Mayday Photography Tour
What's it all about?
This is our most famous North Korea tour concept – A VIP North Korea photography tour run by photographers for photographers. At Rocky Road Travel we have the access to places in North Korea and the know-how to get you the best shots.
This tour will be capped at 7 people (normally 25) in order to present you with the best and rarest opportunity to photograph daily life in North Korea.
This is not a conventional DPRK tour that you may know. Besides the usual stops at Mansudae Grand Monument and Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, we have designed an itinerary that allows you time in key places to get that perfect shot. We get up early to catch sunrise along scenic spots like the Taedong River and the Juche Tower. We will also get golden hour shots at the iconic 105 storey Ryugyong Hotel and other various street scenes/famous landmarks.
During our stay we’ll obtain some of the highest rooms available in the 47 storey Yanggakdo Hotel which overlooks the Taendong River and Pyongyang skyline for a perfect vantage point to do some time lapse and long-exposure night shots.
The group is maxed at 7 people to ensure smooth running, flexibility and plenty of time at each location. The tour will be led by published photographer and Rocky Road Travel founder; Shane Horan (www.shanehoran.com) (@shaneohodhrain) who has visited the DPRK over 50 times and has designed this itinerary. His incredible relationship with the North Korean guides will allow us to move with great flexibility for any photo opportunity. He is an expert on DPRK travel and will make sure every photo opportunity is not missed.
It’s a perfect time of year to travel to North Korea, the sun’s coming out and the locals are enjoying one of the biggest celebrations of the year – Mayday. Book fast as it’s first come first serve!
Beijing - Pyongyang - Kaesong - Nampo - Sariwon - Pyongsong - Mt Myohyang - Pyongyang - Beijing.
April 27th - May 7th, 2022.
We will take care of every detail of the North Korea visa application and we'll hand you the physical visa card at the pre-tour meeting in Beijing.
We'll also help you with your China visa application by supplying an invitation letter. If you are planning to apply for the 144 hour China transit visa on arrival then we will send you your DPRK visa and flight ticket to Pyongyang so you can apply on arrival in Beijing.
April 27th - Beijing
- Meet your Rocky Road guide at 2pm at a Beijing Hotel near Beijing Railway Station. During this meeting, we’ll go through the tour’s itinerary, receive your North Korean visas and tickets, and meet your fellow travellers. It’s a great opportunity to ask any last questions you may have.
- The train departs Beijing Central station at 5:25pm. There will be a chance to stock up on supplies for the journey. There’s also a restaurant car on the train.
- The train is a full sleeper with all bedding and pillows provided
- Overnight on the train.
April 28th - Dandong / Pyongyang
- Train group arrive in Dandong at 7:00am for Chinese border control then departs again for Sinuiju at 10:00am.
- Flight takers depart Beijing Airport Terminal 2 on Air Koryo at 12:00pm (Meet group at Air Koryo check in counter).
- Flight group arrive in Pyongyang at 3:00pm to a warm welcome from your Korean guides.
- Train group arrive at 6:45pm to an equally warm welcome and transfer directly to the hotel.
- In the evening your guide will show you around the hotel before taking you for drinks and to get to know your Korean guides
- Dinner and overnight at the Yanggakdo Hotel.
April 29th - Pyongyang / Kaesong
- Stroll through Mansudae fountain park taking in the Grand Peoples Study House and see the mosaic pictures of the leaders.
- Visit Mansudae Grand Monument – the two large bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il.
- Explore the mysterious Pyongyang Metro. We’ll start from Puhung station, then ride one stop to Yonggwang station, and 5 more stations onwards to Kaeson station. That’s three stations in total.
- The Arch of Triumph – The largest Victory Arch on the planet – it celebrates the victory over the Japanese and the return of the general Kim Il Sung to his home city. Kim Il Sung Stadium is nearby with more opportunities to snap Pyongyang’s traffic.
- Lunch at the Bibanbap restaurant.
- Drive 3 hours south to Kaesong city – 7km from the DMZ. Stop at a local teahouse on the way.
- Check into the Kaesong Folklore Hotel – this is one of the oldest in North Korea, and a real traditional experience. We’ll be one of the very few groups who get to stay overnight here.
- Dinner and overnight in Kaesong.
April 30th - Kaesong / Pyongyang
- Quick walking tour through the old town of Kaesong – this was one of the few to survive the Korean War. Kaesong changed hands several times so escaped much of the bombing.
- The DMZ – tour Panmunjom with a friendly army officer who will give you the look around. You can even take photos with the army here! We will be the first ones here thus avoiding all the crowds!
- Koryo Museum – Korea’s first university and now a UNESCO museum of history and culture. There’s also a wonderful stamp and postcard shop here so you can send postcards to your friends and family. Don’t forget to write down the address before you travel!
- Lunch in Kaesong City – on the menu will be traditional Korean Pansangi, a series of dishes served in bronze bowls. (Optional extras- Dog Soup €5)
- Visit the concrete wall section of the DMZ – this is off the usual tourist route and gives us a glimpse at the wall which was erected by the south side during the 70’s. We can even spy on the South Korean watch towers along the DMZ.
- Stop by Sariwon city and check out the stunning view point from a hilltop pagoda.
- Stop at the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification that stands over the Thongil (reunification) Highway.
- Back to Pyongyang in time for dinner at the Duck BBQ restaurant.
- Take a walk down new and bright Mirae Scientist’s street, perfect for long exposure shots.
- Overnight in Yanggakdo Hotel.
May 1st - Pyongyang - Mayday
- Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – This is where the Leader’s Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lay in state.
- Trip highlight – Mt Taesong Amusement Park – celebrate May Day by enjoying some sports and dancing with the locals. The amusement park also has roller-coasters and other rides for you to jump on and enjoy!
- Walk to Moran Hill park to join the locals for dancing and singing! This is a wonderful opportunity to take photos of the locals celebrating May Day holiday.
- Special celebratory events – yet to be confirmed, but we will take part in whatever may be scheduled.
- Kim Il Sung Square – The central square of Pyongyang City and a popular meeting point.
- Foreign Language Bookshop – right next to the square and the best place for pins, stamps, books and other souvenirs!
- Juche Tower – the tallest stone tower in the world, it represents the Juche Ideology. Central to the teachings of the DPRK(optional extra €5 to go to the top).
- Monument to the Party Foundation – The hammer sickle and brush built in 1995.
- Dinner at the famous National Restaurant with a special performance.
- Overnight in the Yanggakdo Hotel.
May 2nd - Pyongyang / Nampo
- Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum. This incredible museum features dioramas, captured weapons, the Victory Monument, and the USS Pueblo: the only American military vessel captured by another nation.
- Visit Kwanbok department store. Here we can shop with the locals and have access to the local North Korean currency!
- Lunch next to the supermarket.
- Drive towards Nampo (1-hour drive) – a port city located on the west coast of the Korean peninsula.
- Chollima Steel Complex – One of the DPRK’s most famous industrial sites (TBC)
- Kangso Mineral Water Factory.
- Friendship glass factory.
- Dinner and overnight at the Ryonggang spa resort, complete with a private mineral spa bath in each room! Here we also have the option to try North Korea’s famous BBQ clams for €5 extra.
May 3rd - Nampo / Pyongsong
- West Sea Barrage – A terrific example of socialist construction, the barrage was built to control the rising Taedong river and produce fertile farmland.
- Chongsan Co-operative farm – a great example of the DPRK farm model.
- Drive up to Pyongsong located 45 minutes north of Pyongyang
- Visit Kim Jong Suk Middle School Number 1 – here you can meet English students and we encourage you to speak and even teach a quick class!
- Munsu Water Park– a modern indoor and outdoor Waterpark built recently in Pyongyang. Lots of families, couples and friends mingling. Incredible for photography.
- Drop into the Mangsugyo beer bar for a pint or three! Lots of local and cheap beers, coffee’s and tea’s available.
- Dinner at the famous lamb BBQ restaurant on Reunification District.
- Drinks and overnight at the Yanggakdo Hotel.
May 4th - Mt Myohyang
- Drive out to Mt Myohyang – 2 and a half hours north of Pyongyang.
- Do some short hikes through this stunning mountain range.
- Visit the famous International Friendship Exhibition – two large gift houses holding the gifts presented to both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il from people, governments and institutions all over the world.
- Lunch at the Hyangsan Hotel – a five star deluxe hotel situated between the mountain ranges.
- Drive back to Pyongyang and stop on the way at Ryongmun Cave – one of the most famous cave complexes in North Korea.
- Visit the Maeri Shooting range – shoot off some sport pistols at Pyongyang’s finest indoor or outdoor ranges (small extra charge per bullet)
- Dinner in downtown Pyongyang
- Walk along the newly constructed residential Ryomyong Street with it’s highest building being 75 storeys!
- Overnight in the Yanggakdo Hotel.
May 5th - Pyongyang
- Morning walk through central Pyongyang along the Taedong River.
- Visit Mansudae Art Studio, This is where the country’s most important art work and statues are created. We will also get to meet some of the local artists too.
- Visit the Jangchon co-operative vegetable farm.
- Lunch at a restaurant in Mangyongdae District – here you can have the chance to sample Pyongyang’s famous Cold Noodle dish or the Korean traditional Bibimbap.
- Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s palace– These are extracurricular centers in the DPRK, we’ll first observe some lessons then watch the amazing kids performance.
- Visit the Kim Jung Suk Textile factory
- Visit the Korean Film Studio – The largest film studio in North Korea. We can take a walk through the different outdoor film sets and dress up in costume!
- Taedongang Beer Bar to sample the 7 different flavors.
- Final farewell dinner
- Drinks and overnight in the Yanggakdo Hotel.
May 6th - Departure
- Flyers depart Pyongyang at 9:00am on Air Koryo, arriving in Beijing at 9:55am local time
- Train members depart at 10:30am for Beijing, arriving in Dandong at 16:30 local Chinese time. We’ll have time to stock up on supplies before our 18:30 onward departure to Beijing.
May 7th - Beijing
- Train takers arrive in Beijing Railway Station at 9:00am.
- End of Tour
You’ll be in the experienced hands of our expert English speaking North Korean guides and Rocky Road Travel founder Shane. Your itinerary may change slightly but we will always go above and beyond with added extras to the itinerary. We always put an emphasis on visiting real everyday life places such as local cafes, bars and amusement parks, bowling alleys etc.
Before & after each tour we will add you to dedicated email and social media groups so you can share photos easily with your travel mates. Let us know if you want to opt out of this.
To book simply get in touch below to start the conversation today.