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Crossing Impossible Borders: Introduction to North Korea

Cross a seemingly impenetrable border and enter the mysterious land of North Korea. Experience a culture drenched in a level of patriotism and propaganda unlike any other. North Korea, by definition, is a remote location, its strict political regime separating it from the rest of the world and keeping its culture and landscapes preserved. This five-day tour highlights some of the country’s most fascinating sites. Check this incredible experience off your adventure bucket list.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Walk through Kim Il Sung Square at the heart of the nation’s capital city, Pyongyang
  • Experience a unique facet of Korean culture – gift giving – at the International Friendship Exhibition
  • Get an a sense of the overwhelming political presence with visits to a number of monuments and mausoleums dedicated to former leaders
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Your friendly guides will be waiting to greet you upon arrival in Pyongyang. Tour the Mansudae Grand Monument, where you may take part in a customary presentation of flowers. Visit the Arch of Triumph and take a stroll through Fountain Park before checking in to Yanggakdo Hotel and enjoying a traditional dinner at “No. 1” Restaurant.

Day 2
Pyongyang - Hyangsan

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before visiting the Railway Museum and taking a train to Hyangsan. The journey will take just over three hours; enjoy a midday meal on the go as you take in the scenery along the railway. Upon arrival in Hyangsan, take a walk through Manpok Valley, before checking in at Hyangsan Hotel, where you will have dinner and spend the night.

Day 3
Hyangsan � Pyongyang

Today visit the International Friendship Exhibition, a large museum complex housing gifts presented to former leaders from various foreign dignitaries; gift-giving being a well established protocol and facet of Korean culture. Next, visit the city’s Buddhist Temple, before transferring to the railway station for your return trip to Pyongyang. Take a trolleybus ride to the Arch of Triumph upon arrival. Afterwards, visit Kim Il Sung Square, and a rare find in North Korea, the Foreign Language Bookshop. Enjoy a traditional dinner at Chongryu Hotpot Restaurant. Overnight at Yanggakdo hotel or Koryo hotel.

Day 4

Enjoy breakfast before visiting some of North Korea’s most famous sites. Start with the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, a modern day Mausoleum where Kim Il Sung’s embalmed body lies in a glass sarcophagus, draped in a national flag. Next up, a trip to the top of Juche Tower, the world’s second-tallest monument. Two more sights to take in before lunch: the Mansudae Grand Monument and the Party Foundation Monument, both chilling signs of the intense patriotism and devotion to a strict political regime. Enjoy lunch at Mangyongdae KITC Restaurant, before visiting the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and Art Studio. Tour the city’s metro system, and experience a performance at the Schoolchildren’s Palace. Enjoy a pizza dinner, followed by a two-hour drive to Kaesong.

Day 5
Kaesong � Pyongyang � Beijing � Departure

On your last day, visit the Kaesong Koryo Museum, a collection of exhibits showcasing over 1,000 relics from the Koryo period, including some of the world’s first metal works and celadon pottery. Take a leisurely stroll through the old city and enjoy lunch at Ginseng Restaurant. Say goodbye to this mysterious, isolated place before returning to Pyongyang for your departing flight to Beijing.


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.

Hyangsan Hotel

Hyangsan Hotel

The most expensive hotel in North Korea, the Hyangsan was completely renovated in 2010, and is also the only hotel in the country with internet access. The hotel also has a sauna with waitress service, a large restaurant serving local specialities, and superb views of the surrounding mountains.
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Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald found North Korea "mindblowing" - she was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful landscapes and welcoming, friendly people.
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