– Pyongyang: Explore North Korea’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: Manphok Valley: Discover the natural beauty of North Korea with beautiful natural pools and incredible waterfalls in the “Valley of Ten Thousand Waterfalls”.
From Beijing you can fly or take the train to Dandong.
The overnight sleeper train costs in the region of £45 and takes around 14 hours. You will need to board the 5:27pm train out of Beijing which will arrive in Dandong at around 7:22am the following morning.
The trip officially starts in Dandong and train tickets from Beijing are not included in the price, we can however offer help and advice including booking the tickets for you with no administration fee attached.
For those wishing to book their own tickets a great website to use is trip.com, you have the option of soft and hard sleeper rooms, a soft sleeper is a room with two bunk beds, a hard sleeper is triple bunks. You can also book seated or standing travel, we would suggest avoiding those as it’s a long journey.
Flights are considerably more expensive.
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 North Korea, 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 North Korea. 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 North Korean 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 North Korea, 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 shows 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 International Hotel 4* – D.
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. Visiting the statue is compulsory, and as a mark of respect we will lay flowers at the feet of the immortalised 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 North Korean military equipment used in the war, such as Soviet tanks, anti-aircraft artillery, war planes 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 were 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 International Hotel 4* – B,L,D.
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 Hotel (Basic)* – B,L,D.
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 International Hotel 4* – B,L,D.
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 International Hotel 4* – B,L,D.
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.
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