Political Tours joined forces with DPRK tourism specialists Koryo Tours (which includes Brain Trust member Nick Bonner) to provide unprecedented access to one of the world’s most isolated regions. Offering participants a wide-ranging look at life inside the DPRK, this 10-day visit is led by Dr James Hoare, formerly UK Charge D’affaires in Pyongyang. Brain Trust member Hazel Smith has been involved in briefing UK-based participants the current tour.
Beginning in Beijing with briefings and analysis from the region’s leading experts on the DPRK, the tour aims to provide both the latest analysis on the region and an inside view of life in the country, including visits to areas that are rarely seen by foreigners. The itinerary includes not merely the capital Pyongyang, but also Wonsan, an important port on the east coast, Hamhung, the DPRK’s second largest city which was closed to foreign tourism until 2010, and a close look from within the northern side of the DMZ. Travelers will gain rare access to factories, a university, a farm, and several schools. Not to be missed is the train ride from Pyongyang back to Beijing!
The dates are 15-26 October 2011, so any readers wishing to join must begin to obtain visas immediately. The cost is £2350.00, which includes accommodation in 4 star hotels in Beijing and 3 star hotels in the DPRK, as well as all meals during the visit.
For more information, please contact Political Tours.
The following is a detailed description of the in-country itinerary:
Day One Arrival in Beijing & Welcome Dinner with Political Tours staff.
Day Two + Three Pre-Tour Briefings in Beijing:
Talks by leading regional and international experts on the DPRK. Our guests will give talks and join us at lunch and dinner. Korean and Chinese food. We have also arranged optional tours of historic Beijing. Dinner and overnight in Beijing.
Day Four Pyongyang and Wonsan:
Flight to Pyongyang. Tour of key sites: Arch of Triumph, Fountain Park and Mansudae Grand Monument, the largest statue of Kim Il Sung and a place of pilgrimage for North Koreans. We will also see Kumsusan Memorial Palace, Kim Il Sung’s giant mausoleum and the Tower of the Juche Idea, 170m stone monument devoted to the guiding philosophy of the country. This is followed by Moranbong Park, a meeting place for ordinary Koreans. In the afternoon we drive to Wonsan, a major port city on the east coast of the DPRK. Walk through Wonsan Docks. Dinner and overnight in Wonsan.
Day Five Education and Industry:
A rare visit plus meetings with students and faculty at Wonsan Agricultural University. Songdowon International Schoolchildren’s Camp; a visit to a summer camp frequently used by visiting schools and sports teams. Drive to Hamhung, the second largest city in North Korea which was closed to tourists until 2010, a place almost no visitors have ever seen. Tour of a factory, one of the best known in North Korea. Overnight at Majon Guesthouse, hotel on a beach.
Day Six The Koryo Dynasty, Land and the Revolution:
Visit to the home of Ri Song Gye – assassin and founder of the Koryo Dynasty; discussion of the importance placed by Koreans on the geographical integrity of their territory. Visit Hamhung Grand Theatre, and the Tongbong co-operative farm, frequently visited by Kim Jong Il. Explanation of the agricultural system and meetings with farmers and return to Wonsan. Wonsan Revolutionary Museum. Dinner and overnight in Wonsan.
Day Seven Ideology, Technology and Culture:
Return to Pyongyang. Lunch at Pyongyang’s Pizza restaurant and visit to The Three Revolutions Exhibition. This giant museum space shows off North Korea’s industrial history. Museum of Party Foundation. Dinner and overnight in Pyongyang.
Day Eight The Korean War and Life Today
We look at the Korean conflict from North Korea’s perspective, and see aspects of people’s ordinary lives in the DPRK now. Underground Revolution Museum. Ride Pyongyang Metro. Mansudae Art Studio, a giant art factory – an opportunity to buy local and official art pieces. The Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum. War Victory Monument Park with – excellent views of city. USS Pueblo (American espionage vessel captured in 1968). Mangyongdae Native House, the birthplace of Kim Il Sung in 1912. Dinner in Mangyongdae District. Kaeson Youth Funfair, a modern funfair. Overnight in Pyongyang.
Day Nine Truce Village, DMZ, and Westerners living in DPRK:
Drive to Kaesong, capital of Korea in ancient times. Panmunjom, the ‘truce village’ in the DMZ where North and South go toe to toe. Local park with Kim Il Sung Statue Lunch in ‘reunification restaurant’. Concrete Wall – travel deep into the DMZ to a military observation post where you can view the anti-tank barriers erected in South Korea. Return to Pyongyang. Golden Lane Bowling Centre, downtime with locals. Dinner and drinks at Pyongyang Diplomatic Club. Overnight in Pyongyang.
Day Ten Departure from Pyongyang:
Return to Beijing by train. We depart at 10.10 and arrive in Beijing 08.23 next day. Transport to airports can be arranged.
To join this tour, please hurry and register here: Political Tours.