This was our second trip with Remote Lands... On Java, our guide was excellent and we loved being the only people at Borobudur after the monument closed to the public.
Family from Indianapolis, Indiana

Pyongyang and Beyond: Mysteries of North Korea

Shrouded in mystery, North Korea is a country like no other. With strict isolationist policies, most know nothing about what goes on in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Uncover the country’s secrets and step into the unknown with this unique eight-day tour. You’ll begin your journey in the private capital of Pyongyang and tour historical sites of great national importance. Next, enjoy a scenic drive to Hamhung and visit the Kuchon Pavilion, the remains of an ancient city wall. Finally, you’ll take a stroll through the famous Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that divides North Korea from its southern counterpart.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Explore the mysterious capital of Pyongyang and witness historical sites
  • Enjoy a scenic hike up to the top of Mount Tonghung in Hamhung
  • Venture into the famous DMZ and see where North and South Korea divide
  • Interact with children at Kim Jong Suk Middle School and attend a North Korean school lesson
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive in the secretive capital of Pyongyang in the afternoon and meet your welcoming guides at the airport. From there, you’ll make a stop to Mansudae Grand Monument, a large bronze statue of the late Kim II Sung. Here, you’ll lay flowers at the statue’s feet and hear stories about the famous leader. After, you’ll visit the Arch of Triumph and Fountain Park before checking into the accommodating Yanggakdo Hotel.

Day 2

After breakfast, drive to Wonsan and make a stop at Sinpyeong Lake. Here, you’ll relax at a rest house, which overlooks the tranquil basin. In the afternoon, you’ll take a private guided tour of Wonsan city and explore the central square, old train station and play with North Korean children at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp. Next, your guide will take you to the beach, where you’ll have the opportunity to swim if the weather permits. Finish the day by settling in at the Dongmyong Hotel and enjoying an authentic Korean dinner on-site.

Day 3

In the morning, depart for Hamhung, North Korea’s second-largest city. After a scenic drive offering views overlooking rural life and villages in valleys, you’ll stop for a tour at a cooperative farm and a local kindergarten. In the afternoon, you’ll arrive in Hamhung to visit the bronze statues of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il and visit a nearby viewpoint that overlooks the city. Tour the Hamhung Grand Theatre, the largest theatre in the country. Finish the day with a hearty dinner and rest at the Majon Pleasure Resort on the beach or the Sin Hung San Hotel in the city.

Day 4

This morning, take a look into the industrial aspect of the local economy as you tour a fertilizer factory just outside of town. Afterwards, being the scenic drive back to Pyongyang. Along the way, you’ll stop and discover the alluring Ulim Waterfalls. Once back in the capital, stretch your legs and enjoy a walk beside the local river. Stay the night at the Koryo Hotel or Yanggakdo Hotel and rest up for an exciting day ahead. 

Day 5
Pyongyang - Kaesong

Today, you’ll explore more of the private capital and see Kumsusan Memorial Palace, the grand residence of the late Kim II Sung. After lunch, you’ll take a ride up the Junche Tower and marvel at the spectacular view from the top. Next, stop at the Mansudae Art Studio and witness thousands of artists work with woodcuts, drawings, oil paintings, embroidery and more. Finish the day with a scenic drive to Kaesong and check into the comfortable Minsok Hotel.

Day 6
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) - Pyongyang

Begin the day by venturing into the famous DMZ and go by escorted vehicle through Panmunjom, an abandoned village on the de facto border between North and South Korea. After a satisfying lunch at the Ginseng Restaurant, you’ll head up to the DMZ observation post and tour the ancient tomb of King Kongmin, the 34th king in the Koryo Dynasty. Next, return to Pyongyang and unwind at your hotel in the evening.

Day 7

Drive to Pyongsong first thing in the morning and explore the city square. Next, you’ll tour the Paeksong Revolutionary Site where Kim Il Sung University decamped from Pyongyang during the Korean War. After lunch, interact with children at Kim Jong Suk Middle Schooland experience a North Korean school lesson. At the end of the day, you’ll have the opportunity to stay in Pyongsong for the night or return to Pyongyang.

Day 8
Pyongyang � Departure

On your final day, return to Pyongyang in the morning and visit the Paektusan Architecture Institute, a center dedicated to designing buildings of national importance in the country. After, you’ll enjoy one last meal at the Ansan Restaurant and then head to the airport for your flight home or to your next exciting destination.


Suggested Accommodations

Koryo Hotel, Yanggakdo International Hotel

Koryo Hotel

This large hotel in the center of Pyongyang is easily identified by its two soaring towers connected by an impressive atrium. The Koryo is ideally located within walking distance from the Tower of the Juche Idea and just across the river from Kim Il Sung Square. The rooms, though perhaps a little dated, are clean and well-equipped with soft beds and flat-screen HDTVs with Western news channels, while the bathrooms have hot running water, clean towels and toiletries. The hotel provides everything its guests could want, including a swimming pool with massage center, a well-stocked bookstore and a souvenir shop, which sells everything from stamps to fruit and even traditional Korean dresses. Guests will be kept entertained in any of the four bars on-site, which include a karaoke bar and, on the ground floor, a microbrewery; all the shops, bars and restaurants accept foreign Euros and US Dollars. Perhaps the highlight of this hotel is the revolving restaurant on the top floor of one of its towers, from which visitors can enjoy traditional Korean cuisine, accompanied by stunning views of the great city.


Yanggakdo International Hotel

Opened in 1995 and the second-tallest building in North Korea, the Yanggakdo is currently Pyongyang's only luxury hotel and one of the city's most noticeable landmarks. The hotel has over 1000 rooms as well as a panoramic revolving restaurant on its 47th floor. There are also 4 other restaurants serving Korean, Chinese & Japanese cuisine. Facilities include bowling alley, a pool room, a swimming pool, a barber shop, a casino and a massage club, and the hotel is adjacent to the Pyongyang International Cinema Hall.

Dongmyong Hotel

Dongmyong Hotel

Wonsan is a major port on the east coast of the DPRK with a population of around 400,000. The Dongmyong hotel is the best one in the city but still rather basic. There is 24 hour hot water and the electricity is fairly reliable but the best feature is the views from the rooms looking out over the East Sea of Korea. There is always a lot of activity going on – divers looking for shellfish, fishing boats, old men fishing for the daily catch – very interesting viewing! There is a lobby bar in the hotel and a billiards room with another small bar so enough evening entertainment to keep you occupied.
Majon Beach Hotel , Sin Hung San Hotel

Majon Beach Hotel

This new hotel on the beach at Majon is quickly becoming one of the most popular holiday destinations in the DPRK, just a short drive from the city center of Hamhung, North Korea’s second-largest city. It is perhaps the best equipped and most luxurious choice of accommodation for international visitors and a perfect place for a relaxing beach getaway in this peaceful bathing resort with its nearly four miles of pleasant sandy beach. The hotel boasts three restaurants serving international cuisine as well as Korean favourites, and a range of room options and sizes, all of which have air conditioning and TVs. It is particularly ideal for holidaymakers with children, with its family rooms and children’s bathing club, not to mention the attractions of the sand and the forest right on the doorstep. Relax and unwind after a long day playing on the beach or hiking through the flora and fauna in the hotel spa which features an indoor pool and steam and sauna facilities. 


Sin Hung San Hotel

The vast, imposing grey exterior of the Sin Hung San Hotel does not do its pleasant interior justice. The lobby and large dining room are both lit by charmingly retro beaded chandeliers and the floor is tiled with warm terracotta tessellated patterns. The walls are covered with colorful floor-to-ceiling murals of mountains and meadows or decorated with vivid and intricately painted Korean flowers; the doors too are of a heavy wood, carved with flower patterns. Though not luxurious, the rooms themselves are clean and spacious with running water and the restaurant, which serves up authentic Korean dishes, is said to be one of the best in the city. Located on Hamhung’s main road, this is the best place to stay to explore the sights, including the grand monument - a bronze statue of Kim Il Sung and the Grand Theater, the largest theater in North Korea.

Minsok Folk Hotel

Minsok Folk Hotel

Located in Kaesong, the nearest town to the DMZ, Minsok Folk Hotel is a traditional Korean property in which guests sleep on a heated floor, in classic Korean fashion. Bathroom facilities are basic and electricity can be intermittent, but the hotel boasts beautiful Li Dynasty furniture and a gorgeous location, with a stream running through the grounds.
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