Pyongyang Soccer League 2018PYONGYANG, DPRK (NORTH KOREA) | SEPT. 4 - 13, 2018

We are proud to announce that in 2018 we have the unique opportunity to organise a soccer exhibition like no other! Join our team of amateur travellers to play against an elite North Korean squad, in the heart of the capital, Pyongyang.

We bring you an unforgettable sporting and human experience deep inside the most secretive country in the world. While supporting our charitable project aimed at integrating people with intellectual disabilities into the sporting community, you will explore places largely unknown to the public and an untouched and mysterious culture. After organizing several events where our international players played against the North Korean national ice hockey team, we now have the perfect opportunity to have you play against one of their elite soccer teams. You will even have the chance to discover the 1st of May  Stadium, the largest in the world, and the Arirang Mass Games.

Highlights

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Soccer exhibition with a North Korean elite team

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Site visits in Pyongyang and the Demilitarized Zone

Beach-DPRK - 1

Trip to Wonsan's Sandy Beaches and Mount Kumgang

About the event

The Pyongyang Soccer League 2018 is a sporting event utilizing a shared passion for soccer to overcome the existing political and ideological barriers and promote friendship between the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the international community at large. By participating in this cultural exchange, you also contribute to our sport programs, fostering sustainable integration and long-term social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

  • Soccer exhibition with a North Korean elite soccer team
    You’ll play a series of games and our now famous ‘Friendship Game’ against an elite North Korean soccer team and will be able to participate in joint training sessions. The final game will see both teams mix together for a true friendship game.
  • Site visits in Pyongyang and in Kaesong/Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
    After the games, we will undertake site visits to discover the most secretive nation on earth. You will be taken around Pyongyang, including Kim Il Sung Square, the Korean War Museum and the world famous Pyongyang Metro, which doubles as a nuclear bunker. You will also visit other key highlights of the city, top restaurants and bars as well as its traditional breweries. The tour includes trips outside Pyongyang to Kaesong City and the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ), on the 38th parallel north, at the border with South Korea.
  • Opportunity to travel to Wonsan’s beaches and climb Mount Kumgang
    For the most adventurous, you will have the chance to travel to the east coast of North Korea to swim around Wonsan’s white sandy beaches and climb to the top of Mount Kumgang, the second highest mountain in the country.  This is a great chance to see what life in the DPRK is like outside the bustling capital – something few foreigners have the chance to do.

SPECIAL EVENT: ARIRANG MASS GAMES
The Arirang Mass Games, one of the world’s most spectacular show, will be back in 2018 after a 4 year interruption so we want to take this great opportunity to combine playing soccer and discovering a unique cultural event.

Partners

The Pyongyang Soccer League 2018 is being organized by Howe International Consulting Group (HICG) and Lupine Travel in conjunction with the DPRK Ministry of Sport and the Korea International Youth & Children’s Travel Company.

Who can participate?

If your idea of the perfect vacation is a weekend in Vegas or a trip to an all-inclusive beach resort, the HIFL might not be your best bet.  We’re looking for truly adventurous, curious and open-minded global citizens who are passionate about the world and its people.  Our past participants have included first time adventurists and expert nomads, skilled rookies and seasoned veterans, solo travellers and large groups.  Simply put, if you think it sounds fun and are willing to keep an open mind – get in touch!

One of the world’s most spectacular show

THE MASS GAMES

Mass Games are a type of performing arts or gymnastics that emphasizes group dynamics over individualism.  Today, they are only performed in North Korea, however the events have a rich history arising from mid-19th century Europe.  It was during this time that the human body became viewed as a machine, with multiple people viewed as factories that could extend beyond each individuals capabilities.  This thinking led academics and aristocrats to believe that a social revolution could occur in tandem with the Industrial Revolution.  Aiming to provide physical as well as moral training, the first Mass Games were developed as a military exercise in Germany.  As socialism grew in popularity throughout the future Soviet Union regions, Mass Games saw an accompanying boost due to their perceived egalitarian nature.  This was enhanced in the 1920’s as the Soviet Union increasingly viewed the Olympics as hierarchical and overly-focused on winning.  Mass Games would eventually be held in countries including Japan, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and China.

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL ON STEROIDS

Each Mass Games performance is centered on a narrative of historical struggle and perseverance on the part of Korean revolutionaries.  It is believed that the North Korean incarnation of the Mass Games began in the 1930’s with the creation of ‘Flower Gymnastics’ by President Kim Il Sung.  The first Mass Games would be held in 1960, with the Mass Games Production Company being formed in 1971.  Events consist of 90 minutes of high-flying acrobatics, glittery costumes, fireworks and the world-renowned mosaic.  By flipping through booklets containing more than 150 colored pages, large columns of performers combine to create powerful images that change frequently as the performance progresses.   Over 100 000 performers fill the 1st of May Stadium in Pyongyang – the world’s largest – making the Mass Games a performance like no other!

BRILLIANT FATHERLAND

The North Korean Mass Games are often incorrectly referred to as the ‘Arirang Games’.  ‘Arirang’ actually refers to a specific Mass Games performance that centered on a Romeo and Juliet style plot and ran occasionally from 2002-2013.  In fact, there have been more than 120 Mass Games that have occurred in Pyongyang.  Local authorities have recently announced that they upcoming games will be titled ‘Brilliant Fatherland’ – sharing a name with a popular song by the North Korean Moranbong Band.  The events have not occurred for more than five years, leading many to believe that the Mass Games performances had been lost to history.  That is, until now!

This section is for informational purposes only and its content is subject to change.

The Pyongyang Soccer League 2018 is a 7 day trip combining soccer trainings and games with the DPRK team with site visits of the most popular tourist attractions of the Hermit Kingdom. Additionally, an optional 3 day trip (Unseen Korea Extension) to the east coast of North Korea, including visits to Wonsan and Mount Kumgang, is made available to all participants.

TOUR PROGRAM

  • Day 1

    Beijing, China — Arrival and Friendly Game

    First game in Beijing | Tuesday, 4 September 2018

    We will start the trip in Beijing, meeting up at the hotel to check-in.
    We will then get to know each other better on the field during a friendly game with the players of the Beijing Soccer League.

    13.30: Meet-up and hotel check-in
    14.30-17.30: Drinks and evening briefing about the tour
    17.30-19.00: Soccer friendly game with the Beijing Soccer League (TBC)
    19.30-: Dinner
    Overnight at hotel in Beijing

  • Day 2

    Beijing, China — Departure

    Scenic Train trip to Pyongyang | Wednesday, 5 September 2018

    Cross the border between China and North Korea sprawled across beautiful sleeper cars.
    A perfect opportunity to discover North Korea's countryside as well as hilly and untouched landscapes.

    15.30: Leaving from Beijing (departure at 17.30)
    Overnight train to Pyongyang

  • Day 3

    Pyongyang, DPRK

    First day in the Hermit Kingdom’s capital | Thursday, 6 September 2018

    17.30: Arrival in Pyongyang
    18.30-19.00: Evening activities
    19.30-: Drinks and dinner at traditional restaurant
    Overnight at Yanggakdo hotel

  • Day 4

    Pyongyang, DPRK

    Soccer training session, game and site visits | Friday, 7 September 2018

    Soccer training session with the DPRK team.
    Site visits of Pyongyang’s most popular tourist attractions.
    (Mansudae and Party Founding monuments, Kim Il Sung Square, and many more.)

    9.00-12.00: Soccer training session
    12.00-14.00: Lunch at top revolving restaurant
    14.00-17.00: City tour - Mansudae and Party Founding monuments and Kim Il Sung Square
    17.00-19.00: Soccer friendly game with the DPRK team
    19.30-21.00: Dinner at traditional restaurant
    21.00-: Beer bar evening
    Overnight at Yanggakdo hotel

  • Day 5

    Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Kaesong, DPRK

    Discovery of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and soccer game | Saturday, 8 September 2018

    Trip to one of the world’s most densely militarized area, the Korean DMZ.
    Soccer game with the DPRK team.

    8.30-12.30: Coach to the DMZ (Kaesong)
    12.30-14.00: Lunch at Kaesong
    17.00-19.00: Soccer game
    19.00-21.00: Korean Gogigui BBQ
    21.00-: Beer bar evening
    Overnight at Yanggakdo hotel

  • Day 6

    Pyongyang, DPRK

    PSL 2018 Friendship Game Day and touristic highlights | Sunday, 9 September 2018

    9.00-12.00: ARIRANG MASS GAMES
    12.00-14.00: Lunch at revolving restaurant
    14.00-17.00: War Victory Museum, Pyongyang Metro and Arch of Triumph
    17.00-19.00: Final Game
 PYONGYANG SOCCER LEAGUE FRIENDSHIP EXHIBITION
    19.30: Farewell and Friendship dinner
    Overnight at Yanggakdo hotel

  • Day 7

    Pyongyang, DPRK — Departure

    Scenic train trip or direct flight back from Pyongyang to Beijing | Monday, 10 September 2018

    REGULAR PARTICIPANTS
    10.10: Leaving from Pyongyang (departure at 10.40)
    Overnight train to Beijing

    PREMIUM PARTICIPANTS
    7.30: Leaving from Pyongyang (departure at 8.25)
    10.30: Arrival in Beijing
    Airport drop-off

  • Day 8

    Beijing, China — Arrival

    Tuesday, 11 September 2018

    8.30: Arrival in Beijing

+3 DAY UNSEEN KOREA EXTENSION
BEHIND-THE-SCENES TRIP

WONSAN AND MT KUMGANG

  • Day 7

    Wonsan, DPRK

    First day in Wonsan Resort | Monday, 10 September 2018

    8.00-12.00: Coach to Wonsan
    12.00-13.00: Lunch at local restaurant
    13.00-15.00: Deep sea fishing excursion off the east coast for premium participants (TBC)
    13.00-18.00: Afternoon site visits of Wonsan and sandy beaches
    19.00-21.00: Dinner at local restaurant
    Overnight at resort hotel

  • Day 8

    North Korea's East Coast, DPRK

    Full-day enjoying the east coast’s breath-taking tourist highlights | Tuesday, 11 September 2018

    8.00-12.00: Morning site visits along the east coast
    12.00-13.00: Lunch at local restaurant
    13.00-18.00: Afternoon visits and coach to Mount Kumgang
    19.30-21.00: Dinner at local restaurant
    Overnight at resort hotel

  • Day 9

    Mount Kumgang, DPRK

    Ascent of Mount Kumgang | Wednesday, 12 September 2018

    8.00-12.00: Ascent of Mount Kumgang
    12.00-14.00: Lunch at traditional restaurant
    14.00-16.30: Trekking to scenic waterfalls in stunning lush landscapes
    16.30-20.30: Coach to Pyongyang
    21.00-: Dinner at restaurant in Pyongyang
    Overnight at Yanggakdo hotel

  • Day 10

    Pyongyang, DPRK — Departure

    Scenic train trip or direct flight back from Pyongyang to Beijing | Thursday, 13 September 2018

    REGULAR PARTICIPANTS
    10.10: Leaving from Pyongyang (departure at 10.40)
    Overnight train to Beijing

    PREMIUM PARTICIPANTS
    7.30: Leaving from Pyongyang (departure at 8.25)
    10.30: Arrival in Beijing
    Airport drop-off

  • Day 11

    Beijing, China — Arrival

    Friday, 14 September 2018

    8.30: Arrival in Beijing

This section is for informational purposes only and its content is subject to change.

REGULAR TOUR PROGRAM

Sept. 4-10, 2018 (Train in, Train out)
7 days, 6 nights
Beijing | Pyongyang | Kaesong/DMZ | Sariwon |Pyongyang | Beijing

Total cost per person:
2,300 USD | 100$ Early bird discount available


+3 DAY UNSEEN KOREA EXTENSION | Behing-the-scenes trip to Wonsan and Mount Kumgang

Sept. 10-13, 2018 (Train out)
(Add 3 days and 3 nights)
Wonsan |Mt Kumgang | Pyongyang

Total cost per person:
2.900 USD | 100$ Early bird discount available


WHAT’S INCLUDED | Regular Tour Program

Regular tours are inclusive of:

  • Roundtrip train tickets from Beijing to Pyongyang and back
  • Guides and translators
  • Group transport throughout your stay
  • Three meals per day as well as snacks periodically
  • Accommodation – basic room based on double occupancy
  • Entrance fees to all excursions
  • Tickets to all tournament games and events
  • Visa for North Korea (Chinese visa not included)
  • Tournament jersey + one for local player
  • Basic $50k travel insurance policy
  • Donation to support sports programs for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the DPRK

Learn more about our Sports Programs for Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities.

PREMIUM TOUR PROGRAM

Sept. 4-10, 2018 (Train in, Fly out)
7 days, 7 nights
Beijing | Pyongyang | Kaesong/DMZ | Sariwon |Pyongyang | Beijing

Total cost per person:
3,200 USD | 200$ Early bird discount available


+3 DAY UNSEEN KOREA EXTENSION | Behing-the-scenes trip to Wonsan and Mount Kumgang

Sept. 10-13, 2018 (Fly out)
(Add 3 days and 3 nights)
Wonsan |Mt Kumgang | Pyongyang

Total cost per person: 
4,000 USD | 200$ early bird discount available


WHAT’S INCLUDED | Premium Tour Program

In addition to perks mentioned in the Regular Packages, Premium Packages are inclusive of:

  • Airfare from Pyongyang to Beijing on the way back (in lieu of train tickets)
  • Airport transfers in Beijing and Pyongyang
  • Private room
  • North Korean soccer tracksuit
  • Deep sea fishing excursion off the east coast (+3 day extension only)
  • DPRK style propaganda poster
  • Dedicated photographer for premium participants
  • Extra $129,000 travel insurance policy

Safety

The safety and wellbeing of Howe International Friendship League participants is of the utmost concern to us.  We regularly monitor the situation in all host destinations and maintain close contact with local community members.  If we feel that the security situation in a host country has deteriorated to the point that an event cannot continue, the HIFL will provide a full refund of all monies paid.

Our events always have a very friendly, easy-going vibe.  There won’t be much rough stuff.  That being said we recognize that injuries are always a possibility in any athletic sport.  For your wellbeing, trained first aid attendants will be present at all HIFL events.

All participants are required to show proof of sufficient travel insurance prior to embarking on their adventure.

How can we help you?

Please feel free to contact us with any question or concern you might have regarding our events.

Sport has a unique way of forging cross-cultural connections where few previously existed. Join us to bring changing perspectives in the lives of remote communities.

Gordon Israel
Managing Partner, Howe International
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