An American tourist's independent tour of North Korea in May 2010. This is 2 of 4 Videos total, for almost 5 hrs of footage. Bizarre North Korea allows a 21st Century visitor to time travel back to Mao's China and Stalin's Russia. The tour Company I used is Young Pioneer Tours. They are not very organized but do offer younger, smaller group sizes which I like. If you are more risk adverse and prefer a well-run, stress free tour company, and can live with an older, larger group size, Koyro Tours, a British owned tour company based in Beijing, is highly recommended and they do a great job.
A big disclaimer with these videos: I went as a tourist and this is a propaganda tour. This is not representative of most of North Korea. This is their Disney World I saw: look for real hidden video that is smuggled out of the country before drawing any conclusions.
And one more thing, Shame on South Koreans for allowing the North Korean regime to continue existing. South Korea knows exactly what is happening there and yet they allow Koreans to suffer and perish in silence.
Set off from Beijing Train Station to Dandong, China. Train passage to North Korea is the best way to see the countryside and get to know some elite North Korean passengers, without your Govt. minders present. Americans have to fly into the capitol however (unless you have dual citizenship).
Arrive in Pyongyang by train. Meet with Government Minders who serve as the tour guides (two of them) and who rarely leave your side. There is also a separate driver.
Drive to Yanggakdo Hotel and discuss itinerary for the trip. This is a very large high-rise hotel on its own little island in Pyongyang. The hotel is one of about 3 that foreigners stay at in the city. It's nice, very quiet: and it's difficult to leave the hotel grounds without having a guard pointing you back.
Mansudae Fountain Park
Grand Monument on Mongu Hill
May Day Celebration Rally - tug of war, Korean dancing
The Arch of Triumph
Lunch at Chongryu Restaurant -(Jongol Boiled Soup)
The Monument to the Party Founding
Trekking on Moran Hill - meeting locals having picnics, some dancing
Subway: two stops
Rakwon Beer Bar- right next door took a tour of a shopping mall
Duck BBQ- great restaurant
Kumsusan Memorial Palace: Mausoleum of President Kim Il Song
The Revolutionary Marty's Cemetery
Temple of Karangbop
Kim Song Square
Bookshop: purchased books and postcards: not very good
To Gaesong: Tomb of King Kong Min- pretty environment
Overnight at Gaesong Folklore House (hotel) - individuals courtyards
Walk from hotel to South Gate- big bell
Koryo Museum- not interesting
Kaesong Stamp Shop: great place!
Panmunjom - DMZ
Lunch at Gaesong Restaurant - lots of small plates- good food
Drive to Pyongyang: Monipyongdae Native Home of President Kim Sung- looks like it was built 20 years ago
Dinner at Mangpyongdae restaurant: cold noodles
Diplomats Club: told us it was closed. No luck
Tomb of King Tong Mysong- lots of these mounds, fairly interesting
Jongrung Temple: boring
Drive to Wonsan: Songdowon Hotel- interesting drive to see the countryside and poverty
Wonsan Triumphal Museum- has a train on display that Kim Song once used: not interesting
Songdowon Interntional International Camping House: not International at all: was closed when we visited so very few kids around, aside from those refinishing the courtyard.
Songdowon Recreational Park: walk along beach- very nice place- saw lots of women picking wild plants and grass in the park to supplement their diet.
Chosan Corporative Farm: we had to miss this due to running out of time
Dinner at Wonsan Seabird Restaurant
Drive to Mr. Kympang - see the Garyong Falls: great hiking: just me and a Japanese traveler along with guides and some very few North Koreans- First time guides had ever seen this mountain- was closed to South Korea because of an earlier shooting death of a South Korean tourist.
Picnic Lunch near the stream
Drive back to Pyongyang: lots of rain: very bumpy ride- the highways are empty yet the roads are in terrible shape: felt like horseback riding at 60 mph.
Dinner at National Restaurant: which we did not get to because it had closed: instead took dinner at the hotel
Return by Train to china
Stop in Dandong and continue to Beijing.