NORTH KOREA MARATHON, PYONGYANG & KIM IL SUNG BIRTHDAY TOUR (April 6th-17th)
Our North Korea Marathon Tours are among our most popular, and surely one of the most unique ways to see the Peoples Democratic of North Korea! This incredible event is only the fifth year that foreign tourists and amateurs are welcomed to compete or spectate from the grandstands of Kim Il Sung Stadium. Get stuck in and compete side by side with local athletes or enjoy the opportunity to watch the opening and closing of the ceremony in the heart of the stadium with 70,000 locals cheering on.
As well as a unique opportunity to participate in the annual North Korea Marathon in Pyongyang, we will also be in the country for one of the most important events in the North Korean calendar – President Kim Il Sung’s 105th birthday! Expect fireworks, dancing with the locals, a celebratory banquet, and some live music to mark this momentous occasion.
This tour also takes in the must see sites of Pyongyang city including the Pyongyang Metro, Korean War Museum, and a trip to the infamous Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).
We will also take a trip beyond Pyongyang to the neighboring city of Pyongsong. Pyongsong is only newly opened to tourists, we will be visiting a food factory and will stop into an English class at a local middle school. Next, we travel up North to Mt Myohyang to visit the world renowned International Friendship Musician. An impressive building carved into the side of the mountain that houses an unusual collection of gifts donated by various political leaders from all over the world.
Next, we’ll head to the Southwest coast to Nampo city. Here we’ll be checking out a major steelworks factory, a co-operative farm, and the West Sea Barrage which received plenty of international attention in the late 80’s.
As mentioned on our other North Korea marathon tour itineraries – if you are participating in the full marathon, the maximum time limit is 4 hours while the half marathon is 2 and a half hours. There is also an option of a mini marathon of 2 hours. There are just 1500 places available and entries are on a first-come, first-served basis so book now to avoid disappointment. And if running isn’t your thing you can join the locals in spectating from the Kim Il Sung Stadium where a football match will take place during the race.
This tour is an absolute must see. Group bookings are most welcome with discounts. If you have any questions or queries about any of North Korea Marathon tours drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
||€1595 (option €100 flight one way or €150 return) Pyongyang – Beijing
- Full board
- Return Train Beijing – Pyongyang
- All internal travel
- All accomodation
- Full Marathon (42km/26 miles) – cost of entry is $110USD
- Half Marathon (20km/12 miles) – cost of entry is $80USD
- Mini Marathon (10km/6 miles) – cost of entry is $60USD
- DPRK Visa Fee
|At a glance:
||€1595 Beijing – Pyongyang – Beijing 10 nights, 11 days
ITINERARY > NORTH KOREA MARATHON, PYONGYANG & KIM IL SUNG BIRTHDAY TOUR
Friday 6th April
- Meet at 1 pm at the Beijing Jingu Qilong Hotel where your guide will talk you through the North Korea Marathon itinerary and give you your visas and tickets.
- People taking the train will depart Beijing Central station at 5:25 pm. The journey to Pyongyang takes 24 hours.
Saturday 7th April
- At 7:00 am train group arrive at Dandong for Chinese border control. We depart again at 10:00 am for Sinuiju where North Korean border control is carried out.
- Flight group: will head to Sinuiju Airport to catch our Air Koryo domestic flight from Sinuiju down to Pyongyang. Flight times will be confirmed later.
- Train group: arrive in Pyongyang to a warm welcome at 5:30 pm
- Receive a city map from your guide and enjoy evening views of Pyongyang as the bus does a lap of the marathon route to give you a clear understanding of where you will be running.
- Spend the night getting to know the group and your guides over drinks and dinner in Sosan Hotel where we will stay for the entire trip.
Sunday 8th April – Marathon Day!
- The day is upon us – the North Korea marathon of Pyongyang! You have a choice to run either the mini, half or full marathon – the course consists of spectacular views and loops around Pyongyang city. Spectators also have the option to watch a DPRK local football league match in the nearby stadium.
- Celebratory Lunch in the Mangyongdae District at the popular KITC Restaurant – if you’re going authentic then try the famous Pyongyang Cold noodles or the delicious Korean Bibimbap dish.
- Give those tired muscles a stretch at Munsu Water Park – with indoor pools and amazing waterslides. And for those who don’t feel like swimming the park also has a cafe, shop, beer bar, table tennis, billiards, a massage parlour and a beauty salon – optional charges.
- Next, it’s on to the Taedonggang Micro Brewery. We celebrate completing the marathon with multiple delicious draft beers on tap. Soft drinks and tea/coffee are also available.
- Dinner at the National Restaurant. Expect live music and dancing with the waitresses!
- Overnight at the Sosan hotel.
Monday 9th April
- Stroll around the scenic Mansudae fountain park which is flanked by the mosaic pictures of President Kim Il Sung and the Leader Kim Jong Il.
- Some photos at the Mansudae Grand Monument where we can show our respects to the President Kim Il Sung and the Leader Kim Jong Il. (You have the option to donate flowers if you wish. Cost 2-4 euro.)
- Grand People’s Study House- this is an impressive library and academic centre for adult learners. Boasts Grand Korean architecture and affords a stunning view over the Central Square.
- Some photos at Kim Il Sung Square- The Main square of Pyongyang City
- Foreign Language Bookshop – really good spot for propaganda souvenirs – Books, DVD’s, DPRK Flags, etc.
- Lunch at Chongryu Hot Pot Restaurant
- The Pyongyang Metro will take us to The Arch of Triumph- The largest Victory Arch on the planet. It commemorates King Il Sung and his victory over the Japanese.
- Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum (Korean War Museum) – A fascinating insight into Korean warfare and history. We have a local historian as a guide who will show us the enormous collection of dioramas, weaponry, tanks and even some captured American equipment.
- Juche Tower – monument to the everlasting Juche Ideology (nice photo opportunity overlooking the capital at the top of the tower for an additional €5).
- Monument to the Party Foundation. An ornate monument built in memory of the worker’s party.
- Stop by Dongsong restaurant for dinner.
- Overnight at the Sosan hotel.
Tuesday 10th April
- Early breakfast and then we drive to Kaesong and the DMZ.
- Koryo Museum- Korea’s oldest university and now a history and culture museum. Also home to an interesting stamp and propaganda poster shop. No other souvenirs will encapsulate the North Korean experience more!
- The DMZ- aka ‘the tensest place on earth’. Our guide here will be a friendly KPA officer who will give us an insightful tour and also pose for some photos.
- Traditional Korean lunch at the Thongil Restaurant in Kaesong City. This is a good opp to try some Korean Pansangi- an array of dishes served in bronze bowls. (Optional extras- Dog soup €5, Ginseng Stuffed Whole Chicken €30- can be split between several).
- Next stop is the provincial capital of Sariwon City. Admire the scenery with a walk in the local folk park. Nice views of the city from the mountain top pagoda.
- Try locally brewed Makkoli in the local tea house
- We stop by the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification which stands over the Thongil Highway.
- We arrive back in Pyongyang in time for dinner at the Famous Lamb BBQ restaurant with a traditional performance!
- We’ll complete the evening with a visit to Kaeson Youth Park, Pyongyang’s’ very own amusement park (rides vary from 2-5e depending on how wild they are!)
- Overnight at the Sosan hotel.
Wednesday 11th April
- Drive North to neighboring Pyongsong city
- We stop by Mother Kim Jong Suk Middle School Number 1. We will sit in on an English class with some of the students where we are encouraged to chat with them and possibly try your hand at teaching a class!
- Paeksonri Foodstuffs factory – one of the regions largest producers of corn based food products.
- City center square of Pyongsong City. Some nice photos and monuments of the leaders.
- Jangsusan Hotel for lunch
- We take a drive out to scenic Mount Myohyang. We will be spending the night in a small quiet town at the base of the mountain called Hyangsan
- After we check in to our hotel we’ll relax and take a stroll to the nearby reservoir. Decent photo opportunities at the reservoir dam that is used to power the city
- Overnight at the Chong Chun Hotel
Thursday 12th April
- The world renowned International Friendship Exhibition. Two impressive buildings containing a collection of gifts presented to the leaders from various international governments and leaders.
- Pohyon Temple. A large Buddhist temple, one of only a handful in the DPRK.
- Chong Chun Hotel for some lunch.
- Ryongmun Cavern. One of the most impressive cave formations in North Korea.
- We drive back to Pyongyang for dinner at the New Stamp Restaurant.
- Rakwon Micro Brewery for a few home brewed beers- the cheapest in town!
- Overnight in Yanggakdo hotel.
Friday 13th April
- The all new Science and Technology Park – the North Koreans have proudly organised an exhibition of all their latest medical, scientific and warfare technology.
- The newly renovated Meari Shooting range. Take your pick from pistols, archery, rifles, virtual games and even automatics.
- The nearby Olympic Village. Constructed for the World Youth Games of 1989.
- Gold Cup Restaurant for some lunch.
- Kwanbok Department Store – do some shopping with the locals. Also the only place on the trip where we can use the local DPRK Won currency.
- Visit the Korean Film Studio – a truly unique place where over 1000 Korean films and television series have been produced down through the years. We’ll also explore the film sets of Seoul, China, a European town and old Koryo dynasty villages. Props and costumes are supplied if anyone would like to dress up!
- Mansudae Art Studio
- Rakwon Micro Brewery
- Dinner and overnight at Yanggakdo Hotel
Saturday 14th April
- After breakfast, we head to the west coast to visit Nampo City.
- West Sea Barrage – an amazing display of socialist construction, it was built to keep the salty water of the West Sea from rendering tthe region’s farmlanduseless, as well as to tame the choppy local sea.
- Chollima Steel Complex – look up the Chollima movement for some background on this one!
- Harbour Hotel for some local cuisine
- Kangso Mineral water factory – where the finest sparkling water in the DPRK is produced. Yes there will be samples!
- Chongsan Co-operative farm- One of the most productive co-op farms in North Korea.
- Dinner and drinks back in Pyongyang and overnight in the Yanggakdo Hotel.
Sunday 15th April – The Day of the Sun – President Kim Il Sung’s
- Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il are laid to rest here.
- An impressive memorial graveyard for many of the Koreans that fought against the Japanese. Featuring numerous bronze statues of the departed.
- Moran Hill Chicken Restaurant for some lunch.
- Visit Moranbong where we can enjoy the celebrations over a few drinks with the locals.
- Visit the Kim Il Sung flower exhibition.
- Mangyongdae Native Home- Birthplace of the President Kim Il Sung and where he spent the early years of his childhood.
- Special celebratory events – These are usually confirmed closer to the date but typically feature parades, a circus performance, and some other surprises.
- The university students of Pyongyang will perform a mass dance near an iconic monument. This is a rare photo opp and tourists are welcomed to join in!
- Daesong restaurant for dinner.
- Kaeson Youth Park (rides are pay as you go).
- We’ll join the locals on Kim Il Sung Square in time to see the fireworks display over the Taedong river.
- Taedonggan Diplomats’ club for a nightcap.
- Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel.
Monday 16th April
- At 10:10 am train takers depart for Beijing.
- Flight members will have a few extra hours to catch the morning tour of the Three Revolutionary Exhibition where the ideologies of Kim Il Sung are exhibited in an interactive Soviet style display. There is a large focus on the satellites that the Koreans have launched over the past few years.
- Flight takers leave Pyongyang airport for Sinuiju on Air Koryo and then transferring into Dandong at 5:00 pm. Board the overnight sleeper train to Beijing.
Tuesday 17th April
- All group members reach Beijing Railway Station at 9 am