Credit: Koryo Tours
BEIJING-BASED Koryo Tours has opened the North Korean tourism market another fraction with the introduction of the first railway journey to traverse the secretive state.
The company’s 11-day trip – billed as an “eastern adventure by rail” – will take foreign tourists from Pyongyang to Mount Myohyang and on to the east and north-east coasts of the country. The journey concludes in the industrial city of Chongjin, almost on the border with Russia.
Travel to this part of North Korea has been tightly restricted in the past and anyone wanting to visit the north-east was previously required to take a special charter flight.
Cities such as Sinpho and Kimchaek are also along the route and are as-yet unexplored by foreign tourists, Koryo Tours said.
The inaugural trip, scheduled for October 2, will cost around US$3,220.
The period of the tour also coincides with Party Foundation Day, one of the most important days on North Korea’s calendar, marking the founding of the Workers’ Party. Participants will be able to watch march-pasts by the military, firework displays and mass dances.
Koryo Tours also states there is a chance to “mingle with the locals” during the celebrations.
Nick Bonner, the British founder of Koryo Tours, said he has high hopes that tourism will have a positive impact on North Korea’s relations with countries and people from outside its borders, adding that he sees the company’s efforts “as a form of diplomacy”.