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Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

posts: 87
reviews: 17
Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

I have found the following tour operators and would like to know if anybody has experience with any of these.

It appears that most cover the same sights but there is a fairly wide price range. As they use the same hotel I'm guessing the other differences would be the type of room, quality of the meals and the bus/vans used for transportation (and of course the desired profit margin!)

In addition to finding a recommended tour operator, I'm trying to figure if there really are benefits in going with one of the higher priced tour operators.

KTG Travel north-korea-travel.com/north-korea-group-tou…

Koyro Tours http://www.koryogroup.com/

Explore North Korea http://www.explorenorthkorea.com/

Korea Konsult http://www.koreakonsult.com/index_eng.htm

North Korea 1 on 1 http://www.northkorea1on1.com/

Young Pioneers http://www.youngpioneertours.com/

Lupine Travel www.lupinetravel.co.uk/north-korea-tour.html

RegentHolidays regent-holidays.co.uk/country/north-korea/

(Appeared to be the best alternative but all 2010 tours are full)

Korean Friendship Association http://www.korea-dpr.com/travel.htm

Global Exchange www.globalexchange.org/

GOnSEE Korea http://www.gonseekorea.com/

(2 or 3 day tours to Mt. Kumgang & Kaesong from Seoul)

Any comments pro or con -- or info on any other recommended tour operators -- would be most welcome!

76 replies to this topic
Melbourne, Australia
posts: 80
reviews: 6
41. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

Wow, what a trip!

Brisbane, Australia
posts: 3
reviews: 3
42. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

My spouse and I just got back from Koryo Tour's 17 day ultimate tour conducted in September 2012. North Korea is an amazing place to visit. One highlight was the Mass Games, a spectacle of 100,000 performers - not to be missed, tho expensive at between 80 and 150 euros a seat. Another highlight was visiting the DMZ.

Koryo Tours advertises the size of its group tours at 12 to 18 people so we were slightly disappointed that the first 10 days of the trip had 21 people on board. The tour itself was very interesting and our very experienced British female guide from Koryo fantastic in managing the group and our 4 local guides who constantly needed some direction and prompting. The big disappointment came when our fantastic female guide had to go elsewhere and we were lumbered for the last several days of our tour with another Koryo group of 21 and led by an inexperienced north American male guide from Koryo who was rather condescending to the local guides. 30 of us travelled on one bus and the rest on a minibus. For 2 of the last several days, we travelled with yet another Koryo group. In all, there were 63 passengers, 10 guides and 3 drivers - far too many for anyone's comfort!

We have expressed our disappointment to Koryo Tours about the large group size. We would suggest that prospective clients choose an individual tour (more costly and a less expansive itinerary), or try to obtain a cast iron guarantee about the group size from Koryo Tours.

We also found that the Dandong extension didn't add anything to the overall North Korean experience. Dandong is just a large Chinese city.

posts: 1
reviews: 1
43. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

Hi there,

We travelled with Lupine from the UK, although we both lived in Sweden!

There were several items included in their prices that were extra with other agent. We concluded that the total package was excellent value. We are mixed age group from around 25 years to over 70, but the dynamics of the group were excellent.

A specially strong point was the excellent service provide by the local representative "Brooklyn!" who had a hyper active sense of service and was ever and always on hand to make the stay in Dandong much more than just a jump off place for Noth Korea.

Although I ahe travelled all my life extensively, this was my first time in North Korea and I would strongly recommend Lupin for a fair and straightforward deal. I have no connections to Lupin and ahve never even met the guys in the UK, but it all went very smoohtly and with no unplesant surprises!

Go Lupin to North Korea; http://www.lupinetravel.co.uk/


comox valley,bc...
posts: 56
reviews: 2
44. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

Has anyone used Yungpas tours out of the US,any advise appreciated PM me please,

Beijing, China
posts: 44
reviews: 3
45. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

The program of the tour will depend on the country where your tour operator is located.

I went with a Chinese travel agency, the journey included a trip to the grave of Mao Anying, Mao Zedong's son who died during the Korean war.

Probably joining a Chinese tour group is more relaxed, as China and North Korea have a good relationship. But if you don't speak Chinese, communication will be difficult.

The price North-Korea charges depends on your Nationality, not on the travel group (so I had to pay more than the Chinese participants).

The Korean Friendship Association has good relations to the Korean government, it is more a friendship delegation than a tourist group. It may be worth to consider if you want close contacts to Koreans.

For a German-based operator, you may try www.nordkorea-info.de

posts: 2
reviews: 1
46. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?


Sioux Falls, South...
posts: 22
reviews: 11
47. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

I am an active retired female from the U.S. and am interested in a tour of North Korea - suggestions on tour operators or joining a group will be appreciated!

Schermbeck, Germany
posts: 17
reviews: 9
48. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

Hi Mildred,

I can highly recommend Koryo Tours. I've been with them in the DPRK last October, and everything was perfect.

http://www.koryogroup.com/ (the lady on the pic "About Koryo Tours" was one of our guides. They were absolutely o.k., we even made a friendship with them.

Well, this is closely relted to your behaviour, of course.

As you are an US-citizen, you have a bit less opportunities over there, for example you aren't allowed to take the train.

I've been there with a fellow, so the had an individual tour - I recommend them strongly! Much better than a group-tour!

There was a group in the same plane from Beijing, mixed from several European countries, and they couldn't come together, because some strange characters were in it, too. The mood was bad, you could see that at their faces, and their guides have confirmed that to our guides. So we all, my fellow and the guides, were absolutely happy, that we were only four people.

Schermbeck, Germany
posts: 17
reviews: 9
49. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

P.S. To roadrunner_cn's suggestion: it's not really ideal to travel with a Chinese group, as, to say it politely, Chinese tourists don't have a real good reputation in North Korea.

For some other special reasons I don't recommend the German nordkorea-info-agency.

Sioux Falls, South...
posts: 22
reviews: 11
50. Re: Tour Operators -- any recommendations?

You commented: "I've been there with a fellow so had an individual tour - I recommend them strongly - much better than a group tour."

Could you please explain - how did you get an individual tour? You had just two tourists and two guides? How did you arrange that? How much did it cost? When I went to Mongolia last year we arranged through Salena Travel for just us two tourists, an English-speaking native guide and a driver with our own car and it was absolutely fabulous and reasonable priced! I did not know Koryo has such small tours.

Thanks for any info.

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