Uri Tours is serving up a totally new surf destination for all you surf fans: North Korea! If you missed the chance to run in the 2015 Pyongyang Marathon earlier this year than don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to see a side of the Hermit Kingdom that almost NO ONE has before. Trip is from September 13-20. Deadline for signing up is August 28. Read on for more details!!!
Everything You Need To Know About Surfing In The DPRK
Uri Tours has assembled an expert team of surfers to track and analyze the weather patterns for over a year and are happy to report that the pristine beaches and rocky outcrops of the Hamhung and Sijung area on the east coast of North Korea receive a fair amount of swell from a 90 degrees easterly window.
And now they’re 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 – AND – North Korea expert, and Uri Tours Founder and CEO, Andrea Lee.
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 a surf camp that will include an in-class exploration seminar, on-the-spot guidance (on surf, that is) as well as practical surf lessons.
This will be a great chance also to mingle with the first local surfers. URI Tours has received the proper permissions to invite North Koreans who want to learn to surf to participate in this inaugural surf camp. They’re totally stoked to introduce them to the awesomeness of surf.
When not surfing, participants will get an unparalleled travel experience while they visit the iconic sites in Pyongyang and drive cross-country through remote parts of the countryside to get to the coast. This is bound to mark the epochal opening of DPRK to the art of wave riding.
Uri Tours is inviting surfers of all levels to join in this incredible and historic surf expedition and to be a part of bringing surf to North Korea!!
September 13 – 20, 2015
Single booking: $3200
Double booking: $2400
September 13: Departure for Pyongyang via Shanghai
Meet at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai at 10:00pm for Air Koryo flight check-in. Take JS 552 flight departing at 00:30 and arriving at 03:30 on September 14. Meet local Korean guides at the airport and head to the Koryo Hotel in city center for check in and rest.
September 14: Pyongyang City Tour
AM: In the late morning, 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 favorite DPRK trinkets and publications. Catch the Pyongyang Metro during rush hour to get a glimpse of daily life in Pyongyang.
PM: After lunch, start road trip to the east coast by bus. In this 6-hour drive, see the vast countryside of the DPRK, making stops along the way to take in the scenery and the farmland. Stop at the new Masikryong Hotel to get a sneak peak at the new Masik ski resort and continue trip to the remote beach at Sijung. Local dinner and overnight at the Sijung Hotel.
September 15: Surf Camp Day 1 / Exploring Sijung
Today will be the first day on the beach. After meeting local surf friends and checking conditions on the beach, Nik will lead clients through a short classroom session before hitting the beach. They will set the scope of the surf camp and the DPRK exploration project. They will share the research the 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 they will make beach assessments and explore the Sijung area to select the surf venue and identify local hazards.
Have lunch at a local Korean restaurant. 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.
At night, head out to the city of Wonsan for a fresh seafood dinner. Walk along the pier to the lighthouse to buy fresh clams sold by vendors and have a Korean-style stone BBQ with locals. Overnight at the Sijung Hotel.
September 16: Surf Camp Day 2 / Sijung
All trip members will participate in dawn patrol and surf check on the beach. During the morning session, review surf condition updates and discuss the exploration program thus far. Map beach bathymetry and select the day’s surf venue.
Have lunch at a local Korean restaurant. 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 in the local city of Sijung. Overnight at the Sijung Hotel.
September 17: Surf Camp Day 3 / Exploring Hamhung
Pack up and hit the road again 4 hours northeast to the city of Hamhung, which is the second largest city in the DPRK. Enjoy a Korean lunch in Hamhung and check into the luxurious Majon Hotel, considered one of the best in the country and located right on the surf venue.
Walk on the beach for surf check and get briefing on the afternoon activities. Meet local surf friends in Hamhung and together do beach assessments and explore Majon beach. Map beach bathymetry and select today’s surf spot.
Today 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. In the evening, hit the town for sightseeing and dinner.
September 18: Surf Camp Day 4 / Hamhung
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, 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 surf camp, hold a friendly informal surf competition with local surfers based on ISA rules and handicaps applied.
In the evening, light up the bonfire and have dinner, soju and TAEDONGGANG beer on the beach with new Korean surfer friends.
September 19: Return to Pyongyang
Start trip back to Pyongyang via Ulim Waterfalls. Have lunch at the Sinpyong Tea House. In Pyongyang, visit the Tower of Juche Idea, 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, have an opportunity to take in a panorama view of the entire Pyongyang city. Last chance to pick up souvenirs at the Korea Stamp Shop. Enjoy Korean BBQ for dinner (extra fees apply, everyone orders from the menu) and taste North Korean craft brew at a Pyongyang microbrewery.
September 20: DMZ Tour
This morning, start adventure to the De-Militarized Zone of Korea where clients can hear from Uri tour 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.
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. 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 last dinner in the DPRK. Grab 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.
– DPRK visa fees and handling
– Round trip ticket from Shanghai to Pyongyang on Air Koryo
– 7 nights DPRK hotel accommodations
– Meals as indicated
– Coach transportation in DPRK
– Local DPRK guides
– One local driver
– Admission fees (except those listed below)
WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED
– 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)
ABOUT THE CAMP
– The surf camp caters mainly to beginner and intermediate surfers, but the surf exploration expedition is open to advanced and pro surfers.
– Participants must be able to swim.
– Please bring your own board. Uri Tours has limited rentals on a first come first serve basis. They suggest longboards and mid length boards to capitalize on small surf. They will be allowed to check boards into cargo and have pre-arranged this with Air Koryo, the national airline.
– 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. Part of this exploration project is to map the eastern coast of the DPRK and to be a part of this pioneering team.
– Water temperature will range from 18 to 22C. They recommend a full wetsuit of 3mm or thicker.
Nik, ISA Course Presenter and current coach of the Chinese National Surf Team, will be the expedition leader! He’s mapped and surfed remote coastlines for most of his life in places like Northern Indonesia, Tunisia, Sicily, Greece and Kenya just to name a few! Nik has also completed the entire surf map of the Chinese coast from Qingdao to Hainan, an effort that took him over 5 years. Now, he’ll be leading beginner to advanced surfers on this incredible journey to map and surf the DPRK coast.
Andrea is the Founder and CEO of Uri Tours and has been traveling to the DPRK for over 12 years. She has completed close to 100 trips to North Korea and loves to give people a rewarding and eye-opening travel experience. Andrea is Korean-American, a lawyer and motorcyclist.