Koryo Tours April 2010 Newsletter

Koryo Tours brings some exciting news for those seeking to visit the DPRK–Hamhung will now be open to tourism–even US tourists. Sign up for the Koryo Tours newsletter on their web page here.

According to the newsletter:

1. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) drops restrictions on US tourists.
Until recently, American tourists had only been allowed into North Korea during the Mass Games for a maximum 4-night stay. Fortunately in 2010, everything has changed – we can now welcome US citizens on both group and independent tours all year around (we took US citizens on our group tours in February and March, and can confirm these changes are in effect). Check out our complete list of tours and travel options at and see what’s new!

2. Hamhung city to open to tourists
We at Koryo Tours have long prided ourselves on being the only company allowed to offer original DPRK programming, and 2010 has already proven to be a windfall. After years of continuous efforts, we are thrilled to announce our brand-new tour to Hamhung, a major industrial city on Korea’s east coast. Those on our August 7 – 16/17 Liberation Long Day Tour will be the first Western tourists to ever visit this area (again, US citizens are welcome). Our new itinerary adds a two-night Hamhung stay to the already packed ten-night schedule that includes trips to Mount Paekdu, Pyongyang, Kaesong, and other areas). Details are still in flux, but as with everywhere else, we will maximise interaction with locals and see as much as time allows. Plan on staying one night in Hamhung proper and one night at the brand new Majon beach resort, where again, no Westerners have ever been. We are now taking applications from anyone who wants to be among the first tourists in history to go to this major city and its stunning surrounding areas on either a group or independent tour. As for our returning travellers we offer special discounts, so if you were looking for an excuse to go back, this may be the trip of a lifetime for you.

3. Rajin-Sonbong/Chongjin/Vladivostok Tour
Even among the select travellers who have ventured into North Korea, Rajin-Sonbong  (Rason) remains a mystery…a remote area (even by DPRK standards) that shares a northern border with China and Russia and not possible to enter from North Korea proper.  Rason sees almost no tourists at all (literally not one western tourist in 2009!) but keeping up our tradition of breaking new ground, Koryo is preparing a 3-country, 3-time zone, 3-language tour. We start in Yanji, part of China’s Korean autonomous region, then head down to the North Korean coastal city of Chongjin, and  cross overland to Mt. Chilbo (you will be the first Western tourists to arrive there by land). After that, we head back to the free-trade zone and ride the international rail, bus and boat into Russia. We finish our tour in the jewel of Russia’s Far East, the previously closed city of Vladivostok, where travellers can either return to Beijing, fly on to Tokyo or Seoul, or even hop on the Trans-Siberian and keep going . This tour is slated for July; details are still being hammered out, but if you’re interested in seeing these mysterious, fascinating places that are as different as they are unforgettable, please contact us at [email protected]

4. Centre Forward
Koryo Tours has always been more than a travel company; among other projects, we have a long history of filmmaking in the DPRK. While preparing to shoot our latest feature film, we obtained the rights to a North Korea football (soccer if you like!) movie, made in 1978 and never exported abroad – until now. Featuring DPRK film star Kim Chol, Centre Forward tells the story of a young player who reaches the first team only to see the squad hit with a crisis of confidence. Will they be able to get back to the top of their game? Remastered and subtitled with a DVD extra that interviews Rim Jong Sun the 1966 football hero who was consulted on the film. Check out the trailer at Youtube option or at  Youku option.

(Please pass this link on so we can get some viral action going!) In a World Cup year that features North Korea for the first time since 1966, this is a topical and fascinating glimpse into the sporting culture of an unknown country. For film freaks, sports fans and DPRK watchers everywhere, this is a must-see! The DVD is available for purchase at 200rmb (20EUROs) and ready in June – please contact  [email protected] for more information.

5. Korea vs. Japan Women’s Football
On May 23rd Korea DPR take on Japan in a qualifying match for the 2011 Women’s World Cup. The DPRK ladies are perennial challengers for football’s highest honours, so this should be a good game against regional (and historical) rivals Japan. Come with Koryo Tours to Pyongyang and cheer the team along with the home crowd! For information, see:
http://www.koryogroup.com/travel_NEWItinerary_0.php

6. Turkmenistan May 2010 Tour
In continuing our tradition of trips to weird and wonderful places, we are in our fifth year of tours to the Republic of Turkmenistan (next tour May 11 – 18), with an especially exciting programme. See stunning sites such as the capital city of Ashgabat (Pyongyang meets Las Vegas!) as well as ancient fortresses, giant bazaars, mega-mosques and horse racing, camp in the desert next to a giant flaming gas crater, visit the Caspian sea port of Turkmenbashi and travel by bus, plane, boat, and even horse and camel to get there. Join us on this memorable trip to a remarkable place. The ininerary is here.
[NKeconWatch: I went on this tour and recommend it!]

7. Amazing Mass Games Photos Available: Link to the website
Koryo Tours helped photographer Werner Kranwetvogel get unprecedented access to the Mass Games- absolutely sublime images- on his last trip Werner had access to the ground level but on return to Germany found his lens had a fault…and back he came to Pyongyang…but his images are testament to his drive.

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4 Responses to “Koryo Tours April 2010 Newsletter”

  1. colin says:

    I took a tour of the DPRK in 2007 with Koryo Tours and loved it. Those guys are really top notch.

  2. Gag Halfrunt says:

    Kertbeisser on Flickr has a set of photos of Hamhung taken in 2008. I’m guesing that the itinerary will include the Sonhwa Hall built in 1764 and, more importantly from an official North Korean point of view, the South Hamgyong Museum of the Revolutionary Activities of Comrade Kim Il Sung built in 1972.

  3. […] North Korea must be desperate for cash because they have dropped restrictions on American tourists. […]

  4. A MAc says:

    But Americans still can’t take the train in. Odd.

    So we’re forced to fly on an airline the EU won’t allow landing rights to because of their safety record. Shudder.

    I still want to go.