At the square, hundreds of young men and women dance to strident patriotic tunes, colourful concentric circles twirling in unison.
I learn from our minder Han that all university students are obliged to rehearse and perform these dances on national holidays, which take place approximately once a month. Some indeed look bored and tired, while others a little more cheerful, but all of them execute the steps flawlessly.
As they dance, an intrigued audience of tourists converge. Eager minders usher us into the crowd, pairing foreigners with students who graciously oblige our two left feet.
The women wear traditional costumes called chima-jeogori, better known as hanbok in South Korea. A rose by any other name would be characterised by the same heavy long-sleeved, ankle-length fabric.
Weaving amid the dancing circles, I am acutely aware that my own cotton shirt is clinging wetly to my back and remember my own student days participating in mandatory mass dances or the annual Great Singapore Workout.
When the music slows between songs, a doe-eyed young woman dabs at her nose with a handkerchief, her heeled and stockinged feet savouring a few moments of respite.
Then I turn my back briefly and she disappears, a single speck in an ocean of colour and movement as the women twirl, the circles spin and the music picks up again.
We pass Kwangbok supermarket many times en route to other destinations and our hour-long stop at the North Korean shopping mall is one of my favourite parts of the trip.
Kwangbok supermarket, a joint venture between the DPRK and China, opened in 2012 and is the only supermarket in the country where both citizens and tourists can shop side by side. It is one of the few times our minders let us roam freely, though they linger at the entrance to ensure that none of us leave the supermarket.
Before shopping, we exchange our yuan, euros and US dollars for North Korean won at a rate of about 8,000 won to a euro, the only place we have been allowed to thus far. The notes I receive, crisp and virtually new, would make great souvenirs, although it is technically illegal to take North Korean won out of the country.
The mall's decor is austere, with whitewashed walls and linoleum floors, but its three storeys, which include a food court, offer a respectable consumer experience.
The first floor houses an array of fresh produce and packaged food; the second has clothes, toys and household goods. The items are a mix of local products and imported goods from Japan and China, and there are brands I recognise, such as Lee Kum Kee sesame oil and Nissin instant noodles.
But I am more interested in North Korean products and zero in on their version of soju, a harsher and more industrial take on the South Korean variety of distilled rice liquor. Makgeolli, a rice wine which is light, sweet and slightly fizzy, tastes much better.
As I fill my basket, I steal surreptitious glances at what the locals are putting into theirs. There are mothers with young children perched in trolleys and women buying groceries alone, selecting boxes of biscuits, colourful bottles of syrupy drinks, plastic bowls with tiny pink flowers on them.
I pick one up and it bears a Made in China sticker, just like in every other part of the world.
One of the last few items on the itinerary is a half-day trip to the Demilitarised Zone in Kaesong, which borders South Korea.
There, a young male soldier gives a perfunctory DPRK-centric explanation of the Korean War, while an earnest female guide translates his Korean account into English.
It includes an anecdote of American soldiers leaving behind a United Nations flag as they beat a hasty, embarrassed retreat.
"If the US were to break out another war against the DPRK, we will smash all of them so that there will not be anyone left even to surrender," he says. As his female counterpart repeats it, she ducks her head briefly, seemingly abashed at the baldness of his statement.
It is an unexpected display of imperfection, of humility, and I will remember the DPRK more fondly for it.
•Clara Lock is a freelance writer.