We are happy to announce the launch of the inaugural Wigan to Pyongyang train journey! Starting from Wigan in North West England, we will travel by train down to London before crossing the Eurostar to Brussels. From here we will venture East, stopping in Berlin and Warsaw before transiting Belarus to Moscow. We then take the Trans Mongolian through Siberia and Mongolia to Beijing and then finally Pyongyang. The tour lasts four weeks in total and includes tours at each of the places we stop at en route.
The Wigan to Pyongyang tour is priced at £3195 per person.
The tour will run from 25th April to 24th May 2020.
25th: Arrive in Wigan ready for a short tour of the town where amongst other sites we will visit the location of the former residence of George Orwell, author of 'The Road to Wigan Pier'.
26th: In the morning we depart Wigan for London. On arrival we will take the tube up to Highgate Cemetery in North London to pay our respects to Karl Marx; the first of the communist figures we will visit on this tour. We'll then travel down to St. Pancras station to board the Eurostar service to Brussels, arriving late afternoon. Free time in the evening and overnight in Brussels.
27th: After breakfast we will get back on the train to Berlin. We arrive in the late afternoon and spend two nights in the city.
28th: Today you have the option of taking free time in Berlin, or your tour leader will help to facilitate a tour to see the cityâ€™s highlights, by public transport.
29th: After breakfast we will board the train to Warsaw, arriving late in the afternoon. The evening is at leisure with overnight stay in Warsaw.
30th: The following morning we will get to see the Stalinist architecture of the Palace of Culture and Science. Afterwards, we will catch the overnight sleeper train to Moscow.
1st: We arrive at lunch time then take a tour of Moscow in the afternoon, before staying overnight in the city.
2nd: A visit to see Lenin lying in state in the morning before heading to the train station where we start our journey into Moscow's suburbs and then onwards East towards Siberia.
3rd: Relax onboard the train as you travel further Eastwards towards Yekaterinburg through the verdant rolling foothill landscapes of the Ural Mountains.
4th: Relax onboard the train and make the most of the restaurant car as you head towards Omsk and pass the 2102km point, which officially marks the border of Siberia.
Give your legs a stretch at each stop and buy food from the many sellers on the platforms.
5th: Travel onwards towards Krasnoyarsk as you pass through the busiest section of railway in the world. Freight trains, mainly full of coal heading towards the Ural smelting works from the Kubas Basin. Further along you will cross one of the world's longest rivers on the 870m long Ob River bridge.
6th: Arrival into Irkutsk at approximately 10:40. Transfer to your hostel and spend the day at leisure around Irkutsk.
Maybe go for a leisurely stroll and take in the beautiful wooden buildings before visiting the Church of the Saviour, the Znamensky monastery and Irkutsk Museum.
Later, head to the market to pick up some supplies then head out for a tradition Siberian meal at one of the city's many restaurants before continuing onto a bar or club later.
7th: Our driver will pick you up at 09:00 and drive you to Irkutsk station where you
will transfer onto a bus and head north 250 km along the Primorsky Mountains on Baikal's western shore towards Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world at 1673m.
We have a coffee stop en-route before arriving at the Olkhon Island ferry around 14:00. After a short stroll around the ferry stop we make the crossing to Olkhon Island, 71km long and 14.5km wide; making it the largest lake island in the world.
Olkhon is populated primarily by the Buryati people who are of Mongolian descent and whose Buddhist practices coexist with their shamanism. Upon arrival you are transferred to your accommodation at a fisherman's family guesthouse, made up of wooden chalets.
After lunch group members can explore the village and visit the museum of Local Lore. A walking excursion can be done through the village to the Cape of Burkhan to see the famous Crag of Shaman (Rock Temple) which was generally regarded as one of the 9 sanctuaries of Asia. Return to dine on a local Baikal speciality of home-cooked grayling (when available), before spending the rest of the evening at leisure.
8th: In the morning depart by jeep or minibus to explore Olkhon Island and classic Lake Baikal vistas^.
Head north and make your first stop at Sagaan-Khushun Cape, a beautiful cliff covered in red lichen. Then head forward to the coastal sand dunes and stretches of beach along the way, including the 200m high cliffs of Khoboy Cape at the northern tip of the island.
After a picnic-lunch (Baikal omul fish-soup), cooked on an open fire in Uzuri bay you will return to Khuzir village. Experience a traditional Russian banya (sauna) before being served a traditional Olkhon dinner. Again spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
9th: After a farewell breakfast in the guesthouse, you will be picked up in a minibus and driven onwards to the ferry-station.
Cross the strait to the mainland and drive to Irkutsk. There is an en-route coffee stop soon after the ferry crossing. Arrival iton Irkutsk at approximately 18:00. Check back into your accommodation and spend the rest of the evening at leisure.
10th: Transfer to the train station for your train departing at approx 08:00. You’ll spend the day onboard the train, passing through the semi-autonomous region of Buryatia and the shores of Goose Lake.
Arrive at the Russian border town of Naushki ready for your crossing into Mongolia. After passports are checked you enter Mongolia and witness a rapid change of scenery with the pine and birch forests making way for the beautiful green pastures of the Selenge River basin.
11th: Arrive into Ulan Bator at approx 07:00. Transfer to your accommodation and the rest of the day can be spent at your leisure around the capital.
Maybe visit Sukhbaatar Square, Nairamdal Park, the Gandantegchinlen Khiid Temple and National Museum of Mongolian History before heading for dinner at any one of a wide range of restaurants; we recommend you try a traditional Mongolian barbecue.
In the evening you could visit the Tumen Ekh Ensemble Palace to view contortionists, dancers, opera singers and the bizarre Mongolian throat singers!
12th: Our driver picks you up in the morning and drives you to Terelj National Park, 50 miles northeast of Ulan Bator. Enter the park and immediately feel the cool alpine air and view the magnificent mountain scenery.
You will be taken to see local artists and to view hawks and eagles and even camels! You then transfer from the minibus onto horseback* and a journey into the valleys past streams and through winding mountain paths. Continuing on foot you begin a mountain hike up to Ariyapala Temple crossing a rope bridge along the way.
After ascending the steps to the temple you will have the chance to meditate or simply sit back and admire the amazing views.
You then return to your horses and head back to Turtle Rock and the Ger Camp where you will spend the night.
The camp is set in the spectacular Gorkhi River valley. Settle down in your Ger then meet the farmer and his family who own the camp.
Spend the rest of the afternoon taking leisurely strolls on green meadows carpeted with edelweiss and a variety of other wildflowers; view incredible rock formations against a backdrop of pine-covered mountains; and stroll along the banks of a mountain stream.
Return to your camp and relax for the evening. Dinner cooked on a stove inside your Ger and eat it outside (weather dependent) under a huge starlit sky. When the temperature drops head inside the Ger and light up your stove to keep you warm during the night.
13th: After breakfast we head to visit the Chinggis Khan complex outside Ulan Bator.
Go up inside the huge statue before returning to your accommodation in
Ulan Bator with the afternoon spent at leisure. Maybe visit the National Modern Art Gallery, the Museum of National History and the Winter Palace of Bogd Khaan.
Visit the huge State Department Store before eating dinner at one of the city's many restaurants and maybe spend the evening watching the ballet at the State Opera & Ballet Theatre or a live rock or jazz band at River Sounds.
14th: Arise early for your transfer to the station where you can order breakfast before the
07:30 train to Beijing arrives. Head south through hundreds of miles of the Gobi desert, as far as your eyes can see.
Have dinner in the extravagant Chinese restaurant carriage before arriving at the border around 21:00.
15th: Travel through incredible Chinese countryside, crossing the Great Wall of China and finally arriving in Beijing at 11:20 and head to your hotel. Evening at leisure.
16th: Today we will take a tour of Mutianyu Great Wall.
17th May: A tour of the Forbidden City before departing at 17:30 for the overnight train to Dandong.
18th May: Today we take a full day tour of Dandong, the Chinese border city. We'll visit the Eastern section of the Great Wall as well as taking a boat trip along the Yalu river and the 'broken bridge' between China and North Korea.
19th May: Arrive in Dandong at 7:17. You will have a couple of hours free to pick up some breakfast before returning to the station to board the train into North Korea.
We cross the Yalu river on the Sino-Korea Friendship bridge over to Sinuiju. Undergo customs checks before travelling onwards to Pyongyang.
View the Korean countryside and workers in the fields through the train windows throughout your journey to the capital. It is a great chance to mix with locals on the train and also stand on the platforms while the train stops at towns and villages along the way.
We reach Pyongyang in time for dinner before later heading to the Yanggakdo hotel. Evening spent at leisure around the hotel grounds.
20th May: After breakfast we visit Mansudae Monument before heading to Panmunjom in Kaesong the 'truce village' that straddles the North/South Korean border and visit the Armistice Hall, where the truce was signed at the end of the Korean war.
We are given talks by North Korean military personnel explaining the history of the site before heading over to visit the DMZ or Military Demarcation line; an area that Bill Clinton described as 'one of the most dangerous places in the world'.
Also visit the Koryo History Museum. Afterwards we will go for lunch before returning to Pyongyang in the afternoon to view the Tower of Juche Idea and go for a trip on the Metro. We will go for a traditional Korean meal before returning to the hotel where you will have the chance to shop at the export store.
Option of visiting the new Rungna People's Pleasure Ground (theme park) in the evening (additional 25 Euros) or returning to the hotel where you can go bowling, go swimming, play pool or relax in the bar.
After breakfast we take a full day tour of Pyongyang. We begin at the Kumsunsan Memorial Palace, also known as "Palace of the Sun". This is one of the most revered sites in North Korea, being the resting place of the bodies of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. See many of the personal belongings and items of both former leaders; everything from Kim Jong Il's Mac to his yacht! Finally we get to see both leaders lying in state in their glass coffins. We then head for lunch by Kim Il Sung square before visiting the Grand People's Study House. In here we can stand in on English lessons, visit 'the great philosopher' who answers questions on any subject, and also visit the library, computer and music rooms. We later move on to the Korean War museum where as well as shot down US planes and captured weapons we can also climb aboard the USS Pueblo - the only US navy ship in captivity anywhere in the world. Afterwards we will have a farewell dinner in a Pyongyang restaurant before returning to the hotel.
May: After breakfast we are driven to Mount Myohang to explore one of the most beautiful areas in the Korean peninsula. On arrival we visit the International Friendship Exhibition Hall, a huge complex consisting of over 100,000 gifts given by various world leaders and figures to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Including the extravagant sight of two trains given to Kim Il Sung by Chairman Mao and Joseph Stalin! After visiting the exhibit highlights we are taken onto the balcony of the exhibition hall to view the breathtaking scenery of the area.
We leave the exhibition hall and drive to nearby Pohyon Temple. The temple dates from the 11th Century and the founding of the Koryo Dynasty. It is one of the few remaining Buddhist temples in North Korea. The local guide will give you a tour of the site and introduce you the the temple's monks.
After lunch in Myohang-ch'on we return to Pyongyang and visit the Arch of Triumph and Mangyongdae Native House. Afterwards we will visit the Youth palace to watch a special performance by local children. We will go for a traditional Korean meal before returning to the hotel.
23rd May: After breakfast we will return to the train station for our journey back to Sinuiju and out of North Korea. Lunch is provided on the train. Arrive back in Dandong at 16:30 and transfer onto the train to Beijing.
24th May: Arrive in Beijing at 8:30. This is where the tour ends or we can arrange onward travel for you.
Included in the price:
- Russian and Chinese visa invitations, support paperwork for Mongolian visa, full North Korean visa service
- all train tickets
- 3 star twin accommodation in Wigan, Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow, Irkutsk, Olkhon Island, Ulan Bator, Beijing, Dandong and Pyongyang
- all transfers during tour
- tours in Wigan, London, Moscow, Olkhon Island, Mongolia, Beijing, Dandong and North Korea. All entry fees are included
- all meals in Olkhon Island, Terelj National Park, North Korea
- Lupine tour leader and local tour guides
The price doesn't include:
- flight back at the end of the tour from Beijing (flights are usually around £350-£400 on way to UK)
- travel insurance
- some meals
- tips for guides
- visa fees
Train cabins are four berth and rooms are twin shared. For solo travellers we can arrange for you to share with one of our other solo travellers or you can have a single room in the hotels for £615
* Please note that horse riding is not compulsory and is done at your own risk. Alternative hiking options can be arranged upon request.