Regular flights link Shanghai with Pyongyang

Update:28 Apr 2015

RECLUSIVE Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is welcoming tourists from China with regular flights linking Shanghai with Pyongyang.

There are now two flights operated by DPRK’s Air Koryo per week from Pudong International Airport.

Each flight can carry 176 passengers. Previously, chartered flights were used for trips to North Korea but as demand grew Air Koryo added regular flights to and fro from the city.

Last year, chartered flights between Shanghai and Pyongyang were operated for only three months in July, August and September.

Two Shanghai-based travel agencies that organize trips to DPRK said tour packages for the May Day holiday were nearly sold out.

“Most of the visitors who bought the tours to the DPRK were born in the 1950s or 1960s. Most of them travel with family members. There are some youngsters in the trip but they were essentially accompanying their parents,” said Shi Kaifeng, an official with China’s biggest online tourism service provider Ctrip, one of the two travel agencies that organizes trips to the DPRK.

Chen Guinan, a 60-year-old retired Shanghainese, said he longed to make a trip to DPRK with his wife for some time.

“I received too much education about the DPRK, its wartime and its history in my childhood. I am very curious about the place because it has a mysterious lure for me,” he said.

Chen said he hoped to visit Panmunjom (part of it is in the DPRK, and part in ROK) the most.

The tour are usually four to five days and cost around 4,000 to 5,000 yuan (US$806) and include trips to Kim Il-Sung square and Myohyang-san.

Overseas tourists must have a tour guide and can only visit designated places. Only camera lenses with a focal distance shorter than 200 millimeters can be taken on the trip. There is no Wi-Fi available on the trip.

Summer and early autumn season are the best time to visit the country, Shi said.

“DPRK tours are gaining in popularity with more flight option available. We expect more Chinese tourists to visit the country after the start of regular flights,” he said.


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