North Korea has dominated the news recently, for better or for worse (mostly worse), but why listen to the talking heads when you can see the country for yourself. Koryo Tours, a 24-year operator of tours into the Hermit Kingdom, is offering a four-day trip of North Korea this October, which you can fly directly to from Shanghai.
Happening from October 2 to 5, the tour will take you to all of Pyongyang’s highlights, the ancient city of Kaesong, and the DMZ, the world-famous border with South Korea. Other highlights include dropping in on an English class, riding the Pyongyang Metro, and drinking in a local beer bar.
The tour costs ¥9,500 per person and is all-inclusive: return flights between Pudong and Pyongyang, your visa, all transport, food, and hotels in North Korea, two local guides, a driver, and a Koryo representative to help you with anything. And not because you would be in any danger; despite the current political climate, tourism in the country has not changed, and Koryo is known for its sober approach to North Korean travel. The company places safety as its number-one priority, and conducts mandatory pre-tour briefings on rules and laws of the DPRK. They also communicate regularly with Western embassies in Pyongyang, and has long-standing experience on the ground.
Places are filling up fast, so sign up quickly to reserve your spot. To find out more, head to their website for the full itinerary, or talk to someone from Koryo Tours at the Shanghai Expat Show happening from September 8 to 10. Also, check out their Instagram page for more photos. All images are taken by Koryo Tours.
October 2 to 5
¥9,500 per person
October 1 – Sunday
Meet at Pudong Shanghai International Airport for your flight to Pyongyang.
October 2 – Monday
- See the Mansudae Grand Monuments, enormous bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il overlooking downtown Pyongyang, and Chollima Monument,
which commemorates the rebuilding of the country after the 1950s Korean War.
- Walk from Pyongyang’s Grand Theatre to Kim Il Sung Square.
- Visit the Foreign Languages Bookshop.
- Ride the Pyongyang Metro, one of the deepest metro systems in the world with stunning artwork reflecting the name of each station. Ride six stations on the Chollima Line.
- Tour Mangyongdae Native House, birthplace and childhood home of President Kim Il Sung.
- See the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum, which houses exhibits of Korean War such as artifacts, documents, photos, dioramas, and captured equipment from the US military.
- Drink at Taedonggang Bar No. 3, which has a variety of beers on tap produced at Pyongyang’s Taedonggang Brewery.
October 3 – Tuesday
- Drive north to Pyongsong, a satellite city of Pyongyang and center of scientific research.
- See Pyongsong City Square, with statues of the DPRK leadership.
- Visit Kim Jong Suk Higher Middle School, one of the DPRK’s top middle schools for gifted students.
- Drive back to Pyongyang for a walk in East Pyongyang.
- Scale the Tower of Juche Idea, the iconic building dedicated to the DPRK’s guiding philosophy.
- See the Monument to the Party Foundation, featuring the hammer, sickle, writing brush which represent the workers, farmers, and intellectuals that make up the Worker’s Party of Korea.
- Shop at Taesong Department Store, which sells domestic and foreign made products.
- Check out Golden Lane Bowling Centre or the Kumrung Leisure Centre.
October 4 – Wednesday
- Drive south along the ‘Reunification Highway’ to Kaesong, historic capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392).
- See Panmunjom Truce Village, the only location where visitors can directly view soldiers from both sides and the demarcation line dividing Korea.
- Explore Kaesong Koryo Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Check out Kaesong Korean Stamp Exhibition Hall.
- Eat a traditional royal Korean lunch, or pangsanggi.
- Go on the Old City Walk, Kaesong’s historic district lined with homes dating back to the late Ri Dynasty, and onto the city’s historic South Gate.
- See the tomb of King Kongmin, the 31st king of the Koryo Dynasty. A UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Drive back to Pyongyang and stop at the Monument to the Three Charters of Reunification.
- Drink at Taedonggang Bar No. 3.
October 5 – Thursday
- See Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il lie.
- Visit the War Heroes’ Cemetery, which commemorates individual heroes of the Korean War.
- Shop at Kwangbok Department Store, where you can try some of Pyongyang’s best local eats.
- See the Science and Technology Centre.
- Walk along Future Street, a newly built residential district for scientists and academics with modern architecture.
- Dine at Duck Barbecue Restaurant, South Pyongyang’s famous grilled duck restaurant.
- Transfer to Pyongyang airport for a late evening flight back to Shanghai. Arrival is around 11:30pm.