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11 Days Beijing and Pyongyang–A Trip of a Lifetime

11 Days Beijing and Pyongyang–A Trip of Lifetime

September 01-11, 2015

DPRK the untouched, mysterious land is the right place for those people who are interested in learning, growing, discovering and connecting. If you are looking for a sensational adventure, an expedition replete with thrills and strong emotions, then there is no better place than DPRK. Sept 9th 1948 was the date when the founding of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was declared following the withdrawal of Red Army forces who had been present since the liberation from Japan in 1945. Come along and be part of the celebrations! This is one of the biggest days in the DPRK calendar and you can be there for the celebrations as well as getting down to the DMZ and seeing Pyongyang in all its holiday finery.  

Highlights

  • National Day Celebrations on September 9th!

  • Kumsusan Memorial Palace (Mausoleum of leaders), captured spy ship USS Pueblo and other Pyongyang highlights

  • Kim Jong Suk Middle School, Pyongsong Clothing Factory and other highlights

  • Panmunjom/DMZ – the border with South Korea

 

Itinerary:

DAY 1 Tue 01 Sep, 2015 Departure

Your exciting journey begins as you board your international flight to Beijing.

DAY 2 Wed 02 Sep, 2015 Beijing

Arrive in Beijing, private transfer to hotel. Balance of the day free at leisure. Orientation walk.

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Novotel Beijing Xinqiao

DAY 3 Thu 03 Sep, 2015 Beijing (B,L)

Spend the day discovering the city’s Imperial sites. Stand in Tiananmen Square, one of the grandest public plazas in the world, and explore the palaces, courtyards, and pavilions of the Forbidden City, once the exclusive domain of China’s Emperors. Tour the lovely Summer Palace, once the summer retreat and playground for the imperial family and royal court during the late Qing Dynasty. Considered the finest Chinese imperial garden, the Summer Palace spans over 700 acres with breathtaking views, temples, pavilions.

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Novotel Beijing Xinqiao

DAY 4 Fri 04 Sep, 2015 Beijing (B,L)

Morning enjoy an exciting excursion to the Great Wall of China at Jvyongguan section. In the afternoon, join your fellow travelers for a pre-tour briefing which will last approximately 1 hour and is designed so that you will get the best out of your tour to DPRK.

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Novotel Beijing Xinqiao

DAY 5 Sat 05 Sep, 2015 Beijing-Pyongyang (B,D)

This morning group assembles at designated place (venue & time to be confirmed) and together head to Beijing Airport Terminal 2 for our flight Beijing to Pyongyang (1.5 hrs) – the showcase capital of the DPRK with a population of approximately 2 million. Upon arrival in Pyongyang (approximately 4pm – DPRK is one hour ahead of China), we proceed through immigration and customs and meet our guides who will accompany us during our stay. On arrival we will visit the Arch of Triumph, built in 1982 to commemorate Korean independence from Japan. This is, put simply, much like the famous Parisian monument, but bigger. We’ll also visit the Mansudae Grand Monument, the giant bronze statues of North Korean leaders Kim II Sung and Kim Jong II. This is a very important place for Koreans and visitors are requested to follow local customs, which include placing a bouquet of flowers at the monument and bowing in front of the statues.

OVERNIGHT: Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

Mass Games – while details are not yet confirmed, and the May Day Stadium (the venue for this massive event) is under substantial renovation by army construction units at the time of writing, we do expect Mass Games to take place in 2015, most likely between the two major holidays of Aug 15th (Liberation Day) and Oct 10th (Party foundation Day). A whole new Mass Games event is expected and we will update whenever new information becomes available. 100,000 performers and a 90 minutes spectacular of music, dance, the world’s largest moving picture, propaganda, uni-cycling, acrobatics, and all kinds of highly politicised and celebratory madness can be expected, there is simply nothing like this event anywhere else in the world!

DAY 6 Sun 06 Sep, 2015 Pyongyang-Pyongsong (B,L,D)

Our first visit is to the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, where North Korean leaders Kim II Sung and Kim Jong II lie in state. This is a place of utmost importance for Koreans and tourists should behave accordingly. Men should wear a shirt and tie, and women should dress smartly. Next we take a short drive to the Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery. Here you will see superb individually- crafted bronze busts of the country’s anti-Japanese heroes, including one of Kim Jong Suk (the mother of Kim Jong II). The cemetery was designed to overlook the city, the idea being that the fallen martyrs should have a view of their country being rebuilt. We then visit the Foreign Languages Bookshop and take a leisurely stroll through the streets of Pyongyang. We will walk through the heart of the city, and stop by Kim II Sung Square, where the capital’s mass dances take place and the military parades pass through. Next stop is the Juche Tower. At 150m, andtopped with a flickering red torch, this is the highest stone monument in the world. Take the lift to the top for stunning views over Pyongyang (entrance costs EUR 5). Then we stop by the Party Foundation Monument, an iconic sculpture of a hammer, sickle and calligraphy brush, which was constructed to celebrate 50 years of Workers’ Party rule. Next take a trolley bus ride around the city, in some of the classic 1950s vehicles that still ply their trade on the streets of the DPRK capital. See the streets on a leisurely drive around the capital, get some great photos, and experience some vehicles that aren’t in use anywhere else in the world any more. Ideal for transportation buffs as well as those with a casual interest in cities. We then drive to the town of Pyongsong, around 40 mins north of Pyongyang.

OVERNIGHT:Jangsusan Hotel, Pyongsong (a basic but comfortable hotel, bring a torch)

DAY 7 Mon 07 Sep, 2015 Pyongsong- Pyongyang (B,L,D)

After an early breakfast we head out to Paeksong Revolutionary Site, which is where Kim II Sung University was moved to in 1952 during the Korean War – a

hidden academic base! Take a walk through the old classrooms and kitchens. Next stop is Pyongsong Taedonggang Clothing Factory, a factory that produces clothes to ship all over the world. After lunch we have a short drive to Kim Jong Suk Higher Middle School (named after the mother of Kim Jong II). The headmaster here is very welcoming and will take us on a tour of the school, where you can see what middle-school students typically study in the DPRK. If you are brave enough then you are encouraged to jump in and chat to students in their English class! This can often be a valuable first opportunity for English-language learners in Pyongsong to converse with a native English speaker. We drive back to Pyongyang and have a tour of the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, which is where you can learn the history of the Korean War from the North Korean perspective. The museum’s different rooms explain the origins of the conflict, and include highly impressive dioramas, tanks, planes, and much more. Then it’s on to the USS Pueblo, an American spy ship captured by the DPRK navy in 1968.

OVERNIGHT:Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

DAY 8 Tue 08 Sep, 2015 Panmunjom/DMZ/Kaesong (B,L,D)

After an early breakfast we take a 2.5-hour drive south to Kaesong, which is a historic city near the DMZ. After arriving inKaesong we take a short drive (approx 20 minutes) to Panmunjom/DMZ where North and South Korea continue their decades-old face-off. It is possible to go into one of the huts that straddle the demarcation line and actually cross over into South Korea! This is one of the few places where you can take pictures of (and even with) members of the DPRK military. Next, we head back to Kaesong and visit the Kaesong Koryo Museum, a beautiful old Confucian University, to learn about the history of the area. The stamp shop here is excellent too. Lunch is a traditional pansanggi meal, which is something like Korean tapas. For anyone wanting to supplement their lunch, you’ll also have the opportunity to sample Korea’s famous delicacy, ‘sweetmeat soup’ (aka dog meat – it costs EUR 5).This afternoon we drive back to Pyongyang and visit the Pyongyang Football Academy. Opened in 2013 this is the centre of excellence for young footballers in the DPRK. Korean boys and girls hone  their

skills here. See where they study and live, and have a kick-about with them on the training pitches.

OVERNIGHT:Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang

DAY 9 Wed 09 Sep, 2015 National Day Celebrations (B,L,D)

Today is a very important day in the DPRK calendar. It is the 67th anniversary of the founding of the DPRK. We expect there to be some celebratory events but will not know exactly what until the day itself, so be prepared for some itinerary changes. Rest assured, we will make sure we get access to any events that tourists are permitted to attend and we know all the best spots to be on a holiday such as this. We’ll start the day off by having a stroll through the city from the Arch of Triumph to the Grand People’s Theatre. Next we go to Mangyongdae Native House, the native birthplace of North Korean President Kim II Sung. Then you’ll have to try out the rides at Mangyongdae Funfair before lunch. We visit Jonsong Revolutionary Site, a system of tunnels used as a wartime base for the KPA and their commander Kim II Sung. Here we will also see the preserved rooms where soldiers and officers slept, lived and had meetings. The office of Kim II Sung’s right-hand-man Kim Chaek is also here. Kim Chaek died of a heart attack at his desk during the conflict and has since had a city, a country, and a university named after him as one of the republic’s most venerated heroes. This afternoon we take a walk in Moranbong Park. Located in the centre of Pyongyang, this is a favourite place for locals and during the holiday periods it is not unusual to come across a group of Koreans dancing. Make sure to learn basic Korean (the guides can help with this), to meet and greet people and you might even get the opportunity to join in. As today is a national holiday we expect to see a mass dance taking place. University students dress in their finest and gather together in various public spots around Pyongyang to dance together (a great time for young couples to meet for the first time). This is an impressive spectacle indeed. If time permits we’ll go to the Golden Lane Bowling Centre, where Pyongyang’s residents go for their ten-pin fix. This is a great chance to mix with local people. Even if you don’t end up playing, it’s worth grabbing a seat here to watch

everyone have some fun. There is also a shooting range next door where you can fire 20 rounds for EUR6. We’ll round off the holiday celebrations with a well-deserved drink at Taedonggang Number 3 Bar before our farewell dinner in Pyongyang’s Duck BBQ restaurant.

OVERNIGHT:Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang 

DAY 10 Thu 10 Sep, 2015 Pyongyang-Beijing (B,L)

Fly back to Beijing, upon arrival enjoy a rickshaw ride along old Beijing’s Hutongs (narrow ancient alleys) to discover the sights and sounds of local Beijing life in these traditional Chinese neighborhoods. Rest of the day is free for you to explore the city or do last minute shopping on own.

OVERNIGHT: Hotel Novotel Beijing Xinqiao

DAY11 Fri 11 Sep, 2015 Beijing/Home (B)

Private departure transfer to airport for your flight home.

Per Person Cost
$3188
INCLUDED:
Beijing-Pyongyang-Beijing flights with tax
9 nights hotel accommodations on double share basis
Meals, transfers, sightseeing per itinerary
DPRK visa fee
Single Supplement
$760
 
 
 
 
 

Please note that the itinerary may differ slightly to what is below but your tour leader will do their best to ensure that as much is covered as possible and will also add in extras when there is time such as a visit to a local bar or a funfair. We visit the DPRK regularly and know all the best places to go to make your trip even more unique. We will make the most of your time in the DPRK to guarantee the experience of a lifetime.