heading to Beijing Airport Terminal 2 to board the Air Koryo plane at 12.55pm. Meet the group at the checkin counter at 10! You'll be arriving at Pyongyang around 3.30 to meet your Korean guides
- The train group will arrive at Pyongyang railway station by 5pm, where the guides will be waiting on the platform.
- With the group reunited, we'll head off to the Koryo Hotel where we'll enjoy dinner and have some drinks afterwards. Plenty to see and do around afterwards in the evening.
Wednesday 19th June
- A very early start as we set out on the bus to drive to Kaesong and the DMZ
- At the DMZ we'll be able to meet some real North Korean soldiers and take selfies with them. We will visit the joint security area facing South Korea where the only border is but a line of breaks. See U.S troops on the other side!
- After the DMZ we're off to the Koryo Museum- an ancient centre of learning in what was the historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty, now a history museum.
- Korea’s first university and now a museum of history and culture. It also has one of the best stamps and propaganda poster shop in the DPRK, so don’t forget your wallet!
- Lunch at the famous Thongil Restaurant in Kaesong City- try your hand at traditional Korean Pansangi- a series of local dishes served in bronze bowls. Here you will be able to try out some unique unique optional dishes, such as Dog Soup or an extraordinary Ginseng Chicken! (split between several people)
- The concrete wall of the DMZ – this is a little off the beaten track and gives us a great glimpse at the wall which was erected by the South Koreans during the 70’s. We can even see South Korean watch towers along the hill from the North Korean post.
- We'll head back to Pyongyang. On the way back we'll stop at the city of Sariwon where we can explore a historic folklore park and try out a specialty local rice wine known as Makkoli.
- Re-entering Pyongyang, we'll be stopping at the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, or the "arch of reunifcation"- representing the dream of two koreas coming together again. It is a great photo opportunity.
- Next we'll be heading to the Taedonggang Brewery, creating Pyongyang's most famous alcoholic beverage. Try out micro-brewed beers, juices or coffee!
- Afterwards we'll be having dinner at the KITC restaurant. Try out the delicious Pyongyang Cold Noodles or an equally tasty Korean Bibimbap
Thursday 20th June
- Today begins with a visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. This is known as the most sacred place in all North Korea. Here, the Great Leader President Kim Il Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il lie in state. Formal dress will be required as well as very respectful and dignified behaviour.
- After visiting the palace, we'll go for a walk through the beautiful Mansudae Fountain park, where we can see mosaic pictures of President Kim Il Sung and the leader Kim Jong Il
- Visit Mansudae Grand Monument – here is where we will be required to offer our respects to the giants statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking the city. (Optional extra- you can present flowers if you wish: small bunches are 2 euro, larger ones 4)
- We'll be having a very tasty local hotpot for lunch! Watch the waitresses stage an incredible performance afterwards!
- Next is a ride on the Pyongyang Metro. We'll head across 6 stations, stopping at one, we'll get off at the Arch of Triumph, where the resistance to Japanese colonialism is celebrated. Try out some ice cream in the meanwhile from a local vendor!
- Afterwards we will visit the "Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum" but unlike previous visits, we'll be heading to the little seen exhibit which commemorates China's support for North Korea in the war – let the expert military guide show you around the museum featuring dioramas, locally used weapons, tanks etc, and captured American/allied equipment!
- Afterwards we'll hope on board the USS Pueblo- The only US Ship in the word still held captive by another country. Witness the American quarters and surveillance radios, as well as even bullet holes remaining from clashes between DPRK and American sailors.
- Next, it's time for a trip to Juche Tower- the tallest stone column tower in the world. Here we can learn about the Juche ideology, the guiding philosophy of the DPRK which represents a struggle for independence and destiny in the world. For an optional 5 euro, you'll be able to head to the top and see a panoramic view of all Pyongyang!
- After Juche, we'll take a look at the China Korea Friendship Tower – situated on the Moran Hill this tower was built in the late 1950s to remember the Chinese assistance in the Korean War and the lasting alliance between the two socialist nations
- Dinner will be at the Famous Lamb BBQ with a performance by incredibly talented singing and dancing waitresses afterwards
- Head back to the hotel where we join a discussion group with a local party official, he will host a discussion about politics and ideology in the DPRK and where we have the chance to ask questions and discuss local affairs with him.
Friday 21st June
- Early start again for the drive up to Hoechang County, here we will see the war cemetery where Chairman Mao’s son, Mao Anying, is buried. Get ready for the bumpy roads and take a glimpse at the North Korean which is far removed from Pyongyang
- Lunch at the Hoechang Hotel
- Next is the cemetery for Chinese Soldiers in the Korean War. Here, hundreds of soldiers who served in the Chinese People's Volunteer Army are buried here. It is expected for top Chinese delegations to pay their respects at this site. Here we will be able to see some more murals and works representing the Chinese contribution to the Korean War
- Drive to the site of the wartime headquarters of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army in North Korea
- After seeing the cemetery, it's time to head back to Pyongyang where we will have dinner.
- We'll have the chance to visit a local amusement park, the Kaeson Youth Park and try out some fun local rides (entry 2 euros, rides 3 to 5 euros extra each depending on how awesome they are).
- Back to the Koryo hotel for the night
Saturday 22nd June
- Those taking a flight out depart from Pyongyang to Beijing at 8:20am on Air Koryo arriving in Beijing at 9:50am local Beijing time
- Those taking the train depart to Beijing at 9:55am. Say your goodbyes to the guides on the platform and grab a final photo opportunity!
Sunday 23rd June
- Train members arrive in Beijing at 9:00am. Say your goodbyes to the group at the railway station and we go our separate ways.
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