Contact Us|1-888-831-7526

North Korea Adventure

Trip Length 11 days

From $4,995

  • Get a glimpse into the past as well as a rare insight into the modern reality of this last holdout of the Cold War
  • Visit notable places like Panmunjom and Pyongyang and more far-flung destinations like Mount Paekdu (September departure) and Kumgangsan (April departure)
  • Enjoy authentic encounters with locals at plazas and fairs, and come away feeling changed by the extraordinary experience of traveling to the unparalleled DPRK

Seasoned travelers know how difficult it is to find truly untraveled places to explore in our modern world, and the importance of seizing an opportunity to be among the first to experience a new destination before tourism’s influence alters its character. North Korea—officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK— is just such a place. Mostly closed to the outside world for more than a half century, this secretive and largely unchanged land has only begun to welcome foreign visitors. It’s a veritable time capsule that promises visitors a real glimpse into the past as well as rare insight into the modern reality of this last holdout of the Cold War. And true to our heritage of exploring new and unknown lands, MTS is among the first to embrace this wonderful opportunity to learn about and engage with the people of North Korea.

Note: Itinerary featured on the website is for September departures. For April departures, click here to see the detailed itinerary.

Day 1: Fly to Beijing

Note: This itinerary is for September departures. For April departures, click here to see detailed itinerary.

Welcome to Asia! Upon arrival at Beijing Capital Airport, catch the convenient Hilton Capital Airport shuttle to our comfortable and well-appointed hotel, just a five-minute ride away. The group will gather this evening for a brief orientation and a welcome dinner. 

Please note that this entire trip occurs below 6,000 feet elevation.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hilton Capital Airport

Day 2: Welcome to Pyongyang, North Korea

Today, we’ll transfer to the Beijing Capital Airport for our Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. We are currently scheduled to fly on Air Koryo flight 152, which departs Beijing at 1pm and arrives in Pyongyang at 4pm. After proceeding through immigration and customs, our MTS guides will meet us and escort us to our hotel in Pyongyang. En route, we’ll stop to visit the Arch of Triumph, modeled after and larger than that of Paris. Our hotel for tonight is Yanggakdo International Hotel, the second-tallest building in North Korea, located on an island in the Taedong River that flows through the center of Pyongyang. The hotel is one of the country's best and has a good bar (Kim Jong II hired German brewers to set up a brewery in the bar), bowling alley, and casino. We’ll celebrate our first night in North Korea at a restaurant in the hotel.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 3: Explore Pyongyang

After breakfast, our guides will take us on a tour Pyongyang. We’ll begin with the Grand People's Study House, an enormous library and public university modeled in traditional Korean style with great views over Kim Il Sung Square. Next we’ll continue on to the Korean Art Gallery and Pyongyang Folk Village, which features scale models of many of Pyongyang's ancient and modern buildings. We’ll take in great views of the city at the Yanggakdo Revolving Restaurant during lunch, and then visit a secondary school and maternity hospital—where we’ll gain insight into the public facilities in the DPRK. We’ll also walk through the lovely Moranbong-guyok, the largest park in the city. Later we'll have the chance to sample draft beer at Paradise Department Store before heading to dinner at the Koryo Hotel, known for its iconic connected twin towers.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 4: Drive to Mount Myohyang and hike in the Manpok Valley

This morning, we’ll depart Pyongyang for a two-hour drive to the remote Mount Myohyang, a mystical and sacred area in Korean lore. This area was the home to Korea’s ancient King Tangun, regarded as the forefather of the Korean people. Upon arrival, we’ll first visit the International Friendship Exhibition, a series of enormous subterranean rooms housing gifts given to the DPRK's leaders by foreign political figures, politicians and organizations. We’ll then head to our comfortable hotel to check in and enjoy lunch. This afternoon, we’ll set out on a four- to five-hour hike in the Manpok Valley, where fairies are said to dwell. It’s easy enough to believe as we pass enchanting waterfalls and unusual rock formations set in an absolutely stunning landscape. After returning to the hotel, we’ll have time to refresh ourselves before enjoying dinner at the fanciest hotel in the DPRK and the only hotel in the DPRK with internet access.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hyangsan Hotel

Day 5: Visit the Ryongmun and Paengryong Caves

Today we’ll head back towards Pyongyang, stopping to explore some of the areas most fascinating sights along the way. First, we’ll visit a historical Buddhist temple that originates from 1042 AD (rebuilt many times), and the Ryongmun and Paengryong Caves. These natural grottoes, with soaring ceilings and vast array of stalactites and stalagmites, are also the birthplace of local legends—making it an interesting stop. The caves were discovered during the 8th century and have served as hiding places for Buddhist hermits and war refugees throughout the ages. We’ll then take a moment to enjoy a delicious Korean barbeque picnic lunch, before returning to Pyongyang. Late this afternoon, we’ll roll a few sets back at the Golden Lane Bowling Center, which is one of the best places to interact with locals. To top it off, we'll feast on a succulent lamb dinner.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 6: Enjoy holiday celebrations in Pyongyang

Today we'll visit the public areas of Pyongyang and have the opportunity to interact with locals, as it's a public holiday. We’ll start this action-packed day with a visit to Juche Tower, a tall, skinny monument built in honor of the Juche philosophy, taught to the people by Kim Il Sung, featuring panoramic views of the city from the top. We’ll also stop to see the Worker’s Party Foundation Monument, built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Worker’s Party, and then the Foreign Languages Bookshop, where books about or by Kim Il Jong and Kim Sung Il that have been translated into different foreign languages are sold. We’ll continue walking along the boulevard to Kim Il Sung Square, Pyongyang's largest square in the heart of the city. It features portraits of President Kim Il Sung as well as Marx and Lenin. Near the square, we’ll lunch at a restaurant that specializes in delicious hotpots.

This afternoon, we’ll visit Mansuadae Art Studio, Pyongyang's center of artistic excellence; Mangyongdae Native House, the birthplace of Kim Il Sung; and the USS Pueblo, an American spy ship captured in 1968 and held as a trophy ever since. Then, we’ll have a chance to ride the Pyongyang Metro, known as the deepest metro in the world and adorned with mosaics and chandeliers. This evening we’ll have the pleasure of witnessing one of North Korea’s famous mass dances, where students dress in traditional clothing and dance to intricately choreographed routines in Kim Il Sung Square, and enjoy a genuine opportunity to interact with locals. We’ll enjoy a simple dinner tonight at a pizzeria before returning back to our hotel.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 7: Ride the funicular to the rim of Mount Paekdu

This morning, we’ll transfer to the airport for our charter flight to Mount Paekdu. Located in a remote region near the Chinese border, Mount Paekdu is worshipped by both Koreans and the Manchus of Manchuria as the place of their ancestral origin. Only a tiny number of Westerners have ever been here, as it was closed to all foreigners until only recently. Mount Paekdu is also a dormant volcano, whose crater is the spectacularly beautiful Lake Chonji, or “Heaven Lake.” We’ll arrive at Samjiyon Airport around mid-morning and then take a funicular to the crater’s rim, then take a cable car down to the Lake Chonji. After a lakeside picnic lunch, we’ll visit the secret camp of Kim Il Sung's anti-Japanese guerrilla army and birthplace of Kim Jong Il. After a full day on the mountain, we’ll spend the night at the Pegaebong Hotel in Samjiyon, a mountain town surrounded by forests on the shore of Lake Samji.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Pegaebong Hotel

Day 8: Fly to Orang and visit Chongjin

The day begins with a visit to Samjiyon Grand Monument, the largest set of statues in the country built to commemorate Kim Il Sung’s triumph over the Japanese in May 1939. We’ll then transfer to the airport for our flight to Orang on the East Coast of North Korea. From Orang, we’ll drive to Chongjin, the DPRK's second largest city known for its factories—and only now opening to tourists. After checking in and lunching at our hotel, we’ll have a chance to tour Central Square, visit the Revolutionary History Museum—one of the city’s main attractions—the  Cultural Exhibition Center, and Steelworks Kindergarten, where we will be treated to a fascinating performance. Tonight, we’ll enjoy drinks and dinner at the Fishermen's Club, one of the few local clubs in the DPRK that is open to tourists and where you can interact with the locals. We’ll end the day at the modest Chongjin Hotel.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Chongjin Hotel

Day 9: Return to Pyongyang

This morning we'll visit revolutionary sites related to the anti-Japanese period on the way to Orang Airport and stop for lunch, before flying back to Pyongyang and returning to the city center. There, we will visit the Mansudae Grand Monument, famous for its 60-foot-high bronze statues of Present Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, flanked by reliefs of workers, soldiers and citizens. Next on the agenda is the Pyongyang Embroidery Institute, located at the foot of the towering pyramid of the Ryugyong Hotel. The institute showcases the Korean embroidery, an intricate art form. We’ll conclude our day with a visit to the magnificent Fountain Park, where jets of water and beautiful sculptures are erected in honor of Kim Il Sung. Later, we’ll return to our hotel for dinner in the revolving restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 10: Explore the ancient city of Kaesong and visit the DMZ

We’ll get back on the road this morning, bound for Kaesong, an ancient city and the capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-932 AD), from which Korea takes its name. The area is peppered with historic temples and monuments, and we visit the best preserved among them—the beautiful twin-domed Tomb of King Kongmin and his Mongol-princess wife, Queen Noguk. In the afternoon, we’ll drive a few minutes east of Kaesong to Panmunjom in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), the boundary between North and South Korea. Technically known as the Joint Security Area, it is a circular area about 800 yards in diameter that is bisected by the border itself. Set squarely on the border, are three small blue huts simply called the Conference Rooms of the Military Armistice Commission, the UN Agency that conducts negotiations between the two Koreas. The tension here seems as fresh as it did just after the Korean War. We'll be able to visit the main Military Armistice Conference Room with its long conference table, where we’ll get more insight into the conflict between the two Koreas. We’ll then return to Pyongyang for a festive farewell dinner at a barbequed duck restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 11: Fly to Beijing and depart

Today we rise early and transfer to the airport for our return flight to Beijing at 9am, arriving at 10am. Upon arrival, we’ll bid each other farewell and either connect to our homeward-bound flights. 

  • Breakfast

Sep 08 - 18, 2016

Apr 27, 2017 - May 07, 2017

Sep 07 - 17, 2017

pricing

2016 Prices
$4,995 (11-18 members)

$5,495 (9-10 members)
$5,895 (6-8 members)

$800 single supplement
$775 internal air - April departure
$1750 internal air - September departure

2017 Prices
$5,195 (6-16 members)

$800 single supplement
$830 internal air - April departure
$1880 internal air - September departure

Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations.

If you prefer single accommodations, you must pay the Single Supplement Fee. If you’re traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we’ll try our best to find you a roommate. If that’s not possible, we will only charge you half of the single supplement.

Got your own great photos of this or other MTS trips?
Share them with us on our Facebook page!

Chongjin Hotel — Chongjin


Hilton Capital Airport — Beijing


Hyangsan Hotel — Mt. Myohyang


Pegaebong Hotel — Mt. Paekdu


Yanggakdo Hotel — Pyongyang


  • Get a glimpse into the past as well as a rare insight into the modern reality of this last holdout of the Cold War
  • Visit notable places like Panmunjom and Pyongyang and more far-flung destinations like Mount Paekdu (September departure) and Kumgangsan (April departure)
  • Enjoy authentic encounters with locals at plazas and fairs, and come away feeling changed by the extraordinary experience of traveling to the unparalleled DPRK

Seasoned travelers know how difficult it is to find truly untraveled places to explore in our modern world, and the importance of seizing an opportunity to be among the first to experience a new destination before tourism’s influence alters its character. North Korea—officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK— is just such a place. Mostly closed to the outside world for more than a half century, this secretive and largely unchanged land has only begun to welcome foreign visitors. It’s a veritable time capsule that promises visitors a real glimpse into the past as well as rare insight into the modern reality of this last holdout of the Cold War. And true to our heritage of exploring new and unknown lands, MTS is among the first to embrace this wonderful opportunity to learn about and engage with the people of North Korea.

Note: Itinerary featured on the website is for September departures. For April departures, click here to see the detailed itinerary.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Beijing

Note: This itinerary is for September departures. For April departures, click here to see detailed itinerary.

Welcome to Asia! Upon arrival at Beijing Capital Airport, catch the convenient Hilton Capital Airport shuttle to our comfortable and well-appointed hotel, just a five-minute ride away. The group will gather this evening for a brief orientation and a welcome dinner. 

Please note that this entire trip occurs below 6,000 feet elevation.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hilton Capital Airport

Day 2: Welcome to Pyongyang, North Korea

Today, we’ll transfer to the Beijing Capital Airport for our Air Koryo flight to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea. We are currently scheduled to fly on Air Koryo flight 152, which departs Beijing at 1pm and arrives in Pyongyang at 4pm. After proceeding through immigration and customs, our MTS guides will meet us and escort us to our hotel in Pyongyang. En route, we’ll stop to visit the Arch of Triumph, modeled after and larger than that of Paris. Our hotel for tonight is Yanggakdo International Hotel, the second-tallest building in North Korea, located on an island in the Taedong River that flows through the center of Pyongyang. The hotel is one of the country's best and has a good bar (Kim Jong II hired German brewers to set up a brewery in the bar), bowling alley, and casino. We’ll celebrate our first night in North Korea at a restaurant in the hotel.

  • Breakfast/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 3: Explore Pyongyang

After breakfast, our guides will take us on a tour Pyongyang. We’ll begin with the Grand People's Study House, an enormous library and public university modeled in traditional Korean style with great views over Kim Il Sung Square. Next we’ll continue on to the Korean Art Gallery and Pyongyang Folk Village, which features scale models of many of Pyongyang's ancient and modern buildings. We’ll take in great views of the city at the Yanggakdo Revolving Restaurant during lunch, and then visit a secondary school and maternity hospital—where we’ll gain insight into the public facilities in the DPRK. We’ll also walk through the lovely Moranbong-guyok, the largest park in the city. Later we'll have the chance to sample draft beer at Paradise Department Store before heading to dinner at the Koryo Hotel, known for its iconic connected twin towers.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 4: Drive to Mount Myohyang and hike in the Manpok Valley

This morning, we’ll depart Pyongyang for a two-hour drive to the remote Mount Myohyang, a mystical and sacred area in Korean lore. This area was the home to Korea’s ancient King Tangun, regarded as the forefather of the Korean people. Upon arrival, we’ll first visit the International Friendship Exhibition, a series of enormous subterranean rooms housing gifts given to the DPRK's leaders by foreign political figures, politicians and organizations. We’ll then head to our comfortable hotel to check in and enjoy lunch. This afternoon, we’ll set out on a four- to five-hour hike in the Manpok Valley, where fairies are said to dwell. It’s easy enough to believe as we pass enchanting waterfalls and unusual rock formations set in an absolutely stunning landscape. After returning to the hotel, we’ll have time to refresh ourselves before enjoying dinner at the fanciest hotel in the DPRK and the only hotel in the DPRK with internet access.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Hyangsan Hotel

Day 5: Visit the Ryongmun and Paengryong Caves

Today we’ll head back towards Pyongyang, stopping to explore some of the areas most fascinating sights along the way. First, we’ll visit a historical Buddhist temple that originates from 1042 AD (rebuilt many times), and the Ryongmun and Paengryong Caves. These natural grottoes, with soaring ceilings and vast array of stalactites and stalagmites, are also the birthplace of local legends—making it an interesting stop. The caves were discovered during the 8th century and have served as hiding places for Buddhist hermits and war refugees throughout the ages. We’ll then take a moment to enjoy a delicious Korean barbeque picnic lunch, before returning to Pyongyang. Late this afternoon, we’ll roll a few sets back at the Golden Lane Bowling Center, which is one of the best places to interact with locals. To top it off, we'll feast on a succulent lamb dinner.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 6: Enjoy holiday celebrations in Pyongyang

Today we'll visit the public areas of Pyongyang and have the opportunity to interact with locals, as it's a public holiday. We’ll start this action-packed day with a visit to Juche Tower, a tall, skinny monument built in honor of the Juche philosophy, taught to the people by Kim Il Sung, featuring panoramic views of the city from the top. We’ll also stop to see the Worker’s Party Foundation Monument, built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Worker’s Party, and then the Foreign Languages Bookshop, where books about or by Kim Il Jong and Kim Sung Il that have been translated into different foreign languages are sold. We’ll continue walking along the boulevard to Kim Il Sung Square, Pyongyang's largest square in the heart of the city. It features portraits of President Kim Il Sung as well as Marx and Lenin. Near the square, we’ll lunch at a restaurant that specializes in delicious hotpots.

This afternoon, we’ll visit Mansuadae Art Studio, Pyongyang's center of artistic excellence; Mangyongdae Native House, the birthplace of Kim Il Sung; and the USS Pueblo, an American spy ship captured in 1968 and held as a trophy ever since. Then, we’ll have a chance to ride the Pyongyang Metro, known as the deepest metro in the world and adorned with mosaics and chandeliers. This evening we’ll have the pleasure of witnessing one of North Korea’s famous mass dances, where students dress in traditional clothing and dance to intricately choreographed routines in Kim Il Sung Square, and enjoy a genuine opportunity to interact with locals. We’ll enjoy a simple dinner tonight at a pizzeria before returning back to our hotel.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 7: Ride the funicular to the rim of Mount Paekdu

This morning, we’ll transfer to the airport for our charter flight to Mount Paekdu. Located in a remote region near the Chinese border, Mount Paekdu is worshipped by both Koreans and the Manchus of Manchuria as the place of their ancestral origin. Only a tiny number of Westerners have ever been here, as it was closed to all foreigners until only recently. Mount Paekdu is also a dormant volcano, whose crater is the spectacularly beautiful Lake Chonji, or “Heaven Lake.” We’ll arrive at Samjiyon Airport around mid-morning and then take a funicular to the crater’s rim, then take a cable car down to the Lake Chonji. After a lakeside picnic lunch, we’ll visit the secret camp of Kim Il Sung's anti-Japanese guerrilla army and birthplace of Kim Jong Il. After a full day on the mountain, we’ll spend the night at the Pegaebong Hotel in Samjiyon, a mountain town surrounded by forests on the shore of Lake Samji.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Pegaebong Hotel

Day 8: Fly to Orang and visit Chongjin

The day begins with a visit to Samjiyon Grand Monument, the largest set of statues in the country built to commemorate Kim Il Sung’s triumph over the Japanese in May 1939. We’ll then transfer to the airport for our flight to Orang on the East Coast of North Korea. From Orang, we’ll drive to Chongjin, the DPRK's second largest city known for its factories—and only now opening to tourists. After checking in and lunching at our hotel, we’ll have a chance to tour Central Square, visit the Revolutionary History Museum—one of the city’s main attractions—the  Cultural Exhibition Center, and Steelworks Kindergarten, where we will be treated to a fascinating performance. Tonight, we’ll enjoy drinks and dinner at the Fishermen's Club, one of the few local clubs in the DPRK that is open to tourists and where you can interact with the locals. We’ll end the day at the modest Chongjin Hotel.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Chongjin Hotel

Day 9: Return to Pyongyang

This morning we'll visit revolutionary sites related to the anti-Japanese period on the way to Orang Airport and stop for lunch, before flying back to Pyongyang and returning to the city center. There, we will visit the Mansudae Grand Monument, famous for its 60-foot-high bronze statues of Present Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, flanked by reliefs of workers, soldiers and citizens. Next on the agenda is the Pyongyang Embroidery Institute, located at the foot of the towering pyramid of the Ryugyong Hotel. The institute showcases the Korean embroidery, an intricate art form. We’ll conclude our day with a visit to the magnificent Fountain Park, where jets of water and beautiful sculptures are erected in honor of Kim Il Sung. Later, we’ll return to our hotel for dinner in the revolving restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 10: Explore the ancient city of Kaesong and visit the DMZ

We’ll get back on the road this morning, bound for Kaesong, an ancient city and the capital of the Koryo Dynasty (918-932 AD), from which Korea takes its name. The area is peppered with historic temples and monuments, and we visit the best preserved among them—the beautiful twin-domed Tomb of King Kongmin and his Mongol-princess wife, Queen Noguk. In the afternoon, we’ll drive a few minutes east of Kaesong to Panmunjom in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), the boundary between North and South Korea. Technically known as the Joint Security Area, it is a circular area about 800 yards in diameter that is bisected by the border itself. Set squarely on the border, are three small blue huts simply called the Conference Rooms of the Military Armistice Commission, the UN Agency that conducts negotiations between the two Koreas. The tension here seems as fresh as it did just after the Korean War. We'll be able to visit the main Military Armistice Conference Room with its long conference table, where we’ll get more insight into the conflict between the two Koreas. We’ll then return to Pyongyang for a festive farewell dinner at a barbequed duck restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 11: Fly to Beijing and depart

Today we rise early and transfer to the airport for our return flight to Beijing at 9am, arriving at 10am. Upon arrival, we’ll bid each other farewell and either connect to our homeward-bound flights. 

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Chongjin Hotel — Chongjin


Hilton Capital Airport — Beijing


Hyangsan Hotel — Mt. Myohyang


Pegaebong Hotel — Mt. Paekdu


Yanggakdo Hotel — Pyongyang


Dates and Pricing

Sep 08 - 18, 2016

Apr 27, 2017 - May 07, 2017

Sep 07 - 17, 2017

pricing

2016 Prices
$4,995 (11-18 members)

$5,495 (9-10 members)
$5,895 (6-8 members)

$800 single supplement
$775 internal air - April departure
$1750 internal air - September departure

2017 Prices
$5,195 (6-16 members)

$800 single supplement
$830 internal air - April departure
$1880 internal air - September departure

Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations.

If you prefer single accommodations, you must pay the Single Supplement Fee. If you’re traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we’ll try our best to find you a roommate. If that’s not possible, we will only charge you half of the single supplement.

Select Trip Type Before Requesting Reservation

Got questions?

Call us at 1-888-831-7526
or click here!

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure

Award-winning journeys recognized by Travel +Leisure