North Korea Surf and SUP Diplomacy – Beginner Adventure – 7 Nights

7 Nights  –  from €1680

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.

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DAY 1 – DEPARTURE FOR PYONGYANG FROM BEIJING

At 10am, meet us at Terminal 2, Air Koryo counter E, of the Beijing Capital International Airport to check in (flight times to be confirmed but usually Air Koryo flights depart at 1pm). We will hand out your DPRK visas at this time.

We will then fly to Pyongyang, the capital of the DPRK and home to many of the most iconic monuments and political sites. Our Korean tour guides will be meet us at the airport with a warm welcome. En route to the hotel, our guides will point out the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs Cemetery with its striking monument of a bayonet before we stop at the Arch of Triumph, the world’s largest triumphal arch. From the top, we will get our first panorama view of Pyongyang city! Afterwards, we will head over to the Mansudae Grand Monument, an important site famous for its large, bronze statues of President Kim Il Sung and Chairman Kim Jong Il. Visitors are sometimes asked to follow local custom by bowing and laying flowers. Afterwards, check into the Koryo Hotel, a deluxe accommodation in the heart of Pyongyang popular with local residents, foreign diplomats, delegations, NGOs. We will enjoy a welcome dinner with our guides before making a visit to the Kaeson Youth Amusement Park where the thrillseekers among us can brave the rides with Pyongyang locals on a night out.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel

(Meals: L, D)

DAY 2 – PYONGYANG CITY TOUR

In the morning, 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 important holiday events. Take a stroll through the city to the Foreign Languages Bookshop which provides the best chance in the DPRK to pick up postcards, publications, posters and other trinkets that make perfect souvenirs. Nearby, visit the Grand People’s Study House, an extensive library and the heart of study on the national Juche ideology. The viewing deck here provides a great photo opportunity of the Kim Il Sung Square and Taedong River! We will then visit 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. We’ll then learn about the DPRK’s defining ideology, the Juche philosophy, on a visit to the iconic Tower of Juche Idea. For those who wish to take the lift 150-meters to the top, you’ll enjoy the best views in Pyongyang city! We will also have a photo stop at the massive Monument to Party Founding, built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers’ Party of Korea, recognizable by the communist hammer and sickle but with an added North Korean twist!  We will then head deep underground to take a 5-stop ride on the Pyongyang Metro, the deepest metro in the world also filled with mosaics, monuments, and plaques commemorating the DPRK’s revolutionary history. Afterwards, take a look inside Kwangbok Supermarket, a five-story department complex filled with local and imported product and the only place in Pyongyang where foreigners are able to exchange and use the local North Korean Won. After dinner, we will begin our east coast road trip to Wonsan, staying overnight in the lavish Masikryong Hotel.

Overnight at the Masikryong Hotel

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 3 – SEA BEACH, WONSAN AND ONWARDS TO MAJON

This morning, we will head onward to the east coast port city of Wonsan to get a tour of the facilities and interact with the children at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp. Then visit Songdowon Sea Beach for more SUP. You can even use the classic sea diving platform to get your jumps in! Walk along the pier between dozens of fisherman to the Jangdok Islet where you can buy seafood that was caught just seconds ago by local vendors (there’s a 1 Euro fee to be paid at the entrance). There’s a picturesque view of the Wonsan skyline from here. We will enjoy a fresh seafood lunch before we’re off to the lavish Majon Beach Resort, our home for 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 – 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!

Overnight at the Majon Hotel

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 5 – 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 which includes the local specialty of petrol clam bake, soju and Taedonggang beer on the beach with our new Korean surfer friends!

Overnight at the Majon Hotel

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 6 – ULIM WATERFALL, 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 stunning Ullim Waterfall discovered relatively recently by the Korean People’s Army. It’s a waterfall you will hear well before you see. If it’s a nice day we will enjoy a picnic lunch here. For those who want an up-close and personal look at the waterfalls, we’ll have the SUPs available. 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 for tea or coffee, and a chance to take out the SUPs for stand up paddle on the Nam River.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 7 – KAESONG AND THE DMZ

Take a morning drive through the countryside to the historic city of Kaesong. We will head for the DMZ where we’ll hear from our guides a perspective of the Korean War that often gets discredited or unheard. At the DMZ, 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 in the Joint Security Area. Afterwards, we will head to the Koryo History Museum, a UNESCO site, to learn about the Koryo Dynasty (where the name Korea originates). You’ll also have a chance to pick from the most varied range of postcards in the country at the Koryo Stamp Shop.

For lunch, enjoy Pansanggi, a historic Kaesong cuisine traditionally served for royalty. Afterwards, stop at the original Sonjuk Bridge, a UNESCO site. Return to the capital for a look into the DPRK’s push towards technological advancement at the newly developed atom-shaped Sci-Tech Complex. We will then have dinner at a local Korean BBQ restaurant, a favorite among locals where we will cook our own meats at the table! Get a final chance to taste local Korean draft beers and celebrate a great tour and our last night together, at the Taedonggang Microbrewery.

Overnight at the Koryo Hotel.

(Meals: B, L, D)

DAY 8 – 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, re-check-in and security.

(Meals: B)

This itinerary is subject to change at any time.

Additional Information:

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 the 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.

Itinerary is subject to change at any time.

What’s included in this tour:

  • DPRK visa fees and handling
  • Round trip ticket from Beijing to Shanghai (Pudong 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 as indicated)

What’s not included in this tour:

  • Round-trip airfare to China from home country
  • China accommodations
  • Chinese visa fees and processing, if applicable
  • Travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance (required)
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, etc.)
  • Souvenirs
  • 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)

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