MADE IN DPRK: Part 1 Only- NE DPRK & Yanbian

Exploring and Understanding North Korea’s  Markets, Manufacturing & New Trends in Consumerism 

October 1st to 6th, 2017

(6 Days / 5 Nights)

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


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 two dynamically different regions of the DPRK (Rason SEZ & North Hamgyong), 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 and ethical business, investment and trade.


 Witness the DPRK’s unique economy through on-site visits to factories, departments stores, banks, markets (장마당), modern boutique shops and meet with labors, factory workers, officials and stakeholders
  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 and 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, and revolutionary sites
  Visit local and top restaurants around the country and take part in private cooking class
  Take in the pristine natural beauty of DPRK’s East Sea coastlines, the Chilbo Mountain Range, the Tumen River Triangle Area and more
  Exchanges stories and play games with rural families and experience a unique overnight stay at a local DPRK family’s home
  Visit the border town of Hoeryong, visit the language school and see the revolutionary sites and the home of the mother and wife of leaders Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, the respected Kim Jong Suk.

Final inspection and packaging at a site visit to the Susongchon Combined Foodstuff Factory in Chongjin DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange

PCE utilizes its high-level contacts with government officials and more than 20 years of relationships (Kr:관계, Cn:关系) to organize unique meetings and activities that would otherwise not be possible.

A private visit with our four expert guides during a factory visit in Pyongyang, 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.



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Itinerary Details

Sunday, October 1st – Friday, October 6th, 2017  – (6 days / 5 nights)

 Pre-departure briefing, lecture, and workshop on October 1st (the specific location and time will be sent to registered participants)

Departure from Yanji, China

Note: It is recommended to arrive in Yanji, China, on the evening of September 31st (or on the morning of October 1st).

Return to Yanji, China

By Car: Arrive in Yanji the evening of October 6th, 2017

Optional Pre-trip

 Mt. Paektu and the borderlands overnight trip
Saturday, September 31st – Sunday, October 1st, 2017
This program begins in Yanji, China and ends in Beijing
Trip Cost: About 150-250 Euro depending on number of people (Contact us for more details)

How to get to Yanji, China


Sunday, October 1st, 2017

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 with PCE’s director, DPRK and local expert, Michael Spavor. For dinner, we will also visit a Yanbian-Chinese joint venture restaurant which employs DPR Korean waitresses, whom we will have the opportunity to chat and get their thoughts on life in China.

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).

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

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.

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 China 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


Quota inspection at a shoe and garment factory in the Rason SEZ, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange).

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

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 recent business.

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 & 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, North Hamgyoung, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Day Four: 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 art works 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.

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.
Overnight: Chongjin


Street scene near the central market in Chongjin, North Hamgyoung, DPRK (Paektu Cultural Exchange)

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Day 5: Chilbo Mountain, the East Sea & Homestay

In the morning, we will embark on a spectacular drive winding along the beautiful east coast 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)

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Day 6: Chilbo, Kyongsong, Hoeryong and crossing the Tuman Namyang Border and return to Yanji, China

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.

NOTE: The MADE IN DPRK full delegation (9 Days 8 Nights) will then transfer to the Orang Airport for our domestic private charter flight to Pyongyang.

After they depart for Pyongyang, we will spend the afternoon driving through some fascinating rural countryside on our way to Bordertown Hoeryong. Upon arrival, we will visit the birth house of Kim Jong Suk, the wife of President Kim Il Sung and mother of Kim Jong Il. She is regarded as an anti-Japanese heroine in DPRK propaganda and is native to North Hamgyong Province. We will walk around Hoeryong’s main square, visit the local middle school and have an English / Korean language exchange activity and play sports with the students afterward.

We will depart Hoeryong and drive along the DPRK Chinese border and then visit the Wangjaesan monument, then we will continue on to Onsong county (30 minutes), where we will visit several revolutionary sights and museums. After arriving in Namyang we will go through customs and then walk across the Namyang / Tuman friendship bridge, clear Chinese customs and then we will be met by our driver who will drive us back to Yanji, China.

End of Delegation


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.


Price: 1590 Euro per person

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

Deposit: 415 Euro to reserve your place

Options: Fly out option to Pyongyang (+100 Euro)

Deadline: September 18th, 2017 (Americans & Japanese before September 11th)


Other Available Options

MADE IN DPRK: Full Delegation | Exploring and Understanding North Korea’s Rural Markets, Manufacturing & New Consumerism Trends

October 1st – October 6th, 2017 – 9 Days / 8 Nights

2190 Euro

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

MADE IN DPRK: Pyongyang & WPK Anniversary* | Exploring and Understanding North Korea’s Rural Markets, Manufacturing & New Consumerism Trends

October 6th to 9th/10th, 2017 – 5 Days / 4 Nights

1490 Euro

Locations: Pyongyang | Pyongyang | Pyongsong | Pyongyang | Sinuiju | Dandong | Beijing

Trip Extensions

Paektusan Pre-trip option (+1 Day) Begins on September 31st – This option can be added to any trip beginning in Yanji, China (more information coming soon)


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

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)

Note: American passport holders cannot take the train out and therefore must fly out at an additional cost of 100 Euro when applicable.

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.)


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.


Special Lecturer

Kim Kang-il PhD
Yanbian University, Yanbian University, North East Asia Research Centre

Professor Kim Kang-il, PhD, 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 Lecturer

Hyun Dong-il, PhD

Yanbian University, Institute of International Politics

Professor Hyun Dong-il, PhD, 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

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.


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.