VIP Photography Tour

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What's it all about?

This is a new tour concept for North Korea – A VIP North Korea photography tour run by photographers for photographers.

This tour will be capped at 6 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. One of our expert Rocky Road guides will be on hand to make sure we push the boundaries and get you to the sites you want to – something only made possible with a small group.

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. 

Our incredible relationship we have built with the Korean guides  will allow us to move as a small group with great flexibility for any photo opportunity.

The group is maxed at 6 people to ensure smooth running, flexibility and plenty of time at each location. The tour will be led by semi professional photographer and Rocky Road founder; Shane Horan (www.shanehoran.com) (@shaneohodhrain) who has visited the DPRK over 50 times and has designed this itinerary.

Join us in North Korea this July for the trip of a lifetime. Book fast as it’s first come first serve!

Highlights

Beijing - Pyongyang - Wonsan  -  Nampo - Pyongyang - Kaesong - Sariwon - Pyongyang - Beijing.

July 21st - 31st, 2021

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.

The Itinerary

Map

Our smallest ever group size!

July 21st - 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.
July 22nd - 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.
Continue reading
July 23rd -Pyongyang

Morning

  • 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.
  • Munsu Water Park– a modern indoor and outdoor Waterpark built recently in Pyongyang. Lots of families, couples and friends mingling. Incredible for photography.

Afternoon

  • Lunch at the Koryo Hotel revolving restaurant.
  • Monument to the Party Foundation – built in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the worker’s party. This is the large monument with hammer, sickle and writing brush.
  • Juche Tower – The tallest stone tower in the world it represents the eternally burning Korean Juche Ideology. To visit the top of the Juche Tower is 5 euros. The best vantage point of a panoramic view of Pyongyang city.
  • Visit the Jangchon co-operative vegetable farm.
  • We’ll set up alongside the Ryugyong Hotel (the tallest and most famous building in Pyongyang) for nighttime shots.
  • Dinner at Potonggang Restaurant
  • Overnight and at the Yanggakdo Hotel
July 24th - Nampo

Morning

  • 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!
  • 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)
  • West Sea Barrage – A terrific example of socialist construction, the barrage was built to control the rising Taedong river and produce fertile farmland.

Afternoon

  • Swim at Nampo beach and hang out with the locals!
  • Picnic lunch on the beach
  • Chongsan Co-operative farm  – a great example of the DPRK farm model.
  • Drive back to Pyongyang
  • Dinner and overnight in the Yanggakdo Hotel.

July 25th - Pyongyang / Wonsan

Morning

  • Drive to Wonsan city (4 hours) stopping at Sinpyong Lagoon along the way for a quick break.

Afternoon

  • Picnic lunch at Ulim Waterfall – one of the most famous and beautiful waterfalls in North Korea.
  • Arrive in Wonsan, check into Tongmyong hotel overlooking Wonsan Bay and the East Sea.
  • Trip highlight – Visit Wonsan Beach for a swim, sunbathe, or play beach games with the locals (the entry for the beach is €2 per person)
  • Walk along the pier to Chok Islet where the locals will be fishing, drinking and enjoying their own BBQs with friends and family. Here you have the option of trying the fresh catch of the day for €5, this will give you a good mix of everything. Be sure to wash it down with the local rice wine.
  • Dinner at a nearby famous seafood restaurant along the waterfront (The best meal you will have on tour!)
  • Overnight at the Tongmyong Hotel.

July 26th - Wonsan

Morning

  • Early stroll around the main square and port in the city. See the Mangyongbong-92 cruise ship which once ferried Koreans to and from Japan.
  • Visit a former Railway Station where an old Japanese built steam engine is on show.
  • Songdowan International Children’s Camp– This renovated  camp was designed as a summer camp for both international and North Korean kids. It features a small water park, dorms, water park, aviary & Aquarium!

Afternoon

  • Lunch at a local Wonsan restaurant
  • Drive back to Pyongyang (4 hours) stopping along the way for snacks and drinks.
  • Visit Kwanbok department store. Here we can shop with the locals and have access to the local North Korean currency!
  • Dinner at the famous lamb BBQ restaurant on Reunification District.
  • Drinks and overnight at the Yanggakdo Hotel.

July 27th - Pyongyang - Victory Day!

Morning

  • 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.

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Special celebratory events (optional: €20) – Yet to be confirmed but we will take part in any holiday events that are possible to attend. 
  • Expected mass dance for Victory Day, join in or just watch for excellent photography opportunities!
  • 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 National Restaurant with performance
  • See the Mass Games (TBC)
  • Fireworks display (TBC)
  • Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel.

July 28th - Kaesong / DMZ

 

  • Hit the road for the 3.5 hour drive to Kaesong and the DMZ.
  • 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 should 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!

Afternoon

  • 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.

July 29th - Pyongsong

Morning

  • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – This is where the Leader’s Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lay in state.
  • 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 an impromptu class!

Afternoon

  • 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!
  • Final farewell dinner
  • Drinks and overnight in the Yanggakdo Hotel.

July 30th - 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.

July 31st - Beijing

  • Train takers arrive in Beijing Railway Station at 9:00am.
  • End of Tour
What else?
Inclusions
Exclusions
  • Hotels in Korea

    Twin share accommodation (single supplements are available for an extra €40 per night).

  • Train travel

    Return train in and out from Beijing-Pyongyang-Beijing. Contact us if you want to join the tour from the border town of Dandong.

  • All Meals

    Three meals per day in the DPRK unless specified in the itinerary. (food on the train in & out not supplied).

  • Guides

    Korean guides in North Korea and a western guide all the way from Beijing to guide you through border customs & immigration.

  • Transport

    Air-conditioned bus and driver.

  • Flights

    Optional extra flight from Beijing to Pyongyang or Pyongyang to Beijing. (Conditions apply, more info below)

  • Extra purchases

    All meals are included (unless otherwise stated) with water and some beer. Any extra drinks or souvenirs that you buy are extra cost.

  • Visa

    We arrange the DPRK visa for you at a cost of €50.

  • Tips

    Tips are expected for your Korean local guides and driver. Normally this is calculated at €10 per day. For example, on a 5 day tour the total tip expected is €50. All tips go directly to both guides & driver.

  • Events

    Sometimes special events pop up on when we are on tour and we may decide to attend. It's up to you whether or not to attend but usually these are extra cost. Examples include the circus or a music concert.

Tour Notes

You’ll be in the experienced hands of our expert English speaking North Korean guides and Rocky Road Travel guide. 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.

Read More

by train

July 21st - 31st, 2021 (Beijing - Beijing)

flight option

Extra €255 one way & €420 return

premium hotel

8 nights in North korea

the price

Only €2090 + visa €50 all inclusive

Dates don’t work?

More great options

July 9 – Aug 8th

July 25 – Aug 3rd

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