North Korea Surf and SUP Exploration
8 Nights, 9 Days in DPRK
Beijing → Pyongyang → Wonsan → Hamhung → Majon → Kaesong/DMZ → Shanghai
We are serving up a totally new water destination for all you surf and SUP fans: NORTH KOREA! We’ve assembled an expert team of surfers to track and analyze the weather patterns for over a year and we’re happy to report that the pristine beaches and rocky outcrops of the Hamhung and Sijung area on the east coast receive a fair amount of swell from a 90 degrees easterly window. We’re now offering YOU a chance to surf these virgin waves through a DPRK surf exploration camp led by ISA Course Presenter and current coach of the Chinese National Surf Team, Nik Zanella. The first part of the expedition will include analyzing surf weather patterns in the DPRK and identifying ideal surf spots, using data that Nik and his team have compiled over the past year. The second part of the expedition will be an optional surf camp for locals and foreigners that will include practical surf lessons at all levels and on-the-spot guidance (on surf, that is). This will be a great chance also to mingle with the first time local surfers. We’re stoked to introduce them to the awesomeness of surf. When we’re not surfing, participants will get an unparalleled travel experience while we visit the iconic sites in Pyongyang, at the DMZ and remote parts of the countryside. This is bound to mark the epochal opening of DPRK to the art of wave riding. We’re inviting surfers of all levels to join us in this incredible and historical surf expedition and to be a part of bringing surf to North Korea!!
This tour departs from Beijing and returns to Shanghai.
About the program
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. Participants must be able to swim. 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 city center stopping first at the Arch of Triumph. Pay your respects and lay flowers as locals do at the Mansudae Grand Monuments before checking into the Koryo Hotel in city center for check in and rest.
Day 2 (Sunday): Pyongyang City Tour
AM: In the morning, we’ll visit the Mansudae Grand Monument. This important site is famous for its large, bronze statutes 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). 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, 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. Have dinner and an optional visit to either the Taedonggang Microbrewery or the Kaeson Amusement Park.
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 2 (Saturday): River SUP and Exploring Majon
AM: Start our road trip to the east coast by bus. In this 7-hour drive, 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.
PM: Today will be our first day on the beach. After meeting our local surf friends and checking conditions on the beach, Nik will lead us through a short classroom session before hitting the beach. We’ll set the scope of the surf camp and the DPRK exploration project. We’ll share the research our team has already completed in the past year on surf weather patterns in the DPRK, and discuss wave formation and refractions, rips and swipes. Then we’ll make beach assessments and explore the area to select the surf venue and identify local hazards. The afternoon will be at your leisure and dedicated to core skills lessons for beginners and locals and longboarding maneuvers for intermediates. For experts, have a free surf session with Nik and get personalized technical advice from the coach. Overnight at the Majon Hotel.
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 3 (Sunday): Surf Day / Hamhung
Participate in dawn patrol and surf check on the beach. During the morning session, review surf condition updates and discussion the exploration program thus far. Map beach bathymetry and select the day’s surf venue.
Have lunch at the famous Hamhung cold noodle restaurant ($6 supplement fee) and explore the city of Hamhung. When we return from the city, the afternoon will be dedicated to core skills lessons for beginners and locals and longboarding maneuvers for intermediates. For experts, have a free surf session with Nik and get personalized technical advice from the coach. Enjoy the evening on the beach. Overnight at the Majon Hotel.
(Meals: B, D)
Day 4 (Monday): Surf Day / 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, focus on board control and trimming on waves, building speed, cross stepping and nose-riding. Free surf session with Nik. Personalized technical advise from coach. Rest of the afternoon at your leisure.
(Meals: B, L, D)
Day 5 (Tuesday): Surf Day
Perform dawn patrol and surf check on the beach. Review surf conditions, discuss the day’s exploration program and get an intro into competitive surfing. As a group, we’ll do beach assessments and explore the Hamhung area to select the day’s surf spot. Free surf session with Nik, personalized technical advice from the coach. To end our surf camp, we’ll hold a friendly informal surf competition with local surfers based on ISA rules and handicaps applied.
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 (Wednesday): Wonsan / Ulim
Get a morning surf session in and say goodbye to our local surfer friends. Depart for Pyongyang making a stop through the city of Wonsan, which was an important battle city during the Korean War. Take a walk through the main part of town and on the Jangdok Islet. Have lunch and then keep going to Pyongyang via the Ulim Waterfalls
Have a Korean BBQ dinner in Pyongyang ($10-15, dinner is at your own expense). Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.
(Meals: B, L)
Day 7 (Thursday): 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)
RETURN TO SHANGHAI PUDONG AT 2230 ON THURSDAY NIGHT
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)