2018 may prove to be an unprecedented year in inter-Korean relations. North Korea have, with South Korea and the United States, pledged to find a way forwards towards formally ending the Korean War, a conflict which has created decades of confrontation, mistrust and division. Each year on July 27th, North Korea celebrate what they call “Victory Day” which is for them, the day which the armistice agreement was signed to suspend the combat element of … » Learn More about The Pathway To Peace: North Korea Victory Day Experience
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Trip Excludes
2018 may prove to be an unprecedented year in inter-Korean relations. North Korea have, with South Korea and the United States, pledged to find a way forwards towards formally ending the Korean War, a conflict which has created decades of confrontation, mistrust and division. Each year on July 27th, North Korea celebrate what they call “Victory Day” which is for them, the day which the armistice agreement was signed to suspend the combat element of the war. Victory Day marks a national holiday, which is met with celebrations and local mass dances. But, now that peace could be finally round the corner, this day in 2018 poses special significance because it could yet represent the fact that the war is not only frozen by armistice, but potentially over forever.
As a result, Visit North Korea are hosting an exclusive Victory Day experience in North Korea, not just to see the formal celebrations of the war’s end itself as standard tours, but to touch deeper into the significance that the war has played in North Korean society and politics. As a result, we are terming it “the pathway to peace” because it is a victory day taking place in an entirely context, with change on the horizon. This is your chance to reflect on the Korean War unique and topical context, all for a bargain price which does not compromise on quality.
We’ll be starting in Dandong China, where we will be taking the train to the Pyongyang and staying in the Sosan Hotel. We’ll engage firstly the city of Pyongyang, where we will witness numerous sights around the city, including the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, teaching the official history of the war, as well as in the evening getting the opportunity to celebrate with locals and join in North Korea’s famous mass dances! The next day we’ll be looking at the wider scope of the war, visiting the Kaesong, the DMZ and Panmunjom, an area which has the marked the division of a nation for over 70 years… On the way back, we’ll be dropping into the Sinchon Museum of Americn War Atrocities, which in contrast to the hope that lies ahead, shows us the Korean War in a darker and more sinister light.
Either way, the tour teaches us what we can learn from the North Korean perspective, even if it fully accurate. It teaches us how hostility, confrontation and resistance have engraved themselves into a element of the country’s politics, shaping the country and its people as a whole.
Thursday 26th July
We will be meeting at 8 outside Dandong Railway Station. Here we will get our tickets, North Korean visas and head through Chinese exit customs to board the train. We will arrive in the North Korean border city of Sinuiju at 10.25am to begin DPRK customs and immigration.
We can grab lunch on the train's restaurant carriage. Meanwhile, enjoy the beautiful DPRK countryside and get to know your group! We'll arrive at Pyongyang station at 5pm, where we will meet our guides on the platform
We'll begin quickly by going around some sites in Pyongyang. We'll stop at Kim Il-Square and head for a walk. We'll then check into our hotel where we'll have dinner and relax for the evening!.
Friday 27th July – Victory Day!
After breakfast, we'll begin the day with a walk through Mansudae Fountain Park. Then we'll head up to the Mansudae Grand Hill Monument, the famous giant statues of Kim il-sung and Kim jong-il. (Optional extra- you buy flowers if you wish: small bunches are 2 euro, larger ones 4).
Next, we're off to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, the official North Korean exhibit for the Korean war! The fabulous local guide will show you round the museum. Witness captured U.S weaponry and vehicles from the war and hop on board the U.S.S. Pueblo, a U.S navy ship captured by DPRK marines in the 60s! The only one of it's kind in the world!
Afterwards we'll be having lunch at a delicious Pyongyang Cold Noodles dish! Made world famous at the Kim-Moon summit in May, now it's your turn to try them! Afterwards it is time for a spot of local shopping. We'll head to the foreign language bookstore where we can see locally published books, newspapers and lapel pins
We'll then head up to Juche Tower, the tallest stone tower in the world. Here we can learn about the DPRK's official ideology, "Juche" or self-reliance as it is known. For an extra fee you can head to the top and see a panorama of all Pyongyang!
After, it's time for a ride on the Pyongyang Metro! We'll be going six stations and getting off at North Korea's very own Arch of Triumph, which celebrates the liberation of the country from Japan.
Following the Arch it's time for the specialty of the tour. We'll be meeting with local University students and joining a mass dance to celebrate North Korea's victory day! A unique cultural and local experience
The dancing will leave you hot and tired, so we'll be next off to the Mansugyo bar to cool down and hill out! Sample seven different kids of local specialty beer! There are also soft drinks, coffee, juice and snacks you can guy too! After, we'll be heading for dinner! We will be treated to a special performance afterwards
As night comes, we will be closing victory day by watching a firework celebration! If you wish, we can also go to a local fairground at the Kaeson Youth Park (Entry 2 euros, rides 3 to 5 euros each). Then, back to the hotel!
Saturday 28th July
It's an early start as we head off southwards to the DMZ. Here we will be visiting Panunjom, the village which has marked decades of division between the two Koreas. We'll first stop by the checkpoint and receive a briefing from a real North Korean officer, as well as checking out the gift shop, then we'll head to the joint security area. Here we see the peace huts, the area where Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in met only months ago. In front of us stands South Korea, this face off situation might all be about to change... so see it whilst it lasts!
After seeing the joint security area, we'll head to Kaesong city where we will have lunch in the beautiful of Tongil restaurant. Enjoy an incredible traditional Korean meal in bronze bowls. You have the option of trying dog soup if you wish (5 euros) or sharing out a delicious Ginseng Chicken (2o Euros). Following this we'll go to the Koryo Museum, an ancient centre of learning and scholarship in ancient Kaesong, which is now a UNESCO approved world heritage site. The city was the capital of the Koryo Dynasty, lasting from the 10th to the 15th century. It's relaxing, it's beautiful and offers a unique take on Korea's ancient history.
After the Koryo museum, we'll get back on the bus and drive up to Sinchon County in Hwanghae Province. Here we will visit the terrifying Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities, a museum which claims American soldiers massacred Korean civilians during the war. It is not for the faint hearted, but offers perspective on how American militarism is envisioned in the Korean sense. We will meet a local old man who claims to have experienced and survived these events, let's hear his story!
Back on the bus to Pyongyang! After the chilling and unsettling experience of the museum we'll head to a local cafe, built for diplomats, to chill, buy snacks and relax. We can check out the expat supermarket downstairs, which offers a surprising amount of imports you would never expect from European countries!
After the cafe it's time for dinner! We'll head to a local restaurant in Pyongyang and be treated to a special performance to wind down a long and intriguing day! Back to the hotel afterwards.
Saturday 29th July- Departure
A brief lie in for this morning. After breakfast we'll pack our bags, check out and head to Pyongyang railway station for the 10.20am departure to Dandong. We should arrive around evening time. We hope you will have enjoyed this unique victory day experience in North Korea.. when we see these graphic museums and that the militarized border in Panmunjom, we hope for a better future, that these hostilities may end and that permanent peace may finally be on its way.
- All meals, guides, sites and accommodation
- Dandong-Pyongyang round trip
- DPRK Visa (60 euros)
- Chinese double entry visa
- Any additional costs, tips and spending
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