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NORTH KOREA: REMOTE CORNERS


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NORTH KOREA: REMOTE CORNERS


OVERVIEW

  • Homestays with fishing families at Mount Chilbo village.

  • Hiking to temples hundreds of years old in the mountains of the northeast.

  • Play in a basketball game with school children in Hoeryong on the Tumen River.

  • Take a domestic train from Pyongyang to Chongjin through the North Korean countryside.

  • Participate in Children’s Day activities at a local kindergarten in Chongjin.

  • Meet with athletes and go ice skating with national team members in Pyongyang.

  • Visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state.

  • Exchange viewpoints with students at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang.

  • Walk around different neighbourhoods in the North Korean capital.

  • Cross the Friendship Bridge across the Tumen River on foot into Yanbian, China.


ITINERARY

This journey takes participants from the Chinese border across the Yalu River to Pyongyang, where we will meet with North Korean students, athletes and politicians as we explore the capital city. We will then head deep into the countryside, taking a domestic sleeper train to the industrial northeastern city of Chongjin, where we will explore the Chilbo Mountains, hike to ancient temples, stay with homestay families in a sleepy fishing village, watch daily life go by in remote seaside towns, and celebrate Children’s Day with kindergarteners. We’ll then travel to the Tumen River on the northern border with China, where we’ll play basketball with school children in Hoeryong, visit historic battle sites, and make our way back into China by foot over the Friendship Bridge. This program takes participants way off the beaten path in a country few understand and even less engage with.

DAY 1. FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2019. ARRIVE IN SHENYANG, CHINA

Arrivals throughout the day in Shenyang. We will meet at the Jen Hotel Shenyang at 5pm for a mandatory pre-departure briefing and introduction session, followed by a welcome dinner in Shenyang. Our departure the next morning is very early, so tonight will not be a late night. Please make sure your flight or train arrives in Shenyang before 2pm today; if it does not, please arrive a day earlier, as missing this day will mean skipping out on the entire program.

Overnight: Jen Hotel Shenyang.

DAY 2. SATURDAY, MAY 25, 2019. SHENYANG - DANDONG - PYONGYANG

We will wake up very early and walk a short distance to Shenyang Railway Station to board our bullet train to Dandong, just one hour away. Upon our arrival at Dandong Station, we will take our belongings upstairs and proceed through Chinese immigration and customs procedures at the station. Then, we’ll board our train bound for Pyongyang, North Korea. The ride across the Yalu (Anmok) River only takes about 10 minutes to the border city of Sinuiju, where we’ll go through DPRK customs and immigration. After five hours, we’ll be in downtown Pyongyang, where our local team will meet us upon arrival at the station. We’ll have a welcome dinner this evening at the Pyongyang Oribulgogi Restaurant.

Overnight: Pyongyang Changgwangsan Hotel.

DAY 3. SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2019. PYONGYANG

After an early breakfast at the hotel, we’ll drive to the Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun, the most holy pilgrimage sites in the DPRK for local people. Dressed in our best (business casual), we will tour the marble palace where leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state. Hundreds of Korean people will be here as well, organized into units for the visit. Following our visit, we will go on a city tour by foot around Pyongyang, taking the metro, visiting some of the city’s most interesting architecture and monuments. In the late afternoon, we’ll climb to the top of the Juche Tower for a panoramic view across Pyongyang for sunset. In the evening we’ll have a Korean traditional cooking class at a local restaurant, followed by dinner.

Overnight: Pyongyang Changgwangsan Hotel.

DAY 4. MONDAY, MAY 27, 2019. PYONGYANG

After breakfast, we will walk a short distance to Pyongyang’s Ice Rink, just outside our hotel. There, we will meet with the country’s winer sports athletes including figure skaters and hockey players. We’ll go for a skate with them and get the chance to watch their practices and ask questions about their lives. Then we’ll drive to Kim Il Sung University to engage in an exchange activity with students from the English department at the school. In the afternoon, we’ll go to the Pyongyang Taekwondo Hall for a Taekwondo class and demonstraition. In the evening we’ll visit the Ryugyonggwan Bath House, a traditional Korean spa in downtown Pyongyang. We’ll have dinner at a local restaurant in Pyongyang before retiring for the evening.

Overnight: Pyongyang Changgwangsan Hotel.

DAY 5. TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2019. PYONGYANG - CHONGJIN

We’ll wake up early and head to Pyongyang Railway Station to catch our 07:20am domestic sleeper train to Chongjin— an industrial city on the northeast coast of Korea and the third most populous city in Korea. We’ll spend the day bonding with locals on the train, as we pass through the mountainous countryside. As May is peak planting season, we’ll see the fields busy with activity. We’ll spend the night on the train, arriving in Chongjin early the next morning.

Overnight on the train.

DAY 6. WEDNESDAY, MAY 29, 2019. CHONGJIN - CHILBOSAN

We are scheduled to arrive at Chongjin Youth Railway Station in the early morning, where we will meet our local team for our stay in North Hamgyong Province. From there, we’ll load into our vehicles and drive down the Korean coastline to the Yonbum and Jipsam revolutionary sites. These areas are located right on the coast, surrounded by small Korean fishing villages. There, we’re likely to encounter fishermen casting a line, small wooden fishing boats hauling in the daily catch, and see locals gathering seaweed and water from the sea in front of the villages. We’ll then continue to Mount Chilbo, a nature reserve known for ancient temples, unusual rock formations, and the famous Chilbo Mountains. We’ll drive directly to our accommodation, the Chilbo Homestay Village, where we will split up into small groups and spend the night with different families in their homes. We will have dinner with our host families in the homes.

Overnight: Chilbosan Homestay Village.

DAY 7. THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2019. CHILBOSAN

We will have breakfast with our host families in the morning, and then set out to explore the area. We’ll hike to an five hundred year old temple, explore Mount Chilbo’s unique rock formations and nature, and then in the afternoon we’ll return to the village for a group lunch. Following our meal, we will spend the rest of the day with our host families— going fishing by boat with them at sea, and then playing traditional games and volleyball with them on the beach. Dinner will be a large beach BBQ hosted by the families and will include our catch.

Overnight: Chilbosan Homestay Village.

DAY 8. FRIDAY, MAY 31, 2019. CHILBOSAN - CHONGJIN

After breakfast we’ll say goodbye to our host families and gather in the main house to take our vans back to Chongjin. Along the way, we’ll stop for lunch and hot springs in Kyongsong, a small town about forty minutes south of Chongjin. Upon our arrival in Chongjin, we’ll visit the main square and library, before boarding an electric trolley bus to see the city from the perspective of a local. We’ll visit the Chongjin Foreign Languages High School in the afternoon to participate in an exchange activity with the students. Dinner will be held at the Chongjin Overseas Seamans Club near the main port.

Overnight at the Chongjin Hotel.

DAY 9. SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019. CHONGJIN - HOERYONG

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll visit a local kindergarten to participate in the International Children’s Day activities. This holiday, celebrated in many socialist countries (especially before the end of the Cold War), is still popular in North Korea. Schools across the country organize games and events for the kids, and families are invited to participate. We’ll jump right in as well, likely being the only foreigners there. In the afternoon, we will drive to Hoeryong city on the Tumen River with China. There, we’ll visit the Kim Ki SOng Middle School to play a game of outdoor basketball with the students and see what they have going on for Children’s Day events. In the evening we’ll host a dance and karaoke party at our hotel.

Overnight at the Hoeryong Hotel.

DAY 10. SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2019. HOERYONG - ONSONG - NAMYANG - YANJI

After breakfast, we’ll check out and tour the birth house of Kim Jong Suk, the wife of Kim Il Sung and mother of Kim Jong Il, as well as the main square of Hoeryong city. We’ll then drive north to Onsong County for lunch, where we will also visit the Wangjaesan Monument. In the late afternoon we’ll drive to Namyang, where we will clear DPRK exit procedures and walk across the Tumen River Friendship Bridge to China. Upon clearing Chinese entry procedures, we’ll drive to Yanji city, the capital of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Jilin Province. There we’ll have dinner and a trip debriefing.

DAY 11. MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2019. DEPART YANJI

We will arrange transportation to Yanji’s Chaoyangchuan International Airport or railway station throughout the day. No scheduled activities.


COST

$2,900 USD

INCLUDED

  • All accommodations.

  • Three meals daily.

  • DPRK guides, entrance tickets and activities.

  • Canadian North Korea-expert trip leader.

  • Private transportation.

  • Round train tickets between Dandong and Pyongyang.

  • DPRK visa fees.

  • Chinese visa support (if required).

  • Tips for local staff.

EXCLUDED

  • Personal spending.

  • Insurance.

  • Drinks.

  • Optional activities (announced in advance).

  • Chinese double entry visa fee.


TRIP LEADERS


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This is a unique trip that uses Inertia’s decade-long connections and network in North Korea to open up dialogue and exchange opportunities with North Koreans of all different walks of life. Due to government regulation, this trip is not open to anyone travelling on an American, South Korean, Japanese or Israeli passport. Thank you for understanding.

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