Archive for July, 2013

2014 Young Pioneer DPRK Tours

Looking forward to the release of our 2014 DPRK lineup:

By August 2nd YPT will be launching our DPRK 2014 program, which whilst having some similar bits to 2013, will have a few cool extras thrown in. We will also once again be offering massive discounts to early bookers.

Musk Deer Mountian North Korea

A guide picks azaleas on Musk Dear Mountain in Rason, North Korea – photo by Joseph A Ferris III

I have a quiet autumn for DPRK trips; a private Rason trip is currently the only thing on my schedule for North Korea.  In November I will helping Gareth Johnson, YPT founder, on the month long Eurasian Adventure Tour, and in December I plan to head down to Africa to scout out Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somaliland for a spring Young Pioneer Tours trip that I plan to guide in that region.  My hope is to work a long winter and spring on my ship and have the 2014 summer free to guide during the busy DPRK season – with luck I will score the Mt. Baekdu trip!

In between these tours you can look for me at our newly acquired North Korean theme bar in Yangshuo, China, where I will be serving beers and selling trips this October.

Discounts at the DMZ Bar when you book a YPT Tour

The bar is staffed at all times by at least one, but oftentimes a few YPT full time guides/tour organizers, with our being that it can be a great place in the sun to sit, enjoy a beer, and talk about all things tour related with an expert about the DPRK, and all of the other great places we go to with YPT. Essentially it is as much a branch office as it is a bar, with it being fully fitted with books and brochures about the country as well as our experts.

Therefore to add a little spice to the place we are offering a 5% discount on all tours booked, and where the cash deposit has been paid at the bar. Very simple, you make the effort to come to the bar, or by even luckier chance happen to be going through there anyway, and YPT give you a sexy little discount, and you never know, you might actually enjoy yourselves!

Give the DMZ Bar a like on its Facebook page!

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Pyongyang Viennese Coffee Shop

Getting your caffeine fix in North Korea can be quite a challenge. A tasteless cup of instant coffee is usually provided with hotel breakfasts, and a cup of instant can be mixed up for a Euro at the various rest stops and lunch/dinner restaurants. But coffee lovers don’t despair; a proper latte or cappuccino can be had at the Viennese Coffee Shop located off Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung square. The coffee shop is open for tourists and doesn’t require a prearranged permit, just ask your guides if there is time to stop by.

Pyongyang Viennese Coffee Shop

While located in Pyongyang, a latte at the Viennese Coffee Shop will cost as much as one goes for in the Austrian capital!

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Not only does this lovely North Korea barista whip up a great cappuccino, she is also a champion foosball (table football) player. Ask her to play a couple games; an hour of foosball at the table in the back room goes for a Euro.


Chongjin Kindergarten Performance

With all the colors and adorable costumes, the Chongjin City kindergarten performance is my favorite student’s show in North Korea.  Below are photos from my April 2013 Chongjin kindergarten visit:

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Kindergarten Performance Chongjin, North Korea

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


The FBI in North Korea

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Shhhhh, dont tell, but the FBI has infiltrated North Korea!

Actually it’s just a Chinese knockoff hat worn by a North Korean at the Mt. Chilbo Home Stay Village. The man had no idea what the hat signified and seemed bewildered by all the attention and requests for photos – and just to be clear, he was wearing the hat, we didn’t put it on him.


More North Korean Children’s School Propaganda Art

Rason Foreign Language School North Korea

Framed print at the Rason Foreign Language School showing school children stabbing an American GI, Japanese imperialist, and a South Korean running dog.

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Jet, apple, ship, star, tank, and pear on a poster at the Sonbong Kindergarten.

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Military personnel, unified Korea, and a missile launch on a painted exterior wall at the Sonbong Kindergarten.

Photos by Joseph A Ferris III


Rason Korean Language Tour

Rason Korean Language Tour

Dates: August 13 – August 19 2013
Price: 995 Euros

Rason Foreign Language School North Korea

An afternoon of interaction and study with the lovely students of the  Rason Foreign Language School is included in the itinerary.

Join us for our first ever Korean Language Tour, being held in the Rason Special Economic Zone of the DPRK. This trip is perfect for beginner level speakers of Korean to come and learn the local DPRK dialect in a relaxed setting with both a Korean-American and DPR Korean teacher in the morning, whilst using your afternoons and evenings to practice your new language skills authentically.

This trip is aimed at those with little to no knowledge of Korean. For speakers of a higher level, alternative classes and itinerary can be arranged.

The classes will involve learning the Korean alphabet, everyday Korean, as well as essentials like restaurant and shopping vocabulary.

This tour would be of particular interest to people who have already been to the DPRK “mainland”, and wish to step really off the beaten track. Those people interested in the opening up of the DPRK economy (we can arrange business meetings for those joining the tour), and anyone with an interest in seeing this very unique part of the country.

Not to mention that Rason is the ONLY place in the DPRK where you receive a stamp in your passport (excluding US and Japanese passports), and can also change local money freely, as well visit the private markets.

We are currently offering discounts for group bookings, students, return customers and those combining the language course with other tours.

Unfortunately I’m still working on my ship in Aug. and wont be available to guide this trip (hopefully next year), but for those interested in joining up with one of YPT’s other fantastic guides there is still time to sign up and get a discount by contacting me at joseph@youngpioneertours.com


Late September Rason SEZ Trip

Join Young Pioneer Tours founder Gareth Johnson and I for a late September VIP business interests trip to the Rason Special Economic Zone of North Korea.

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Jets, missiles, and tanks at a Rason SEZ kindergarten playground.

We are still finalizing itinerary details and dates, but in addition to planned meetings with officials (perfect for those interested in the opening up of the DPRK economy), we will visit the Triangle Bank, the only place in North Korea where it is permitted for tourists to change the Korean Won at the “street” rate, and visit the Rason public market, the only place where you can legally spend your newly acquired Won – truly unique experiences!

We are only taking a limited amount of travelers on this trip, but spaces are available.  I will post the dates (probably heading there around Sept 23rd), price, and itinerary as soon as I get them confirmed by the North Koreans.  Email me at joseph@youngpioneertours.com for more info.

Pics from my May 2013 trip to Rason SEZ:

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With kindergarten students after a performance.

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A hike to revolutionary sites on Musk Dear Mountain.

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A close look at North Korean ships at the Rason port.

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Seafood I bought with local currency at the Rason public market.

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With North Korean guide Mr. Moon at the monument to Ri Song Sin – builder of the Turtle Boat.