– Pyongyang: Explore the DPRK’s capital city taking in many of the impressive sights and monuments including the 20 meter tall monument of supreme rulers Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.
– DMZ: Visit the demilitarised zone (DMZ) the site where the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953 effectively pausing the Korean War.
– Manphok Valley: Discover the natural beauty of North Korea with beautiful natural pools and incredible waterfalls in the “Valley of Ten Thousand Waterfalls”.
Welcome to Dandong, upon your arrival you will be welcomed by your Luna tour manager. They will be waiting for you just outside the main entry point to the station, beside the large statue of Chairman Mao.
Once everyone is accounted for we will make our way over to the ticket office to purchase our train tickets into the DPRK, this can’t be done before your arrival as passports are required. Next, we will find a cafe or restaurant for refreshments, a welcome chat and will also run over the trip rules.
At 9:45 am we board our train which takes us into the DPRK. We arrive in the capital Pyongyang at around 4:30 pm and will make our way through customs. This can sometimes be a lengthy process and will likely involve a search of your belongings and all electronic devices.
We will be met at the station by our local guides who will transfer us to our Hotel, we will get you checked in before meeting up to head out for dinner. The rest of the evening you will be free to enjoy the hotel’s bar and facilities.
Please do not bring any books about the DPRK, this includes any guidebooks or anything about the DPRK or world issues, any religious materials including Bibles, books or crucifixes. No South Korean or American flags or clothing which show these. No foreign newspapers or magazines or any in the Korean language and no political material. Lastly, magazines you may read in North Korea should be handled with respect.
Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang 5*
After breakfast, the adventure begins with a city tour of Pyongyang, our first visit of the day will be to the Mansudae Grand Monument, a giant statue of president Kim il-sung and leader Kim Jong-il. The statue is the largest in the country and is very impressive, as a mark of respect we will lay flowers at the feet of the supreme leaders.
Next enjoy a ride on the city’s metro, the deepest metro system in the world with an average depth of 110 meters. The stations open to visitors are decorated with elaborate murals telling the story of the country’s history and leaders with patriotic music playing in the background.
Continuing on to the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, a museum dedicated to the Korean War. Exhibits include military equipment used in the war, such as Soviet tanks, anti-aircraft artillery, warplanes, and naval craft. Also on display is a 360-degree full-scale diorama of the Battle of Taejon.
You will also have the opportunity to view American and British military equipment captured during the war including tanks, aircraft and the famous USS Pueblo which was captured by North Korea in 1868. The ship is moored on the river next to the museum and visitors are allowed to board the ship and explore.
After lunch visit the architecturally stunning Grand People’s Study House, the library opened in 1982 as the “centre for intellectualising society and a sanctuary of learning for the people”. Directly in front of the library you will find Kim il Sun Square, the location where the country’s national events take place and the third largest public square in the world.
Moving on we visit the Juche Tower built to commemorate Kim il-sung’s 70 birthday. The tower is taller than the Washington Monument at 170-meters and contains 25,550 blocks, one for each day of Kim il-sung’s life. It’s a remarkable monument and you will have the opportunity to travel to the top viewing platform with amazing views over Pyongyang.
Before heading back to our hotel we will stop for a photo opportunity at the Arch of Triumph, the second largest triumph in the world standing 60 meters high and 50 wide. Built to commemorate the Korean resistance of Japan from 1925 – 1945.
Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang 5*
This morning we travel south to the border with South Korea, the journey is approximately 168 kilometres and will take around 2.5 hours. The demilitarised zone (DMZ) is where the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in 1953 effectively pausing the Korean War. The DMZ is one of the most thought provoking areas in the country and recently the site of a meeting between the North and South. Visit the abandoned village Panmunjom as we make our way to the 38th parallel north (the North, South border before the Korean War).
Leaving the DMZ we travel to Kaesong, home to the Koryo Museum an ancient Confucian University which contains over 1000 artifacts from the Koryo period. In Kaesong City enjoy a royal banquet, pansanggi which is several bowls filled with delicious foods including kimchi, fish and fresh vegetables.
Fuelled up after some great food we visit the burial mounds of the Tomb of King Kongmin (Hyonjongrung Royal Tomb) the 31st King of the Koryo Dynasty.
Tonight we will visit a local restaurant before heading to our traditional hotel, the Minsok Folk Hotel. The hotel is basic but comfortable with small well-equipped rooms all en suite. All rooms lead off a small courtyard with a beautiful stream running through it. The hotel has no electricity during the day but at night it usually has light and warm water. You will sleep on the heated floor with pillows. It’s traditional, an experience and only for one night.
Minsok Folk Hotel, Kaesong (basic)
After breakfast in the hotel we head out for a walking tour around Kaesong city. We will also take a walk up to Janam Hill which has great views of the city and to see the giant statue of President Kim il-sung.
Return to Pyongyang passing under Arch of Reunification (it’s official name is Monument of the Three-Point Charter of National Reunification). The monument crosses over the highway and features two large female statues, they represent the North and South and between them they hold a map of a reunified Korea.
Next we visit a sacred place for North Koreans, the Mangyongdae Nativity House. Situated just outside of Pyongyang the house is the place where Kim il-sung was born and raised. The house tells the story of Kim il-sung’s humble beginnings and is set in a beautifully well kept park.
To finish the day off we visit the Taekwondo Holy Hall and enjoy a demonstration of this martial art.
Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang 5*
This morning we leave Pyongyang for some natural beauty as we drive around two hours to Mount Myohyangsan (Myohyangsan) which is one of the six notable mountains of North Korea. First visit the Pyohon Temple complex, one of the most important Buddhist temples in North Korea which dates back to the early 11th century. Featuring a number of small pagodas and a main hall with images of Buddha, its museum houses a collection of woodblocks from the Buddhist scriptures, Tripitaka Koreana.
Just a short distance from the Temple is the International Friendship Exhibition House, a large museum which houses a huge collection of gifts from world leaders and dignitaries presented to Kim il-sung and Kim Jong-il. You are welcome to leave your own gift, if you wish.
After lunch enjoy a hike and some stunning scenery in the Manphok Valley. Discover countless natural pools and incredible waterfalls in the “Valley of Ten Thousand Waterfalls”.
Back to Pyongyang, enjoy a walk along the River Taedong. Later a farewell dinner as a group.
Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang 5*
You will be leaving Pyongyang today, after breakfast we will make our way to the train station and depart Pyongyang at 10:10 am. We pass through North Korean customs again and arrive in Dandong around 6 to 7 hours later. You will be stamped back into China (double entry visa required), disembark the train and pass through Chinese customs.
The trip ends in Dandong, for those traveling to Beijing by train you will need to board the 6:15pm sleeper train which will arrive back in Beijing at around 8:40am the following morning.
Yanggakdo Hotel, Pyongyang 5*
For those looking to continue the adventure for a few more days we’ve got you covered. We have an amazing 3-day add-on in Beijing, China planned. (£450 per person, 3 nights hotel, transport, entrance fees)
Day 1, After arriving back at Beijing railway station from Dandong at around 8:40am we will make our way to the hotel, getting everyone checked in and leaving a little time to refresh after a long train journey.
Today you will visit Beijing Zoo, founded by the late Qing dynasty in 1906 the zoo is one of the oldest in China and regarded as one of the best in the world. Home to around 15,000 animals including many rare species native to China including the world famous giant Panda, the red Panda, the South China Tiger and the Chinese Alligator.
The zoo is beautifully presented, themed as classic Chinese gardens with colourful flowers beds and natural scenery, the zoo is also home to a number of historical buildings.
Later visit Beijing Aquarium which is located within the 220 acres of the zoo. Opened in 1999 the aquarium is the biggest in China and considered one of the best in the world with a huge variety of fish species from the weird to the wonderful. Showcases include native sea life to China, terrifying sharks, piranha and others native to Amazonia. Marine mammals include dolphin and seals with performances throughout the day.
Day 2, This morning we delve into China’s glorious ancient history with a visit to what is probably a sight on most people’s bucket lists, the Great Wall of China. A series of large fortifications built across China’s historical northern borders spanning over 13,000 miles as a means of protection against invasion. History shows that walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC however the most well known parts of the wall date to between 1368-1644 by the great Ming dynasty. We will walk along the best preserved part of the Great Wall while listening to stories from our local guide about the wall, it’s purpose and China’s ancient past.
Next we visit the ancient burial grounds of the great Ming Emperors who ruled over China for 276 years from 1368 to 1644. You will have the opportunity to see three excavated tombs while learning about the lavish lives of the mausoleums inhabitants who ruled over China with distinction, doubling the population, expanding trade routes and forming closer cultural ties with the west.
Before heading back you will enjoy an included traditional Chinese lunch and have the opportunity for a spot of shopping at the Longdi jade factory.
Day 3, Our last day exploring this fascinating city will take us to Tiananmen Square which is to date the world’s largest plaza, the square has a troubled history, it was the site of the 1989 massacre. However today Tiananmen Square is a tourist hotspot with highlights including the 39-meter high Monument to the People’s Heros, the Gate to Heavenly Peace, a monumental gate and a national symbol of China.
Visit the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace to the Ming Dynasty and the Quig Dynasty. The Forbidden City was home to Chinese emperors along with their households and severed as a ceremonial and political centre for close to 500 year. It’s a very important and significant sight in terms of Chinese history, today the Forbidden City is home to the Palace Museum.
Lastly visit the Temple of Heaven, an imperial religious complex that was visited by the Emperors of both the Ming and Qing dynasties for ceremonial occasions and prayer. Constructed under the Yongle Emperor between 1406 to 1420, the complex is truly impressive.
Pensiunea Smida Park, Pensiunea Natural Park 4* – Breakfast
– Price promise: We have some of the most competitive pricing in the industry, however, if you find a like for like trip cheaper we will match the price. The price advertised is the price you will pay, we will never increase the price once you are booked on and if we reduce the price of your trip we will refund you the difference.
– Small group travel: “Small groups, Big adventure” is our company motto. Travel is all about discovery and unique experiences, sometimes too many people can spoil individual experiences, that’s why we limit most of our trips to just 14 travellers.
– Accommodation: The accommodation used on this trip is classed as “Standard”. The hotels are usually rated between 2* to 4*. We always aim to be within walking distance of the city centre however we can’t always guarantee it.
– Trip pace: Our “Full On” trip pace category is for travellers who like their trips full of daily activities, visiting as many amazing locations as possible. Often these trips involve early morning starts and some long days.
– Detailed trip notes: Are you wondering if this is the right trip for you? For a more in-depth look at the trip please view our Detailed trip notes.
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