Celebrating the New Year in Pyongyang, North Korea:

Fireworks, the Ice Sculpture Festival, DMZ & Hot Springs

December 30th 2018 to January 3rd 2019

(5 Days / 4 Nights) 

795 Euro

Dandong  | Pyongyang | DMZ/Kaesong | Nampho | Ryongggang Hot Springs Resort | Pyongyang | Dandong

Thousands of North Koreans gather in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square to witness the annual fireworks display and countdown to the New Year. Many are taking videos and photos with their smartphones documenting and sharing the event with friends and family @Paektu Cultural Exchange


Paektu Cultural Exchange is excited to offer a comprehensive and special 5-day winter New Year’s trip to North Korea. During this visit, we will visit the traditional city of Kaesong and the infamous De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) an area where the divided Korean peninsula’s militaries come face-to-face, which also happens to be the most heavily militarized area in the world.  We will have the opportunity to see new “Made in DPRK” products and services at local shops and department stores, and experience Pyongyang’s iconic social realist architecture and grand monuments. We will visit the Pyongyang Ice Sculpture Festival and also stay overnight at a natural Hot Spring Spa on the west coast of Korea just north of the port city of Nampho. This special trip will provide an overview of the current economic situation, and offer insights on regular life in the DPRK through visiting and interacting with local Koreans and through in-depth discussions with our DPR Korean partners.

Night skyline view of Pyongyang of the Daedong River, the Juche Tower and the Ryugyong Hotel in the background, Pyongyang, DPRK (@Paektu Cultural Exchange)



✪  Celebrate New Year’s Eve festivities and witness Pyongyang’s amazing fireworks show in Kim Il Sung Square cheering alongside thousands of local citizens and visitors
✪  Participate in the Pyongyang Ice Sculpture Festival
✪  Visit Kaesong, Panmunjom and the DMZ to look across the most militarized border in the world and wave to North Korea’s neighbors in South Korea.
  Historical walk around the UNESCO Sungkyungwan University complex
  Night Walking tour of Mirae (Future) Scientist Street and a walking tour of Ryomyong Street
  Visit the new Taedong River Seafood Restaurant
  Stay at the famous Nampo Ryongggang Hot Spring Resort and visit the Nampho Kindergarten, and the West Sea Barrage
  Explore the Kaesong Youth Amusement Park
  Visit the Mansudae Monument, the bronze statue of Chollima, and other iconic architecture of the DPRK such as the: Juche Tower, Kim Il Sung Square, a six-station subway ride, the Arc de Triomphe, the China-DPRK Friendship Tower, the Korean Art Film Studio, shopping at Gwangbok Department Store and visit Pyongyang’s Changjung Christian Church.

PCE utilizes its high-level contacts with government officials and more than 20 years of relationships to organize unique meetings and activities that would otherwise not be possible.

Itinerary Details

Sunday, December 30th –Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 – (5 days /4 nights, Train in – Train Out)

Note: Contact us if you would like to fly in or out

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Day 0: 

It is recommended to Arrive in Dandong, China in the afternoon of Saturday, December 29th. We will have a casual meeting, trip briefing and dinner in Dandong the night before we depart for Pyongyang by train.

Note: Hotel, meals, and transportation are only covered in the DPRK, NOT in China.  Contact us and we can book or recommend a suitable & convenient hotel for you in Dandong, Shenyang or Beijing, China. We can also advise on, or book transportation to get to and from Dandong from Beijing or other locations. 

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

Day 1:

  • 8:15 am: Meet at Dandong Railway Station
  • Receive visas, check-in for train journey to Pyongyang.
  • 10:10 am: Train Departure from Dandong to Pyongyang
  • 5:00 pm: Arrival in Pyongyang
  • Visit the Mansudae Grand Monument – This is where Koreans commonly pay their respects to the grand 22-meter tall statues of Leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Built originally in 1972, which at that time only included President Kim Il Sung but after the death of General Kim Jong Il in 2011, they erected his statue (tentative, sometimes this site is closed to visitors).
  • Visit the bronze statue of Chollima.
  • Hotel Check-in
  • Dinner
  • Night Walking Tour around the Mirae (Future) Scientists Street and learn about North Korea’s new drive to support and promote scientists and intellectuals
  • Overnight: Koryo Hotel (5 Star)

Monday, December 31st, 2018 – NEW YEAR’S EVE in Pyongyang

Day 2:

  • In the morning we will drive south to the De-militarized Zone (DMZ), Panmunjom Peace Village, the historic Armistice Signing Room where the DPRK and South Korean soldiers come face-to-face. Here we can witness guests from the south side as well as the American Joint Security Area (JSA) forces and Swiss and Swedish members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC). This is a great opportunity to ask questions about the possible reunification of the peninsula and to hear from the DPRK People’s Army representatives about their personal thoughts on the division of the peninsula and the associated military issues.
  • We will take a historical walk around Kaesong’s protected UNESCO sites including the grounds of the Sungkyungwan Confucianist University
  • Kaesong Volunteers Martyrs Cemetery
  • Visit the Juche Tower
  • Visit the Monument to Party Founding. This is a grand monument rich in symbolism: the hammer, sickle and calligraphy brush symbolize the workers, farmers, and intellectuals. The structure is 50 meters high to symbolize the 50-year anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
  • Participate in the New Year’s Pyongyang Ice Sculpture Festival in Kim Il Sung Square
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks Celebrations on the Taedonggang River
  • Overnight: Koryo Hotel (5 Star)

Would you like to see a unified Korea? A big smile suddenly burst out on this KPA Senior Captain’s face as he replied ‘I dream about that day every night’. Someone in our group asked this rather cliche question while we were within the DMZ, at Panmunjom standing on the North Korean side’s viewing platform looking towards South Korea. @Paektu Cultural Exchange

Samjiyon Ice Sculpture festival, DPRK

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Day 3: 

  • Visit Kim Il Sung Square, the largest square in DPR Korea, is the location where the DPR Korea holds their grand military parades and celebrations
  • Visit Pyongyang’s Foreign Bookstore which has a large collection of North Korea’s external propaganda materials, and gain a deeper understanding of the logic and means of Korea’s external propaganda. It is one of the larger comprehensive bookstores in North Korea. It has both Korean and foreign languages translated into Chinese, English, Russian, Japanese and other languages.
  • Visit Changchon Steet to view the series of high-rise buildings erected in 2012 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding leader Kim Il Sung.
  • Lunch is served in the Taedong River Seafood Restaurant, which was personally named by Kim Jong-un in August this year. This will be the first time the restaurant is opened to our guests! PCE EXCLUSIVE  

About the Taedong River Seafood Restaurant

This newly opened specialty restaurant complex is located on the Taedong River in downtown Pyongyang. Once inside the restaurant you will see huge aquariums with living carp, rainbow trout and many other edible sea creatures. The largest species is a 200 kg shark. In the other aquariums, you can see or eat other seafood products such as king crab, sea cucumbers, shrimp and lobsters. The restaurant has Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Western-style restaurants and bars. This restaurant complex was personally named by DPR Korean leader Kim Jong-un. President Moon Jae In and his wife Kim Jong-sook visited the complex and had dinner here on September 19, 2018.

Pyongyang’s newest seafood restaurant complex along the Taedong river with large shark and sturgeon tanks @Paektu Cultural Exchange.

  • Visit the deepest subway system in the world and take the local Pyongyang metro through the six most interesting stations
  • Visit the Iconic Arc de Triomphe which was completed in 1945 to commemorate the end of the Japanese Occupation.
  • Visit the Sino-Korean Friendship Tower which is a memorial dedicated to Chinese martyrs of the Korean War, 1950 -1953 – or the Fatherland Liberation War as it is known in North Korea. Inside the 30-metre high granite memorial are the names of 22,700 fallen Chinese soldiers including that of Mao Anying, Mao Zedong’s eldest son was killed in Korea on 25 November 1950, 28 years old, allegedly from a napalm bomb dropped by a South African fighter plane.
  • Walk tour along Ryomyong Street
  • Drive to the city of Nampho on the west coast of the DPRK
  • Overnight: Ryonggang Hot Springs Resort, Nampho

About the Ryonggang Hot Springs Resort 

The Ryonggang Hot Springs Resort or “Dragon River Hot Spa Hotel” is 20 kilometers northwest of Nampho in a small town. This spa resort consists of seven small villas with four apartment units each, and a service center with a restaurant, a karaoke room, and a pool room. Each room has its own large 2-3 person private hot spring tub; the water is said to treat “hyperpiesia, non-tubercular arthritis, neuralgia, neuritis, lumbago, varieties of wound (sic!), sequelae of operations, chronic gynecologic inflammation, functional disorder of nidamental gland, sterility, chronic gastritis, chronic colitis, skin diseases including eczema and prurigo” according to the spa’s brochure.

Pyongyang citizens travel by metro in the deepest subway system in the world. @Paektu Cultural Exchange.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Day 5:

  • Visit the West Sea Barrage located at the mouth of the Taedong River
  • Visit the Nampho Kindergarten
  • Return drive to Pyongyang
  • Visit the Korean Art Film Studio
  • Visit Pyongyang’s Changjung Christian Church
  • Visit the Gwangbok Department Store & Business center where you can convert your money to local currency and go shopping where locals buy their groceries and both local and foreign made goods. Here we will have a first-hand look at the huge variety of new domestically produced food, household, and cosmetic products now available in the DPRK.
  • After dinner, we will visit the magical Kaeson Youth Amusement Park where we can ride Italian-made rides with local students and families.
  • Overnight: Koryo Hotel (5 Star)

A view of the three floors of the Gwangbok Department store in Pyongyang where we can see many of the new “MADE in DPRK” consumer products and hundreds of locals shopping and dining @Paektu Cultural Exchange.

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Day 6:  


  • Check out of Hotel
  • Take a look around Pyongyang Station before departing at 10 am (K28) from Pyongyang Station to Beijing via Sinuiju/Dandong. Taking the train out is a trip highlight to enjoy the views of the DPRK countryside from your train car or sit in the restaurant car sharing food and drinks with locals.
    • Option: Flight out from Pyongyang to Beijing (+150 Euro), see below for more details.


  • Korean style Lunch on train
  • Clear Sinuiju/Dandong customs
  • 5:30 pm Arrive at Dandong Train Station
    Note: See Upgrades and Options below for train extensions to Shenyang or Beijing. You may depart the train here in Dandong, Shenyang or continue on to Beijing

Flight Out Option:

Depart from Pyongyang on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019, at 2:00 pm and will arrive at Beijing Capital Airport at 5:00 pm (+150 Euro). If interested please contact us to confirm flight availability.

End of Delegation



Sunday, December 30th, 2018Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 (5 Days / 4 Nights)

  • 795 Euro
    • This includes travel permits, accommodation (double occupancy hotel room),  general entrances, and other events in the DPRK.
  • Deposit – 40% deposit to hold your space (limited) on a first come first serve basis (non-refundable)
  • Application Deadline: December 15th, 2018  (Japanese need to apply before December 7th)
  • Note: This programs starts and ends in Dandong, China (Fly in or out to Beijing and train extensions to and from Shenyang and Beijing are available. Contact us to make arrangements)

Trip Extensions

Optional Sinuiju Extension (+1 day)

A one day Sinuiju trip can be arranged when departing the DPRK by train. 

This option can be arranged to any trip when departing the DPRK by train through the Sinuiju / Dandong border. Arrive in Dandong by train at 5pm the next day or in Beijing two days later at 8am.

Visit the City of Sinuiju on a 1 Day Trip Extension


  All meals (breakfasts, lunches, and dinners; meals include water and beer)
  Transportation to, from and within the DPRK and China during the program
  Accommodation in the DPRK (4 – 5 star hotels, standard room)
  Smiles, jokes, anecdotes, basic DPR Korean language skills, and some fun and interesting stories to go along with each day’s activities

Not Included

  DPRK visa fee (50 Euro)
  Chinese double-entry visa (required) – Please Note: for more information, contact the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence. Some nationalities (e.g. Americans, Canadians, etc.) may qualify for the Free Beijing 72-hour Visa when flying in and out of Pyongyang.
  Additional snacks, liquor, and alcohol (e.g. ~1–3 Euro per beer)
  Souvenirs, personal expenses, and other amenities
  Optional items and services can be bought such as Flowers at Monuments (15-20 RMB), Elevator at Juche Tower (5 Euro), rides at the Amusement Park (1-5 Euro per ride)
  Tips for Korean guides and drivers (usually expect to tip about 8-12 Euro in total per day)
  Mobile phone and data communication services: About 200 USD to buy a sim card with data enabled. Data fees are additional and are about 0.28 USD / MB
  Accommodation in China is not included in this program, please contact us if you need a recommendation near our office or briefing location

Upgrades and Options

  Flight (Economy) from Pyongyang to Beijing: Add +150 Euro
Flight (First Class) from Pyongyang to Beijing: Add +250 Euro
  Train Connection from Beijing to Dandong or Dandong to Beijing Add +50~60 Euro one-way (Different Classes available  | Based on Availability | Book early to guarantee)
 Single Room – A supplement fee (private single room): Add +50 Euro per night
 Economy –Flight from Pyongyang to Beijing or Beijing to Pyongyang: Add +150 Euro
 First Class – Return Flight from Pyongyang to Beijing: Add +250 Euro
 Private Airport Pick-Up (or drop off) – clients will be met by a private car at the airport: Add +25 Euro
 Room upgrades available for additional charges
 Please contact us with any special requests

DPRK Cultural Interpreter and Guide

Michael Spavor

Guide & Cultural Interpreter
Paektu Cultural Exchange Director 

Michael has spent over 18 years living, working and studying in both North and South Korea and is fluent in the DPRK dialect. He first visited the DPRK in 2001 than in 2005; he became the managing director of a Canadian NGO operating in Pyongyang.

He also has extensive experience in South Korea working for government tourism organizations, but in the past decade, he has focused on organizing and facilitating trade, investment, cultural, academic, and specialized delegations to the DPRK. Michael has strong professional and personal relationships with the country’s leadership, and across different ministries and departments throughout the entire country.

He organized the Dennis Rodman 2013 and 2014 visits, the basketball match between the DPRK and former NBA players as well as cultural heritage restoration projects with the Dutch Prince Claus Fund.

Michael studied International Relations focusing on the Korean Peninsula and East Asian Studies in Canada then went on to study International Trade and Political Science in Korean.

Social Responsibility

Paektu Cultural Exchange is a social enterprise dedicated to promoting ethical business with a focus on social impact. A significant portion of the delegation fees will support Paektu Cultural Exchange’s Project Samjiyon, providing school supplies and language learning materials to less accessible rural elementary schools in northern Kanggye and Chagang provinces. This is a joint project between Paektu Cultural Exchange and ministry-level DPRK government partners. All donated materials are strictly designed to benefit primary school children and their educators.


Disclaimer: This itinerary is tentative and subject to some changes. It is quite normal and expected for small changes on any delegation to the DPRK. PCE and our hosts always do our best to accommodate within our abilities. In the event of itinerary changes, PCE will arrange relevant alternative activities.  All payments are subject to our terms and conditions.

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