Saturday, June 30, 2018

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK)

sightseeing Pyongyang, Mt. Myohyang and Kaesong best tourist attraction
June 12 to 16, 2018

"The oppressed peoples can liberate themselves only through struggle. This is a simple and clear truth confirmed by history." - Kim Il Sung

My 59th solo backpacking trip68th countries visited so far, sweeping the Eastern Region of Asia and of course, usual budget do-it-yourself itinerary from arrival to departure. I did not research much for this country as I planned to depend all information to our local guides.

Visiting North Korea can be challenging, and you will not have the freedom to explore the country without a North Korean escort, either as part of a group or individual tour. Tourist travel to North Korea is only possible as part of a guided tour. Independent travel is not permitted. If you are not prepared to accept severe limitations on your movements, behavior, and freedom of expression, you should not travel to North Korea.

timezone - UTC +0900                          capital - Pyongyang      

language - Korean                                 currency - Won (NPW) 1 USD = 900 NPW
visa - Philippine passport holders need to apply first before travel

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK) (Reunification Monument)

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK) (Reunification Monument Emblem of Unified Korea)

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK) (local newspaper featuring Kim Jong Un - Donald Trump meet)

Interesting Facts about North Korea / Democratic People's Republic of Korea: 
1. On January 23, 1968, North Korea captured “USS Pueblo (AGER-2),” a Banner-class environmental research ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy. It is the world’s only nation to capture and retain a U.S. Navy ship to date.
2. The North Korean city of Pyongyang has the world’s largest stadium, boasting a seating capacity of 150,000. This stadium is used for football, athletics and mass games.
3. North Korea follows a “three generations of punishment” rule, meaning that if one person violated the law or sent to prison, their children, parents and grandparents are sent to work with them.
4. Border relations between North and South Korea are so tense that when soldiers from the South open the door to the North in the Demilitarized Zone, they hold hands to avoid being physically pulled into the other side.
5. The North Korean regime has long enforced strict rules on styling one’s hair; most of the barber shops in Pyongyang advertise photos of government-sanctioned haircuts.
6. There are an estimated 34,000 statues of Kim Il Sung in North Korea – one for every 3.5 km, or one for every 750 people. All North Koreans are also required to wear a badge featuring his face as a mark of their loyalty to the founder of the nation.
7. North Korea is the world’s only necrocracy: a government that still operates under the rules of a dead leader.
8. The national animal of North Korea is the Chollima; a mythical winged horse that supposedly symbolizes heroism and the country’s indomitable spirit.

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK) (North Korea Tourist Visa)

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK) (Souvenirs)

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK) (Future Scientist Building)



Total Costs of the Tour 1,275 Euro: Reservation 25% = 369.25 Euro, Balance 75% = 855.75 Euro
Reservation 10-May 1,644.79 AED = €369.25; Bank Transfer Charge 145 AED
Balance Due to pay at the Beijing Airport 12-Jun (in neat cash): 855.75 Euro 
Jun12 1305H Beijing to Pyongyang 1605H JS152 (included in travel tour cost)
Jun16 0850H Pyongyang to Beijing 0950H JS151 (included in travel tour cost)
Jun11 1210H Sydney to Beijing Jun11 2215H Flight 609 AED
Jun17 0125H Beijing to Abu Dhabi Jun17 Flight 0605H 485 AED
Total: 1,239 AED

Day 0: June 11, 2018 Monday
1200H ETD Sydney UTC +1000H
2200H ETA Beijing Terminal 3 UTC +0800H; 24hr TWOV (free); shuttle to Terminal 2; KFC Snacks 26
Total: 26 CNY

Day 1: June 12, 2018 Tuesday
Sleep in Airport Terminal 2 3F Domestic Area; Yoshinoya 40
Travel Agency Rep meet-up for payment 855 Euro
Check-in and Immigration; Boarding Gate area lunch 68
1305H ETD Beijing UTC +0800H
1605H ETA Pyongyang UTC +0900H; Quarantine card, Customs Card, Entry/Exit Card
Immigration Officer a simple check
Going out; mobile phone out, bag content is detailed inspected
1700H ETD Airport; Pyongyang Koryo Hotel; KITC Dinner 6
Total: 114 CNY + 855 Euro

Day 2: June 13, 2018 Wednesday
0730H Breakfast and Hotel exit; bound to Mt. Myohyang
1030H ETA Mt. Myohyang; International Friendship Exhibition Centre
Pohyon Temple; lunch at Chonchong Hotel
1445H ETD Mt. Myohyang
1715H ETA Pyongyang; National Library; Supermarket 1 CNY = 1,231 KRW
Bought beers, snacks, nuts, chocolates 71 CNY
Total: 71 CNY

Day 3: June 14, 2018 Thursday
0800H Breakfast and Hotel check-out
Grand Theatre, Kim Il Sung Square; Foreign Bookstore; Fountain Park
Grand Monument; flower boquet 40 (€5); Subway metro; Arch of Triumph; War Museum
1430H Juche Tower 40 (€5); Workers Party of Korea Monument;
Pyongyang Exhibition Center; Children Palace Museum (free concert)
1800H ETD Pyongyang
2130H ETA Kaesong; dinner; dog meat soup 40 (€5)
Total: 120 CNY

Day 4: June 15, 2018 Friday
0900H 38th Parallel DMZ border; Koryo Dynasty Museum; Souvenir (shirts, fridge magnets) 240 (€30); melon 5
1400H Lunch and ETD Kaesong
1530H ETA Sariwon City Folklore Street
1800H dinner with free performances; Fun Fair 16 (€2)
2030H Hotel; Tips to 2 Guides + Driver 424 (€53)
Total: 680 CNY

Day 5: June 16, 2018 Saturday
0700H ETD Hotel + Breakfast
0730H ETA Pyongyang Airport; Check-in and Immigration
0900H ETD Pyongyang
1000H ETA Beijing; shuttle to T3; Left luggage 30; airport express to Dongzhimen 25
Metro to Dongsishitao Station 6; McDo lunch 20; Money Exchange $100 = 637; Verified Ultra Beijing in Clubs
1500H Metro to Qianmen Station 6; People Palace Museum 15; water 8
Qianmen Street; McDo snacks 20; Metro to Dongsishitao 4
1830H ETA One Third / Sir.Teen Club; long queue, decide to just waste my time standing
2230H Go back to airport 25; McDo snacks 42
0030H ETD Beijing
Total: 201 CNY

TOTAL: 26+114+71+120+680+201 = 1,212 CNY ($187) + 1,225 EUR ($1,428) + 1,239 AED ($337) = $1,952

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK) (lady traffic enforcer)

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK) (Reunification Monument)

5 Days Group Tour in Summer North Korea (DPRK) (Unified Workers Monument)

Planning and Preparation:

The only way to get into North Korea's tourism is through a travel tour agency. I availed the service of KTG / KITC travels and chose the 2018 North Korea Summer TourAll my queries and concern are discussed in email conversation. Planning should be at least more than a month before the intended visit in North Korea due to reservation issues and visa processing. This Summer tour costs 1,225 Euro includes the following;
• Flight Transport costs from Beijing to Pyongyang and back
• All local transfer costs
• Twin Room Accommodation unless otherwise stated
• Three meals per day (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
• Guide service in English / requested language if other
• Entrance tickets to all tourist attractions except in Juche Tower
• DPRK visa fee (€50 if issued in China)
The tour almost covered everything. I only brought around 120 Euro as my pocket money for expenses in extra refreshments, souvenirs and guide tips. It is recommended to bring cash in both EUR and CNY bills.


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