What are films like in North Korea? In a country where government narratives seemingly weaver into every expression of everyday life, the Pyongyang … » Learn More about Pyongyang International Film Festival & Mass Games Tour
- Trip Outline
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What are films like in North Korea? In a country where government narratives seemingly weaver into every expression of everyday life, the Pyongyang international film festival offers an intriguing insight into cinema and entertainment in the world’s most secretive country! At the festival, we’ll be able to unique screenings of DPRK films with high profile local guests whilst also getting the chance to meet with real North Korean actors and film directors!
This September program offers you not only the chance to see this fascinating event, but to also explore the highlights of the DPRK in premium depth and quality. Not least, it will also include a chance for you to see North Korea’s famous Mass Games which are being held through September, or of course the “Glorious Fatherland Games” as they are often called- this constitutes the largest organised theatrical and gymnastic display on Earth. This ensures an all around package going beyond any average DPRK tour!
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 in the Yanggakdo international Hotel. Outside of the capital city, we will get the chance to witness the DMZ, Panmunjom, Kaesong and the city of Sariwon.
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]
Monday 16th 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!
Tuesday 17th 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!
Wednesday 18th September
- 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
- We'll srop 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
- Back in the city, we will now attend the country's famous Mass Games at the 150,000 seater Rungrado May Day Stadium- witness the largest organised display of gymnastics in the world as the event sets out the political legacy and story of the DPRK.
- Overnight in Sosan Hotel.
Thursday 19th September
- 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!
- After the Palace, we'll go to see the Revolutionary Martyry’s Cemetery – Here lies those who fought against the Japanese occupation of Korea, as well as the grave of Kim Il Sung's Wife, Kim Jong Suk
- After lunch we'll attend the Grand People's Study House- the largest library in North Korea. Look through their intriguing collection of "foreign language books", listen to their collections of music and observe some foreign language classes take place!
- Following that we will visit the Worker's Party Monument, built in 1995 to remember 50 years of the establishment of North Korea's ruling party. The three firsts symbolize industry, agriculture and intellectualism
- Next up is a fun visit to the Mansudae film studio, witness the heart of North Korea cinema! Try out the actor's costumes and check out the film sets depicting areas all around the world!
- From film, we head to art! The Mansudae Art Studio is the country's leading centre of arts and craft. All propaganda posters, sculptures and murals for the regime are produced here, as well as some very fine ceramics!
- It's time for some bowling! We'll play some games at the Pyongyang Gold Lane Bowling Alley
- Fancy some shopping after? We'll next be going to the Kwangbok department store, Pyongyang's largest and most popular supermarket. It is home to exclusive North Korean brands, where you can use real local korean won currency!
- For Dinner we'll be heading to the Moran Hill Restaurant
- Afterwards will be attending a DPRK classic film screening. Afterwards, we will be meeting with some of the actors and crew, where you will be able to engage in a Q&A session with them!
Friday 20th 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. For an optional two Euros, you may buy flowers.
- 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!
- Lunch in a local Korean restaurant: try out some famous Pyongyang Cold Noodles (Raengmyeon) or a traditional Korean rice dish of Bibimbap!
- Time for a ride on the Pyongyang Metro – We'll be going across six stations and Eeiting at the Arch of Triumph – the largest Victory Arch in the world, the arch celebrates North Korea's liberation from Japan in 1945 and the long struggle against it!
- Next, it's time to visit the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum – as North Korea tell their own story of the conflict between 1950-1953, you can see captured American weapons and vehicles, displays and dioramas from famous battles and much more!
- Outside the museum, all aboard the USS Pueblo – the only US Naval Vessel held captured by another country, seized off the coast of Wonsan in 1968!
- Now for Juche Tower- This stone column monument is the tallest of its kind in the world. It represents the eternally burning flame of the Juche ideology (Optional extra 5 euro to go to the top and see a panaromic view of all Pyongyang!
- Before the big event of the film festival, we'll stop by a local bar and grab a few drinks to chill out!
- Finally, it's time for the film festival. Watch an incredible opening ceremony and settle down for the feature screening!
- Afterwards, we'll have dinner at the National Restaurant and be treated to a special performance
- Back to the hotel
Saturday 21st September
- It's time to depart! Those taking the train will arrive at Pyongyang railway station for the 10:25am train to Dandong! Relax and get lunch on the train! Those taking Air Koryo will fly out at 8.50am to arrive at Beijing for 9.50am!
- After DPRK exit customs, we'll arrive back in Dandong and then get the overnight train back to Beijing.
Sunday 22nd September
- The train will arrive at Beijing for 9am, where we will part ways!
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