Moscow to Pyongyang By Train Tour

  • Start Date: May 18, 2020
  • End Date: June 4, 2020
  • Price: €1695-2595
  • Duration: 18 nights / 17 days
  • Description
  • Itinerary

Moscow to Pyongyang is the longest uninterrupted train journey in the world, and after our successful trip last year YPT will be travelling there again from start to finish early this summer!

Although we are not doing the whole journey in one go we’ll have time to check out Moscow and the small town of Ussuriysk in Russia before we take the train over the border into North Korea – a route almost never experienced by tourists. We then will spend a day in Rason (the Special Economic Zone of North Korea), where we experience a economic side of the DPRK that is very different to its media portrayal – private markets and a bank – as well as its historical sites.

We’ll then head down to Pyongyang on a local train, navigating through five remote provinces of North Korea, passing untouched landscape and rarely viewed towns and villages.

Once in Pyongyang, we’ll be hitting up all the must-see sights such as Kim Il Sung Square, the Korean War Museum, ride the deep Pyongyang Metro, getting a beer with the locals and much more. Let’s not forget, no trip to the DPRK is complete without a visit down to the DMZ to see where both North and South Korea meet head-on.

Group A kicks off in Moscow and for those short on time Group B meets in Ussuriysk in Siberia, but we recommend doing the whole Moscow to Pyongyang journey. This is a tour for true pioneers.

Group A(€2595) start date: 18th May in Moscow

Group B(€1695) start date: 27th May in Ussuriysk

This tour closes on the 18th February and will only run if at least 6 people sign up. After the 18th of Februrary it still may be possible to join the tour, but this is dependent on train ticket availability. Please do not book your flight to Moscow until we confirm that the tour is going ahead two months before. For the tour to be successful, please register your interest as soon as possible.

Monday 18th May – Moscow

  • Check into our centrally located hotel in Moscow and meet the group at 1pm in the hotel lobby.
  • Kick-start the tour YPT style with a city tour of Moscow. We will see where some of the most crucial and chilling moments of the last few centuries of Russian history have been played out at the famous Red Square, pay a visit to Lenin in his mausoleum and overload on Soviet nostalgia.
  • Head for dinner at a chain restaurant called Varenichnaya with traditional Russian fare and a soviet decor. Drinks in Moscow in a Druzhba, or vodka shot bar and enjoy our last night of freedom!
  • Overnight in our centrally located hotel in Moscow.

Tuesday 19th  May – Moscow

  • Breakfast and then head out to further explore Moscow.
  • We will go for a stroll around Fallen Monument Park to check out the statues of Stalin as well as other Soviet relics from the past.
  • Head to the Park Pobedy dedicated to the victory of Russia against Germany, there, we will have a look at the museum dedicated to the Great Patriotic War
  • We then head to a shooting range nearby where we will have the chance to fire off one of the world’s most iconic weapons, the Kalishnikov. (Optional extra – 50 euro per person) Other weapons, such as WWII machine guns and SVG snipers are also available (prices vary)!
  • Lunch at a local Solichnaya, or soviet-style canteen, for tasty Russian classics.
  • In the afternoon, we will head to the newly restored VDKh, the USSR’s answer to the World Expo, home grandiose pavilions dedicated to each republic of the USSR,  the memorial museum of Cosmonautics and the legendary statue of the Worker and the Kolkhoz Women.
  • We’ll stop at a mall by our hotel to have dinner and also buy groceries to prepare for our train ride!

Wednesday 20th May – Trans-Siberian

  • Catch the 00:35 100 train from Moscow Pavelskaya Station to Ussuriysk in Russia’s deep East, our mammoth Trans-Siberian adventure starts now!
  • Settle in for the journey, we will have supplies of bread, cheese and sausages as well as a fair bit of vodka, or we can go to the dining car on the train for dinner.
  • Pass through Nizhny Novgorod, formerly Gorki and a famed city of exiles.
  • Overnight on the train.

Thursday 21st May – Trans-Siberian

  • In the morning we’ll pass Perm, already getting close to the Ural Mountains.
  • Arrive in Yekaterinburg; we’ll be making the most out of these stops to step off onto the platforms and stock up on supplies from the platform salesmen. From here on we’ll be entering Siberia.
  • Overnight on the train.

Friday 22nd May – Trans-Siberian

  • In the morning we’ll reach Novosibirsk, Siberia’s largest city.
  • We’ll be passing through the Altai mountains and scenery gets more and more impressive. Here’s where human settlements, let alone cities, start to get scarcer and scarcer, so we sit back and watch the world go by!
  • Overnight on the train.

Saturday 23rd May – Trans-Siberian

  • In the evening we’ll be passing Irkutsk and then the famously stunning Lake Baikal. This is where the Trans-Mongolian line heads down through Mongolia to Beijing, but we stay on course for the entire Trans-Siberian and Ussuriysk.
  • Overnight on the train.

Sunday 24th May – Trans-Siberian

  • We pass the city of Chita where the Trans-Manchurian line soon heads south through China’s northeast to Beijing, but we continue heading east!
  • By now we will have thoroughly befriended everyone on the train, including staff, and the vodka will have been well and truly flowing.
  • Overnight on the train.

Monday 25th May – Trans-Siberian

  • In the evening we’ll be crossing the Amur river and passing through Birobidzhan – the USSR’s answer to Israel, or Soviet Zion! It was here that an autonomous Jewish oblast was created in Stalin’s times, and it remains as the centre of Jewish life in Russia today.
  • Overnight on the train.

Tuesday 26th May – Trans-Siberian

  • Our last full day aboard the Trans-Siberian! By now we will know all the conductors by name, how many children they have and get special treats in the food carts.

Wednesday 27th May- Ussuryisk

  • Enjoy the last few hours on the train before we pull into Ussuriysk at 4:00 am local time.
  • We will head to hotel Gostinitsa Ussuryisk and get a few hour’s sleep in an actual bed!
  • Members of Group B join us
  • Breakfast at our hotel’s pirate-themed canteen, because, why not?
  • Once we are refreshed,  we’ll head out to the Korean Culture Centre, where we can learn more about the Korean diaspora in Russia and its history.
  • Lunch at Kazan-Mangal,  a restaurant that offers delicious food from Mongolian and other nomadic Russian cultures.
  • After lunch, we’ll head out to the nearby ghost town of Vodvizhenka. Vodvizhenka was an airbase used by the soviet union throughout World War two and the Cold War. Here, we can see two planes exposed in town.  One is an SU-7 supersonic jet prototype and another a TU-16 bomber which was recovered after crashing in the Sea of Japan. We will also try to visit the actual airbase for some urban exploration,  provided the local authorities don’t mind.
  • We head back to Ussuriysk for dinner in a Korean restaurant to introduce ourselves to what will be our food like from tomorrow on!
  • Drinks at a local Stolichnaya , keeping in mind that we’ll start early the next day.
  • Night at the hotel.

Thursday 28th May – Ussuriysk

  • Catch the 5:29am 652э train to Rason – The special economic zone of the DPRK – arriving at 11:45am local time.
  • Go through border checks on the Russian side in Khasan and the DPRK side in Tumangang
  • We will be met by our local Korean guides in Rason and head straight to check into our hotel

Afternoon

  • Visit the Mosaic Pictures of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il.
  • Rason Revolutionary Museum
  • Rason Art Gallery
  • Visit the souvenir shop combined with a foreign language bookshop
  • Visit Golden Triangle Bank – it is permitted to exchange foreign currencies into Korean Won at an unpublished rate and to open a local DPRK bank account. Here you can use and keep your local DPRK debit card as a souvenir
  •  Visit the only private market where tourists are able to visit in the DPRK. Here it is possible to see what’s available for normal citizens to buy and sell. Tourists can use local DPRKorean Won as well as other hard currencies. This is one of the best and cheapest places on the planet to buy some great seafood, soviet clothing, cigarettes, alcohol and other goodies.
  • Dinner in the Rason International Travel Agency Restaurant
  • Evening drinks at an outdoor barbecue
  • Overnight in Rason

Friday 29th May – Rason

  • Say goodbye to our two local guides and depart Rason on the 10:30 train to Pyongyang!
  • We will pass through 5 provinces of beautiful untouched landscapes and rural towns.
  • The train is a hard sleeper, so there are bunks, but there is no dining car on the train, however, we will be able to buy snacks, drinks and prepared meals at stations along the way.
  • Overnight on the train

Saturday 30th May-Pyongyang

  • We continue our journey through gorgeous and rarely seen Korean countryside before finally arriving in Pyongyang at 22:00PM
  • Check-in at the Chongnyon Hotel for a well-earned rest.

Sunday 31st May – Pyongyang

Morning

  • Kumsusan Palace of the Sun – The mausoleum of President Kim Il Sung and General Kim Jong Il.
  • Revolutionary Martyr’s Cemetery – the resting place of the greatest anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters, each grave features a bronze bust of the hero laid to rest within.

Afternoon

  • Lunch at the Korean Hot Pot Restaraunt.
  • After all the travel and sightseeing we’ll have a relaxing Sunday afternoon, starting with:
  • Visit the famous Pyongyang Gold Lane Bowling Alley to try your hand at some bowling or enjoy some local video games, VR Games or indoor Paintball! You can also just relax and have a beer at the on-site microbrewery or a coffee next door if you’re feeling chill. (Services at the Gold Lane are extra Charge)
  • Munsu Water Park- With Indoor and outdoor pools and amazing waterslides, the park also features plenty for those who don’t want to swim, including a Haemaji coffee shop, a beer bar, table tennis, billiards, massage, or a beauty salon (various services extra charge, swimming and access to the gym, table tennis and billiards is 10 euro).
  • Dinner at a local Korean restaurant on Ryomyong Street.
  • Overnight at Chongnyon hotel.

Monday 1st June – Children’s Day

Morning

  • Walkthrough Mansudae fountain park and see the mosaic pictures of President Kim Il Sung and the leader Kim Jong Il.
  • Visit Mansudae Grand Monument – the two large bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Leader Kim Jong Il overlooking the city. (Optional extra- you can present flowers if you wish: small bunches are 2 euro, larger ones 4). We expect it to be very busy at this time with locals paying their respect.
  • Foreign Language Bookshop- Shopping central for books, pins, DVD’s, CD’s and periodicals in English and other foreign Languages, followed by a brisk walk to:
  • Kim Il Sung Square- The central square of Pyongyang City.
  • Trip Highlight – Visit Mangyondae Fun Fair to watch the children celebrate in a “true DPRK style” Children’s Day with sports, games, and other fun activities! Feel free to jump in and participate in all the activities during the morning!

Afternoon

  • Lunch in the KITC restaurant. Here’s your chance to try Pyongyang’s famous Pyongyang Cold Noodles or traditional Korean Bibimap mixed rice dish.
  • Pyongyang Metro – ride 5 stops on the famous Pyongyang Underground!
  • Exiting at the Arch of Triumph – the largest Victory Arch in the world, built to celebrate the triumphant return of Kim Il Sung after the anti-Japanese war.
  • Visit the recently renovated Korean War Museum. Let the expert local guide show you around the enormous museum featuring dioramas, locally used weapons, tanks, etc., and captured American equipment!
  • USS Pueblo – the only US Naval Ship still held captive by another nation.
  • Juche Tower – a monument to the everlasting Juche Ideology (optional 5 euros to go to the top).
  • Monument to the Party Foundation – built-in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the worker’s party
  • Stop by Kwangbok Department store – one of the busiest stores in Pyongyang where we can buy local goods using the local currency
  • Stop by the local Mansugyo Beer Bar for refreshments – here there are seven different types of locally brewed beer! Soft drinks, coffee and juices also available
  • Dinner at the National Restaurant with performance!
  • Overnight at the Chongnyon Hotel

Tuesday 2nd June – Kaesong and DMZ

Morning

  • Up nice and early to drive to Kaesong and the DMZ.
  • The DMZ- See one of the tensest places on earth complete with a friendly KPA officer who will not only give you a guided tour but also keep you safe. Also the only place you can take photographs of and even with a soldier!
  • Koryo Museum- Korea’s first university and now a museum of history and culture. Also home of the best stamp and propaganda poster shop in the DPRK, so don’t forget your wallet!

Afternoon

  • Lunch at the Thongil Restaurant in Kaesong City- try your hand at traditional Korean Pansangi- a series of dishes served in bronze bowls. (Optional extras- Dog soup 5 euro, Ginseng Stuffed Whole Chicken 30 euro- can be split between several).
  • Drop by Sariwon City (Capital of North Hwanghae province) to walk in the local folk custom park and view the city from the mountain top pagoda.
  • Photo opportunity of the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, standing over the Thongil Highway.
  • Get back to Pyongyang for dinner at Duck BBQ restaurant
  • Overnight at the Chongnyon Hotel

Wednesday 3rd  June – Pyongyang/Dandong

Morning

  • Train members depart at 10:25am for the overnight train to Beijing and enjoy the peaceful countryside of both the DPRK and China
  • Flight members carry on to visit:
  • Pyongyang Railway Museum- A rarely visited museum that documents the history of Railroads and trains in the DPRK.
  • The Three Revolutions Exhibition- This exhibition features different exhibits showing advancements made in technology, Ideology and Culture since the revolution.
  • Flight members depart on Air China at 17:25pm arriving in Beijing PEK Airport T3 at 18:30 pm

Thursday 4th June – Beijing

  • Train members arrive into Beijing Railway Station at 9:00am

Tour Highlights

  • Ride on the longest train journey in the world, nearly 7000km in total!
  • Visit the rarely explored Rason Special Economic Zone on the North Korean border with Russia and China, including private markets, factories and a bank.
  • Experience the best that Pyongyang has to offer and see the DMZ and Panmunjon from the North.
  • Special Children’s Day events: a huge and very unique event including games, rides, and events to partake in.

Inclusions and Exclusions

Tour price inclusion:

  • All transport and accommodation to complete the tour
  • All meals in the DPRK (except on the train)
  • YPT guide throughout, local guide in Russia and local guides in the DPRK
  • Entrance fees unless stated

Tour price exclusion:

  • Travel to and from the tour
  • Russian visa (YPT can provide visa support)
  • DPRK Visa (€50 extra charge)
  •  Single supplement (available 8 nights €320)
  • Meals and drinks on the train and dinner in Russia
  •  Tips for the local guides
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