North Korea Open for Surf
Your dream of hitting North Korea's beaches has come true
Good news. According to the Pyongyang Times, North Korea’s tourism authorities are offering surf tours to international guests during “this present bathing season.” The first tours ran from July 28th through August 6th. So far three areas are open for tourists: Songdowon, Lake Sijung, and Majon. A quick search of Google Earth shows that these are indeed coastal communities, and that the Sijung area could probably serve up some fun sandbar action. Songdowon is tucked into a sheltered bay but the surrounding area is dotted with setups.
Unfortunately North Korea is completely blocked from Pacific swell energy by Japan and parts of Russia. But local typhoons in the Sea of Japan can certainly get North Korea rocking and rolling. Also, it gets really, really cold in North Korea, with the northern border reaching awfully close to the frozen edges of Siberia. And, unless North Korea has radically changed their policies toward tourism, the beaches are heavily monitored and access is strictly controlled by the military, with visitors usually allowed to frolic on very specific patches of beach. So if the allowed surfing zone is flat, you’re pretty much screwed. You’re not gonna be renting a car and cruising around looking for undiscovered surf, is what I’m saying.
North Korea has been considering ways to juice up their tourism industry, and this is likely a feeler into whether or not surf tours can help. Right now, Koryo Tours and Uri Tours will take you into North Korea, but you’ve got to get yourself to Beijing first—the only way to enter the Hermit Kingdom is through China.
Is it worth it? No idea. Probably not. You tell us.