China / Society

Chartered flights set from Shanghai to DPRK

By Shi Jing in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-13 08:02

As enthusiasm for visiting the Democratic People's Republic of Korea keeps heating up among the Chinese, tourists in Shanghai will be able to visit the country on a chartered flight this summer, and maybe even take pictures with usually-banned telephoto lenses during an autumn trip.

Chartered flights set from Shanghai to DPRK
Travel passes to DPRK territory now available within 24 hours 

The chartered flight from Shanghai to Pyongyang began in 2012 and will mark its third consecutive year in July. China's largest online travel agency,, and Yanbian China International Travel Services Co Shanghai Branch both provide travel packages for the flight.

Only camera lenses with a focal distance shorter than 20 millimeters may be taken into the DPRK. However, a group of amateur photographers organized by the Yangtze River Delta Tourism Photographic Society will set off for Pyongyang in September, and they will be allowed to take along more professional equipment, including lenses with longer focal distances.

Tang Yanbo, a soccer reporter in Guangzhou, recently returned from a brief visit to the DPRK. According to Tang, pictures on his trip were only allowed at designated places and were checked one by one before the tourists returned.

Before the chartered flight was introduced, Shanghai tourists had only two options for visiting the DPRK. They could fly to Beijing and then to Pyongyang, or fly to Shenyang and take the train to Dandong, Liaoning province, and on to Pyongyang. The Beijing option costs up to 20,000 yuan ($3,200) per person, and the Shenyang option more than 6,000 yuan. Both trips take four days.

Ctrip's four-day trip to Pyongyang by chartered flight is priced at 4,580 yuan per person, and a five-day trip at 5,880 yuan. The latter mainly caters travelers during holidays such as Mid-Autumn Festival.

When the package became available on Ctrip's website, the travel agency was immediately flooded with inquiries, and the number of charter-package buyers soon met the minimum head count requirement. According to Ctrip's holiday business department, most of these customers are retired couples in their 50s or 60s.

Yu Yanjie, a graphic designer for a Shanghai-based media group, said: "I think it is a good idea to buy the package for my parents. They will be very interested in visiting the country. The price is also fine with me - any trip an Asian country nowadays costs almost the same."

Jin Huzhe, general manager of Yanbian China International Travel Services Co's Shanghai branch, said the number of Chinese tourists visiting the DPRK has been rising in recent years. The DPRK has made improvements in the reception of overseas tourists, although it still cannot handle a large number of visitors, Jin said.

According to the Shanghai Municipal Tourism Administration, more than 100,000 Chinese tourists visited the DPRK last year. The Yangtze River Delta cities will be the major market that the DPRK tourism authorities will explore this year.

Related story:

Shanghai to Pyongyang charter flights to begin in July

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