Thursday, July 20th to Friday 28th, 2017
(9 days / 8 nights)
July 19th-20th 2017
Mt. Paektu & the Borderlands overnight trip (details to be announced)
Pre-Departure Briefing, Lecture and Workshop:
A pre-departure meeting and workshop will be held in the afternoon on July 20th, 2017. The specific location and time will be sent to registered participants.
July 20th, 2017
Day One: Yanji: Center of China’s Korean Ethnic Minority & Border Trade & the Gateway to the DPRK
We 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 many joint investment projects, factories, and restaurants employing DPR Koreans in the thousands. We will gain a greater understanding of the people and as well as the differences and similarities to compare these regions by exploring markets, local specialty products, and through meeting face-to-face local traders and businessmen involved in cross-border trade. We’ve organized a special interactive workshop with China’s top authority on DPRK-Chinese trade, politics, and economy, to discuss current issues & events, historical calamities, strained relations and the prospects for further development the region followed by a Q&A.
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
Note: How to get to Yanji, China
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).
July 21st, 2017
Day Two: Tumen Industrial Complex, Borderlands & the Rason SEZ
After a short drive to the Tumen/Namyang border towns, 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, engage in food processing and other manufacturing.
We then drive along the tumen river for a glimpse into rural life across the river in the DPRK then arrive at the Quanhe-Wonjong, DPRK-China border crossing for immigration and border formalities 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 which are under construction or under renovation. We will walk around the Rason City Port, which is currently being used to ship Russian coal to several China ports. We have been invited by the local university to observe classes and speak to some of the students and faculty. We can watch or join in some friendly sports matches. In the evening, we can enjoy European Beer and food at the Czech micro-brewery where we can learn about this European start-up investment. Overnight: Rajin
Quota inspection at a shoe and garment factory in the Rason SEZ, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange).
July 22nd 2017
Day Three: 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 have arranged a factory visit including a talk with the managers to discuss production, labor practices, and how the 2015 and 2016 flooding and the US and European sanctions have affected recent business.
We will visit a local bank to change foreign currency into DPRK won and then visit the massive Central Rason Market to bargain for unique items electronics & artifacts. The Rason market is one of the most amazing sites which can be visited in the DPRK, it is a wonderfully alive, sometimes dramatic and packed with people exchanging goods. PCE will take you on a guided tour sampling some delicacies, help you chat with merchants and have a great time. Note: Rason has the only local bank and actual market open to visitors in the entire country.
Later we will visit a local Department Store and some shops to get a feel of what domestic and imported products are being sold, by who for what prices. In the late afternoon, we will visit the beachfront area to either walk around, talk, play sports or go swimming in the sea with locals. After dinner, we can relax outside in the Rason’s Central Square to sample local drinks, liquors and maybe some “adventurous” snacks and delicacies. Overnight: Rajin
Discussion with assembly line manager at the Bomhyangi factory, Sinuiji, DPRK
July 23rd, 2017
Day Three: The eastern port city of Chongjin, factories & colonial history
After passing through the internal border departing the Rason SEZ, we will enter North Hamgyong Province, and begin the day on a scenic drive through the countryside. This province is one of the least visited regions in the entire country and was one of the hardest hit during the 1995-1996 famine (known as the Arduous March) and historically was one of the major Japanese areas with direct sea access during the Japanese occupation (1905-1945).
When we arrive in the East coast city of Chongjin, the third largest city in the country and provincial capital, we will take a walk around the central square statues, then we’ve arranged a local trolley ride can give us a better feel for this developing coastal city. We will visit the aging Susongchon Combined Foodstuff Factory which produces various food products, snacks, and alcohols in the region. We then visit a Japanese-Korean run hotel and restaurant for lunch and then the North Hamgyong Provincial City Museum, then a private art gallery where we view and purchase some amazing new and older hand-painted works of art for unbelievably low prices. We will observe a community computer and language class at the newly renovated provincial E-Library. For dinner, we will visit the Chongjin Seamen’s Club, the designated compound for foreign seaman to lodge, bathe, and shop while stopping over in the Chongjin Port. This place is popular among locals for their cold noodles (랭면), Karaoke, interactive song & dance performances, as well as it’s public bathhouse. We will have dinner and drinks until the late evening. Overnight: Chongjin
Street scene near the central market in Chongjin, North Hamgyoung, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)
July 24th, 2017
Day Four: Chilbo Mountain
In the morning, we embark on a spectacular drive winding along the beautiful east coast through local fishing villages, active open mining facilities, cultivated fields, and pastures.
After a relaxing hike overlooking the sea, we make it down to the beach then to the village where we will stay and engage with locals who are very eager to interact, eat, drink, and play sports with visitors. In the afternoon, we have arranged a special workshop with the local farmers or fishermen where they will demonstrate and teach their catching, harvesting, food processing skills and trades. After we prepare some local dishes together we will enjoy a feast and spend time with our homestay families and other 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. After a dinner of garden grown and seasonal specialties we can go down to the beach, look at the sky filled with stars and relax, or for the adventurous, take a midnight swim. 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)
July 25th, 2017
Day Five: Chilbo, Kyongsong and internal flight to Pyongyang
The next morning, we drive to Kyongsong (famous for its hot springs), and along the way, we will 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 (about 1 hour).
After we arrive in Pyongyang, we will spend the afternoon visiting some of the cities iconic sites and monuments in downtown Pyongyang 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 observe or ride Italian-made rides with local students and families. Overnight: Koryo Hotel
Our private domestic private charter flight from Orang Airport, Chongjin to Pyongyang
July 26th 2017
Day Seven: 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 and tragic history, its architecture, the newest residential districts, and cultural landmarks. We will also stop in at some newly opened western style shops which sell all the newest DPRK brands and products such as Naenara, Bomhyanggi, Achim, Samjiyon and many others.
We visit a local department store to take a first-hand look at the huge variety of new domestically produced food, household, and cosmetic products. Then we have arranged a special traditional cooking & food preparation class with local chefs where we will learn how to make and then be able to eat mung bean pancakes, Pyongyang Cold Noodles (랭면: Rengmyeon) or a Hot Stone Bowl filled with mixed vegetables, meat, and rice (비빔밥: Bibimbap).
In the afternoon, we have been invited to visit Kim Il Sung University where we will receive an introduction to the school, including the e-library, some lecture halls, and we will speak to some of the students and faculty before visiting the newly built home of a KISU professor and his family, which was generously provided by the state. Overnight: Koryo Hotel
We will visit several factories in Pyongyang and we have requested visiting the new Silk factory and the Pyongyang Chewing Gum Factory among others.
Work on a factory assembly line, Sinuiji, DPRK
Learning traditional food preparation in a private cooking class with local chefs, Pyongyang, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)
July 27th, 2017
Day Eight: National Holiday Victory Day Celebrations
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 2016. 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.
Offerings of flower baskets at Mansudae Hill on a National Holiday, Pyongyang, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)
July 28th, 2017
Day Nine: Train Journey to Sinuiju/Dandong
In the morning, we will look around Pyongyang Train Station before departing at 10am (K28) from Pyongyang Station to Beijing via Sinuiju/Dandong. Taking the train out 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.
- Sinuiju Extension (+1 day) Arrive in Beijing 30th
- Fly Out Option: Depart Pyongyang at 9:30am and Arrive at Beijing Capital Airport 2 at AM ??on July 28th
Arial photo of the new currently under construction Sinuiju-Dandong Friendship Bridge, Sinuiju, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)
July 29th, 2017
Day Ten: Arrival in Beijing
Arrive in Beijing Station at 8:30 AM on July 29th, 2017
End of Delegation
This program begins in Yanji, China
It is recommended to arrive in Yanji, China on the evening of July 19th (or on the morning of July 20th).
How to get to Yanji, China
This program and ends in Beijing, China
By Train: 8 am Beijing Station | July 29th, 2017 (International Train K27/K28)
By Flight: 10 am Beijing Capital Airport | July 28th, 2017 (Air Koryo JS 151)
Saying heartfelt goodbyes after a friendly sports and language exchange, North Hamgyoung, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)
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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.