North Korea Surf and SUP - Beginner Adventure
8 Nights, 9 Days in DPRK
Beijing → Pyongyang → Wonsan → Hamhung → Majon → Sijung → Kaesong/DMZ → Shanghai
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 capitol before striking out northeast toward the coast. Along the way, our expert instructor will teach you how to stand up paddleboard in the Nam River’s serene waters, thrill beneath the thundering Ulim Waterfall and enjoy a relaxing evening at the new Masikryong Ski Resort. 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 short trip to the unique and breathtaking Stone River and add in both the Songdowon Beach and Sijung Lake before ending our trip at the DMZ.
This tour departs from Beijing and returns to Shanghai.
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 (Saturday): 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 an amusement park.
(Meals: L, D)
Day 2 (Sunday): Pyongyang City Tour
In the morning, we’ll visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where the late leaders lie in state. Formal dress is required for this visit. (Note that the Kumsusan Palace visit is closed in May and June tours - we will visit the Grand People’s Study House instead for spring itineraries.) 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. Stop in at the Foreign Languages Bookshop to pick up your favorite DPRK trinkets and publications.
In the afternoon, 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). 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. Catch the Pyongyang Metro during rush hour to get a glimpse of daily life in Pyongyang. In the evening, we’ll visit a local brewery before we head off on our east coast road trip in the morning.
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 3 (Monday): River SUP and Sea Beach at Wonsan
Start our road trip to the east coast by bus. We’ll see the vast countryside of the DPRK, making stops along the way to take in the scenery and the farmland. We’ll stop at the Sinpyong Tea House to take out the SUPs for stand up paddle on the Nam River.
Check into the luxurious Masikryong Hotel and have lunch there. We’ll then head into the city of Wonsan to play with the children at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp. Go to the Songdowon Sea Beach for more SUP. You can even use the classic sea diving platform to get your jumps in! Have a fresh seafood dinner in town and end the night with a walk on the Jangdok Islet. Overnight at the Masikryong Hotel.
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 4 (Tuesday): Ulim Waterfalls and Sijung Lake/Beach
Today, we continue our journey east to Sijung. On the way, we 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.
Arrive at Sijung where we can enjoy some light surf and SUP at the beach on one side and SUP on a serene lake on the other side. We’ll have surfboards and paddleboards available for your use, and will provide beginner instruction. Dinner and overnight at the Sijung Hotel. In the evening, enjoy an optional mud bath! The mud in this part of the country is famous for its medicinal benefits. (Note: While our other accommodations are quite luxurious, the Sijung Hotel is basic but clean. Hot water is prepared for guests and the mud bath is an experience we highly recommend.)
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 5 (Wednesday): Depart to Majon
Get an early morning SUP session in at the Sijung Lake. It’s an incredible way to see sunrise and enjoy the morning views. 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 day at the beach. Overnight at the Majon Hotel.
Day 6 (Thursday): 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 7 (Friday): Stone River Option
This morning, depending on weather conditions, we’ll give the group an option of staying on the beach or taking an excursion 2 hours north to the mighty Stone River of Pujon County. This natural anomaly is made of several-million rugged, boulders scattered across an eighty meter wide, four-kilometer long stretch of land down the forested Okryon Mountain. Underneath the rocks flows an invisible river 800 meters wide gushing 1 ton per second.
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 8 (Saturday): Return to Pyongyang
We’ll get in our last surf session and after lunch, depart for Pyongyang making nature stops along the way. Expect to be in the bus for 7 hours today.
Have a Korean BBQ dinner in Pyongyang ($10-15, dinner is at your own expense). Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.
(Meals: B, L)
Day 9 (Sunday): Kaesong / DMZ and Farewell
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 enjoy your last dinner in the DPRK. Grab your luggage and head to the airport for an evening flight back to Shanghai. Approximate time of departure is 10:30pm from Pyongyang with arrival at Pudong at 11:30pm.
(Meals: B, L, D)
The itinerary is subject to change at any time.
- DPRK visa fees and handling
- Round trip ticket from Beijing to Shanghai (Pudong Airport) to Pyongyang on Air Koryo
- 8 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
- Shanghai 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)