Wigan to Pyongyang: More train tickets on sale for Greater Manchester to North Korea

Exclusive: Price of £3,245 includes accommodation at Pyongyang's finest hotel, Mongolian ger and Wigan B&B

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Thursday 13 June 2019 12:49 BST
All aboard: the trip from Greater Manchester to North Korea actually involves multiple trains
All aboard: the trip from Greater Manchester to North Korea actually involves multiple trains

Rail passengers in Greater Manchester may have grounds to complain about poor service on the regional network – but the options for travel to North Korea have never been wider.

The first-ever Wigan to Pyongyang rail adventure, set for April 2020, has now sold out. But the tour operator Lupine Travel has laid on another month-long trip.

This journey departs from Atherton, Greater Manchester on 12 September 2020. It is more complex and challenging than the Wigan-Pyongyang departure, at least on the first day.

The adventure starts at the Astley Green Colliery, home of the Lancashire Mining Museum.

Next is a match (“fixtures permitting”) at Atherton Collieries football ground. The club won the Evo-Stik Division One West league last season, and happens to be sponsored by Lupine Travel.

After a pub dinner, the first of many rail trips begins, with the 14-minute journey via Daisy Hill and Hindley to Wigan Wallgate.

The following 30 days include some longer and more celebrated rail journeys, including the Warsaw to Moscow sleeper and the Trans-Siberian between the Russian capital and Irkutsk.

The trip arrives in Pyongyang in time for Party Foundation Day on 10 October, when “there is likely to be a large military parade taking place as well as a Mass Dance”.

Accommodation includes a B&B in Wigan, a fisherman’s guest house on an island in Siberia’s Lake Baikal, a ger in Outer Mongolia and the Yanggakdo International Hotel – about which one recent TripAdvisor reviewer wrote: “Weird noises would wake me up at random points in the night.”

The price of £3,245 is £50 more expensive than the Wigan itinerary, reflecting the additional excitement of the first day.

Participants will need to make their own way back by air from Beijing to Manchester airport, from which Atherton is accessible in less than an hour with a change of train at Salford Crescent.

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The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to North Korea. It warns travellers: “While daily life in the capital city Pyongyang may appear calm, the security situation in North Korea can change with little notice and with no advance warning of possible actions by the North Korean authorities.

“This poses significant risks to British visitors and residents.”

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