North Korea Independent Tours
If our North Korea group tour dates don’t fit, we can organise your very own North Korea independent tour tailor made around what you want to see and do. The tour can be for one person or 100!
Our North Korea independent tours are perfect for solo travellers, families, couples, friends, or for people who simply can’t find the group dates to match. You can choose between budget, standard and deluxe price ranges.
We have staff in China that are able to meet you, assist you, answer your questions and ensure you have a great trip before your tour starts. If you’d like to visit North Korea with this fantastic option, please read on and get in touch today!
You can travel to North Korea 365 days a year. Weather wise the best months are April – June and September – October.
Major holidays in the calendar are:
- February 16 – Birthday of Leader Kim Jong Il
- April 15 – Birthday of President Kim Il Sung
- May 1 – International Workers Day
- July 27 – Victory Day
- August 15 – Liberation Day
- October 10 – Party Foundation Day
We will apply for your visa on your behalf. You collect it from us pre-tour in China. It’s that simple – no need to surrender your passport at any point.
On tour you will be accompanied by two Korean guides (several languages available), and you will have your own driver and vehicle. Our independent tours are very flexible in terms of itinerary and interests.
Day 1 - Beijing
Greet our staff member at a hotel of your choice in Beijing. During this meeting, we’ll go through the tour’s itinerary & you’ll receive the North Korean visas and train tickets. This is also a chance to ask any final questions
Make your way to Beijing Central station for the 5:25pm departure to Pyongyang. The train is a 6 berth sleeper complete with full bedding and dining car.
DAY 2 - Dandong & Pyongyang
The train arrives in Dandong at 7:00am. Here you will disembark the train for two hours. This will allow you time to grab some breakfast and complete Chinese border control. The train to Pyongyang will then depart at 10:00am. Arrive on the Korean side 5 minutes later for the extensive border checks.
Depart again from Sinuiju to Pyongyang. Enjoy a North Korean lunch on the train (extra cost) Sit back and enjoy the scenery.
Arrive into Pyongyang railway station at 6pm. Your Korean guides will be waiting on the platform to bring you to the hotel
- Check-in followed by dinner and welcome drinks
Overnight in the Sosan Hotel
DAY 3 - Pyongyang
Stroll through Mansudae fountain park taking in the Grand Peoples Study House and see the mosaic pictures of the leaders. Visit Mansudae Grand Monument – the two large bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il. Presentation of flowers (extra charge €5)
Lunch at a Korean Hot Pot Restaurant followed by – the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum. This incredible museum features dioramas, captured weapons, the Victory Monument, and the USS Pueblo: the only American military vessel captured by another nation. Juche Tower – the tallest stone tower in the world, it represents the Juche Ideology. Central to the teachings of the DPRK(optional extra €5 to go to the top). Monument to the Party Foundation – The hammer sickle and brush built in 1995.
Ride the Pyongyang Metro! See three of the stations and exit to the Arch of Triumph- This celebrates the victory over the Japanese and the triumphant return of Kim Il Sung to his home town.
Visit a beer bar followed by Dinner and overnight in the Sosan Hotel
DAY 4 - Kaesong & the DMZ
Hit the road for the 3.5 hour drive to Kaesong and the DMZ
No trip to North Korea is complete without seeing the DMZ – tour Panmunjom with a friendly army officer who will give you the look around. You can even take photos with the army here!
Koryo Museum – Korea’s first university and now a UNESCO museum of history and culture. Afterwards have lunch in Kaesong City – on the menu will be traditional Korean Pansangi, a series of dishes served in bronze bowls. (Optional extras- Dog Soup €5)
Stop by Sariwon to view the city from the mountain top pagoda and try the locally brewed “makkoli” rice-wine. Drive back to Pyongyang and stop by the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification that stands over the Thongil (reunification) Highway.
Dinner at the duck BBQ restaurant and overnight in the Sosan hotel.
DAY 5 - Pyongyang
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – This is where the Leader’s Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lay in state.
Grand People’s Study House. This is the main library and learning center for adult students. This huge building is built in the Korean style and affords a great view over Kim Il Sung Square. Visit Mansudae Art Studio, This is where the country’s most important art work and statues are created. We will also get to meet some of the local artists too.
Lunch followed by optional visits to Munsu Water Park, the bowling alley, the park and lots of other recreational places. Perfect for mingling with local North Koreans! Stop by Kwanbok department store. Here we can shop with the locals and have access to the local North Korean currency! Afterwards have dinner on Kwangbok street.
Overnight in the Sosan Hotel
DAY 6 - Back to China
Depart from the hotel to the train station for the 10am train back to China. Arrival in Dandong at 16.30 local time. The overnight train to Beijing departs at 18.30 and arrive in Beijing at 08.30 the next morning.
* This is an example of a budget 4 night tour for 2 people. All itineraries are highly flexible and customizable depending on your interests. The cost of this tour is €185 x 4 nights = €740 + visa €60 + return train from Beijing €380 = €1,180
Prices are per person per night. Infants two years of age and under are free and children 13 years of age and under receive 30% discount per night.
The above tour costs include all meals unless detailed as an option on the itinerary, hotel accommodation, two Korean tour guides and a driver, all transportation within the DPRK and all entry fees for attractions unless specified within the itinerary.
Standard tours provide an excellent mix of comfort and affordability; this gives you a significant upgrade in terms of accommodation over budget tours. The standard hotels are not only newer and more comfortable, they offer far more entertainment and services with only a small bump in price.
A Budget North Korea Independent tour is for those who are not fussy about comfort and want to explore North Korea at the best possible price. With 2/3-Star accommodation in Pyongyang and 2nd class hotels in most other cities, the Budget tour accommodation also gives you a fascinating glimpse of the Soviet Bloc holidays of yesteryear.
In some less frequently visited cities there will not be 2nd class hotel options – in the event that you want to stay in these cities anyway, we will provide a separate quote for that night (or those nights) which will adjust the overall cost slightly.
EXTRA COSTS (PER PERSON)
- Train fare between Beijing and Pyongyang = €190 each way (Second class sleeper)
- Train fare between Dandong (Chinese border town) and Pyongyang = €120 each way
- Flight between Beijing and Pyongyang with Air Koryo = €350 each way €600 return
- Flight between Shanghai and Pyongyang with Air Koryo = €370 each way or €630 return
- DPRK Visa = €60
To work out how much your North Korea independent tour will cost, multiply the nightly rate (depending on the number of your group) by the number of nights you wish to stay. Add your desired transport method with the visa fee, and that’s the cost of your trip!
For example, if you are travelling with a friend and you wish to stay in the DPRK for 4 budget nights and would like to travel in by train from Beijing and fly out with Air Koryo.
€185 x 4 nights = €740 + €190 train from Beijing to Pyongyang = €930 + €350 fly out with Air Koryo = €1,280 + €60 DPRK visa = €1,340 per person. It’s that easy!
We can offer you example itineraries or feel free to browse through our group tours to give you a better idea on what you can do on your tour. Within reason, we can give you the chance to design your own tour. All independent tourists are met prior to the tour by one of our staff, who will give you your tickets, visas, and go through DPRK procedures and orientation.
We recommend travelling with more friends and family to really cut down the costs of independent tours. The more you have in your group the cheaper it is for everyone!
North Korea Independent tours under 16 people are not usually accompanied by one of our western guides. For tours of 16+, we offer the option of one of our guides travelling with you at no extra charge. For tours of fewer than 16 people, you can have one of our guides travel with you, but there will be an extra fee, depending on how many people with whom you are travelling. Please contact us for further information and or quotes on deluxe packages.
Air Koryo gives children under the age of 12 – 2 years of age 25% discount on flights. Infants under the age of 2 will receive 90% discount on Air Koryo flights.
Tours are also available in several languages. Please inquire while booking.
TRAIN TIMETABLES – FROM BEIJING
Beijing - Pyongyang. Daily departure at 17.25. Arrival in Pyongyang the next day at 17.30.
Pyongyang - Beijing. Daily departure at 10.25. Arrival in Beijing the next day at 9.00.
TRAIN TIMETABLES – FROM DANDONG
Dandong - Pyongyang. Daily departure at 10.00. Arrival in Pyongyang at 17.30.
Pyongyang - Dandong. Daily departure at 10.25. Arrival in Dandong at 17.00 local time.
Flights from Beijing
|Beijing-Pyongyang||JS 152||April 1st – June 30th: Monday|
July 1st – October 30th: Monday, Friday
|Beijing-Pyongyang||JS 152||Tuesday, Saturday||13:00||16:00|
|Pyongyang-Beijing||JS 151||April 1st – June 30th: Monday|
July 1st – October 30th: Monday, Friday
|Pyongyang-Beijing||JS 151||Tuesday, Saturday||8:50||9:50|
- JS (Air Koryo) Beijing – Pyongyang €350 each way or return €600
- Business Class with JS (Air Koryo) Beijing – Pyongyang €515 each way or return €865
- Air China Beijing – Pyongyang €470 each way or return €700
Flights from Shanghai
|Shanghai Pudong-Pyongyang||JS 158||10th April – 30th Nov Friday, Monday||00:30||3:50|
|Pyongyang-Shanghai Pudong||JS 157||10th April – 30th Nov Thursday, Sunday||22:10||23:30|
- JS (Air Koryo) Shanghai Pudong – Pyongyang €370 each way or return €630
Flights from Shenyang
|Shenyang-Pyongyang||JS 156||Wednesday, Saturday||14:00||16:00|
|Pyongyang-Shenyang||JS 155||Wednesday, Saturday||11:50||12:00|
- JS (Air Koryo) Shenyang – Pyongyang €310 each way or return €530
Flights from Russia
|Vladivostok-Pyongyang||JS 272||Monday, Friday||12:20||13:00|
|Pyongyang-Vladivostok||JS 271||Monday, Friday||8:30||11:00|
- JS (Air Koryo) Vladivostok – Pyongyang €325 each way or return €575
Domestic North Korean Flights
|Pyongyang-Orang (Chongjin)||Air Koryo||Tuesday, Friday||10:00||10:50|
|(Chongjin) Orang-Pyongyang||Air Koryo||Tuesday, Friday||15:00||15:50|
|Pyongyang-Sinuiju||Air Koryo||Monday, Friday||10:30||11:00|
|Sinuiju-Pyongyang||Air Koryo||Monday, Friday||13:30||14:00|
- JS (Air Koryo) Pyongyang – Orang one way €130 or return €180
- JS (Air Koryo) Pyongyang – Sinuiju one way €100 or return €190