The Secret State. The Hermit Kingdom. The Democratic Peoples Republic Of Korea. Whatever you wish to call it, it is a place like no other, completely shut off from the outside world since 1953.
Our trips cost from just 555EUR and are sure to leave a big impression on you.
Head behind the world's last remaining 'iron curtain' to catch a glimpse of what life is like in there. Truly one of the most rewarding, bizarre and unique travel adventures you will ever experience!
Private tours in 2017
(available on any date)
(Price per person)
1160 EUR: 4-5 people
1390 EUR: 2-3 persons
1650 EUR: 1 person
All the above prices are starting and ending the tour in Beijing. To start and end in Dandong, please reduce the price by 90 EUR.
Payment can be made in either Sterling, Euros, USD or RMB in advance or on arrival.
If you wish to add more days to the tour, the cost is between 125 EUR and 255 EUR extra per day (dependent on size of group). If you wish to visit different regions to those on the standard tour then the price will vary slightly, please contact us for further details.
Please add 52 EUR per night for single room supplement. If you are travelling alone and would like to avoid this supplement, we can usually allocate somebody else for you to share with.
For details of the 7 day tour please click here. The longer tours can be tailored to your request. You can also leave a day earlier from North Korea if you are short of time, for a reduced rate. Please email for details.
The authorities insist on US citizens flying into the country rather than travelling by train. Flight prices fluctuate, but it is currently an extra 330 EUR for the return flight from Shenyang.
How to secure your place
A deposit of £150 is required upon booking to secure your place on the tour.
Our upcoming current group tours can be seen below. They are all guaranteed departures:
|Tour dates||Total nights (nights in Korea)||Tour name||Price|
|January 15th-21th||6 (4)||January tour||Tour closed!|
|February 12th-18th||6 (4)||Kim Jong Il birthday tour||Tour closed!|
|March 5th-11th||6 (4)||Early Spring tour with hockey game||from 955€|
|April 6-12th||6 (4)||Pyongyang Marathon 2018 tour||from 1075€|
|April 11th-19th||8 (6)||Kim Il Sung birthday tour (extended)||from 1255€|
|April 12th-18th||6 (4)||Kim Il Sung birthday tour||from 955€|
|April 23rd-29th||6 (4)||Army Day small group tour (max.10 ppl)||from 1075€|
|April 24th-26th||2 (2)||Army Day Chollima express tour||from 555€|
|May 21st-27th||6 (4)||Spring tour||from 955€|
|SUMMER||!||Please note poor weather can cause flight delays in to Beijing in Summer||!|
|June 11th-17th||6 (4)||Early summer tour||from 955€|
|July 22nd-31st||9 (7)||Victory Day Long tour||from 1499€|
|July 23rd-29th||6 (4)||Victory Day tour||from 955€|
|August 12th-21st||9 (7)||Liberation Day Long tour||from 1499€|
|August 13th-19th||6 (4)||Liberation Day tour||from 955€|
|September 6th-12th||6 (4)||Founding of the DPRK tour||from 955€|
|September 6th - 10th||4 (4)||7th DPRK Amateur Golf Open||from 1255€|
|October 8th-14th||6 (4)||Party Foundation day tour||from 955€|
|November 19th-25th||6 (4)||Early winter tour||from 855€|
|Dec 29th - Jan 4th 2019||6 (4)||New Year's tour||from 995€|
Below is an example of our standard tour:
Depart Beijing Railway station at 17:25 onboard the train to Dandong. Relax in the restaurant car before returning to your cabins to sleep overnight.
Arrive in Dandong at 7:15. We have a couple of hours break to get breakfast before returning to the train station for the 10:00 train to Pyongyang. The train departs and we cross the Yalu river on the Sino-Korea Friendship bridge over to Sinuiju. The train stops at North Korean customs where we will remain for around 2 hours before continuing the journey to Pyongyang. View the Korean countryside and workers in the fields through the train windows throughout your journey to the capital. Packed lunch provided on the train. The journey is a great chance to mix with locals on the train and also stand on the bustling platforms while the train stops at each town along the way. We reach Pyongyang in time for dinner at the Yanggakdo hotel. Evening spent at leisure around the hotel grounds. Check out the hotel's microbrewery or head up to the revolving bar on the top floor with incredible vistas of Pyongyang. There's also the chance to go bowling, play pool or perform on karaoke!
After breakfast we are driven to Mount Myohang to explore one of the most beautiful areas in the Korean peninsula. On arrival we visit the International Friendship Exhibition Hall, a huge complex consisting of over 100,000 gifts given by various world leaders and figures to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Including the extravagant sight of two trains given to Kim Il Sung by Chairman Mao and Joseph Stalin! After visiting the exhibit highlights we are taken onto the balcony of the exhibition hall to view the breathtaking scenery of the area. We leave the exhibition hall and drive to nearby Pohyon Temple. The temple dates from the 11th Century and the founding of the Koryo Dynasty. It is one of the few remaining Buddhist temples in North Korea. The local guide will give you a tour of the site and introduce you the the temple's monks. After lunch in Myohang-ch'on we return to Pyongyang and visit the Arch of Triumph and Mangyongdae Native House. Afterwards we will visit the Youth palace to watch a special performance by local children. We will go for a traditional Korean meal before; depending on the time of year we will either return to the hotel to spend the night at leisure or head to the national stadium to view the Mass Games or 'Arirang' a huge event held in the national stadium consisting of more than 150,000 performers.
After breakfast we head to Panmunjom, the 'truce village' that straddles the North/South Korean border and visit the Armistice Hall, where the truce was signed at the end of the Korean war. We are given talks by North Korean military personnel explaining the history of the site before heading over to visit the DMZ or Military Demarcation line; an area that Bill Clinton described as 'one of the most dangerous places in the world'. If there are no tourists on the Southern side then we will have the chance to go inside the blue buildings which straddle the border. Once inside you can walk freely across the North and South border. Afterwards we drive to Kaesong to visit the Koryo History Museum and the Tomb of King Wang Gwon. Afterwards we will go for lunch before returning to Pyongyang in the afternoon to view the Tower of Juche Idea, take a trip on the Pyongyang Metro and visit the Mansudae Monument and view the newly constructed giant bronze statue of Kim Jong Il now stood next to his father. We will then visit one of the best restaurants in Pyongyang, the Duck BBQ before returning to the hotel where you will have the chance to shop at the export store. Buy anything from books, CDs and DVDs to stamps, pin badges and propaganda artwork. Depending on what activities are available at the time of the tour, we also offer the option of spending the evening outside the hotel, visiting either the funfair, orchestra, circus or bar.
After breakfast we take a full day tour of Pyongyang. We begin at the Kumsunsan Memorial Palace, also known as "Palace of the Sun". This is one of the most revered sites in North Korea, being the resting place of the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. See many of the personal belongings and items of both former leaders; everything from Kim Jong Il's Mac to his yacht! Finally we get to see both leaders lying in state in their glass coffins. We then head for lunch by Kim Il Sung square before visiting the Grand People's Study House. In here we can stand in on English lessons, visit 'the great philopher' who answers questions on any subject, and also visit the library, computer and music rooms. We later move on to the Korean War museum where as well as shot down US planes and captured weapons we can also climb aboard the USS Pueblo - the only US navy ship in captivity anywhere in the world. Afterwards we will have a farewell dinner in a Pyongyang restaurant before returning to the hotel.
After breakfast we will return to the train station for our journey back to Sinuiju and out of North Korea. Lunch is provided on the train. Arrive back in Dandong at 16.30 before departing to Beijing at 18:30.
Arrive in Beijing at 8:30
* Tours are subject to change.
Some aspects of the tour might be altered slightly depending on the guides/weather/time of year.
Some guides will offer extra places to visit, depending on how much they like you!
Our North Korean tours allow you to enter the country by train, thus enabling you to view true North Korean village life as you pass through the countryside.
However, for anyone who would prefer to travel by air, we can arrange flights by Air Koryo or Air China on request.
What does the price include?
For those starting the tour in Dandong, the price includes all meals, tours, transport and accommodation within North Korea as well as $50,000 medical insurance for within DPRK. Travel from Dandong to North Korea and back is also included. Accommodation is a twin room in the 4 star Yanggakdo hotel.
For those taking the Beijing option, all the above is included as well as return sleeper train from Beijing (six berth cabin). Bullet train option is available!
What does the price not include?
International flights to China, North Korean visa, Chinese double entry visa and travel insurance are not included.
Tips (budget 2-5 Euros per day) are also optional extras as well as money for alcoholic drinks and souvenirs.
Rooms are allocated on a twin basis but if you prefer to have a single room there is a supplement of 52 Euros per night to pay on arrival into Pyongyang.
Can I take photographs?
Control over photography is a lot more relaxed than in recent years. Photographs and video can be taken at all tourist sites and all over Pyongyang. It is not allowed on the train or anywhere around military personnel (except the DMZ).
When do I get my visa?
We can have your visa sent to your nearest North Korean Embassy or we can have it issued for you in Dandong ready for collection at the start of the tour. Our staff will have it ready waiting for you in Dandong. The visa issued in Dandong costs €50 and is issued as a separate piece of paper that is taken away at the end of your visit and there is no stamp left in your passport. For UK citizens who prefer a visa sticker inside their passport, we can arrange these for issue in London for £20. Please note the visas in London will only be issued 4-10 days before the tour so this is only an option if you are planning to leave the UK a 2-3 days before the tour.
Can I fly instead of taking the train?
We can arrange return flights from Shenyang to Pyongyang for 335 EUR (or 240 EUR if more than 10 people in the group flying).
For those looking to take the train in and fly out, we can arrange flights to Beijing for approximately 225 EUR (or lower if the group size is over 10) one way or from 335 EUR for return flights. These flights are with Air Koryo. Air China flight prices are also available on request.
Please note these prices include a deduction from the price of the train tickets that you would no longer need to if taking the flight option. These are also average prices and subject to local currency fluctuations (RMB). Exact price will be given on day of booking.
For those flying from Beijing, we require you to arrive in Beijing the day before your flight so we can deliver your visa and flight tickets to your hotel.
Do I need a visa for China?
Most nationalities require a visa for China. You will require a double entry visa to facilitate your first entry on arrival and then your second entry upon departure from North Korea. We will provide you with the invitation required to obtain this visa.
For those flying in and out of North Korea, there is now the option of a 72 hour visa free period in Beijing. To make use of this you are required to show proof of your onward flight ticket and North Korean visa at Chinese immigration. We can send you copies of these by email in advance and you can pick up the physical copies on arrival (or we can arrange them in advance to be picked up from your nearest Embassy). If you are going to use copies of the visa and flight ticket that we send to you then you MUST check with your airline in advance to check that they will accept copies at check in. It is unlikely they will refuse boarding but it is better to let them know in advance to avoid any issues on the day. Please note that the 72 hour visa is only valid for international flights heading direct into Beijing..
Is North Korea safe?
North Korea is considered one of the safest tourist destinations in the world. Our customers have never had any problems with either crime, or the authorities. The only way you are likely to put yourself in any kind of trouble is by disobeying the guides orders, breaking the law or constantly criticising the North Korean leaders or government. We urge you to respect your guides views and wishes otherwise constant disrespect and criticism is likely to lead to deportation or in extreme circumstances, jail.
We also advise anyone with a missionary background or links with the Korean War to stay away due to arrests made during 2013.
Americans need to exercise a little more caution than other nationalities but as long as you use common sense you encounter no problems.
Do I have any freedom in North Korea?
Your government guides will be with you at all times of day and you are unable to venture off on your own. When back at your hotel you are free to spend time as you wish around the hotel and its grounds.
What is the Mass Games?
The Mass Games or 'Arirang' is one of the greatest spectacles in the world. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest event of its kind on earth. There is a cast of more than 100,000 people including dancers, martial arts experts, a military tattoo acrobats and most awe inspiring of all the backdrop; an awe inspiring constantly changing human mosaic that displays panoramas, political slogans and cartoons.
When does the Mass Games take place?
The Mass Games usually takes place from early August until the end of September. They have not taken place since 2013 and we do not know when (if ever) they will launch again.
Can I take my phone?
As of 2013, mobile phones are allowed into North Korea. However, your sim card will not work with the local Koryolink network. International phonecalls can be made from the hotel for approximately 2 Euros per minute.
What are the moral implications of visiting North Korea?
Some believe it is wrong to visit North Korea as your money is going direct to their government rather than into the hands of locals. However, others believe visiting the country can help benefit the people you meet by making them aware of the outside world. There isn't really a clear right or wrong answer to whether you should visit or not so we advise you to research the topic yourself and make your own decision.
How do I get to Dandong?
If you take our Beijing extension, you will travel from Beijing to Dandong on return sleeper trains. You will sleep in the 2nd class hard sleeper carriages (6 berths per cabin). For an additional 35 EUR we can upgrade you to a soft sleeper (4 berths per cabin - subject to availability). The train departs Beijing at 17.30 and arrives at 7.17 the following morning.
If you prefer to make your own way to Dandong, there are a few other options other than the overnight train from Dandong:
-Take a bullet train from Beijing to Shenyang (around 5 hours) and then take a bus or taxi to Dandong (3 hours).
- Fly from Beijing to Dandong. There is one early afternoon flight per day and it will cost around 120 EUR.
- If you are travelling from South Korea you can take a direct overnight ferry from Incheon, prices start around 140 EUR.
What else is there to do around Dandong?
Dandong is in North Eastern China, a seldom visited area on the tourist map of China. However, it works as a great start off point to a visit to North Korea, getting an early flavour of North Korea through the many Koreans living here and through viewing the contrast between Chinese and Korean life on either side of the river.
The region also has a wealth of great sites to visit. A few of them are listed below (for more info please contact us):
Tiger Mountain Great Wall, Yalu river, Benxi Water Caves, Changbaishan National Nature Reserve, Jingpohu National Forest Park, Qianshan National Park, Wudalianchi National Forest Park.
What are the trains like?
The overnight trains between Beijing and Dandong take around 13 hours and have a restaurant carriage and 3 separate classes: seating only, hard sleepers (6 berths per cabin) and soft sleepers (4 berths per cabin).
The trains between Dandong to Pyongyang take around 6 hours and have a restaurant carriage and sleeping and seating compartments.
Where can we stay in Dandong?
For luxury you can stay at the 5 star Crowne Plaza. Prices are reasonable but please be aware it is located quite far out of the centre of Dandong. For views, we recommend the 4 star Zhonglian Hotel which faces the Broken Bridge and over into North Korea. For convenience and price we recommend the 3 star Rui Xie Dan Tie hotel by the train station.
What currency can I use in North Korea?
Foreigners are not allowed to use the local currency (Won). You can use Euros, Dollars or RMB. Euros offer the best rate. ATM's are not available in North Korea and generally it is difficult to exchange other currencies.
What souvenirs can I buy in North Korea?
The souvenir shops offer everything from t shirts (10 Euros), North Korean stamp sets (5-10 Euros), CDs (5 Euros) and DVDs (7 Euros) to books (5 Euros+), traditional and propaganda artwork (10 Euros+), locally made beer (1-2 Euros) and much more.
Is there a dress code?
For tours which include a visit to the Mausoleum of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, you must bring formal dress. For men, shoes, trousers, collared shirt and preferably tie are required. For women, shoes and smart dress or trousers and shirt are required. At all other times there are no restrictions on clothing.