North Korea Programme: Still Nothing to Envy?
(HKU Reading Week)
14 to 19 October 2017
Amidst the high time of political tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea seems to be ignoring critics and advancing with its own ambition. Will the boasting slogan of “Nothing to Envy” eventually prevail in a world according to Kim Jong Un?
North Korea Programme: Still Nothing to Envy? 北韓行：我們仍然最幸福？ will bring you to see the world’s most isolated country that is having a materialistic life supported by gradually permitted market activities, but at the same time the country is undergoing the toughest international sanction. “세상에 부럼 없어라” (Nothing to Envy) is a typical slogan you can see everywhere in North Korea, especially in kindergartens and schools. We will revisit Kim Jong Un’s policy of developing military and economy in parallel (並進政策) and critically assess whether it’s improving the lives of local Koreans.
Day 1: 14 October
- Arrive at Great Wall Hotel (長城酒店) in Dandong, China (丹東市) , followed by welcome dinner at a North Korean run restaurant and free time. Dandong is a Chinese city bordering Sinuiju (新義州) , the special economic zone built by North Korea modelling on Hong Kong. You will be able to locate a hidden Korean presence in this quirky Chinese small town.
Day 2: 15 October
Dandong > Pyongyang
- Train from Dandong to Pyongyang City (平壤市) : throughout the train journey you will be able to meet local Koreans, from young athletes to businessmen – a great opportunity to talk with them and get a brief idea about the world’s most isolated country.
- Arrival at Pyongyang City, to be greeted by our familiar local guides
- Visit Kim Il Sung Square 金日成廣場, where one of the largest military parades in the world is held
- Overnight at Sosan Hotel 西山飯店
Day 3: 16 October
- Arrive at Pyongsong City (平城市), a second tier city near Pyongyang
- Visit Kim Jong Suk No.1 Middle School 金正淑第一中學 , where Language Exchange with local students will be conducted. We will also provide daily life materials to support the school and students there.
- Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum 祖國解放戰爭紀念館 – learn about the North Korean version of the Korean War
- Extended Ride in Pyongyang Metro 平壤地鐵, the best opportunity to mingle and mix with the local Pyongyang urban dwellers
- Grand People Study House 人民大學習堂, interacting with adult English students who are from various segments of the society. We will talk to the citizens about the impact of sanctions to their lives
- Exclusive visit to a local department store 本地百貨公司 , a rare and exclusive chance to witness Pyongyang’s most popular department store that is rarely attended by foreign visitors. We will learn more about how market has started to have a impact on people’s lives, and the phenomenon of the return of capitalism.
- Kaeson Amusement Park 凱旋遊樂場 – have fun with the locals! We always say the Koreans here wear their most genuine smiles.
- Stay at Sosan Hotel 西山飯店
Day 4: 17 October
- Private walking at Ryomyong Street 黎明大街, the newly built street under the leadership of Kim Jong Un.
- Exclusive Tram Ride 獨特電車遊, a rare chance to experience common transport tools of Pyongyang citizens. Most of the trams were assembled in the former Czechoslovakia during Soviet times before 1991.
- Private walking at Future Scientist Street 未來科學家街 , we will walk along the new modern street built for Pyongyang’s professors and scientists.
- Lunch in the Pizza Restaurant in Pyongyang , feel the heightening influence of Westernisation in the country.
- Mansudae Grand Monument 萬壽台紀念碑, visit the two high statues of the country’s two most important leaders, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
- Juche Tower 主體思想塔 , learn about the country’s governing idea and its survival.
- Children Palace 少年宮 , we will be able to see how the young kids perform and practise musical instruments and sport activities. You will be amazed by their talents!
- Depart for Kaesong City 開城市
- Stay overnight at Minsok Folk Hotel in Kaesong City 開城民宿, the traditional Hanok houses inherited from Koryo Dynasty, you will have a feel of living in the ancient times.
Day 5: 18 October
Kaesong, Sariwon, Pyongyang
- Private Walking to Kaesong Old Town Centre 開城中心城區 , the walk in this simple and traditional city will give you a very different Korean image, one that is the exact opposite of the hustle and bustle in Pyongyang
- Demilitarized Zone/Panmunjom 三八線/板門店 , the most fortified border on Earth that still sees the standoff between the two Koreas
- Koryo Museum 高麗博物館 , a UNESCO heritage that preserves ancient Korean relics
- Depart for Sariwon 沙里院
- Visit the Sariwon Co-operative Farm 沙里院農場 , and experience Rice Harvesting 稻米收割體驗 with the local farmers – a perfect chance to experience the life of North Korean, and to understand the agricultural industry there
- Return to Pyongyang
- Farewell dinner with our Korean guides at a duck BBQ Restaurant
- Taedong River Bar 大同江酒吧 , a local bar in Pyongyang – relax and have a chit chat with our friendly Korean guides there
- Stay overnight at Yanggakdo Hotel 羊角島飯店
Day 6: 19 October
Pyongyang > Dandong
- Bongsu Church 鳳岫教會
- Arrival at Dandong in the evening
- Group Dinner
- Discussion session on current issues related to North Korea, facilitated by our North Korean expert. We will reflect on the North Korean society under the leadership of Kim Jong Un (also called the Byungjin era 並進時代, the emphasis on both military advancement and economic development)
End of Programme
- The accommodation of this night in Dandong is also included.
*The above itinerary is for reference only and is subject to change. Registrants will receive a full itinerary with programme details via email.
*Note 1: Walk In Hong Kong (License No.: 353919) is the responsible tour operator of this programme.
*Note 2: Applicants holding South Korean, US, Malaysian and Japan passports are not accepted in this tour.
*Note 3: For our policies concerning the security of travelling to the DPRK, please click here.
Our Tour Fee includes
- Application for visa to the DPRK
- Transportation from Dandong, China to the DPRK and return (inc. taxes and surcharges)
- Transportation in Dandong, China and the DPRK
- Shared twin-room accommodation in China (2 nights) and the DPRK (4 nights)
- Meals in China and the DPRK as indicated on the Briefing Note (you will receive this after registration)
- Two tour guides and one driver per group
- One Eastern Vision tour mentor per group
- All entry fees to museums
- Academic materials
Our Tour Fee excludes
- Extra meals or activities and souvenirs in the DPRK and China
- Tips to DPRK tour guides and driver (around 200 RMB)
- Travel Insurance*
- Double Entry China Visa**
- Transportation from Hong Kong (or your place of origin) to Dandong, China***
*An appropriate and adequate travel insurance is a condition of travelling to the DPRK.
**For some passport holders who need to acquire a visa to enter China, you are reminded to secure a proper visa for double entry, as we will go in and out of China twice. We can assist you with this.
***Our programme starts and ends at Dandong. You are free to arrange your own flights/trains to Shenyang. However, we also facilitate a separate, non-bundled Group Flight Option if you depart from Hong Kong:
Outbound (Hong Kong – Shenyang): 13 Oct 2017
Inbound (Shenyang – Hong Kong): 20 Oct 2017
Both flights are operated by China Southern Airline. Connecting bus service between Shenyang Taoxian International Airport and Vienna International Hotel and transfer from Shenyang to Dandong will also be included.
Further details will be provided in the Briefing Note (you will receive this after registration).