The following is a list of tours in destinations that I have personally researched and led on multiple occasions. These are meticulously prepared, planned and come highly recommended.
I’m offering unique budget tours to North Korea, Iraq, Papua New Guinea, Eritrea & other lesser visited destinations with expert advice and assistance throughout. If the dates below don’t work for you, don’t worry! Let me know when you want to travel and it can be arranged.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or use the book function below to get in touch and register your interest today.
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This is a VIP photo tour run by photographers for photographers. It will be capped at 6 people in order to present you with the best and rarest opportunity to photograph daily life in the DPRK.
This is not a conventional DPRK tour that you may have heard of. Besides the usual stops at Mansudae Grand Monument and Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, I have designed an itinerary that allows you time in key places to get that perfect shot. My unique access & relationship which I have built with the Korean guides over the last 5 years will allow us to move as a small group with great flexibility for any photo opportunity.
July 25th – August 4th 2019
Thursday 25th July
- Meet your YPT guide at 1:30pm at the Beijing Zhong Gu Hotel near Beijing Railway Station found here. During this meeting, we’ll go through the tour’s itinerary, receive DPRK visas and tickets, as well as a great chance to meet your fellow travellers and to discuss any other questions you may have about the DPRK.
- Train takers depart Beijing Central station at 5:25pm for the 24 hour sleeper ride to Pyongyang.
Friday 26th July
- Train group arrive at Dandong at 7:00am for Chinese border control then depart for Sinuiju at 10:30am for the extensive border control from the DPRK side, along the way photography of rural DPRK is permitted
- Flight takers depart Beijing Airport Terminal 2 on Air Koryo at 13:25pm (Meet group at Air Koryo check-in counter).
- Flight group arrive in Pyongyang at 4:00pm to a warm welcome from your Korean guides.
- Train group arrive at 6:45pm to an equally warm welcome.
- In the evening your YPT guide will show you around the hotel before taking you for drinks and to get to know your Korean guides
- Dinner and overnight at the Yanggakdo Hotel.
Saturday 27th July
- Kumsusan Palace of the Sun- The mausoleum for the Great Leader President Kim Il Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il.
- Visit the recently renovated Korean War Museum – let the expert local guide show you around the enormous museum featuring dioramas, locally used weapons, tanks etc., and captured American equipment! Photography of the captured American equipment and the USS Pueblo – The only US Naval Ship still held captive by another nation – is permitted
- Lunch at the Moranbong Chicken Restaurant
- Visit Moranbong hill to dance, party and mingle with the locals as they celebrated the biggest holiday of the year!
- Foreign Language Bookshop – with a large selection of books in English and other European Languages as well as other souvenirs, followed by a short walk to:
- Kim Il Sung Square- the central square of Pyongyang city and the place where all the action happens.
- Special celebratory events (optional: approx 20 euros) – Yet to be confirmed but we will take part in any holiday events that are possible for tourists to attend. These may include a parade, a circus performance, and possibly some other surprises.
- Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s palace- The largest of the schoolchildren’s palaces (extracurricular centres) in the DPRK, we’ll first observe some lessons then watch the amazing performance
- Expected mass dance for Victory Day, join in or just watch for fantastic photo opportunities!
- Dinner at Duck BBQ restaurant
- Join the locals on Kim Il Sung Square to watch the fireworks
- Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel
Sunday 28th July
- Drive towards Nampo city (1-hour drive) – a port city located on the west coast of the Korean peninsula. A fantastic opportunity to see country life as we pass many rural villages on the way. Along the way, we’ll stop to take some compelling/eerie shots of a ten lane motorway with no traffic on it.
- West Sea Barrage- An astounding example of socialist construction, the barrage was built to keep the salty water of the West sea from rendering parts of the Taedonggan river and surrounding farmland useless as well as to tame the local sea.
- Unique trip highlight – Swim at Nampo beach and hang out with the locals!
- Picnic lunch on the beach
- Stop at Chollima Steel Complex – One of the DPRK’s most famous industrial sites- named after the Chollima movement it helped lead.
- Chongsan Co-operative farm – One of the top co-op farms in the DPRK and a model of the co-op method. Here we’ll visit inside a farmers house, stop by the local nursery and snap any farmers working nearby.
- Drive back to Pyongyang
- Dinner and overnight in the Yanggakdo Hotel
Monday 29th July
- Up Nice and early to drive to Kaesong and the DMZ.
- Photo opportunity of the Monument to the Three Charters of National Reunification, standing over the Thongil Highway.
- Koryo Museum- Korea’s first university and now a museum of history and culture. Also home of the best stamp and propaganda poster shop in the DPRK.
- The DMZ- See one of the tensest places on earth complete with a friendly KPA officer who will not only give you a guided tour but also keep you safe. Here we will secure a photo shoot with the active soldiers serving on the front line.
- Lunch at the Thongil Restaurant in Kaesong City- try your hand at traditional Korean Pansangi- a series of dishes served in bronze bowls. (Optional extras- Dog soup 5 euro).
- Drop by Sariwon City (Capital of North Hwanghae province) to walk in the local folk custom park and view the city from the mountain top pagoda.
- Try locally brewed Makkoli in the local tea house
- Stop by the reunification arch for sunset
- Get back to Pyongyang for dinner at the famous Duck BBQ
- Kaeson Youth Park (entry 2 euros, rides 3 to 5 euros extra each depending on how awesome they are).
- Overnight at the Yanggakdo hotel.
Tuesday 30th July
- We’ll start the morning by setting up at Kim Il Sung Square to catch the early commuters as they make their way to work. Kim Il Sung Square is the grand central square of Pyongyang where the military parades are televised
- We’ll then continue our way to Mansudae water fountain park with mosaic pictures of President Kim Il Sung and the leader Kim Jong Il in the background
- We’ll set up at the Mansudae Grand Monument where the two large bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and the Leader Kim Jong Il stand overlooking the capital.
- Lunch at the KITC restaurant in Mangyongdae District – here you can have the chance to sample Pyongyang’s famous Cold Noodle dish or the Korean traditional Bibimbap amongst other dishes.
- Afternoon slow and gentle stroll downtown Pyongyang – starting from the Culture house and ending up on the east side of Pyongyang
- Now it’s time to explore the mysterious Pyongyang Metro. We’ll start from Puhung station, then ride one stop to Yonggwang station, and 5 more stations onwards to Kaeson station. That’s three stations in total.
- The Arch of Triumph- The largest Victory Arch on the planet – it celebrates the victory over the Japanese and the return of the general Kim Il Sung to his home city. Kim Il Sung Stadium is nearby with more opportunities to snap Pyongyang’s traffic.
- Dinner and drinks at the Korean Hot Pot restaurant
- Evening sunset shots at Kim Il Sung Square
- Overnight in Yanggakdo hotel
Wednesday 31st July
- We’ll set up alongside the Ryugyong Hotel (the tallest and most famous building in Pyongyang) for early sunrise shots over Pyongyang. As the morning progresses, the daily grind will pick up with road and foot traffic.
- Munsu Water Park- a modern indoor and outdoor Waterpark built recently in Pyongyang. Sunday is the most popular day for locals to come and take advantage of the facilities. Lots of families, couples and friends mingling. Incredible for photography.
- Lunch at the Koryo Hotel (check out the revolving restaurant!)
- Monument to the Party Foundation – built in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the worker’s party. This is the large monument with hammer, sickle and writing brush.
- Juche Tower- The tallest stone tower in the world it represents the eternally burning Korean Juche Ideology. To visit the top of the Juche Tower is 5 euros. The best vantage point of a panoramic view of Pyongyang city.
- Stop by the local Mansugyo bar for cold refreshments and a chance to mingle with Koreans at the bar
- Dinner at Potonggang Restaurant
- Overnight and at the Yanggakdo Hotel
Thursday 1st August
- Breakfast in Pyongyang and drive to Wonsan city (4 hours) stopping at Sinpyong Lagoon along the way for a quick rest and refreshments
- Picnic lunch at Ulim Waterfall – one of the most famous and beautiful waterfalls in the DPRK
- Arrive in Wonsan, check into Tongmyong hotel overlooking Wonsan Bay
- Trip highlight – Visit Wonsan Beach for a swim, sunbathe, or to play beach games with the locals (the entry for the beach is 2 euros per person)
- Walk along the pier to Chok Islet where the locals will be fishing, drinking and enjoying their own BBQs with friends and family. Here you have the option of trying the fresh catch of the day for 5 euros, this will give you a good mix of everything
- Dinner at a nearby famous seafood restaurant along the waterfront
- Overnight at Tongmyong Hotel
Friday 2nd August
- Take a walk around Wonsan Central Square and the nearby port to see DPRK’s very own cruise ship named the Mangyongbong-92
- Visit the former Railway Station which has now been converted into a Revolutionary site with an old Japanese stream engine left over by the Japanese during the Korean occupation
- Visit Songdowon International Children’s Union Camp – This recently renovated summer camp was designed for children in both the DPRK and for international guests. Its facilities include a waterpark, dormitories, aquatic centre, aviary, track & field and a beach
- Lunch at a local Wonsan restaurant to sample famous local dishes
- Drive back to Pyongyang
- Dinner at the famous Duck BBQ restaurant in Reunification District
- Take a walk down new and bright Future Scientist’s street, perfect for long exposure shots
- Overnight at the Yanggakdo Hotel
Saturday 3rd August
- Flight members depart at 9:00am and arrive in Beijing 9:55am local time.
- Train members depart at 10:25am for Beijing
Sunday 4th August
- Train arrives in Beijing Railway Station at 9:00am
One of my favorite and most accessible countries; Iraqi Kurdistan is a prospective new nation protected by it’s famous fighting force; the Peshmerga.
Despite its significance and proximity to probably the most important war currently raging, Kurdistan offers not only safety, but beautiful scenery.
Famed in Middle Eastern literature as a paradise on earth, with more than 3500 archaeological sites, and some of the most friendly and welcoming people on earth. The country is waiting to be discovered.
February 11th – 17th, 2019
April 29th – May 5th, 2019
Monday 29th April
- Guests arrive by own means and make their way to the hotel Grand located in the centre of the Christian District of Erbil.
- For those that arrive early, we will take a trip to the bazaar to exchange money at the best rates.
- In the evening, we head for the welcome dinner, orientation, and drinks at our hotel, where we will review the itinerary.
- Overnight in Erbil.
Tuesday 30th April
- We begin the day nice and early for the two-hour drive to Lalesh. This is the most sacred town for the Yazidi people and is extremely interesting. We will get a chance here to have some photos holding AK’s with the soldiers of the Peshmerga.
- We then head to the Khanis archaeological site, where it is also possible to have a swim in the fresh water.
- Our next stop is at one of the world’s oldest churches built into the mountains in Algosh. Algosh is technically part of Mosul and Iraq “proper”. From the mountainside church, we will be able to see the Peshmerga front line against ISIS.
- We head for lunch and a few beers in Algosh, as luckily it is a Christian town!
- Following our slow, late lunch, we drive onwards to Duhok, which is a pleasant old town for our overnight stay.
- Walking city tour.
- Overnight in Duhok
Wednesday 1st May
- In the morning, we head to Amadiya, home to one of Saddam Hussein’s former mountaintop palaces and is truly an amazing site. We spend a few hours exploring and admiring the breathtaking views.
- We head to a locally famous cave restaurant for a traditional lunch.
- Following lunch, we embark on one of our longer journeys: the four-hour drive to Rawandas. Stopping along the way for pictures at the Shamarda cave as well as for refreshments.
- Walking tour of Rawandas before we head for dinner and drinks.
- Overnight in Rawandas.
Thursday 2nd May
- Drive the famously scenic Hamilton road. The road was built by AM Hamilton in the early 1930’s for what he hoped would unify the peoples of the region. Well, in fact, the road has been fought over many times, especially during the war with Iran.
- We continue our journey stopping at various waterfalls and mountains for pictures, before getting on the only mountain cable car in the region for breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery.
- Lunch at a countryside restaurant.
- We take another scenic drive of around 3.5 hours to the second major city of Iraqi Kurdistan, and the most important regarding tourism, Sulaymaniyah. We will be stopping along the way for refreshments and picture opportunities.
- In the evening, we take a walk around this historical city before heading into the Christian quarter for dinner and drinks.
- Overnight in Sulaymaniyah.
Friday 3rd May
- We take the one-hour drive to Halabja. Halabja was the scene of the mass chemical attack on the Kurdish people, perpetrated by the Baathist regime. Here, we will look at the various shrines to the scene of this atrocity, as well as visit a local museum.
- We head to Tawela, the last village in Iraq next to the Iran border, and previously the front line in the Iran/Iraq war. There is also a beautiful waterfall here that we will visit for some relaxation.
- Lunch by the border.
- We head back to Sulaymaniyah for some leisurely time at Azadi park and bowling centre.
- Overnight in Sulaymaniyah.
Saturday 4th May
- Free morning to explore Sulaymaniyah.
- We again hit the road, this time back to Erbil, but instead of taking the short cut, we head via recently liberated Kirkuk. We will not stop in the town proper, but will instead do a driving tour of the city.
- Lunch in a village around Kirkuk.
- We then complete the scenic two-hour drive back to Erbil, again, stopping for refreshments and photos along the way.
- We head to the Citadel for sunset, which, although it has seen better days, is still worth a look. We then head into the bazaar where your local guide will help you find some last minute bargains.
- We have a farewell dinner near the bazaar.
- It is fair to say you do not know a country until you have done a bar crawl, so we finish our time in Iraqi Kurdistan in true YPT style by seeing it off with a few well-earned drinks.
- Overnight in Erbil.
Sunday 5th May
- End of tour, with YPT either able to arrange additional accommodation or transport to the airport.
Papua New Guinea
Have you ever wanted to come face to face with fierce tribal warriors, head-hunters or a witch doctor? If so, or if you simply want to explore and experience one of the most remote parts of earth, come and experience the truly remarkable Mt Hagen Festival in Papua New Guinea.
On this tour, we will be taking full advantage of the festival celebrations allowing you to see the traditional New Guinean life in all its feathered glory. The Mt. Hagen Show, which goes on for three days, consists of hundreds of tribes from all over the island showcasing their tribe’s traditional dress and dancing.
During the tour, we will stop by the capital, Port Moresby before heading deep into the interior to one of the most isolated parts of the world.
Don’t miss out on this incredible chance to see one of the least explored parts of the world!
August 14th – 20th 2019
Wednesday 14th August
- Meet your YPT guide in the hotel in Port Moresby at 4pm.
- Head out for a group dinner and some drinks at the new waterfront boardwalk. We will discuss the trip in more detail and it will also give you a chance to get to know your YPT guide and fellow travellers.
- Overnight in Port Moresby
Thursday 15th August
- Early morning transfer to the airport to catch our flight to Mt. Hagen with PNG Airlines departing at 9:15 am and arriving in Mt. Hagen at 11:30am.
- Upon arrival, we will meet our local guides and transfer to our hotel for check in
- After check-in, you will go on a guided city tour to Mt Hagen main market and visit the fresh produce market where you can see all kinds of tribal artefacts unique to the interior of the New Guinea highlands
- Afterwards we head out into the surrounding mountains for more sightseeing and we will see different kinds of wildlife, much of it unique to PNG, like birds of paradise, highland echidnas and cassowaries if we are lucky.
- Head back to Mt Hagen for dinner and overnight
Friday 16th August
- After breakfast at 9am, you will drive out to Urup (1 hour).
- Go for a short hike in the jungle, visit a witch doctor and we will even see a local initiation ceremony for a young man
- Scour the lively local markets for souvenirs
- Drive back to Mt. Hagen (1 hour)
- Dinner and overnight in Mt Hagen
Saturday 17th August
- After an early breakfast you will transfer out to the show ground and do a full day tour of the festival, where we will see all kinds of performances and costumes of the over 100+ tribes of local people including skeleton men
- Participate for a full day with a street food lunch outside the hotel.
- This will be your chance to get up and close with the Huli Wigmen a tribe that wears extremely elaborate headdresses made from their own hair and other materials.
- After the show in the afternoon we will head back to the hotel for dinner.
- Overnight in Mt Hagen
Sunday 18th August
- Again we head out to the show this time with a chance to see the Huli Wigmen famous for their elaborate hair and headdresses. They are a part of one of the largest tribes of New Guinea and have over 1000 years of history in the region.
- For lunch we will be treated to a special lunch cooked in a dug earth oven called a ‘mumu’, which is special to the highlands area. The food cooked will mainly be pork, chicken and local root vegetables.
- A chance to see some more dances at the show and to have your picture taken with some of the Huli Wigmen.
- Overnight in Mt Hagen
Monday 19th August
- Another day at the show, this time with a chance to see he Waipa dance also known as the “big jump” dance which is a mass dance only found in PNG, quite an awesome sight and definitely a highlight.
- Night out in Mt Hagen to celebrate the end of the festival and tour, we will go for dinner and drinks partying PNG style!
- Overnight in Mt Hagen
Tuesday 20th August
- Early breakfast and transfer to the airport
- Arrival in Port Moresby with onward international connections available
- End of tour
This fascinating country falls well below most travelers’ radars, which makes it a unique and off the beaten track experience. Eritrea boasts a pristine coastline and untouched Red Sea islands as well as some of the best-kept colonial architecture in Africa. On top of all that we’ll take part in the two-day festival to celebrate Eritrea’s independence!
Having been colonized in part by the Turks and Egyptians, Eritrea took on a European flavor with the arrival of the Italians in 1885 during their belated entry in the “scramble for Africa”. The legacies of successive foreign forces, combined with a rich mix of nine local ethnic groups, have created a diverse cultural landscape that offers the best of African, Middle Eastern and European influences.
The Eritrean capital city of Asmara is like a film set from an early Italian movie, with vintage Italian coffee machines and outstanding examples of Art-Deco architecture. Although the country faces numerous hardships, it paradoxically remains one of Africa’s most peaceful, secure, and welcoming destinations.
May 22nd – 30th 2019
Wedneday 22nd May
- Own arrival in Asmara.
- Meet and greet at the airport and then you will be transferred to our hotel; the “Ambassador Hotel”.
- Some down time to change some money with your guide and get orientated.
- We will meet up at the hotel before heading out for our first group dinner and drinks in Eritrea!
Thursday 23rd May
- After breakfast we will have a walking tour of the center of town. We will see the spectacular art deco of Asmara built by the Italians at the turn of the last century, such as the Post office built 1916, Albergo Italia built in 1899, the presidential palace built in 1907, and the Hotel Hamasien built in 1916. Great photo opportunities!
- We check out the Tank graveyard where we can see out-of-use tanks that were demolished during the war with Ethiopia.
- Visit the City Hall to see various photo displays in commemoration of the thirty-years bitter struggle and the post-independence progress. The City Hall was established by the Italians in 1890, and is one of the oldest institutions in Africa. There will also be various inventions on display by young people.
- Continue our tour of Asmara where we check out the various pre-Independence Day celebrations including modern and folklore dances.
- Walk up and down Harnett street where we will watch various cinematographic dramas and performances.
- Festival continues into the night culminating in a massive fireworks show at midnight to celebrate independence. Great vantage point from the roof of our hotel!
Friday 24th May – Independence Day!
- For those brave enough there will be a 6am 21-gun salute to mark Independence Day.
- Free time to walk around the city after breakfast and mingle with locals.
- There will be various art exhibitions along the pedestrianized streets of the Main liberation avenue.
- After lunch, we join the celebrations at Asmara Stadium. There will be various displays by the Military music band and the Eritrean Air force will fly over the stadium in a spectacular color show! Various dramas will be shown by many artists during the afternoon.
- The Eritrean President will deliver a speech on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee. The show will come to an end by about 7pm.
- Dinner and drinks to close out the Independence celebrations at a traditional restaurant, where you can sample injera and local alcohols… Followed by a dance party!
- Overnight at the hotel in Asmara.
Saturday 25th May
- After a mini sleep in and some breakfast, we will board a 100 year old train and ride all the way to Nefasit.
- Along the way we will go through thirty tunnels. This is definitely a trip highlight!
- On board the train we will be offered a traditional coffee ceremony.
- Arrive back in Asmara
- Head to the incredible bowling alley for a step back in time.
- Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Sunday 26th May
- Hit the road for the 3 hour drive to Massawa
- On arrival we’ll check in at our seaside hotel
- We’ll visit Gurgusum Beach, where we can swim and relax with local people.
- Walking tour to take in the unique mixture of Turkish and Italian architectural design.
- Dinner at the “Salam Restaurant”. Fresh fish prepared in traditional oven. This is a real local experience.
- After dinner we explore the nightlife of Massawa and find some bars.
- Overnight in Massawa.
Monday 27th May
- After breakfast we visit a local school in Massawa to learn about Eritrea’s education system and meet with the children.
- Take a boat to Dahlac Marine National Park, the Red Sea’s largest archipelago of which just four islands are inhabited.
- We visit ruins from the early Arabic/Islamic settlers of the 8th century, and also some local Tigranyan villages.
- Those who have a diving license can experience a dive in the Red Sea! (additional cost for diving). Don’t dive? No problem – snorkeling equipment is also available.
- In late afternoon/early evening, we will make our way back to Massawa.
- Dinner, drinks, and overnight in Massawa
Tuesday 28th May
- After a late breakfast, we will hit the road back to Asmara.
- Arrival in Asmara at around 4pm – we will have free time in Asmara before joining up for a farewell dinner. We may be lucky enough to watch football in the famous Cinema Roma or, if interested, have a chance to briefly talk about your country or profession to young Eritrean students.
- Dinner and group drinks in Asmara.
Wednesday 29th May
- After breakfast we head to Keren city.
- We take in the festival of Mariam Dearit. This is the real highlight of the religious festival calendar in Eritrea. Simply watch or join in on the thousands of people dancing and sharing coffee with each other
- Lunch in Keren
- Free time in this quaint town to check out the local markets and explore the lively streets.
- Drive back to Eritrea and stop by some destroyed Ethiopian tanks along the way!
- Last group dinner and overnight in Asmara!
Thursday 30th May
- End of tour.
- Airport transfers for those who require, depending on flight times.