Exploring and Understanding North Korea’s Rural Markets,

Manufacturing & New Consumerism Trends

*Including the Special Victory Day Mass Dance Celebrations  

Full Trip (Parts 1 & 2) | July 19th to 28th/29th 2018

(10 Days / 9 Nights)

Yanji | Tumen | Rason (SEZ) | Chongjin | Chilbosan | Kyongsong | Orang | Pyongyang | Pyongsong | Sinuiju | Dandong | Beijing

On-site visit to a local a grocery store within a department store where we can exchange foreign currency into DPRK won and buy MADE in DPRK products, Pyongyang, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange).


Paektu Cultural Exchange, in collaboration with its advisors and DPRK government partners, has designed this academic travel program called MADE IN DPRK in order to explore and understand the DPRK’s rural markets, manufacturing, and new trends in consumerism. Participants in this program will experience three dynamically different regions of the DPRK (Rason SEZ, North Hamgyong, and Pyongyang), as well as China’s quickly developing north-eastern region, Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.

Participants will visit factories, shops and local markets to observe methods of production, manufacturing, and distribution, and see trade and joint investment projects throughout the country. This program aims, in part, to give visitors a firsthand look at the DPRK’s growing economy and its new consumers through direct observation of business enterprises, site inspections and face-to-face discussions with DPR Koreans and other benefactors engaged in various economic activities. In turn, participants will gain knowledge about methods of positive engagement, collaboration, ethical business, investment, and trade.

The itinerary also includes participation in the national holiday Victory Day Celebrations on July 27th and the rare chance to see the Military Hardware Exhibition House of the Korean People’s Army, an underground bunker complex and the unique experience of sleeping at a rural coastal home-stay.

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




  Attend the 65th Anniversary Special Victory Day Mass Dance Celebrations
  Witness the DPRK’s unique economy through on-site visits to factories, departments stores, banks, markets (장마당), modern boutique shops and meet with laborers, factory workers, officials and stakeholders
  Visit the country’s top model Silk Factory to see how silk is made as well as a walk around the living quarters of the women who work there
  Ride bicycles around the sites and monuments of Pyongyang
  Learn how soy milk and other soy-derived products are made in a high tech factory to be distributed to thousands of children each day and then sit down with the factory’s head manager to have a Q & A with the help of a translator
  Spend Victory Day in Pyongyang, participate in a Mass Dance, and other holiday activities which may include experiencing a military parade
  Work alongside fisherman, farmers and other laborers to experience & evaluate some of the labor practices of this independent socialist nation
  Travel through 8 different provinces by train, flight, and private coach to see key cities, rural towns, fishing villages, farms and the DPRK-China borderland areas
  Engage and converse with DPRK university, middle school, and elementary school students through interactive learning activities
  Visit art galleries, museums, revolutionary sites and make a special visit to an underground bunker complex and the Exhibition House of Military Hardware of the Korean People’s Army
  Visit local and top restaurants around the country and take part in private cooking classes
  Take in the pristine natural beauty of DPRK’s East Sea coastlines, the Chilbo Mountain Range, the Tumen River Triangle Area and more
  Exchange stories and play games with rural families and experience a unique overnight stay at a local DPRK family’s home
  Attend closing farewell dinner & cocktail party at Fujimoto Kenji’s new Sushi and Ramen Restaurant

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.

Final inspection and pre-packaging of baked goods during our site visit to the Susongchon Combined Foodstuff Factory in Chongjin, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

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.

Itinerary Details

Thursday, July 19th – Saturday, July 28th, 2018(10 days / 9 nights)

✪ Pre-departure briefing, lecture, and workshop on July 19th (the specific location and time will be sent to registered participants)

Departure from Yanji, China How to get to Yanji, China

Note: It is recommended to arrive in Yanji, China, on the evening of July 18th.

This program ends in Beijing or Dandong, China (please contact us for onward travel to Beijing or other cities)

Guests have the option to depart from Pyongyang on Saturday, July 28th, at 8:20 am and arrive at Beijing Capital Airport at 9:50

Trip Extensions

Optional Pre-trip to Mt. Paektu / Changbai Mountain

Wednesday, July 17th or 18th 
This program begins in Yanji before the Made in DPRK tour starts. Guests typically leave early in the morning and return to Yanji from Mt. Paektu around 8:00 pm the same day.
Trip Cost: From about 40 Euros depending on the number of people (Contact us for more details)

Optional Sinuiju Extension (+1 day)

Arrive in Beijing 30th by Train – This option can be added to any trip departing the DPRK by train through the Sinuiju / Dandong Border.

Visit the City of Sinuiju on a 1 Day Trip Extension

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Day 1: Yanji: Center of China’s Korean Ethnic Minority, Border Trade & The Gateway to the DPRK

We will begin our journey exploring the dynamic city of Yanji, located in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture of China. This is one of the largest centers of trade and business between the DPRK and China, which includes joint investment projects, factories, and restaurants employing DPR Koreans. We will gain a greater understanding of the people and the region through exploring markets, local specialty products, and meeting with local traders and businessmen involved in cross-border trade. We’ve organized a special interactive workshop with one of China’s top authorities on DPRK-China trade, politics, and economy.

In the late afternoon, we will have a briefing about this region and a comprehensive trip introduction with PCE’s director, DPRK and local expert, Michael Spavor. For dinner, we will visit a Yanbian Chinese joint venture restaurant which employs DPR Korean waitresses, who will perform privately for our delegation and we will also have the opportunity to dance, sing, and chat with them and get their thoughts on life and working in China. Overnight: Yanji

A local Chinese-Korean (조선족, Joseonjok) friend and cross-border trader, selling his DPRK, South Korean and Chinese food products and goods in a small local market. A variety of products like red pepper powders, nuts, edible mountain mushrooms, and roots are all products from the DPRK. They are all proudly displayed as “MADE IN DPRK” and these products are well known and valued in Northeast China to be organic, naturally grown and processed with no artificial preservatives or chemical fertilizers. Yanji, China (Paektu Cultural Exchange). Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Day 2: Tumen Industrial Complex, Borderlands & the Rason SEZ

PCE has special permission to visit a joint-venture factory in a private industrial complex where about 2500-3000 DPR Korean laborers are employed to produce electronic goods and engage in food processing and other manufacturing. For lunch, we will sample some local Chinese-Korean cuisine and learn about its history as well as the uniqueness comparing North and South Korean cuisine.

Following the factory visit, we will drive along the Tumen river for a glimpse into rural life then arrive at the Quanhe-Wonjong, DPRK-China border immigration to enter the DPRK’s first and most successful Special Economic Zone. We have permission to speak to local officials and view some of the city’s newest infrastructure developments. We will walk around the Rason City Port, which is currently being used to ship Russian coal to several Chinese ports.

We have also been invited by the local university to observe classes and speak to some of the students and faculty. In the evening, we can enjoy European beer and food at the Czech micro-brewery where we can learn about this European start-up. Overnight: Rajin

A female line manager reviews her employee’s production numbers during an inspection while we visit the largest shoe factory in Songbong in the Rason Special Economic Zone, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Day 3: Rajin, Songbong & Factory Visits

We will conduct site inspections of a trading company and a few DPRK-China JV investments (the new Rajin bag factory and the Rajin cigarette & tobacco factory), where we will meet with the managers to discuss production, labor practices, and how the 2015 and 2016 floods and the US and European sanctions have affected their businesses.

We will visit a local bank to change foreign currency into DPRK won and then visit the Rason Central Market, one of the most exciting sites to visit in the DPRK. PCE will take you on a guided tour of the massive Central Rason Market to bargain for electronics and artifacts, and sample local delicacies.

Later in the afternoon, we will visit a local Department Store to get a feel of what domestic and imported products are being sold. We will also go swimming with locals at the beach and relax at the Rason’s Central Square. Overnight: Rajin

Saying heartfelt goodbyes after a friendly sports and language exchange with DPRK middle school students, North Hamgyoung province, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Day 4: The eastern port city of Chongjin, factories & colonial history

We will begin the day with a scenic drive through the countryside in North Hamgyong. This province is one of the least visited regions and was one of the hardest hit regions during the 1995-1996 famine (known as the Arduous March).

Upon arrival in Chongjin, the third largest city in the country and provincial capital, we will tour the coastal city on a local trolley ride We will visit the Susongchon Combined Foodstuff Factory which produces various food products, snacks, and alcohols in the region. After eating lunch at a Japanese-Korean run restaurant, we will visit the North Hamgyong Provincial City Museum and a private art gallery where affordable hand-painted artworks will be available for purchase. We will also take the time to observe a community computer and language class at the newly renovated provincial E-Library.

We get a panoramic view of the Chongjin harbor from a hilltop after visiting Chongjin Russian War Cemetery, This war cemetery contains the graves of 352 Soviet soldiers and officers who fell in the fighting for Chongjin in 1945. Of these, 164 are listed as unknown.

For dinner, we will visit the Chongjin Seamen’s Club, the designated compound for foreign seamen to lodge, bathe, and shop while stopping over in Chongjin’s port.

Overnight: Chongjin

The bust of an unknown Russian female soldier marks the entrance of the Chongjin Russian War Cemetery. Chongjin, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Day 5: Chilbo Mountain, the East Sea & Homestay

In the morning, we will embark on a spectacular drive winding along the beautiful east coast. Passing through local fishing villages, active open mining facilities, and pastures.

After a relaxing hike overlooking the sea, we will engage with locals who are very eager to interact and play sports with visitors. We have also arranged a special workshop with the local farmers and fishermen where they will teach us their catching, harvesting, food processing and trade. After we prepare local dishes together, we will enjoy a feast and spend time with our homestay families and villagers. We will spend the evening together with our new friends then we will each stay at different villager’s homes with their families at the country’s only homestay for foreign guests. Overnight: Oceanside Chilbo Homestay Village

Late night fun sharing food, wine, stories, and electronic goods with one of the homestays in a Chilbo fishing village. Note the father of this household and fisherman shown here in the iPad photo, took this amazing photo of his son and our guest, after showing him some SLR photography basics. Chilbosan, DPRK (Mr. Ri Gwang-Chol, Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

Day 6: Chilbo, Kyongsong, and flight to Pyongyang

The next morning, we will drive to Kyongsong (famous for its hot springs) and along the way visit a special Oceanside revolutionary site and a local fishing village.

We will then transfer to the Orang Airport for our domestic private charter flight to Pyongyang.

In Pyongyang, we will spend the afternoon visiting the city’s iconic sites and monuments before checking into the Koryo Hotel. We will then have a welcome dinner at the top Pyongyang BBQ Restaurant with our Pyongyang partners. 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

The domestic Air Koryo flight after landing at Sunan International Airport from Orang. This is the well-kept Ilyushin IL-18 propeller plane

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018

Day 7: Pyongyang Department Store, Walking Tour, University & Factory Visits

In the morning, we will have a comprehensive private walking tour with a local specialist to view and learn about Pyongyang’s rich history, its architecture, the newest residential districts and cultural landmarks. We will also stop in at some newly opened western and DPRK style shops that sell all the newest Made in DPRK products such as Naenara, Bomhyanggi, Achim, and Samjiyon.

We will visit a department store to take a first-hand look at the huge variety of new domestically produced food, household, and cosmetic products. Then we will participate in a traditional cooking class with top local chefs.

The Pyongyang Kim Jong Suk Textile Mill was built in 1948 and has become a symbol of development and a model factory since its establishment. It includes over 50 workshops including spinning, silk-spinning, weaving, chemical fiber, and dying and knitting (Paektu Cultural Exchange).

In the afternoon, we will head to Kim Il Sung University where we will receive an introduction to the school, and speak to students and faculty before visiting the newly built home of a KISU professor and his family. Overnight: Koryo Hotel

Note: We will visit several factories in Pyongyang and we have requested visiting the new Silk Factory, the Pyongyang Chewing Gum Factory, and a soy milk factoryOvernight: Koryo Hotel

Learning traditional food preparation in a private cooking class with local chefs, Pyongyang, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

Day 8: Museum and Exhibition Visits

Special visit to a new museum, which documents the US and Japanese war crimes as well as the history of South Korean and US aggression up to 2017. This museum has not yet been open to foreign visitors, PCE has gained special permission to visit.

Visit an underground bunker complex used during the Korean War, this often-overlooked site houses rare relics as well as an amazing museum of city planning and design which took place after the city was reduced to rubble after the war.

A special visit to the Exhibition House of Military Hardware of the Korean People’s Army, which is only open on special occasions and with special permission. Opened in 2012, this is perhaps the DPRK’s finest and least visited museum where metal objects and cameras are strictly forbidden.

In the evening, we will visit Fujimoto Kenji’s newly opened Gourmet Japanese restaurant to have dinner & cocktails. We will visit a local pub after dinner for a farewell party with our with our DPRK partners, staff and driver.

Overnight: Koryo Hotel

Fujimoto Kenji preparing sushi in his Pyongyang restaurant (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Day 9: National Holiday Victory Day Celebrations

On this special holiday, we will take part in many celebratory activities around the capital of Pyongyang.

Many special activities such as; the Mass Dance, a military parade and fireworks take place in Kim Il Sung Square. PCE will work together with our hosts to access the most interesting and as many special events as possible. During the day we take a leisurely bike ride through the city of Pyongyang, past many iconic monuments and sites.

Attend Special Victory Day Mass Dance Celebrations where top DPRK guests are very likely to attend.

We will provide more details and updates after reservations have been made.

NOTE: As this is the 65th Anniversary of the DPRK’s Victory Day there is a high likelihood of a Military Parade

In the evening we will go to a special local pub to have drinks and chat with locals from Pyongyang.

Overnight: Koryo Hotel

Offerings of flower baskets at Mansudae Hill on a National Holiday, Pyongyang, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Foreign guests invited to the Mass Dance along with Korean university students in a large square during a major holiday in Pyongyang (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Day 10:  Train Journey to Sinuiju/Dandong

In the morning, we will look around Pyongyang Train Station before departing at 10 AM (K28) from Pyongyang Station to Beijing via Sinuiju/Dandong. Taking the train is a trip highlight as you can enjoy the views of the DPRK countryside from your train car or sit in the restaurant car sharing food and drinks with locals.

The Chollima is an ancient mythical creature similar to a unicorn, but without the horn. Commonly known as the symbol of the DPRK’s Chollimma movement, a period of rapid economic development in the 1950’s (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Optional Extension (Day 11)

Spend time in rural Sinuiju (+1 day, Sunday, July 29th)
 Arrive in Beijing via train the following Monday, July 30th.

Fly Out Option:  

Depart from Pyongyang on Saturday, July 28th, at 8:20 am and arrive at Beijing Capital Airport at 9:50

End of Delegation



MADE IN DPRKFull Trip (Parts 1 & 2) | Exploring and Understanding North Korea’s Rural Markets, Manufacturing & New Consumerism Trends

July 19th – July 28th – 10 Days / 9 Nights

Price: 1,790 Euro per person

Note: Current academics and students can qualify for a small academic grant. Contact us for more information.

Deposit: 415 Euro to reserve your place

Options: Fly out option to Pyongyang (+150 Euro)

Depart from Pyongyang on Saturday, July 28th, at 8:20 am and arrive at Beijing Capital Airport at 9:50

Deadline: July 5th, 2018 (Japanese passport holders June 20th)

Shorter Options Available: Part 1 & Part 2 (Contact us for details on the below two trips, we will update the program pages shortly)

✪ MADE IN DPRKPart 1: NE DPRK & Yanbian | Exploring and Understanding North Korea’s Rural Markets, Manufacturing & New Consumerism Trends

July 19th – July 24th – 6 Days / 5 Nights

1290 Euro – North Hamgyong, Rason (SEZ) and Yanbian (Drive in Drive out)

Locations: Yanji | Tumen | Rason (SEZ) | Chongjin | Chilbosan | Kyongsong | Orang | Hoeryong | Namyang | Tumen | Yanji

✪ MADE IN DPRK: Part 2: Pyongyang & National Holiday Victory Day Celebration | Exploring and Understanding North Korea’s Rural Markets, Manufacturing & New Consumerism Trends

July 24th – 28th – 5 Days / 4 Nights

1390 Euro – Victory Day in Pyongyang (Fly in Train out)

Locations:  Pyongsong | Pyongyang | Sinuiju | Dandong | Beijing

Trip Extensions

Optional Pre-trip to Mt. Paektu / Changbai Mountain

Wednesday, July 17th or 18th 
This program begins in Yanji before the Made in DPRK tour starts. Guests typically leave early in the morning and return to Yanji from Mt. Paektu around 8:00 pm the same day.
Trip Cost: From about 40 Euros depending on the number of people (Contact us for more details)

Optional Sinuiju Extension (+1 day)

Arrive in Beijing 30th by Train – This option can be added to any trip departing the DPRK by train through the Sinuiju / Dandong Border.

Visit the City of Sinuiju on a 1 Day Trip Extension


All meals (breakfasts, lunches, and dinners; meals include water and beer)
Access to official DPRK visa (as opposed to tourist visa)
Transportation to, from and within the DPRK and China during the program
Accommodation in the DPRK and China (4-star hotel, standard room)
PCE’s Trade and Investment booklet
Smiles, jokes, anecdotes, basic DPR Korean language skills and some fun and interesting stories to go along with each day’s activities

Street vendor selling flowers on the side of the road in Pyongyang, DPRK. (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Not Included

Official DPRK visa fee (50-80 Euro depending on nationality) – Please note: this is not a tourist visa
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
Tips for Korean guides and drivers (usually expect to tip about 10-15 Euro in total per day)

Upgrades and Options

Flight (Economy) from Pyongyang to Beijing: Add +150 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.)

Special Lecturers in Yanji, China

Kim Kang-il Ph.D.
Yanbian University, North East Asia Research Centre

Professor Kim Kang-il, Ph.D., is director of Yanbian University’s North East Asia Research Centre as well as the head of his department. Dr. Kim is a specialist on the development of the region, social infrastructure, the Rason Special Economic Zone, the border regions including official and non-official trade. Has presented on a variety of topics at international conferences: Identity and role of the Korean community in China and peace on the Korean Peninsula“.



Special Lecturers in Yanji, China

Hyun Dong-il, Ph.D.

Yanbian University, Institute of International Politics

Professor Hyun Dong-il, Ph.D., is the senior director of the Institute of International Politics, the chairman of Yanbian University’s North East Asia Research Centre, as well as a tenured professor at Yanbian University. Dr. Hyun is Chinese- Korean and lectures in both Chinese and Korean.

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.

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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