Northkorea – Grand Rail Tour 2019

North Korea Tours, Touren 2019, , , , , , , ,

Traveltime: 27. October - 06. November 2019
Travel duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights

If you travel alone and don’t book a single room, you will share a double room with another participant of the group.
The visa fee of EUR 50 is not included in the tour fee and has to be paid in cash during the pre-tour meeting in Beijing on the day before the tour.


Featuring: JF 2-8-2 Mikado, Mika-6, Puruso Japanese built steam locomotives, Working Industrial Steam, Pyongyang Metro, Private Charter Diesel Train

Featuring as well as: Vintage ‘Chollima’ No. 903 Trolleybus, Modern DPRK-made Trolleybus, Tatra T4D Tram, KT8D5K Tram, Chongjin Trolleybus

Day 0 – Saturday 26th October 2019
We will gather at the Yibeiping Restaurant in Beijing at 1200 hrs for a pre-tour briefing and visa handover, where any last minute questions you have can be answered. This will be followed by a complimentary welcome luncheon, providing a great opportunity to meet your fellow tour members and the JTS tour leader. 1725 hrs – Depart Beijing Railway Station on board international train K27 to Pyongyang. Dinner in the restaurant carriage (payable locally). Overnight on board the soft sleeper train (4 berth sleeper compartment).

Day 1 – Sunday 27th October 2019
AM: Cross the China / DPRK border at the Yalu River via the Sino – Korean Friendship Bridge. Complete DPRK customs formalities.
PM: Lunch in the restaurant carriage (payable locally). Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing, taking in views of the Korean countryside and railway scenes. 1715 hrs – Arrive Pyongyang railway station. Meet your guides, transfer and check in at the Koryo Hotel (4*), arguable one of the finest in the DPRK, where a welcome dinner will be served.

Day 2 – Monday 28th October 2019
AM: The morning commences with a visit to the Mansudae Grand Monument and nearby Fountain Park, where the group can pay their respects to the country’s leaders. It’s then time to explore some of Pyongyang’s public transport. We start with a visit to Pyongyang Metro Museum where we will be given a detailed guided tour, followed by a ride on the Pyongyang metro itself*. This will take in 5 stops in total and will finish up at the Arch of Triumph. Waiting for us here will be vintage trolley bus ‘Chollima’ No. 903 manufactured in the 1960’s, taking the group back to Pyongyang railway station situated next to the Koryo Hotel. We will follow this up with a ride on board a Tatra tram car (T4D) for a ride along Kwangbok Street. At the end of the tram ride, lunch will be served at the nearby KITC restaurant. *Those not wishing to ride the trams can instead explore both lines of the Pyongyang Metro, including the interchange station – extra cost €20 / person. Both groups then meet for lunch at the KITC restaurant.
PM: We then return to the railway station via tram, on board another Tatra tram car (KT8D5K). Next up is the impressive 3 Revolutions Exhibition, including the outside display area which also features some domestically manufactured electric and diesel locomotives as well as indigenously produced carriages, wagons and trolley bus displays. There will also be time for a look around the heavy industry section of the Exhibition, which is quite interesting. It’s then time for a second trolley bus ride, this time a modern manufactured design taking us from Munsu Water Park to Pyongyang department store. Next is some souvenir shopping at the foreign language bookshop and some street photography along a well-used trolley bus route next to Kim Il Sung Square. Dinner will be served at a local restaurant and overnight at Koryo Hotel (4*).

Day 3 – Tuesday 29th October 2019
AM: Rising early, you will depart Pyongyang for Kaesong and the DMZ, where you can see at first hand the physical division of Korea and the immense historical legacy this has had on the nation. You will be shown around by officers in the Korean People’s Army who will talk to you about the situation on the ground. The next stop is the Koryo Museum, consisting of preserved Confucian buildings and a replica mausoleum depicting life in Korea during the Koryo dynasty.
PM: Lunch will be taken at the historic Kaesong Folk Hotel, built in raditional Korean style, where you will enjoy a hearty ‘Royal Court’ style meal in the customary manner, served on the floor from bronze bowls. After lunch is the return journey to Pyongyang, and en route there will be a brief stop of the Monument to the 3 Charters of National Reunification. Dinner this evening will be served at the Chongryu hot pot restaurant. There will be an optional visit after dinner to Taedonggang Bar No.3, where you will have a chance to sample the locally brewed draft beers. Overnight at Koryo Hotel (4*).

Day 4 – Wednesday 30th October 2019
AM: An exciting start to the day as we commence our rail cruise of the DPRK, on board our own private charter train hauled most likely by a Chinese Dong Feng DF5 or M62 derivative diesel locomotive (to be confirmed). In addition the train will consist of a dining car serving tasty meals, which also operates a bar and café service to our customers throughout the journey. There will also be some sleeper carriages attached for those wishing to catch 40 winks! At 0830 hrs, we depart Pyongyang for Hyangsan, gateway to the scenic Mount Myohyang area (journey time approx. 5 hours). Lunch and liquid refreshments will be served in the restaurant carriage (a bar service will be offered on all journeys). Upon arrival at Hyangsan railway station we will be met by the first steam locomotive of the tour, a JF 2-8-2 Mikado, and we will ride with this train for 23 kilometres to Kujang and back again. We shall endeavour to arrange some photo stops en route to capture this magnificent and rare specimen!
PM: A late afternoon we check in at the deluxe Hyangsan Hotel (5*) which is then followed by an optional hike in the nearby Manpok valley. Those not hiking can enjoy the hotel spa and leisure facilities. Dinner will be served at the hotel.

Day 5 – Thursday 31st October 2019
AM: We start the morning with a visit to the International Friendship Exhibition, an impressive subterranean exhibition hall where you will be able to see several rail carriages gifted to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. This is followed by a visit to the picturesque and historic Pohyon Buddhist Temple.
PM: At around 1230 hrs it’s then time to board our special train for the onward journey to Wonsan (approximately 8 hours). Both lunch and dinner will be taken on board, and the afternoon will provide a superb ground level glimpse of the DPRK countryside and rail system as we travel cross country on the spectacular Hyangsan – Kujang – Kaechon – Sunchon – Wonsan line, very rarely taken by tourists. As we pull into Wonsan in the evening, we will check in at the nearby Tongmyong Hotel (3*) for our overnight stay.

Day 6 – Friday 1st November 2019
AM: This morning we pay a visit to the old railway station revolutionary museum featuring a historic Japanese built steam locomotive. There will also be time for a visit to the local art gallery and a walk along the jetty to the nearby Chongdokdo lighthouse, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Wonsan city. Boarding the train at approximately 1130, lunch will be taken on board, en route to our next stop Hamhung (journey time 3 hours).
PM: Upon arrival, we will visit the Hamhung Grand Monument, traditional old house of Hamhung Bongung and the Hungnam fertiliser factory where there is a chance we will see the industrial rail line in action. Tonight we will stay at the luxurious Majon Hotel (5*) and dinner will also be served here. [TBC: We will also do our best to arrange some photography stops of the Hamhung – Hungnam narrow gauge commuter rail line on this day, a first time ever experience for foreign tourists and rail enthusiasts

Day 7 – Saturday 2nd November 2019
AM: 0800 hrs – An early start today as we depart Hamhung for our next city, Chongjin. It’s a full day on board the train, on a wonderfully picturesque coastal rail line with some great photography opportunities. Breakfast and lunch will be taken on board (there will be a sleeper carriage attached for those wishing to catch up on some sleep during the day).
PM: 1930 hrs – Arrive at Chongjin station. Dinner will be served at the Chongjin Seaman’s Club and we overnight at the Chongjin Tourist Hotel (2* – unfortunately the only accommodation option available, however it does possess an excellent and inexpensive micro-brewery).

Day 8 – Sunday 3rd November 2019
AM: Our first activity of the day will be a trolley bus ride through Chongjin city. We then make our way to the railway station for some more steam action around the Chongjin area. Taking another steam locomotive, a 2,000 HP Mika-6 for a journey from Chongjin to Sungam, a distance of 20 kilometres each way. Photography opportunities will be available en route. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant.
PM: In the afternoon, we are then met by 4 smaller Puruso Japanese built steam locomotives which are normally assigned internal duties inside the nearby Chongjin steelworks; they will perform some shunting activity for our delight and delectation. It is then time to re-board our special tourist charter train for our long return journey to Pyongyang, departing 1800 hrs. Dinner is served in the restaurant car and the night is spent on board the train. Trans-Siberian Customers – For those customers wishing to exit the DPRK and continue along the trans-Siberian railway you will spend the evening in Rason with dinner served at a local restaurant.

Day 9 – Monday 4th November 2019
AM: The train journey continues to Pyongyang. We can have a short break in Hamhung en route for a few hours to stretch the legs and do some local sightseeing. Lunch is served on board.
PM: Arrival time Pyongyang mid-afternoon (TBA). This will be followed by a city walk along the banks of the Taedong River to stretch our legs. Dinner is then served at a local restaurant, overnight at Koryo Hotel (4*).
Trans-Siberian customers –
AM: Today you enjoy sightseeing in the rarely visited Rajin-Sonbong region of the country. Here you will visit Rajin Language School, Triangle Bank and Sungjon Pavilion where you can see the border between the DPRK, Russia and China. A picnic lunch is served.
PM: You check in at Tumangang Railway Station and join the International Train 651, heading to the Korea / Russia border. You partake of a journey very rarely made by foreign tourists, crossing the DPRK – Russian friendship bridge into Khasan and onwards to Russian Siberia. Bon Voyage!

Day 10 – Tuesday 5th November 2019
AM: A final day of sightseeing begins in Pyongyang. Your first stop is a visit to the Railway Museum. You then take a trip to the Tower of Juche Idea and nearby Party Foundation Monument.
PM: Lunch is served at a local restaurant. Next you can explore the Fatherland Liberation War Museum including the captured US spy ship “USS Pueblo”. Your farewell dinner is served at a local restaurant. Before dinner there is also the option to enjoy a drink alongside the locals at the Mansugyo Standing Beer Bar. Departure by Air Koryo Flight Customers – Those opting to depart by flight will board Air Koryo flight JS151 departing Pyongyang at 0850 hrs and arriving in Beijing at 0950 hrs LT on this day.

Day 11 – Wednesday 6th November 2019
1010 hrs – The overnight sleeper departs Pyongyang for Beijing via Dandong, arriving in Dandong at 16:23 and in Beijing at 0838 local time the following day.

The Tour is created in Cooperation with: