North Korea Surf and SUP - Beginner Adventure
7 Nights, 8 Days in DPRK
Beijing → Pyongyang → Wonsan → Hamhung → Majon → Kaesong/DMZ → Beijing
This is the coolest and most comprehensive experience to be had in North Korea. This trip is so much more than a sightseeing tour. You’ll be part of a diplomatic mission to bring sports like surfing, stand up paddleboarding and even frisbee to the most closed culture on earth. You’ll see the “real North Korea” and perhaps more importantly, it’ll see you.
This action packed week plus a day hits the highlights of the capital before striking out northeast toward the coast. Along the way, our expert instructor will teach you how to stand up paddleboard in Pyongyang’s Taedong River, thrill beneath the thundering Ulim Waterfall, SUP the serene waters of the Nam River and enjoy a relaxing evening at the new Masikryong Ski Resort. We’ll visit Wonsan’s Songdowon Beach before heading to Majon, where if you don’t already surf, you’ll learn how alongside locals at the Majon beach resort. If you’re experienced, you can help us spread the joy of surfing to the locals on Majon’s beginner-friendly waves. There’s also plenty of time for other beach activities like volleyball, body boarding, frisbee, spike ball or just soak up some sun on the beach chairs. We’ll take a tour of North Korea’s second largest city, Hamhung, before returning to Pyongyang for drive down to the DMZ for our final day.
This tour departs from Beijing and returns to Beijing.
This is a comprehensive itinerary that will allow you to see the main sights of the country but also travel with us into remote areas to access prime beach area. Our surf camp will be held at the Majon Surf School at the luxurious Majon Hotel. The surf camp caters mainly to beginner and intermediate surfers, but we welcome advanced and pro surfers to come and help with teaching locals how to surf. We supply school boards, but you are welcome and encouraged to bring your own board. We suggest longboards and mid length boards to capitalize on small surf. You will be allowed to check boards into cargo on Air Koryo. Surf sessions are strictly dependent on marine weather and can be called off in case of hazardous conditions. There is no guarantee of ideal surfing conditions. Water temperature will range from 18 to 22°C. We have some wetsuits on site to share with the group, but if you want to bring your own, we recommend a full wetsuit of 3mm or thicker. Lastly, there’s no obligation to participate in any of the water sports. If you want to come and hang out with us on the beach, anyone is welcome to join.
Day 1 (Tuesday): Departure for Pyongyang from Beijing
10:30am: Meet us at Terminal 2 of the Beijing Capital International Airport for the Air Koryo flight check-in. Meet our local Korean guides at the airport and we’ll head to Pyongyang, the capital city of the DPRK, stopping first at the Arch of Triumph. Pay your respects and lay flowers as locals do at the Mansudae Grand Monuments. This important site is famous for its large, bronze statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Visitors are asked to follow local custom by bowing and laying flowers at the feet of the statues (flowers can be purchased at the stand for 10-20 RMB each). Check into the prestigious Koryo Hotel in city center. In the evening, we’ll have an option to take a walk through town or visit Kaeson Youth Amusement Park.
(Meals: L, D)
Day 2 (Wednesday): Pyongyang City Tour
In the morning, first we’ll take a walk in the Kim Il Sung Square, the 3rd largest public square in the world and home to many of the North Korean military parades broadcasted internationally during large holiday events. Then, stop in at the Foreign Languages Bookshop to pick up your favorite DPRK trinkets and publications. Afterwards, visit the Grand People’s Study House, akin to the Library of Congress. We will then get a dose of history (from a different perspective) at the newly renovated Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum and the USS Pueblo in its new spot (the “American Spy Ship” captured in 1968).
After lunch, we will take out the SUPs for stand up paddle on the Taedong River that runs through Pyongyang. Afterwards, visit the Tower of Juche Idea to learn about the Juche philosophy that serves as the national ideology. For those who wish to take the lift up 150-meters to the top, you’ll have an opportunity to take in a panorama view of the entire Pyongyang city. Visit the Party Foundation Monument, built to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Catch the Pyongyang Metro during rush hour to get a glimpse of daily life in Pyongyang. We will then visit Kwangbok Market, the only place in Pyongyang where tourists are able to exchange and use local currency. After dinner, we will begin our east coast road trip to Wonsan, staying overnight in the lavish Masikryong Hotel.
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 3 (Thursday): Songdowon Sea Beach, Wonsan and onwards to Hamhung/Majon
This morning, we will head onwards to the east coast port city of Wonsan to play with the children at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp. We will visit Songdowon Sea Beach for more SUP. You can even use the classic sea diving platform to get your jumps in! We will have a fresh seafood lunch, enjoy a stroll on the Jangdok Islet and then we’re off to the Majon Beach Resort where we’ll spend the next few nights. Upon arrival, we’ll check surf conditions and hit the beach at your leisure. We’ll be greeted by our local surfer friends who are stoked to catch waves and to meet others who enjoy the water as much as they do. Our instructor will do a safety check and then we can spend the rest of the afternoon at the beach. Overnight at the Majon Hotel.
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 4 (Friday): Surf Day at Majon
Today, our instructors will host a surf training session for beginners. This session is free and open to anyone at the hotel or in the neighboring towns. It’s a great way for you all to interact with locals and to learn yourself or help others catch waves. We’ll have a nice seaside lunch and a fresh seafood dinner. We have frisbees, volleyball, spikeball, body boards and more!
Day 5 (Saturday): Hamhung City Tour Option
This morning, depending on weather conditions, we’ll give the group an option of staying on the beach or taking an excursion into North Korea’s second largest city, Hamhung, where we will visit the Tonghungsan Revolutionary Site, Hamhung Grand Theatre, Hamhung Old Royal Palace and the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex!
In the afternoon back on the beach, continue surf lessons with the locals. In the evening, we’ll light up the bonfire and have dinner, soju and Taedonggang beer on the beach with our new Korean surfer friends.
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 6 (Sunday): Ulim Waterfalls, Nam River and return to Pyongyang
Today we wave goodbye to our Korean surfer friends and depart early for Pyongyang, making nature stops along the way. Expect to be in the bus for 7 hours today. We will stop to take in the waterfalls at Ulim. For those who want an up-close and personal look at the waterfalls, we’ll have the SUPs available. Picnic as locals do on the rocks at the base of the waterfall. Feel free to throw our frisbees around. It’s a great way to interact with the locals. We’ll stop at the Sinpyong Tea House to take out the SUPs for stand up paddle on the Nam River.
Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.
(Meals: B, L)
Day 7 (Monday): Kaesong / DMZ
AM: Start the day with a drive through the countryside to the city of Kaesong. Then we start our adventure to the De-Militarized Zone of Korea where we’ll hear from our guides a perspective of the Korean War that oft gets discredited or unheard. At the DMZ, we will explore Panmunjom, shake hands at the exact place that the Armistice Agreement was signed between UN forces and the DPRK, and wave hello to the South at the blue houses.
PM: Enjoy Pansanggi, the traditional Kaesong cuisine for lunch. Learn about the Koryo Dynasty (where the name Korea originates) at the Koryo History Musuem. Pick up some of the best postcards in the country at the Koryo Stamp Shop. We’ll stop at the Sonjuk Bridge, the original site where an important Koryo Dynasty figure was assassinated (now an UNESCO site). Then head back to Pyongyang to check out a children’s performance at the Mangyongdae Children’s Palace. Afterwards, stroll down the brand new Ryomyong Street that was built in just nine months. Have a Korean BBQ dinner in Pyongyang ($10-15, dinner is at your own expense). After dinner, celebrate a great trip gone by over some local draft beers at the Taedonggang Microbrewery
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 8 (Tuesday): Farewell
Morning departure to Beijing. Estimated time of arrival is 10:00 a.m. local time. Please reserve any connecting flights departing after 1pm local time, to allow sufficient time for immigration/customs clearance, baggage claim and re-check-in.
The itinerary is subject to change at any time.
- DPRK visa fees and handling
- Round trip ticket from Beijing (Capital International Airport) to Pyongyang on Air Koryo
- 7 nights DPRK hotel accommodations
- Meals as indicated
- Coach transportation in DPRK
- Local DPRK guides
- One local driver
- Equipment rentals
- Admission fees (except those listed below)
- Round-trip airfare to China from home country
- Beijing hotel accommodations
- Chinese visa fees and processing, if applicable
- Travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance (required)
- Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, etc.)
- Extra drinks during meals (one complimentary beer included)
- Tips for guides and drivers (please budget $10 per day per traveler)
- Additional a la carte items ordered during meals
- Elevator to the top of the Juche Tower, 5 euros
- Beer at microbreweries ($1-3 per draft)