On September 9th, 1948, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was declared as a state. Now 71 years previously, it is still here … » Learn More about North Korea Grand National Day and Mass Games Tour
- Trip Outline
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- Trip Excludes
On September 9th, 1948, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was declared as a state. Now 71 years previously, it is still here today. It is the longest lived socialist state in the world, the neighbouring People’s Republic of China having been proclaimed a year later. As a result, the specified date has become a public holiday and time of celebration within the country, one which is sometimes met with military parades. Visit North Korea are offering you an opportunity to travel to the country in during this unique festival on a premium quality package; with plenty to do and talk about!
We’ll be heading into Pyongyang from Beijing, where we will take a sleeper train via Dandong. You’ll also have the chance to fly in by Air Koryo should you wish. In the DPRK, we’ll be staying primarily in the Yanggakdo international Hotel, but we will also be spending an evening in a traditional folklore hotel in Kaesong, with of course seeing the most famous sites nearby such as the DMZ and Panmunjom Village. The national day itself will include a number of special celebratory events, which may involve circus performances, mass dances with locals and of course, an opportunity to attend the country’s famous mass games– the largest organised theatrical and gymnastic display in the world!
Beyond the celebrations, elements of our trip will include all the must see sights of Pyongyang: This includes the metro, Juche Tower, the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun (Where the two previous Kims lie in state), the Grand People’s Study House and the exciting chance to take a Soviet era helicopter on a trip around the city itself!
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.
Any questions or concerns should be emailed to [email protected]
Thursday 5th September
- 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 its time to depart Beijing Central station at 5:25pm for the overnight sleeper train to Dandong!
Friday 6th September
- Train group 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
- Arrive at Pyongyang station for the evening, where we will meet our guides on the platform! We'll then board the bus and travel to the Yanggakdo international hotel, where we will be given our rooms!
- Afterwards, it's time for dinner at the hotel! Then we can settle down and socialize for the night!
Saturday 7th September
- We begin our day with a walk through Mansudae Fountain Park, before heading up to the Mansudae Grand Hill Monument – the two large bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking the city.
- Time for a delicious lunch at the Chongryu Korean Hot Pot restaurant.
- We'll now stop by for a walk around Kim Il-Sung square, the famous central square at the heart of the city, mostly seen on television and during parades
- From the square we'll walk across to the nearby Foreign Language Bookshop- Here you can buy books, pins, DVD’s, CD’s and periodicals in English and other foreign Languages, a fun place for keepsakes!
- Next is Juche Tower- monument to North Korea's national ideology. Learn about Juche's concept of "self-reliance" and then for an extra 5 euros you can visit the top and see a panoramic view of all Pyongyang!
- Afterwards is another monument- the worker's party monument. Built in 1995, these three enormous fists celebrated 50 years of worker's party rule in the DPRK
- Fancy some shopping? We'll go now to the Kwangbok department store – This is North Korea's biggest domestic supermarket. All the items are locally made. We will be able to use local currency too!
- Now it's time for a drink- next is the Taedonggang brewery, the production centre for North Korea's most famous drink. It's available here on tap!
- Dinner- We'll be going to the fabulous Pyongyang Duck BBQ Restaurant.
- Back to the Yangakkdo Hotel
Sunday 8th September
- It's an early and serious start as we head to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the Mausoleum and final resting place of the previous two Kim leaders. Witness them preserved and witness them lying in state. Formal dress is required for this building, as well as your best behaviour! No photographs are allowed until we exit.
- After the Palace, we will tour the Grand People's Study House. The study house is the largest library in the DPRK. It is also a centre of education and courses. Check out their collection of Foreign Language Books, as well as their funky music room!
- Lunch at the Moran Hill Chicken Restaurant
- After lunch we will go to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum- the local army guide will show you around an incredibly facility which includes dioramas, locally used weapons, tanks etc, and captured American equipment!
- All aboard the USS Pueblo – The only US Naval Ship still held captive by another nation- See the living quarters of former American sailors, as well as bullet holes in the walls where they clashed with North Korean soldiers.
- Now, it's time for our long drive down Kaesong City- This city sits adjacent to South Korea.
- As we leave Pyongyang we'll stop at the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, promising hope one day for a reunified Korean peninsula
- We'll take a rest on the long drive down stopping in Sariwon (Capital of North Hwanghae province) this city has a great historical character to it with the local folklore park, as well as a hill where you can view the city from a pagoda
- Once at Kaesong, we will stop at the local folklore hotel. This hotel is constructed in a traditional Korean style, live the nostalgia of Korea's past in this korean facility
- Dinner, drinks and overnight at hotel
Monday 9th September – National Day!
- A very early start as we've got a lot of ground to cover. Our first stop is 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!
- Now it's time for the DMZ. First, we'll stop 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
- Afterwards, it's time to head back to Pyongyang where we will join locals in celebrating the Grand National Day! There will be a number of events taking place, we will keep you updated on what they could be! Lots of surprises!
- We will however, be joining Pyongyang university students performing a mass dance near an iconic DPRK monument – a unique experience to engage with locals
- Next is dinner. We'll be at a restaurant which gives us a great nice between either Pyongyang cold noodles (Raengmyeon) or traditional Korean Bibimbap. Tuck in with a special performance from the waitress to follow
- After Dinner, we will be attending North Korea's famous mass games, the most spectacular organised display on Earth at the Rungrado May Day Stadium. Ticket prices are to be ticked.
- Overnight in Sosan Hotel.
Tuesday 10th September- Departure
- It's time to depart! Arrive at Pyongyang railway station for the 10:25am train to Dandong! Relax and get lunch on the train!
- After DPRK exit customs, we'll arrive back in Dandong and then get the overnight train back to Beijing, which will arrive around 8am the following morning. Here we will part ways!
- 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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