This is a comfortable and affordable 3 week group tour that visits the highlights of North & South Korea in a reasonable timeframe. On this tour you don’t have to worry about rushed itineraries and uncomfortable transport, we use direct/bullet trains and comfortable buses & ferries to show you the best of these 2 fascinating countries at a leisurely pace. We also stay at good hotels and include all your meals when in North Korea. Travelling on this tour in a group is a fun and safe way to visit the best of what the Korean Peninsula has to offer!
Price: £1495 Tour Payment + €1600 Local Payment
Length: 20 nights, 21 days
Accommodation: 3, 4 & 5 star hotels
Transport: direct/bullet trains, buses & ferries
Age restrictions: none, all ages are welcome
Group size: 15 is average, minimum is 10, maximum is 24
Our proposed itinerary is here to give you an idea of where we will be going and what we will be doing during this tour. This itinerary is the ideal route we would like to take providing all political and natural situations are acceptable during the time of our travels. The itinerary rarely changes on this tour but please be prepared to accept minor itinerary changes in the event we encounter any problems.
This tour starts in Beijing and on our first day we meet at the Beijing train station and catch the 09:05 bullet train to Dandong. Catching the bullet train means we don’t have to overnight on an uncomfortable slow train and it also means we reach Dandong in the afternoon giving us time to enjoy an authentic Chinese welcome dinner and get a comfortable nights sleep at our 4 star hotel.
On our 2nd day we cross into North Korea and travel by direct train through the countryside before arriving in Pyongyang where we check into our hotel and enjoy a Korean dinner before having drinks in the hotel’s top floor revolving bar offering great views over the capital.
Pyongyang will be our base for the next 3 days from where we will make day excursions to some of the country’s highlights including the beautiful Mt. Myohyang where the International Friendship Exhibition Hall displays over 100,000 gifts given to North Korean leaders by various notable world figures. Close by we also visit the 11th century Pohyon Temple, one of the country’s few remaining Buddhist temples.
Another excursion takes us to the North/South Korea border where military personnel give us a tour of the DMZ including a visit to the Armistice Hall where the truce was signed at the end of the Korean War. Nearby at Kaesong we will enjoy a traditional Korean lunch and also visit the Koryo History Museum and the Tomb of King Wang Gwon.
Today we take a full day to explore Pyongyang and visit sites such as the Arch of Triumph, Tower of Juche Idea, giant bronze statues of the Dear Leaders and the Korean War Museum, but the highlight here is surely the Kumsusan Memorial Palace where the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state. An optional visit to the Pyongyang circus is highly recommended before we end our day at the famous Duck BBQ restaurant.
We now venture to the east coast and along the way visit the tomb of King Tongmyong before arriving at the resort town of Wonsan where you will be able to enjoy the beach with local holidaymakers.
At Mt. Kumgang National Park you will have the opportunity to climb the country’s 2nd highest peak as well as explore the numerous walking trails and waterfalls that make the park so scenic.
We have the morning to explore more of Mt. Kumgang National Park before returning to Pyongyang where we spend our final night in North Korea. Back at our hotel you are free to sample a few beers from the hotel’s microbrewery, share a farewell dinner with our Korean guides and peruse the hotel’s gift shop which sells classic propaganda posters and an array of very unusual souvenirs.
From Pyongyang we now catch a direct train back to Dandong in China where we arrive late afternoon. Tonight we will have a group dinner to say farewell to our Chinese guide and enjoy our last night in China in comfort at our 4 star hotel.
This morning we take a few hours to visit the most easterly part of the Great Wall at Tiger Mountain where you can enjoy walking along the wall with commanding views over the countryside. You also have the option to take a boat cruise on the Yalu River and visit the historical Broken Bridge which used to connect China and North Korea. In the afternoon we board a ferry to take us to South Korea overnight.
We arrive into South Korea by ferry and head straight to the capital Seoul where we will have 3 days to explore this vibrant city’s highlights. By day you can visit the city’s 5 Palaces and witness the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony, wander the alleys of the 600 year old Bukchon Hanok Village and explore the trails of Bukhansan National Park. By night you can feast on a traditional Korean BBQ, indulge in a few cocktails unique to Korea and then head to the bright lights of Gangnam where you will find the country’s best nightclubs!
From Seoul you can also take an optional half day trip to the DMZ where you can enjoy a view over North Korea from the viewing platform in South Korea.
A few hours away on the east coast we reach the waterfront city of Sokcho which is well-known for its fresh seafood restaurants. From here you also have a full day to explore the iconic Seoraksan National Park, probably the most beautiful park on the Korean peninsula, not only famous for its awesome peaks but also for its 2 stately Buddhist temples.
Travelling south we reach the historic town of Gyeongju known locally as ‘the museum without walls’. Here we have 2 full days to explore a Korean gem packed with traditional architecture, tombs, temples, rock carvings and crumbling palaces.
Our final destination is Busan, a bustling port city home to the country’s largest seafood market, scenic coastal walkways, magnificent inner-city temples and the colourful Gamcheon Cultural Village. Busan is a great place to enjoy a farewell group dinner on our final night of the tour.
This tour ends in Busan after breakfast on the final morning of the trip.
This tour continues to Japan so if you would like to extend your tour to include Japan please feel free to contact us as we are happy to create a bespoke itinerary and price for you.
How to Book & Pay the Tour Payment
To make a booking please fill in our online booking form and then pay a £300 deposit by direct transfer or Paypal, or call us to pay using your credit or debit card over the phone. Once we receive your online booking form and deposit we will confirm your booking by email and send you all relevant information necessary for your expedition preparations.
The Tour Payment of £1495 is the main bulk payment for your tour and is payable in the U.K. in GBP (£ Sterling). In order to reserve a place on this tour you must pay £300 as a deposit. Eight months prior to departure a further payment of £700 must be paid to secure your booking. The final balance of your Tour Payment £495 must then be paid in full at least four months prior to the tour start date. If you book between 4 to 8 months prior to the departure date a deposit of £1000 should be paid upon booking. If you book within 4 months of the departure date the full Tour Payment of £1495 should be paid upon booking.
The Tour Payment can be paid by direct bank transfer, Paypal or credit/debit card.
Bank Details for Direct Transfers
NOTE: Please use your full name as a reference when paying by direct transfer.
Account name: Madventure Ltd.
Sort code: 400810
Account number: 91618415
IBAN : GB14HBUK40081091618415
Swift/Bank BIC: HBUKGB4B
Branch BIC: HBUKGB4116A
Bank address: HSBC Bank, 6 High Street, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 5AZ, United Kingdom
Paypal account name: email@example.com
This is a cash payment of EURO €1600 that must be paid to your tour leader at the beginning of your trip and will be used to pay for all expenses while you are on the tour.
Please bear in mind that this is not a kitty and is not refundable. The local payment is simply a way for us to get cash to the tour leaders so they can run the trip.
Please bring your local payment in new unmarked €100 bills if possible.
Although all local payment amounts are advertised in EUROS you may be asked to bring the equivalent amount in either USD or GBP.
We realise that not everyone is going to visit every site or take part in every activity along the way so we have left many of these activities as optional and therefore kept the Tour Payment to a minimum.
Below is a list of the most popular optional excursions along with the most recent prices. Prices can of course change and are not controlled in any way by Madventure so please use the list below as an approximate guide only.
Pyongyang Circus £15
Mt. Myohyang Included
DMZ border tour Included
Pyongyang day tour Included
Kumsusan Memorial Palace Included
Kumgang National Park Included
Broken Bridge, Dandong £4
Yalu River cruise, Dandong £7
Tiger Mountain Great Wall, Dandong Included
Seoul half day tour £30
DMZ half day tour £40
Bukhansan NP Free
Seoraksan NP £3
Gyeongju full day tour by hop on hop off bus £15
Busan full day tour £30
In North Korea we use a combination of direct local trains and private buses to take us to all the highlights of the country in comfort.
In China we use bullet trains between Beijing and Dandong. We do not use slow uncomfortable overnight trains. We also use a private bus to take us to the Tiger Mountain Great Wall on our last day in China.
From China we catch an overnight ferry to South Korea and we use comfortable local buses to travel around South Korea.
All meals will be provided when we are in North Korea. Breakfasts are served at the hotels, lunches and evening meals are usually eaten in restaurants and are mostly buffet style meals giving you a good selection of meat and vegetarian options. The Duck BBQ restaurant in Pyongyang is often a highlight of the tour.
When we are in China and South Korea we provide breakfasts at the hotels we stay at. Lunches and evening meals at your own expense when we are in China and South Korea. Local food is generally very cheap so if you are on a budget eat what the locals eat and you will be sure to get a real flavour of the country at a cheap price.
We stay at 3, 4 & 5 star hotels during this tour. Accommodation is provided on a twin share basis so if you are travelling alone be prepared to share your room with another member of the tour, male or female. Your tour leader will always strive to put you in a room with a suitable partner. Couples can request a room with a double bed.
There is a single supplement fee of £600 if you are a solo traveller and prefer to have a private room just for yourself.
1. A deposit of £300 is payable at the time of booking. The deposit is non-refundable unless Madventure is unable to offer you a place or you cancel within 14 days of the initial booking date. Madventure guarantees not to increase the trip price once the deposit has been received.
2. A booking is made in the name of the client and is not transferable to another person. You are only permitted to transfer your deposit once to a future tour, after that a further £300 non-refundable deposit will be required. Please note that you will be affected if you have transferred and there is a price increase as you will have to pay the current tour price at the time that the tour balance payment is due.
3. Eight months prior to departure a further payment of £700 must be paid to secure your booking. This payment is non-refundable unless we can not provide the tour. The final balance of your Tour Payment £495 must then be paid in full at least four months prior to the tour start date at which time the tour will be confirmed to run. Once the tour is confirmed to run you will not receive any refunds of any monies paid. If the full payment is not received 4 months prior to departure Madventure may deem the booking cancelled and all monies paid will be forfeited. If you book within the 4 to 8 month period prior to departure a non-refundable deposit of £1000 should be paid upon booking. If you book within the 4 month period prior to departure the full non-refundable Tour Payment of £1495 must be paid upon booking.
4. The Local Payment is a cash payment of EURO €1600 that must be paid to your tour leader at the beginning of your trip and will be used to pay for all expenses while you are on the tour. The Local Payment is not a kitty and is not refundable. The local payment is simply a way for us to get cash to the tour leaders so they can run the trip. If you choose to leave a tour before it is completed you will not receive a refund of any Local Payment monies paid. The tour leader has sole responsibility for the Local Payment. Any Local Payment monies or stock remaining at the trip end are non-refundable.
5. The Tour Payment and Local Payment cover guide fees, transport, accommodation, meals and entrance fees to sites as specified on the website.
6. Cancellation of a booking must be notified in writing and when received by Madventure any monies paid will be forfeited. You acknowledge that payment for the trip is an intrinsic part of the trip’s income and contributes towards the overall costs of hotels, transport, staff administration, travel permits, etc. and Madventure will have incurred a large part of its costs before the actual departure date. You will not receive a refund of any amount after the tour has been confirmed to run (which will usually happen no later than 4 months prior to the tour departing) therefore we recommend you take out your travel insurance from the date you pay the Tour Payment so you are insured if you have to withdraw off the trip. If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
7. It is unlikely that we will have to make any changes to your trip, but we do plan all trips many months in advance. Occasionally, we may have to make changes and we reserve the right to do so at any time. Most of these changes will be minor and we will advise you of them at the earliest possible date. We also reserve the right in any circumstances to cancel your trip. For example, if the minimum number of clients required for a particular trip is not reached, we may have to cancel it. However, we will not cancel your trip less than 4 months before your departure date (except for reasons of Force Majeure). If we are unable to provide the trip for any reason (aside from Force Majeure) you can either have a refund of all monies paid or accept an offer of an alternative trip of comparable standard from us, if available (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value). It is understood that a minimum of 10 tour members are required to run this Madventure tour and less than that may result in the cancellation of the tour. In the event of this happening, all monies paid by you towards the tour cost only will be refunded. In the event of a cancellation Madventure is not responsible for reimbursing equipment, flights, visa costs, vaccinations, medication, etc. purchased by yourself. In the event of a trip being cancelled due to Force Majeure no refunds or compensation will be given by Madventure. We therefore recommend you have suitable travel insurance as if the reason for cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
8. In the unlikely event of Force Majeure we will not refund you or pay you compensation if we have to cancel or change your trip in any way because of unusual or unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control. These can include, for example, war, riot, industrial dispute, terrorist activity and its consequences, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, epidemics, pandemics, health risks, closed or congested airports, ports or stations, poor local infrastructure, changes imposed by rescheduling or cancellation of transport by the transport supplier such as flights by airlines or main charterer, the alteration of transport or transport types, adverse weather conditions (actual or threatened), avalanche and technical failure with transport, Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice changing and advising against travel to the trip destination. We therefore recommend you have suitable travel insurance as if the reason for cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
9. If you choose to leave a trip for any reason on your own accord once the trip is underway you will not receive any compensation from Madventure including any refunds of the Tour Payment or Local Payment. We therefore recommend you have suitable travel insurance as if the reason for your departure is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
10. We reserve the right at any time prior to the departure date, without prior consultation with yourself, to merge your trip with one or more other trips travelling at the same time. This will not constitute a major change and would usually just mean swapping vehicles.
11. You undertake to comply with the laws and regulations, whether in respect of health, immigration, currency exchange control, dress or any other matter of all the countries visited during the expedition.
12. You undertake to obtain a valid passport and have enough blank pages in the passport for the trip and your specific passport and visa requirements. Immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant embassies and/or consulates. We do not accept any responsibility and shall not be liable if you cannot travel or cannot participate in any part of the trip because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. You are responsible for obtaining and having available the necessary documents (including but not limited to full, current passport with enough blank pages to complete the trip and valid for at least 9 months from the last day of the trip and visas for all periods, countries and territories within the trip) enabling you to participate in the trip and shall comply with all local legislation and regulations of the countries in which the trip takes place (including immigration requirements, customs regulations and currency exchange). You shall indemnify us against any loss or expense that we may incur or suffer as a result of breach of this condition by you. We cannot guarantee visa prices and availability of visas. Ultimately visas are your own responsibility to obtain.
13. Madventure reserves the right to deviate from the advertised tour route if in their reasonable opinion such deviation is necessary for the safety or well-being of any or any one of the members of the tour or for the satisfactory progress of the tour. In the event of it becoming necessary to fly over a country or countries in order to satisfactorily and safely continue the tour, all costs of your flights will be borne by yourself.
14. Madventure accepts no responsibility for matters arising out of political disputes, border closures, epidemics, pandemics, natural disasters, climate, armed robbery, terrorism, etc. Should it become necessary to abandon a tour because of such an event Madventure will be entitled to retain all monies paid. We therefore recommend you have suitable travel insurance as if the reason for cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
15. You accept that owing to the nature of countries visited, all tours involve an element of personal risk and are of a potentially hazardous and unpredictable nature. In many countries we visit the basic infrastructure, such as roads, is very poor and therefore less safe than that familiar to people from many western countries. In particular, lack of road markings or warning signs, unmarked speed bumps, seasonal flooding of roads and bridges, local vehicles which are poorly maintained and driven and which are hazardous to other road users etc. are factors beyond the control of Madventure. Where stated, locally arranged transport and crew, including trains, ferries, buses or coaches are used. You agree that the obligation of Madventure to yourself is to select normally competent, independent subcontractors to provide the necessary services related to the trip and to exercise reasonable care in selecting such suppliers to provide these. You also accept that you undertake this tour at your own risk and your participation is your own decision and does not form any part of your contract with Madventure. Madventure does not take responsibility for cancellations, unreliability of services or safety of operators, agents or contractors.
16. You accept that local emergency facilities are usually of a very limited nature. Hospitals outside of large cities often have no accident and emergency facilities and emergency transport facilities can be non-existent.
17. If you have a problem during your trip please inform the tour leader immediately who will endeavor to put things right. If your complaint is not resolved locally please follow this up by emailing or writing to our office giving all other relevant information and, where possible, evidence. We must receive any such complaint not later than 28 days from the date of completion of your trip. Please keep your letter concise and to the point. This will assist us to quickly identify your concerns and speed up our response to you.
18. We do not accept any liability or responsibility for any personal possessions (including but not limited to cameras, jewelry, valuables and money) which is carried on or in our vehicles, carried on public transport or transport supplied by independent subcontractors, left in accommodation provided by us or our suppliers during a trip or left in our care during a trip. Such items are carried and/or left at your own risk.
19. Excursions or other tours that you may choose to book or pay for whilst you are on a trip are not part of your trip arrangements provided by us. For any excursion or other tour that you book your contract will be with the operator of the excursion or tour and not with us. We are not responsible for the provision of the excursion or tour or for anything that happens during the course of its provision by the operator. You accept that the prices quoted for optional activities are approximate as local prices can and do change. Any of the optional activities listed are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Madventure. You also accept that you undertake any activity at your own risk and your participation is your own decision and does not form any part of your contract with Madventure. Madventure does not take responsibility for cancellations, unreliability of services or safety of operators, agents or contractors.
20. Whilst a trip is in progress you will at all times be expected to act in accordance with all reasonable instructions from us and/or the tour leader. We may exclude you from the trip or any part thereof at any time (including during the trip itself) if we are of the opinion that you are likely to prejudice the good order, discipline or safety of the trip, including as a result of failing to comply with the tour leader’s instructions, breaking any law or regulation of any country where the trip takes place or failing to adhere to the trip code of conduct, provided that we exercise our discretion reasonably in this regard. In such an event you shall reimburse to us any reasonable costs, losses or expenses which we incur or suffer as a result of our decision to exclude you from the trip, and Madventure shall cease to have any responsibility to/for you. No refund will be given for any unused services.
21. By completing the booking form you confirm that you appreciate the risks involved in the trip and that you do not suffer (or have ever suffered) from any pre-existing medical condition that may prevent you from actively participating in the trip other than those that have been declared to us. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are medically fit enough to undertake the trip and to ensure that you have received the necessary vaccinations and medications (and taken them as prescribed by your doctor) relevant to the destination country. Unless informed otherwise in writing we will assume that you are in good health and are not aware of any reason why you may be unsuitable to take part in the trip. We recommend that you consult your doctor before making a booking to ensure that you are medically fit and are fully aware regarding the immunizations and medical issues related to your destination countries. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, illness or disability, are undergoing medical treatment or, since entering into the contract, develop any medical condition, illness or disability or undergo any medical treatment; you will give us full particulars at the earliest opportunity and at the latest sixty (60) days before the departure date. If it is later discovered that a pre-existing condition was not declared within the specified time, and such condition would, if we had knowledge of it, have led to our refusal to accept or to cancel your booking, we reserve the right to withdraw you from the trip without any refund or recompense. In such an event, you shall reimburse to us any reasonable costs, losses or expenses which we incur or suffer as a result. In the event of you being withdrawn from a trip, no refunds will be given and we will not be responsible for (and you agree to indemnify us against) any costs, claims, losses and expenses arising including costs of repatriation, eg. flights and legal expenses. By agreeing to these conditions, you provide your consent to us and our insurers obtaining your medical records should we consider it necessary. You will be responsible for any charges for the provision of the information. We reserve the right to inspect your vaccination book at any time and to withdraw you from the trip in the event that you have not received and/or taken all the requisite inoculations and/or medication. If the information provided by you is incorrect and we discover that the correct information affects your suitability to take part in the trip, we may terminate the contract and withdraw you from the trip without refund or recompense, including during the trip. You agree and acknowledge that certain activities undertaken whilst you are on the trip may be inherently hazardous and have risks associated with them. You agree to abide by all instructions given to you whilst you are on the trip and you acknowledge that we cannot be held responsible for any injuries that may arise as a result of you failing to comply with such instructions.
22. You must be covered by personal travel insurance to undertake any Madventure tour. We recommend you take out a travel insurance policy that covers you fully against the cost of tour cancellation by you or by Force Majeure, medical care and repatriation should you become too ill to continue and above all covers you against the cost of air evacuation should sickness or injury necessitate such a course of action. You should also note that passenger liability insurance covering vehicles, particularly in third world countries, may be inadequate. It is therefore important that your travel insurance cover makes sufficient provision for your dependents in the event of an accident. Please note however that we have no control over the availability or standard of medical and repatriation services and facilities in the areas we visit and these do not form any part of our contract with you. Please remember that many of the areas we visit are not as developed as the UK and the availability and standard of such services may well be lower. Please read your travel insurance policy details carefully and take them with you when you travel. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance cover you purchase is suitable and adequate for your particular needs. We do not check individual insurance policies for suitability.
23. In many countries we visit, the local vehicle accident insurance includes either very limited passenger liability or none at all. Madventure has passenger liability insurance for some countries through which we travel but the client acknowledges that in many countries the vehicles we travel on do not have the benefit of passenger liability insurance. The client agrees to indemnify Madventure against any claim or demand made in respect of any accident, personal injury or loss of life caused to, contracted or suffered by the client during the course of the tour.
24. Privacy & Data Protection – we shall ensure that appropriate security measures are in place to protect your personal data (as defined in the European GDPR act 2018 and the UK Data Protection Act 2018) and we do not store our customers financial details. When you make a booking, you do however consent to all the information you provide being passed on to our suppliers, agents, subcontractors, employees or volunteers whether based inside or outside of Europe for the purposes of us providing you with the trip.
25. By agreeing to these terms and conditions you consent (unless otherwise stated on your application form) to our staff taking photographs and or video footage of you during the trip and that these images may be used by us for publicity and training purposes including, but not limited to, brochures, websites, marketing material and in the media.
26. We shall be entitled to novate or assign the contract or any part of it to any third party. You shall not be entitled to assign the contract or any part of it. This contract is made on the terms of these conditions, which are governed by English law, and subject to the provisions of condition you agree to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. If any of these conditions is found by any court or other competent authority to be wholly or partly unfair or unenforceable the validity of the rest of the booking conditions and the rest of the condition in question shall not be affected and shall remain valid and enforceable to the extent permitted by law. A reference in these conditions to a statute, convention or regulation shall be as a reference to that statute convention or regulation as amended, re-enacted or extended at the relevant time. The headings in these conditions are for convenience only and shall not affect their interpretation. Where the context otherwise requires, words importing the singular meaning shall include the plural meaning and vice versa and words denoting the masculine gender shall include the feminine and neuter genders. Where the context so admits, words denoting persons shall include natural persons, companies, corporations, firms, partnerships, limited liability partnerships, joint trips, trusts, voluntary associations and other incorporated and/or unincorporated bodies or other entities (in each case, whether or not having separate legal personality) and all such words shall be construed interchangeably in that manner.
27. The information given on the website, in the brochure and other literature supplied is given in good faith but no warranty is given that it is correct.
28. No servant, agent or authorized representative of Madventure has authority to commit Madventure to any liability whatsoever and Madventure will not be bound by any statement or representation unless it is in writing and signed by one of the directors.
29. Your contract is with Madventure Limited, a company registered in England and Wales (Company No. 6809461) whose registered office is at 93 Lashford Lane, Dry Sandford, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX13 6EB.
We recommend a budget of €600 per person to live comfortably during this tour. This budget should cover day to day things like snacks, soft drinks, lunches & evening meals when in China & South Korea, the odd few beers, etc.
Budget approximately £200 for your China visa.
Souvenirs are something that can be very cheap or very expensive so if you are going to be buying things like silk carpets you should budget for it.
Please also have a look at our Optional Excursions list as you may want to budget for a few of those activities too.
We recommend you bring EURO €300 in cash as spending money on this tour.
US Dollars are also generally accepted everywhere for exchange.
There are no ATM’s to use in North Korea so we recommended you have EUROS or US Dollars available for exchange.
ATM’s are available in China and South Korea for you to draw local currency using your Visa or Mastercard credit/debit card so there is no need to have a lot of cash on you in these countries.
To keep your money/credit cards/passport/tablet/camera/laptop safe we recommend you purchase a ‘Pacsafe Travelsafe’ product. They offer various size portable anti-theft bags that can be attached to the vehicles when travelling and also attached to the toilet/bed/closet in your hotel room when off the vehicles.
Below is general information and recommendations regarding visas and passports. Visas are ultimately your own responsibility to obtain and visa requirements may vary according to your nationality and place of application, so use the information below as a guide only. Madventure is in no way responsible for obtaining your visas or passports.
We can apply for your North Korea visa for you via our agent in China if you like and the cost of this visa is included in the tour price. Most people choose this option and we have never had anyone refused this visa before but please be aware that if for any reason they refuse to issue you a North Korea visa Madventure is not responsible.
You should obtain a China double entry visa in your passport before departure. You can either obtain the China visa yourself or use the services of a visa agency.
Budget approximately £200 for your China visa. The cost of the China visa can vary depending on your nationality and place of application.
South Korea visas are issued free of charge upon arrival for most Europeans, North & South Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans. Other nationalities should check to see if you require a visa before arrival.
Please ensure you have 5 free pages in your passport in order to accommodate all the visas and ensure your passport is valid for at least 9 months after your departure date.
You will need approximately 4 passport photos for the duration of this tour.
Vaccination requirements are constantly changing so we recommend you seek the latest professional medical advice at least 8 weeks before departure to ensure you allow yourself enough time to obtain all necessary vaccinations. Nomad Travel’s website has up-to-date information on vaccinations, malaria and other general medical advice for all the countries we will be visiting and they also administer vaccinations at their Travel Clinics in various locations within the UK.
Alternatively speak with your local Health Professionals for current accurate information. You will need to make an appointment with your GP or Travel Clinic and take a list of the countries you are visiting and the approximate dates when you will be there.
An up to date Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate should be brought with you as it is sometimes required to enter certain countries on this tour.
Medically Fit & Able
You need to be in good general health for this tour and be reasonably fit and able. You do not need to be super-fit by any means and all ages are welcome. We always attract a very broad age range on these tours, from people in their 20’s through to people in their 70’s.
Please inform us of any medical conditions that you have before departure so that your crew knows how to deal with a medical situation if it should arise. All information will be kept confidential unless you request us to inform your fellow travelers. For example, it may be wise to inform fellow travelers if you are allergic to something like bee-stings so they know what to do if you get stung.
First Aid Kit
The tour leader carries a first aid kit during the tour but it is recommended that you bring your own basic first aid kit for general use.
It is compulsory that every person who travels with Madventure obtain travel insurance for the complete duration of the tour. Proof of travel insurance must be shown before joining a tour.
There are various travel insurance companies to choose from and a Google search will bring up a selection but we recommend a London based company named Campbell Irvine, www.campbellirvine.com, +44 (0) 20 7938 1734. They are familiar with what we do, so mention our name and the tour you are travelling on and they should be able to provide excellent cover for you.
Another popular option is a Chinese travel insurance provider named PICC, www.picc.com
If you choose to obtain your travel insurance through another company please ensure you read the small-print and make sure you are covered for Medical Repatriation.
Backpack/sports bag/suitcase: We recommend you carry your luggage in a backpack but irrespective if you prefer a sports bag or a suitcase you are restricted to a maximum 100 litre volume.
Day bag: You are also permitted to bring a day bag with a maximum 40 litre volume.
Pacsafe: in order to keep your valuables safe we recommend a Pacsafe product. They make a range of anti-theft bags which vary in sizes and can accommodate your money, credit cards, passport, camera, laptop, etc. They can be attached to a fixed part of the trains or buses we use and/or to a fixed item in your hotel room.
Kindle: optional but great to keep all your travel guides and books in 1 place.
Ipad/Tablet: not a necessity but most places in China and South Korea have WiFi available these days so having your own Ipad or Tablet will save you hanging around internet cafes. North Korea does not have WiFi.
Smartphone – not a necessity but very convenient for taking photos.
Camera: completely up to you but most people bring one.
Toiletries: available everywhere but start with some toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, deodorant, soap and shampoo.
First aid kit: only a basic one is recommended but should include plasters, antiseptic cream, bandage, pain relief tablets, scissors and safety pins.
Passport photos: You should bring 4 passport photos in case they are required at any border.
Passport: please ensure you have 5 blank pages in your passport to accommodate all the visas required on this tour.
Yellow Fever vaccination certificate: an up to date certificate is sometimes required to enter certain countries.
Clothes & shoes:
1 pair of flip flops
1 pair of walking shoes, trainers or boots
1 pair of smart shoes required for visit to mausoleum
4 pairs of socks
4 pairs of undies
2 pairs of zip-off trousers which can be worn long or short
1 pair of smart trousers required for visit to mausoleum
1 swimming trunks/bikini
1 lightweight long sleeve top
1 wet weather jacket
1 light-weight dress/skirt for the ladies required for visit to mausoleum
1 collared shirt for the men required for visit to mausoleum
As our tours are not your average run of the mill trips we would like to go through every aspect of the trip with you to ensure that you are as informed and prepared as possible. At Madventure we believe in giving you the nitty-gritty details as well as the obvious highlights, as in our opinion these are just as important and we want to explain the tour in as much detail as possible so you can be sure you are suited and prepared for one of our adventures. If after reading this, you decide that this tour is not for you then, as long as it is within 14 days of your initial booking, you can cancel off the tour and receive a full refund of your Tour Payment.
The following may sound a little negative at times, but it’s just so we are secure in the knowledge that we have provided you with as much information as possible, the good and the bad, to ensure everybody is completely aware of exactly what type of trips we run for the benefit of you, us and your fellow travellers as there is nothing worse than getting someone booking on the trip when it is not what they actually wanted or expected. You need to know what you are in for and be able to handle it!
North Korea has strict tourist policies in place. We need to be in a group at all times and have government appointed guides to show us around. You will not be free to roam around by yourself so be prepared for this and you will be fine.
In China and South Korea you will be free to roam around on your own and visit all the sites at your leisure.
You must be medically fit and able to ensure you can participate in all aspects of the tour including carrying your own bags to the hotels, walking around the sites we visit, etc. You do not need to be super fit by any means.
When things go wrong: North Korea can often without reason insist we change our itinerary and visit the sites in a different order to what we had originally planned. Sometimes they may not even allow us to visit a certain site or area. This rarely happens but please be prepared to expect the unexpected and accept that things might go wrong from time to time. These instances are usually the stories that remain with everyone so enjoy the experience. An easy-going approach will help the situation immensely. Moaning about every little thing that doesn’t go our way will not!
When we are in China and South Korea things generally always go to plan but if something unexpected does delay us or force us to change our itinerary please understand that sometimes things happen that are out of our control and we may have to make an alternative arrangement.
Attitude & Group Living: A good, easy-going attitude will help you enjoy this trip and ensure you are liked by your fellow travelers as well as the locals. The one thing that is extremely detrimental to a tour such as this is your common ‘moaner’. It has nothing to do with age, sex or nationality, it just matters that although they signed up for this ‘in theory’ they can’t cope ‘in practice’ and it’s always got to be someone’s fault. It sounds a bit harsh but by weeding out any moaners early on we can have a chat with them and ensure your tour is as good as it can be. By ensuring everyone is on the same page from the get go will start us off in good stead.
We have no age restrictions and if there is one thing we have come to realize, through experience, is that it’s the mental attitude that counts the most and a broader age range is better on this trip as it stops the stereotyping – the more in the mix the better.
We can guarantee that at some stage during the tour you will have to just fit in and go with the flow when it’s not what you personally wanted to do. When situations arise where we can’t please everybody we always aim to please the ‘majority of the group’ not the individual.
Please be aware that if any particular person is constantly causing the rest of the group (or the crew) grief due to their behavior they will be warned and then asked to leave the tour if nothing improves and no refund will be given. This is obviously the most extreme situation but we will not let one or two rude individuals spoil it for everybody else. Everybody knows the score from the start and this is for everyone’s benefit. Usually everyone who travels with us has a relaxed approach and everybody gets on very well as this is a short tour.
This is a once in a lifetime experience so let’s all enjoy it!
Travel times & proposed itineraries: We have designed this tour so that we are not stuck on trains or buses overnight. We travel by day and arrive at our destinations before nightfall. The one exception to this is the overnight ferry from China to South Korea where we will be in shared cabins for the night.
On a sightseeing day in North Korea we usually leave the hotel in the morning around 7-8 am after breakfast and return to the hotel in the evening after dinner.
When we are in China & South Korea you are free to go sightseeing at your leisure.
On this tour it’s usually only a few hours between destinations and you have plenty of time to look around the sites.
Our proposed itinerary can sometimes change if an area of our route becomes off-limits for any reason.
Delays: We always strive to arrive at our destinations on time but if we experience any delays we will adjust our itinerary accordingly.
The proposed itinerary is just that, ‘proposed’, and can and will change at the crew’s discretion if need be.
Drugs: Please be aware that drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are illegal in China, North Korea & South Korea and they enforce severe punishment for being caught in possession. There is NEVER to be any illegal drugs carried by any travellers on this tour as you would not only jeopardize your own freedom but also the well-being of the entire group if you are caught in possession.
If you are caught with any kind of illegal drugs on this tour, regardless of the amount, you will be asked to leave the tour immediately and no refund will be given.
This is a very serious rule as any inconsideration can lead to the tour being cancelled and other innocent people arrested. We will not hesitate to remove someone if we have to so please respect your other tour members.
Your Crew: You will normally have a crew of 1 experienced Madventure guide who fills the role of being the tour leader. On some tours we may also have a cameraman who is there to help market our tours and update our social media accounts.
You will also have local English speaking guides in China & North Korea who will give you the history of the sites we visit and answer any questions you may have.
In South Korea you will be free to visit all the sites at your leisure. Guided tours can be arranged should you wish to get the history of all the sites but generally most people prefer to have the freedom to visit all the sites on their own or with a few of their fellow travellers.
Your Madventure guide is responsible for the overall well-being of the group and will sort out all the transport, accommodation, permits, border crossings, etc. and generally ensure the smooth running of the tour. Your Madventure guide is not responsible for giving you the history of every site we visit, your local guides will provide that type of information.
Your crew will be hand-picked and trained by Madventure and will have experience of leading tours but they may or may not have done this tour before. They will however have detailed notes from previous tours and backup from the office in the UK.
Tipping: Tipping the guides at the end of your tour is always appreciated. You will usually have 3 guides on this tour – the Madventure guide, Chinese guide and North Korean guide. As this is a relatively short tour we recommend you tip your China & North Korea guides a minimum of €30 each if you are happy with their service and we recommend you tip your Madventure tour guide a minimum of €60 at the end of the tour if you are happy with their service. Thank you.
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