Tailor-Made Holiday

North & South Korea

Explore these fascinating and vastly different countries over 16 days

16 days

from £6,395pp

Two starkly different yet fascinating countries. This 16-day holiday combines both North and South Korea including the highlights of both and reveals how geographically and historically similar yet socially different these two Korea’s are.

  • Visit the worlds most isolated nation resplendent with mosaics and statues of its leaders
  • Travel over one of North Koreas national holidays and experience mass celebrations
  • Take in a music, dance or circus performance – the people of North Korea learn a range of skills from an early age
  • Learn about the history and separation of these two countries with a visit to the DMZ
  • Escape the cities of South Korea and explore dramatic mountains and lush national parks
  • Discover the buzzing city of Seoul where ancient and modern sit side by side

North Korea

Fly from Beijing into the capital city of Pyongyang, your base for the next five nights. Almost entirely built from scratch following the Korean War, North Korea's largest city is full of statues and monuments in homage to their leaders including the Mansudae Grand Monument, a bronze statue which all visitors to the country are expected to pay a floral tribute.

A ride on the Pyongyang metro offers the chance to glimpse the everyday lives of the locals, however at all times during your visit to North Korea you will be accompanied by your official guides. Your itinerary schedule will be fixed with little flexibility or spontaneity allowed although good relations with your guides can lead to rewarding additional experiences. Mingling with the locals, can be difficult but is positively encouraged in certain situations, such as a visit to Moranbong Park, a favoured picnic spot.

Travel out of the city for a day excursion to the mountains, rivers and magical scenery of Mt. Myohyang, a wonderful place to do some walking. Also home to the Friendship Museum where thousands of gifts presented to Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-Il from various world leaders are exhibited. The gifts range from a crocodile skin briefcase from Fidel Castro to full size railway carriages from Mao and Stalin!

The DMZ

The Demilitarized Zone or DMZ at Panmunjom is essentially the buffer zone between North and South Korea. Offering a true insight into the conflict between these two countries, a visit to this border is fascinating but tense. Surrounded by barbed wire fences and armed guards it is possible to enter one of the huts that straddle the border, where negotiations between the two countries took place. One is starkly aware of the tensions that still very much exist.

It is possible to visit the DMZ from both North and South Korea.

South Korea

Return to Beijing before flying into the city of Busan in South Korea. The differences from North Korea will be immediately apparent, from the busy roads to the contemporary hotels, modern technology and of course, the freedom to stroll out of your hotel as and when you wish.

The southern beachfront city of Busan is the country’s second largest city and is a bustling spot to spend a few nights. Over seven days travel overland between Busan and the capital of Seoul. Journey to Pyeongchang, soon to be host of the 2018 winter Olympics, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hahoe Folk Village and Mt. Seoraksan National Park, home to dramatic mountains and rock formations, dense forests, hot springs and diverse wildlife.

Spend three nights in Seoul, a wonderful city where traditional wooden houses sit alongside sparkling skyscrapers. Visit the World Heritage listed Changdeokgung Palace with its beautiful gardens and Gwangjiang Market, the city’s largest food alley as well as many other sites.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • International flights
  • Internal flights
  • All accommodation and meals as stated in the itinerary
  • All transfers

what is excluded

  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities

PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Beijing overnight

Day 2

Day at leisure in Beijing


Beijing is China's capital, and a city of epic proportions. It is a cauldron of history, culture and enterprise. Offering a feast of elaborate and ambitious architecture, world famous landmarks, and culinary delights.


You will be staying at Novotel Xinqiao Hotel

Day 3

Fly Beijing to Pyongyang


Capital of North Korea and completely destroyed during the Korean War, Pyongyang has come to be a physical manifestation of its rulers' soviet ideals. Presented with a blank slate after the city's annihilation at the hands of the UN forces, the Korean Workers' Party fashioned a grandiose, yet impersonal city, glorifying the Juche philosophy.

Many landmarks commemorate the rule of Kim Il-sung, North Korea's 'Eternal President', but the city's most imposing structure is the eerie unfinished Ryugyong Hotel. A monolithic pyramid, this construction's 105 storeys make it visible from anywhere in the city.


Afternoon Arrival Sightseeing of Pyongyang
On arrival you will be driven to Mansudae Grand Monument. Erected in April 1972 the centrepiece is a statue of Kim Il Sung flanked either side by monuments to the Anti-Japanese struggle and the Korean War. The statue is made of bronze and is some 20 metres tall. Behind the statue is the Korean Revolution Museum with a mosaic of Mt Paekdu - perhaps the DPRK’s most famous sacred mountain. This is a sacred place for the Koreans so be on best behaviour and relatively smart. Visitors are expected to lay flowers and bow to show respect as the local people do.

In the late afternoon, visit the Arch of Triumph, erected in 1982 to celebrate the 70th birthday of Kim Il-jung. Built from 25,500 blocks of white granite, each one represents a day of the Korean leader's life.
Afterwards, take a walk through Fountain Park. One of the more relaxed places in Pyongyang, it is here that many newly-wed couples come to have their pictures taken amongst the white alabaster statues.


Dinner included


You will be staying at Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 4

Morning Sightseeing of Pyongyang
Kumsusan Memorial Palace was Kim Il Sung's official residence when he was alive - it is now a sombre yet impressive shrine to the 'Eternal President'. Please note that visitors are expected to wear smart clothing which means shirt and tie for men. Best behaviour. No cameras.

For the revolutionaries who fought against Japanese occupation, the Revolutionary Martyrs' cemetery contains around 110 bronze busts. At the top there is a bust of Kim Jong Il's late mother who was an anti-Japanese guerrilla herself.

Browse the Foreign Languages Bookshop, the place to come to buy foreign language editions of some of the DPRK's most famous literary works.

Kim Il Sung Square is the central square of the capital where dances and rallies often take place. The square is 75,000 square metres (larger than the Red Square in Moscow) and on the buildings around the square you can see portraits of Kim Il Sung, Marx, and Lenin.


Afternoon Sightseeing of Pyongyang
This afternoon visit the straw-thatched house which was the birthplace of Kim Il Sung. Complete with various family treasures it offers an insight into the lifestyle of people of his class in the early part of the 20th century.

Also take a trolley bus ride around the city and visit Pyongyang Film Studio, where it is possible to walk amongst the film sets. Containing mocked-up versions of 'western' buildings, many of these sets appear bizarre to outsiders.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included


You will be staying at Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 5

Morning Sightseeing to Kaesong
Today visit Panmunjom/DMZ, the border between North and South Korea and the Korean People’s Army - the division of the Korean peninsula. Visit the hall where the armistice talks were held and the armistice itself was signed. It is possible to cross the border for a few steps in the building that straddles the demarcation line.

Visit the Koryo Museum showcasing relics from the Koryo dynasty as well as the stamp shop which has an extensive collection of the many beautiful stamps that have been produced plus 3D postcards. More interesting than it sounds.


Afternoon Sightseeing
Twenty minutes outside Kaesong is the twin-domed Tomb of King Kongmin, the 31st King of the Koryo Dynasty, and his wife, which remained largely undamaged during the Korean War. Ask your guide to tell you the story of how the area got its name of 'Oh Dear Hill'.

Golden Lane Bowling Centre is where Pyongyanger's go for their ten-pin fix. It also has some early 90s arcade games. Even if you do not play, it is worth sitting to watch locals having fun. It is one of the most popular places for boys and girls to meet or take their dates.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included


You will be staying at Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 6

Morning Sightseeing of Pyongyang
This morning re-visit all of the Mansudae Grand Monuments including the Juche tower. Unveiled on Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday - April 15th 1982 the tower is 150m tall and is topped by a 20m torch. It was constructed ’out of a unanimous desire and firm will to fight resolutely for the ultimate victory of the Juche cause.’ Juche is the guiding ideology of the DPRK, developed by the Great Leader and adhered to and practiced by all the nation’s people

The Party Foundation Monument is a huge stone sculpture consisting of a Hammer, a Sickle, and Writing Brush which signify the intellectual element as well as the usual farmers and workers iconography - each one 50 metres high. This monument was constructed to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Korean Workers Party.

Pyongyang Metro has 2 lines and 16 stations and doubles as an air raid shelter. Station names include Punhung (Reconstruction), Yonggwang (Glory), Ponghwa (Torchlight), Sungni (Victory), Thongil (Reunification), Kaeson (Triumphal Return), Hwanggumbol (Fields Billowing with Golden Ears of Crops), Kwangbok (Liberation) and Ragwon (Paradise). Murals inside the stations illustrate the DPRK’s liberation and socialist construction. Visitors are only allowed to travel between Yonggwang and Thongil.


Afternoon Sightseeing
Also known as the Korean War Museum, this museum features exhibits extolling the achievements of the Korean People’s Army in defeating US imperialism during the Korean War (1950-53). Captured US tanks, planes, and helicopters are sealed in the basement - never again to see the light of day, as well as other exhibits used to put forward the Korean version of events. Incredible 360° panorama of one of the DPRK army’s most famous battles, live action models, blasting bombs (sounds) and revolutionary music all add to the experience.

After dinner this evening have some fun at Kaeson funfair.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included


You will be staying at Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 7

Morning Sightseeing to Mt. Myohyang
This morning drive to Mt. Myohyang ("Mysterious Fragrant Mountain"), a mountain that was named after the mystic shapes and fragrances found in the area. The International Friendship Exhibition Centre is located at Myohyang-san, dubbed the world's biggest treasure-house displaying presents received by the North Korean leaders over the ages.

After lunch visit the Buddhist Pohyon Temple, located within the Myohyang Mountains and founded under the Koryo dynasty at the start of the 11th century; the temple flourished as one of the greatest centres of Buddhism in the north of Korea, and became a renowned place of pilgrimage. Like most other temples in North Korea, the complex suffered extensive damage from US bombing during the Korean War. The temple is designated as National Treasure No. 40 in North Korea - with many of its component buildings and structures further declared as individual national treasures. Return to Pyongyang.


Afternoon Sightseeing in Pyongyang
Opened in 1982 the Grand People's Study House holds over 30 million books and accommodates more than 120,000 people each day. Offering lectures, talks and classes, people frequently visit this place on a day off to study various topics such as English, Juche ideology and computers.

Also visit Taedonggang No3 Microbrewery and bar.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included


You will be staying at Yanggakdo Hotel

Day 8

Fly Pyongyang to Beijing

Fly Beijing to Busan


Breakfast included


You will be staying at Park Hyatt Busan Hotel

Day 9

Full Day Sightseeing
Today visit the UN Memorial Cemetery where UN soldiers from 16 countries, killed in battle during the Korean War are honoured. Also visit Busan Tower, Jagalchi Fish Market and Gukje Market.


Breakfast & Lunch included


You will be staying at Park Hyatt Busan Hotel

Day 10

Travel overland from Busan to Gyeongju


Sightseeing around Gyeongju
Today visit the Temple of Bulguksa (built in 774) and the Seokguram Grotto dating from the 8th Century. Built on Mount Toham the grotto contains a statue of the Buddha looking at the sea in the bhumisparsha mudra position and surrounded by beautifully sculpted portrayals of gods, Bodhisattvas and disciples. The Gyeongju National Museum is home to a wonderful array of jewellery, weaponry and other ceremonial items from the Shilla dynasty Large ancient tombs of kings and nobles of the Silla Kingdom can be seen around Gyeongju at the Daereungwon Tomb Complex (Cheonmachong Tomb).

Also visit Daereungwon, home to 23 large tombs, the most famous of which is Cheonmachong, discovered during an excavation of the area in the 1970s. A painting of a mounted horse was unearthed and is the only known painting from the Silla era. Contents found within the tombs are testament to the lavish lifestyle lived by the kings and queens of this time.


Breakfast & Lunch included


You will be staying at Gyeongju Hilton Hotel

Day 11

Travel from Gyeongju to Pyeongchang via Hahoe Folk Village


Travel to Andong, a rural and picturesque area and visit the Hahoe Folk Village. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site this traditional village is home to 230 residents who still follow the old way of life. Nearby Buyongdae Cliff offers wonderful views of the village below.

Also visit the Byeongsanseowon Confucian Academy which dates from 1572.


Breakfast & Lunch included


You will be staying at Pyeongchang Intercontinental Hotel

Day 12

Travel from Pyeongchang to Sokcho via Mount Seoraksan


Travel to Sokcho via Mt.Seoraksan National Park which has been designated a Biosphere Protection site by Unesco. This is a beautiful area of lush forests and dramatic mountains. Ascend Gwongeumseong Peak by cable car as well as the majestic Sinheungsa Temple.

Continue on to the bustling port of Daepohang, home to many excellent fresh fish markets and restaurants.


Breakfast & Lunch included


You will be staying at Kensington Star Hotel

Day 13

Travel from Sokcho to Seoul


National Museum of Korea and Seoul Tower
Today explore the National Museum of Korea, home to many of Korea's ancient treasures.

Seoul Tower sits atop Namsan Mountain and the observatory boasts wonderful panoramic views over the city.


Breakfast & Lunch included


You will be staying at T Mark Grand Hotel

Day 14

Full Day Sightseeing of Seoul
Today visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, originally built by King Taejo, founder of the Joseon dynasty. In 1592 the palace was burnt to the ground during the Japanese invasions and was subsequently rebuilt various times. What exists today is a wonderful reconstruction. The compounds include a number of museums and traditional gardens.

Also visit the National Folk Museum which covers the history of the Korean people.

Insadong Antique Alley showcases Korean traditional culture and crafts and Namdaemun Market, located in the centre of Seoul, is the biggest traditional market in Korea.

This evening see a Nanta Performace - a silent comedy show!


Breakfast & Lunch included


You will be staying at T Mark Grand Hotel

Day 15

Full Day Sightseeing of Seoul
Today visit Bukchon Hanok Village, a chance to see traditional Korean homes.

Changdeokgung Palace & Secret Garden is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the "Five Grand Palaces' built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. Also take a waander around Gwangjang Market - a traditional street market.

War Memorial of Korea is a vast museum which documents the history of the Korean War.


Breakfast & Lunch included


You will be staying at T Mark Grand Hotel

Day 16

Fly Seoul to London

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of North Korea

Paul Craven, Travel Expert

" I spoke to five different companies, but Paul was by far the most knowledgeable and empathetic."

"The service which I received from your Travel Expert Paul Craven was excellent, he was able to answer any queries I put to him."

"Paul must be congratulated on his expertise and great patience in dealing with all my programme changes. He must dread my phone calls!! A big thank-you from both of us to Paul and Carol."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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