Table Tennis Engagement in North Korea: 

International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge Series 2017: Pyongyang Open

August 3rd to 8th 2017

6 Days / 5 Nights

Beijing | Pyongyang | Kaesong| DMZ | Beijing

Overview

This exclusive Table Tennis Sports Engagement event is organized in cooperation with the DPRK Ministry of Sport, the Table Tennis Association of the DPRK, the ITTF and Paektu Cultural Exchange.  In addition to attending and participating in the ITTF 2017 Challenge Series : Pyongyang Open (August 2nd to 6th 2017), we have special permission to train and participate in a number of interactive workshops, activities, and demonstrations involving amateur, professional and para-Olympic athletes from North Korea. The ITTF Pyongyang Open will feature the whole range of participant categories including men’s, women’s and mixed singles and doubles for both under and over 21 years of age. Table Tennis has gained a lot of attention and popularity in the country since DPRK’s 2013 gold medal win at the World Championships in France by Kim Jong-Won and Kim Hyok-Bong. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet, chat and play with the tournament’s champions. We will visit the country’s top attractions and learn more about this unique and often misunderstood country. This is a rare opportunity, especially considering the recent cancellation of the Judo World Junior Championships, which was scheduled in Pyongyang, due to international pressure and sanctions.  This delegation is accompanied by PCE’s director Michael Spavor.

View Event Press Release

  Social Responsibility: A portion of your delegation fees goes to support our Rural Education Initiative: Project Samjiyon, which donates basic school supplies and educational materials to rural elementary schools in northern Kanggye and Chagang provinces to support early childhood education in less fortunate regions of the country. This is a joint project between Paektu Cultural Exchange and our ministry-level DPRK government partner. All donated materials are non-sanctioned goods and designed to benefit primary school children.

✪  Your Guide: This journey will be led by Michael Spavor, who has met Marshal Kim Jong Un on multiple occasions and is the individual responsible for taking former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman to the DPRK. Michael arranges delegations to trade fairs, investment seminars, international sports and cultural events to the DPRK and has two decades of experience living in the region and is fluent in the North Korean dialect. He will accompany the group and conduct interactive discussions to offer his insight and experience as well share some fascinating and humorous anecdotes along the way.

Paektu Cultural Exchange utilizes its high-level contacts with government officials and more than 20 years of relationships or “Gwan Gye” (Kr:관계, Cn:关系) to organize unique and special meetings, opportunities and activities on this program which would not otherwise be possible.

Awards ceremony at the ITTF 2016 event in Pyongyang. © 《조선의 오늘》


About the ITTF Challenge Series 2017: Pyongyang Open

The International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) 2017 Challenge Series will include 5 days of action including 2 days of qualifications and 3 days of round-robins. The Challenge Series is separate from the World Tour and will be featured in 11 locations including Belarus, Thailand, Chile, Slovenia, Croatia, Brazil, DPRK, Nigeria, Poland, Belgium and Spain. The minimum prize money being awarded to the participants totals $35 000 (USD), ensuring that the competition will be fierce and keep the audience equally excited.

✪  Who Should Attend

  • Everyone is welcome to attend (except journalists and ROK nationals)
  • Fans of table tennis and anyone interested in taking part in a unique sports engagement event
  • Individuals and academics interested in learning more about the politics, culture, economics and history of the DPRK
  • Those interested in seeing and experiencing the DPRK to develop their own first-hand knowledge, opinions and understanding
  • Those who want to meet the top DPRK table tennis athletes

Table Tennis at the Ryugyong Indoor Ice Rink in Pyongyang. DPRK. Photo by Omid Scheybani


MORE INFORMATION     APPLY HERE    CONTACT US


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Itinerary

August 3rd to 8th 2017

6 Days / 5 Nights

Beijing | Pyongyang | Kaesong| DMZ | Beijing

Pre-Departure Meeting

A pre-departure meeting will be held in Beijing in the late afternoon on August 2nd, 2017.  Detailed itinerary, locations and times will be sent to registered participants.

Departure from Beijing to Pyongyang

By Flight: 2:05 pm Beijing Capital Airport | August 3rd, 2017 (Air Koryo JS 251) – 2 hours

Return to Beijing from Pyongyang

By Train: 10:10 am Pyongyang Station | August 8th, 2017  (International Train K28) – 23 hours and 21 minutes (Arrival 8:30 am at Beijing Station on August 9th )

Optional: By Flight: 9:00 am Pyongyang International Airport | August 8th, 2017 (Air Koryo JS 151) – 2 hours

Highlights

 Watch the ITTF Challenge Series 2017: Pyongyang Open tournament qualifications and championship games

 Get a behind-the-scenes look at some offices ITTF training sessions and meet some of the tournament organizers

 After the tournament meet the DPRK top athletes and champions followed by a table tennis workshop and training session

 Volunteer in a DPRK Para-Olympic athlete training session, then meet athletes and participate in a practice match

 Participate in a table tennis training sessions with DPRK’s top amateur and youth players 

 Visit modern sports shops to look at and buy Made in DPRK sports equipment and jerseys

 Visit Kumsusan Memorial Palace of the Sun (Mausoleum of Leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il)

 Cooking Class – We will learn how to make cold noodles or Bibimbap (a vegetable, beef and rice dish) from one of Pyongyang’s Top Chefs

 Shopping at a local department store

 Many other unique sports related activities co-organized by the Ministry of Sport are being planned and will be announced to event participants

Other Attractions 

Arch of Triumph

Mansudae Grand Monuments

Chollima Monument

Mansudae Fountain Park

Fly Air Koryo – the flagship airline

City Cultural and Historical Walk

Mansudae Grand Monument (Statues of Leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il)

An afternoon dancing and playing sports with local residents at Moranbong Park

Kaeson Youth Amusement Park (open in the evenings)

Kim Il Sung Square

Visit a local bookstore and art gallery

Overseas Korean Gift Museum – Displayed gifts from overseas Koreans from (Japan, South Korea and other countries around the world)

Golden Lane Bowling Centre (or Kumrung Leisure Centre and shooting range)

Cold Noodles

BBQ Duck Dinner

Visit  Taedonggang Beer Hall (or the pub at the Taedonggang Brewery)

NOTE:  A detailed itinerary will be provided after booking confirmation


Contact us for more information on this delegation or other opportunities: contact@PaektuCulturalExchange.org

This delegation is organized by Paektu Cultural Exchange (PCE)


MORE INFORMATION    APPLY HERE    CONTACT US


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 PCE terms and conditions.

✪  Costs 

Price: 1490 Euro per person

(Note: Current academics and students can qualify for a 25-100 Euro academic grant. Contact Us for more information.)

Deposit: 415 Euro to reserve your place

Application Deadline: July 27th, 2017 (Americans & Japanese before July 20th)


Trip Extensions

Sinuiju Extension (+1 day) Arrive in Beijing August 9th, 2017 by Train – This option can be added to any trip departing the DPRK. The departure will instead be via train through the Sinuiju-Dandong border.

Included: 

  • All meals in the DPRK (breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, except meals on train out)

  • Transportation to and from the DPRK, transportation in the DPRK and back to Beijing, China

  • Beer and water at lunches and dinners

  • Cultural excursions, delegation activities, cultural guides/translators and general entrance fees
  • Smiles, jokes, anecdotes, some basic DPR Korean language skills, and fun and interesting stories every day

Not Included:

  • DPRK visa Fee (30 – 60 Euro depending on Nationality)

  • Chinese double-entry visa (required) Note: For more information, contact the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence for more information (location and nationality can be different). Click here for more information or contact the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence for more information. Americans will qualify for the Free Beijing 72-hour Visa when flying in and out of Pyongyang, when applicable. 

  • Additional snacks, liquor, and alcohol (approx. 1 – 3 euros a beer)

  • Souvenirs, personal expenses, and other amenities

  • Tips for Korean guides and the driver (Expect to tip about 10-15 Euro in total per day)

Note: American passport holders cannot take the train out and therefore must fly out. +100 Euro

Upgrades and Options:

  • Flight (Economy) from Pyongyang to Beijing: Add +100 Euro

  • Flight (First Class) from Pyongyang to Beijing: Add +250 Euro 

  • Single room supplement fee (if you would like your own single room) Add +50 Euro per night

  • Room upgrades available for additional charges (Deluxe, Suite or Presidential Suite etc.)

✪  Social Responsibility

A portion of your delegation fees goes to support our Rural Education Initiative: Project Samjiyon, which donates basic school supplies and educational materials to rural elementary schools in northern Kanggye and Chagang provinces to support early childhood education in less fortunate regions of the country. This is a joint project between Paektu Cultural Exchange and our ministry-level DPRK government partner. All donated materials are non-sanctioned goods and designed to benefit primary school children.


MORE INFORMATION    APPLY HERE    CONTACT US


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 PCE terms and conditions.

 

 


DPRK Cultural Interpreter and Guide

spavorMichael 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 then 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.


MORE INFORMATION    APPLY HERE    CONTACT US


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.