On August 15th, 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered and brought an end to World War II. In addition, the country’s 30 year … » Learn More about Liberation Day and Mass Games Delegation
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On August 15th, 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered and brought an end to World War II. In addition, the country’s 30 year occupation of the Korean Peninsula also coming to an end, giving the opportunity for Koreans to be an independent nation again. Kim Il Sung, soon to be leader of the DPRK, would return to the country with the Soviet army thereafter, heralding the role he played in resisting the Japanese as a guerrilla fighter. Thus, “Liberation Day” was proclaimed.
Every year Liberation Day continues to be celebrated in the DPRK. The resistance to Japanese imperialism is an integral part of the country’s political narratives and the creation of its ideology. Thus, our unique delegation to the country during this time allows the visitor to comprehend the significance of these events to North Korea as a whole. As a result, this trip has some special highlights including the chance to participate in a famous mass dance with locals during the day itself, as well attending a firework display at Kim Il Sung Square in the evening.
Starting in Beijing, we will take the overnight train to Dandong and then moving onwards to Pyongyang. Or alternatively, you can take an Air Koryo flight for an additional fee if you wish. Once we arrive in the DPRK, we’ll be staying in the Sosan Hotel. Other featured items of the trip will include a chance to attend the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the Mausoleum where the two former leaders of the country lie preserved in state, as well as a trip to the DMZ border with South Korea and Panmunjom Village.
Payment for this trip will involve making a 30% deposit in the run up (which can be done by a number of means) and bringing the remainder to the tour itself in cash. The DPRK visa can be processed by us for a fee of 50 euros. Concerning China, participants can either obtain a double/multiple entry visa, or if they choose the Air Koryo Option (295 euros return); they can qualify for a 72 hour transit visa on arrival.
Monday 12th August
- Meet your guide at 1:30pm at the Beijing Zhong Gu Hotel near Beijing Railway Station for a introductory briefing on North Korea. During this meeting, we’ll go over the tour’s itinerary, receive North Korean visas train and tickets, as well as a great chance to meet the group and to discuss any other questions you may have about the tour.
- Afterwards for those taking the train, it's time to depart Beijing Central station at 5:25pm for the overnight sleeper train to Dandong!
Tuesday 13th August
- For those taking the flight to Pyongyang, arrive at morning at Beijing airport terminal 2 and meet at the Air Koryo checkin counter for the 12pm flight to Pyongyang. We will be landing at 3:30pm.
- For those taking the train, we'll arrive at Dandong at 7:00am. We'll have a quick break to grab breakfast, then we need to be up and out through Chinese exit customs and on the train for 10:00am
- Once we've crossed the bridge, it's time to go through North Korean customs and entry, this may take a couple of hours.
- After this is done, enjoy the eye opening scenes of the North Korean countryside and the realities of rural life in the country as we head onwards to Pyongyang
- Arrive at Pyongyang station for the evening, where we will meet our guides on the platform! We'll then board the bus, where we will reunite with those who were flying and travel to the Sosan hotel, where we will be given our rooms
- We'll be having dinner at a restaurant on the new Ryomyong Street, opened in 2017
Wednesday 14th August
- We'll begin this day with a walk through Mansudae Fountain park where we can see mosaic pictures of President Kim Il Sung and the leader Kim Jong Il.
- Afterwards, we'll head up to the nearby Mansudae Grand Hill Monument – the two large bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking the city. Here we will be kindly asked to pay our respects, flowers are optional if you wish.
- Afterwards it's time for a ride on the Pyongyang Metro! We'll be going 6 stops before heading out to the Arch of Triumph- Like that in Paris, but bigger! This magnificent structure celebrates the victory over Japan and the liberation of Korea
- We're having hotpot for lunch at Pyongyang's Chongryu Hotpot restaurant
- Next up is Juche Tower- Monument to North Korea's National Ideology. Go up to the top for an extra fee and see an incredible panoramic view of all Pyongyang
- We will next see the Worker's Party Monument. This structure was built in 1995 and celebrated 50 years of the Worker's Party of Korea- The three giant firsts symbolize agriculture, industry and intellectualism
- Ever wondered what a North Korean film studio is like? We now have the chance to visit the Mansudae Film Studio, where North Korea's films are created. Dress up in all the cool customs and check out the backdrops of different cities around the world
- Fancy some shopping? Next us the Kwangbok department store, North Korea's biggest domestic supermarket and department store. Here you can buy locally made goods, clothing and all kinds of items. Here you can real local currency.
- For dinner we will be having delicious Duck BBQ at Pyongyang's famous Duck BBQ restaurant
- Back to the Sosan Hotel
Thursday 15th August- Liberation Day
- A serious start to the day. We will be heading to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, known as the elaborate mausoleum for the Great Leader President Kim Il Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il. Here, their bodies lie in state. Formal dress is reacted, as well as your best behaviour!
- Next up is Kim Il Sung Square, the famous city square in Pyongyang that is frequently seen as the site of parades. We'll go for a walk here, and head down to the street to the Foreign Language Bookshop – here you can buy local literature, newspapers, badges, flags and all kinds of souvenirs!
- We'll be grabbing lunch Moranbong Chicken Restaurant, afterwards it's time to head to the nearby Moranbong hill. As it is victory day, we will be dancing, partying, and mingling with locals as they celebrate the day!
- Afterwards it's time to see the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum. The local military guide will show us North Korea's depiction of the Korean War in this enormous complex, showing us around captured American weaponry and other equipment
- All aboard the USS Pueblo! Outside the Museum sits a captured US Navy ship seized in 1968 by the North Korean navy. It's still registered as an official vessel! See bullet holes inside on the walls where US and North Korean sailors clashed
- Now it's time for a mass dance! Join in with locals and make the most of victory day in this famous display, fantastic for photographs!
- We will then be treated to a performance at the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s palace- where children will sing, dance and show incredible instrumental skills to the audience
- After all the dancing and performances we'll need some time to chill and wind down, we'll be stopping at the Mansugyo Beer Bar for some nice drinks to cool down
- Diner will be at the KITC restaurant. Try out famous Pyongyang Cold Noodles (Raengmyeon) or a traditional Korean Bibimbap.
- We'll end the day with a bang. As night falls, it's time to join locals again for an incredible Victory Day Firework exhibition on Kim Il Sung Square
- Back to the Sosan Hotel
Friday 16th August
- A very early start as we've got a lot of ground to cover as we make the long trip to Kaesong and the DMZ!
- Heading to the DMZ, we will first stop by the Panmunjom Gift shop, where you will have another chance to buy hand painted propaganda posters and other assortments
- Our soldier guide, a real KPA officer, will then lead us into the DMZ. He will show us around Panmunjom village where the Armistice talks were held, as well as the signed document itself!
- Next he will take us through to the Joint Security Area, where North Korean, South Korean and American soldiers famously stand face off! Now, it is becoming a centre of peace and subsequently, relaxed in contrast to pass times. There may be an opportunity to cross over into the South Korean side and see the tree planted by Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in last April (we cannot enter South Korea proper
- Lunch at the Tongil Restaurant in Kaesong- try our traditional Korean Pansangi- a series of assorted dishes served in bronze bowls. (Optional extras- If you're feeling daring, there is Dog Soup at 5 euro! Or, you can even buy a share a ginseng chicken, apparently it's good for health
- After lunch we will visit the Koryo Museum- An ancient centre of learning at the heart of the ancient Koryo Dynasty. See old Korean artifacts, clothing, coinage and weaponry!
- Outside of the museum sits the Korea stamp stop! Stock up on your stamps, postcards, posters and other memorabilia here!
- We'll stop by Sariwon City (Capital of North Hwanghae province) to walk in the historic folklore park. We'll also have the chance to view the city from the mountaintop pagoda.
- Re-entering Pyongyang, we will stop at the the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, otherwise known as "the Arch of Reunification"- longing for the day Korea is reunified
- We'll then close the day with dinner at the National restaurant and tune in for a special performance!
- Overnight in Sosan Hotel.
Saturday 17th August- Departure
- Those flying out will depart Pyongyang at 9:00am on Air Koryo, arriving in Beijing at 9:55am local time.
- For those taking the train, we will depart at 10:25am for Beijing. The train will head back to Sinuiju for customs and then back into Dandong, before heading onwards overnight to China's capital.
- All accommodation,
- All meals and primary sites (unless specified in the itinerary)
- Return train trip Beijing/Pyongyang
- All guides
- International flights
- DPRK visa (we can process this for 50 euros)
- Chinese visa or transit visa
- Air Koryo add ons
- Any additional spending or tips
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