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North Korean Discovery: From Skiing to the DMZ

One of the most private cultures in existence, North Korea is waiting to be discovered. This 8-day itinerary gives you a rare glimpse into the country’s political, cultural, creative and natural side. Learn from an intimate setting about the much-contested land that has been fought over from powerful ancient empires such as the Tang Chinese and the Koryo. Enjoy being one of the first to experience skiing at the Masik Range Resort between touring the country’s central squares, impressive monuments and architectural features.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Ski the slopes of North Korea’s recently-built Masik Range Ski Resort
  • See the famous DMZ where the line is drawn between the two Koreas
  • Watch as citizens place flowers at the feet of a massive bronze statue of the late Kim II Sung
  • Visit the Songdowon International Children’s Camp and play with the students
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Your adventure begins in the country’s mysterious capital, Pyongyang. After checking into the best hotel in town, The Yanggakdo Hotel, it’s time to get to know the quiet culture. Take a comfortably-paced tour of the Mansudae Grand Monument, a massive bronze statue of the revered late Kim II Sung. Thus begins your introduction to a country highly-devoted to their political leaders.

Day 2

Enjoy breakfast in your hotel before taking a scenic drive to Wonsan. Along the way, you have a chance to explore and relax by the stunning Sinpyeong Lake before reaching a rest house that offers stunning views of the picturesque basin. Upon reaching Wonsan in the afternoon, enjoy a tour of the charming town, making stops in the central square, the old train station and the Songdowon International Children’s Camp. Weather permitting, end the day with a refreshing swim in the sea before checking into the Dongmyong Hotel and indulging in an authentic Korean meal.

Day 3

Rise early and drive to North Korea’s second largest city, Hamhung. The drive takes you through some more of North Korea's mountainous countryside, offering scenic views of rural life and villages tucked into valleys. Stop and tour a cooperative farm and kindergarten before visiting a fertilizer factory, a good opportunity to see the industrial side of the local economy. Upon arrival, visit Hamhung's bronze statues of Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il and visit a nearby viewpoint that overlooks the city. This afternoon, take a tour of the Hamhung Grand Theatre before checking in for dinner and a comfortable stay at the Majon Pleasure Resort.

Day 4
Masik Ryong

Travel to the beautiful, mountainous area of Masik Ryong. This is the country’s favorite ski spot. Check into a local lodge and hit the slopes. Be one of the first to enjoy the country’s mountains as the resort has only opened in 2013. The country sees the resort as an improvement to the material and cultural lives of the people.

Day 5

Depart the mountain-covered countryside and return to Pyongyang. It’s a scenic drive as you leave the mainly mountainous portion of the country. Check back into the Yanggakdo Hotel in Pyongyang and relax. If you desire, you may step out into the city to explore its historical and cultural sites. A stroll through the manicured Moranbong Park is a perfect way to stretch your legs.

Day 6
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) - Kaesong - Pyongyang

Venture into the famous DMZ escorted by an expert guide. You are driven through the abandoned village of Panmunjom on the way. Enjoy a savory meal at the Ginseng Restaurant before heading up to the DMZ Observation tower for an aerial view of the once-disputed land. Finish the tour by viewing the ancient tomb of King Kongmin before driving to the former capital of the Koryo Dynasty, Kaesong. Come evening, return to Pyongyang to unwind at your hotel.

Day 7

Enjoy a full day touring the rest of the fascinating capital. Visit the Mansudae Art Studio for a taste of the country's creative side. See the fabulous residence of the late Kim II Sung as you tour the Kumsusan Memorial Palace. Take a ride up to the Juche Tower for an unrivaled view of the city. Relax back at the hotel that night.

Day 8
Pyongyang - Departure

Enjoy your final morning in the country with a visit to the Paektusan Architecture Institute. The center is crucial in the country as it designs many of the nationally important buildings. Enjoy a last delicious authentic meal at the Ansan Restaurant before making your way to the airport for your flight back 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.

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.

Masik Ryong Resort

Masik Ryong Resort

Ski bunnies and luxury hotel lovers alike can enjoy a stay at Masik Ryong Resort, a high-end ski resort located at the top of Taehwa Peak mountain near Wonsan City, North Korea. Built in 2013 to attract both local and international tourism, this resort features an ice rink, a swimming pool and sauna, and several restaurants for guests to choose from, as well as access to a variety of multi-level ski slopes. One building houses individual rooms and suites, while another features dormitory-style accommodation for larger groups. In addition, those guests who don’t have ski gear with them can purchase everything they need in the hotel shop.

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Our co-founder Jay Tindall says his visits to North Korea were the most surreal experiences of his life, and very different to what the western media had led him to expect!
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