Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

A North Korean Beach Holiday


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Marget Huggins



Welcome to the fascinating world of North Korean beaches. While North Korea may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think of a beach holiday, this enigmatic country has a surprising array of beautiful coastal areas waiting to be explored. North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country located in East Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Russia to the northeast, and South Korea to the south.


North Korea is often portrayed in the media for its political tensions, but beyond the headlines lies a land of stunning natural beauty and unique cultural heritage. The country boasts a long coastline along the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, providing ample opportunities for beach lovers and adventure seekers to indulge in a truly distinctive beach holiday experience.


What makes a visit to North Korean beaches so exceptional is the country’s strict tourism policies, limited accessibility, and mysterious aura. It is a destination that has been shrouded in secrecy for decades, making it a rare and intriguing place to explore. Travelers who venture to North Korean beaches will be rewarded with pristine sands, crystal-clear waters, and a chance to witness the beauty of an untouched coastline.


In this article, we will dive deeper into the hidden gems of North Korean beaches, uncovering popular beach destinations, activities and attractions, accommodation options, transportation, and essential tips for a safe and enjoyable trip. So get ready to embark on a journey to explore the lesser-known side of North Korea’s coastal splendor.


Overview of North Korea

North Korea is a unique and isolated country that has captivated the world with its distinct culture, political regime, and breathtaking landscapes. Officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), it is located in East Asia and shares borders with China, Russia, and South Korea.


North Korea is known for its tightly controlled society, where the government plays a significant role in all aspects of life. It is a country that has been the subject of fascination and intrigue due to its political and military tensions with neighboring countries.


Despite its political climate, North Korea boasts a wealth of natural wonders. From rugged mountains to picturesque coastlines, the country offers diverse landscapes that are perfect for exploration. North Korea’s coastline stretches along the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, providing a unique blend of beaches, cliffs, and offshore islands.


The capital city of North Korea is Pyongyang, a metropolis that showcases the country’s architectural grandeur and political ideologies. Visitors can explore landmarks such as the Juche Tower and the Monument to Party Founding, which reflect North Korea’s socialist principles.


Outside the bustling city, North Korea is dotted with stunning national parks and scenic mountains. Mount Paektu, the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, is considered a sacred site and attracts climbers and nature enthusiasts alike. Other notable attractions include the beautiful Myohyangsan Mountains and the serene Lake Chon.


North Korea’s culture is deeply rooted in its history, with a focus on traditional values and customs. Visitors can experience Korean cuisine, known for its bold flavors and diverse range of dishes such as kimchi, bibimbap, and Pyongyang cold noodles. Traditional music and dance performances are also a significant part of the cultural heritage.


It is important for visitors to note that traveling to North Korea requires diligent preparation and adherence to local regulations. The country imposes several restrictions and security measures, including mandatory tour guides and limited access to certain areas. It is advisable to consult with a specialized travel agency that organizes trips to North Korea to ensure a smooth and well-planned visit.


Despite its unique challenges, a visit to North Korea offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness a society unlike any other. From its striking landscapes to its intriguing culture, this enigmatic country has much to offer for those willing to explore its hidden treasures.


North Korean Beaches

The North Korean coastline is a hidden treasure trove of beautiful beaches that are relatively unknown to the outside world. These pristine shores offer stunning scenery, clear turquoise waters, and a serene atmosphere for beach enthusiasts. While the country’s political climate may deter some travelers, those who venture to North Korean beaches are rewarded with an unforgettable and unique beach holiday experience.


One of the most famous North Korean beaches is the Majon Beach, located near the city of Hamhung. Majon Beach stretches for kilometers, its golden sands glistening under the sun. The calm and warm waters are perfect for swimming and other water activities. The beach is dotted with colorful umbrellas and beach chairs, providing a relaxing spot to soak up the sun. Majon Beach also offers various accommodations ranging from beachfront resorts to cozy guesthouses.


Namu Island is another popular beach destination in North Korea. Located on the eastern coast, Namu Island is known for its picturesque landscapes and tranquil ambiance. The island is covered in lush greenery and surrounded by pristine beaches, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers. Visitors can explore the island’s walking trails, enjoy picnics on the sand, or simply savor the breathtaking views of the sea.


For those seeking a more adventurous beach experience, the West Sea Barrage Beach is worth a visit. Situated near Nampo, this beach is unique due to its proximity to the West Sea Barrage, a massive water control project. The beach offers a mix of sandy and rocky shores, making it a delightful place for beachcombing and enjoying the sound of crashing waves. The West Sea Barrage Beach is also a popular spot for fishing.


Other notable North Korean beaches include Songdowon Beach, Ulim Waterfalls Beach, and Chongsokjong Beach. Each beach offers its own charm, whether it be stunning natural landscapes, crystal-clear waters, or opportunities for water sports and recreational activities.


It is important to note that visiting North Korean beaches requires a guided tour and adherence to local regulations. The designated tour guides ensure the safety and well-being of visitors while providing cultural and historical insights. It is advisable to plan your visit in advance and consult with a reputable tour agency experienced in organizing trips to North Korea.


Exploring the North Korean beaches allows travelers to witness the untouched beauty of these coastal areas, escape the crowds, and experience a truly unique beach holiday that few have had the opportunity to discover.


Popular Beach Destinations

North Korea may not be renowned as a traditional beach destination, but the country boasts several beautiful and captivating beach destinations that offer a unique and memorable experience. From secluded coves to expansive sandy shores, North Korea has a range of popular beach destinations that cater to different preferences and interests.


One of the most popular beach destinations in North Korea is Wonsan Beach. Located in the city of Wonsan on the east coast, this idyllic beach stretches for kilometers and is known for its soft white sands and calm, gentle waters. Wonsan Beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, offering an array of activities including swimming, sunbathing, beach volleyball, and water sports. The beach is well-maintained, with amenities such as beachfront cafes, restaurants, and rental services for beach equipment.


Nearby Nanam Beach is another popular choice for beachgoers. This serene and secluded beach is located on an island near the city of Wonsan and offers a peaceful retreat away from the bustling crowds. Nanam Beach is known for its crystal-clear waters, rocky outcrops, and pristine natural beauty. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the shore, sunbathe on the rocks, or explore the underwater world through snorkeling or diving.


Another notable beach destination in North Korea is Hamhung Beach, situated in the city of Hamhung on the east coast. Hamhung Beach is a sprawling stretch of golden sand that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The beach is equipped with amenities such as umbrellas, beach chairs, and changing facilities, ensuring a comfortable experience for visitors. The waters of Hamhung Beach are calm and inviting, making it an ideal spot for swimming and relaxation.


Kalma Beach Resort, located in Wonsan, is a recently developed beach destination that has gained popularity among both locals and tourists. This expansive beach resort features luxurious accommodations, restaurants, and a wide range of recreational activities. Kalma Beach Resort is designed to provide visitors with a complete beach holiday experience, including water sports, beach parties, and vibrant nightlife. The resort offers stunning views of the sea and boasts facilities such as swimming pools, spa services, and beachfront cafes.


It is important to note that accessibility to some of these destinations may vary depending on current travel restrictions and government policies. Additionally, travel to North Korean beaches typically requires booking through authorized tour operators, as independent travel is not permitted. It is advisable to check with your tour operator and stay updated on any travel advisories or restrictions in place.


North Korea’s popular beach destinations offer a unique and off-the-beaten-path beach experience that combines natural beauty, cultural immersion, and unparalleled serenity.


Activities and Attractions

North Korean beaches offer much more than just sunbathing and swimming. They are home to a variety of activities and attractions that cater to different interests and provide a well-rounded beach holiday experience. From cultural sites to outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone to enjoy while exploring the shores of North Korea.


One of the top attractions near North Korean beaches is the Mount Kumgang region. This scenic area is known for its majestic mountains, lush forests, and hiking trails. Visitors can embark on a trekking expedition to explore the beauty of the region, passing by waterfalls, temples, and panoramic viewpoints. Mount Kumgang is considered one of the most stunning natural landscapes in North Korea, offering a perfect combination of adventure and tranquility.


For those interested in history and culture, a visit to the Masikryong Ski Resort is a must. Located near Wonsan, this resort offers year-round activities including skiing, snowboarding, and outdoor adventures. In addition to winter sports, the Masikryong Ski Resort features a luxurious hotel, restaurants, and spa facilities. It is a great destination for both adrenaline seekers and those looking to relax and unwind surrounded by the pristine beauty of nature.


The city of Hamhung, situated near the beaches of North Korea, is home to several intriguing attractions. The Hamhung Grand Theatre is a cultural landmark that showcases traditional Korean performances, including dance, music, and theater. Visitors can witness the rich cultural heritage of North Korea through these captivating performances. Another notable attraction in Hamhung is the Hamhung Grand Monument, which commemorates the country’s revolutionary history.


Visitors to North Korean beaches can also explore the underwater world through snorkeling and diving. The clear and unpolluted waters offer excellent visibility and diverse marine life. Coral reefs, colorful fish, and even sunken shipwrecks can be found off the coast, providing a unique and unforgettable diving experience. The Jipsam Revolutionary Site, located near Wonsan, is a popular diving spot where visitors can explore a submerged Soviet warship.


Additionally, beachgoers can engage in water sports such as jet skiing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Rental services and instructors are available at some beach destinations, allowing both beginners and experienced enthusiasts to enjoy these thrilling activities.


It’s important to note that participating in outdoor activities and visiting attractions in North Korea requires following local regulations and guidance from tour guides. It is advisable to book activities and tours through reputable tour operators who specialize in organizing trips to North Korea.


From cultural landmarks to thrilling adventures, the activities and attractions near North Korean beaches offer a diverse range of experiences that will surely enrich your beach holiday and create lasting memories.


Accommodation Options

When planning a beach holiday in North Korea, visitors have a range of accommodation options to choose from, each providing a unique experience that complements the serene coastal surroundings. Whether you prefer luxury resorts or cozy guesthouses, North Korea offers accommodations to suit every traveler’s preferences and budget.


For those seeking high-end comfort and amenities, several beachfront resorts provide luxurious stays. Kalma Beach Resort in Wonsan is a prime example, featuring modern rooms, spacious suites, and stunning sea views. The resort boasts a wide range of facilities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, restaurants, and bars. Guests can enjoy direct access to the beach and take advantage of various water activities organized by the resort.


Another upscale option is the Majon Beach Guest House, located near the popular Majon Beach in Hamhung. This guesthouse offers elegant rooms with sea views, air conditioning, and private balconies. The guesthouse is known for its warm hospitality and excellent service, making it a popular choice among international guests.


For travelers seeking a more immersive cultural experience, traditional Korean guesthouses, known as “minbak,” are available in some areas. These guesthouses offer simple yet comfortable accommodations that allow visitors to experience local customs and traditions firsthand. Staying at a minbak provides an opportunity to interact with local hosts, taste authentic Korean cuisine, and gain insight into North Korean culture and daily life.


In addition to resorts and guesthouses, camping is a unique and adventurous option for those looking to get closer to nature. Some beach areas offer designated camping sites, allowing visitors to sleep under the stars and wake up to the soothing sound of the waves. Camping in North Korea provides a sense of freedom and tranquility, offering a different perspective on the coastal beauty.


It is important to note that accommodations in North Korea may differ from international standards, and amenities and services may vary. Due to the country’s controlled tourism industry, it is advisable to book accommodations through authorized tour operators who have established partnerships with local establishments. These operators can provide support and guidance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable stay.


Whether you choose a luxurious resort, a traditional guesthouse, or a camping adventure, the accommodation options near North Korean beaches will complement your beach holiday experience and provide comfortable and memorable stays.


Transportation Options

Getting to and around North Korean beaches requires careful planning and consideration of the available transportation options. As a highly regulated country, North Korea has specific protocols and restrictions in place for travel. However, with proper preparation and guidance, visitors can navigate their way to the beautiful coastal areas of this captivating country.


International visitors usually arrive in North Korea by air through the Pyongyang International Airport, the main international gateway. Several airlines operate flights to Pyongyang from China, Russia, and other neighboring countries. It is important to note that flights to North Korea may have limited availability, and it is advisable to book well in advance.


Once in North Korea, guided tours and organized transportation are the standard means of traveling to different destinations, including beaches. Tour operators provide transportation services via buses and vans, ensuring hassle-free travel between cities and sightseeing spots.


For travel within a particular city or to nearby beaches, taxis and local buses are available options. Taxis in North Korea are usually metered, and prices can vary depending on the distance traveled. Local buses are a more cost-effective means of transportation, although they may not be available in all areas.


It is important to mention that independent travel in North Korea is generally not permitted for foreigners. Visitors are required to be accompanied by a local tour guide at all times, including transportation. This ensures that travelers adhere to the necessary regulations and have a smooth, safe experience throughout their journey.


When traveling to North Korean beaches, it is advisable to do so through reputable tour operators who have experience organizing trips to the coastal areas. These operators will provide necessary permits and guidance to ensure compliance with local regulations.


Lastly, it is important to have a flexible mindset when it comes to transportation in North Korea. Schedules and routes may change due to various reasons, including government requirements and local conditions. Patience and adaptability are essential for a successful and enjoyable journey.


By understanding and preparing for the available transportation options, visitors can navigate their way to the beautiful beaches of North Korea and make the most of their beach holiday experience.


Travel Tips and Safety Guidelines

Traveling to North Korean beaches requires careful planning and adherence to certain guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here are some travel tips and safety guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Obtain a valid visa: North Korea requires visitors to obtain a visa in advance through an authorized tour operator. Ensure that your visa application is completed accurately and well in advance of your planned travel dates.
  • Book through an authorized tour operator: It is mandatory to book your trip to North Korea through an authorized tour operator who will arrange your accommodations, transportation, and guide services. Choose a reputable operator with experience in organizing trips to North Korea.
  • Respect local customs and regulations: North Korea has strict rules and regulations, and it is essential to respect local customs and traditions. Follow instructions from your tour guide and be mindful of your behavior in public spaces.
  • Stay within designated areas: Visitors are only allowed to visit approved tourist sites and destinations. Straying from designated areas or attempting to engage in independent travel is not permitted.
  • Keep your passport and valuables secure: Ensure the safety of your passport and other valuables by keeping them in a secure place, such as a hotel safe. Carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times.
  • Follow photography regulations: Photography is subject to restrictions in North Korea. Always ask for permission before taking photos, especially in sensitive areas or of military personnel and installations.
  • Stay informed about current events: Stay updated on any travel advisories or warnings issued by your government regarding travel to North Korea. It is also recommended to monitor local news sources for any potential changes in the security situation.
  • Respect beach safety precautions: When enjoying the beaches, take appropriate safety precautions such as swimming in designated areas, following lifeguard instructions, and being aware of local tides and currents.
  • Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun: The summer months in North Korea can be hot and humid. Drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and lightweight clothing.
  • Be mindful of cultural differences: North Korea has its own unique culture and customs. Be respectful and open-minded, and try to learn about and appreciate the local traditions and way of life.

It is important to note that travel to North Korea carries inherent risks and challenges. It is always recommended to consult with your government’s travel advisory and consider your own comfort level before deciding to visit.


By following these travel tips and safety guidelines, you can have a safe and memorable experience while exploring the beautiful and unique beaches of North Korea.


Cultural Etiquette

When visiting North Korea, it is important to be aware of and respect the local culture and customs. Observing cultural etiquette not only shows respect for the locals but also enhances your overall travel experience. Here are some cultural etiquette tips to keep in mind during your visit to North Korea:

  • Respect for authorities: In North Korea, respect for authority figures, including tour guides and government personnel, is highly valued. It is important to follow their instructions and guidance at all times.
  • Dress modestly: North Koreans typically dress conservatively, and it is advisable to dress modestly to show respect for the local culture. Avoid wearing revealing or provocative clothing, particularly in public areas.
  • Bowing and greetings: It is customary to greet others with a slight bow and a warm smile. Handshakes are also acceptable, but it is important to remember that physical contact between men and women in public may be considered inappropriate.
  • Photography restrictions: Always ask for permission before taking photographs, especially in sensitive areas or when photographing military personnel and installations. It is also respectful to seek permission before taking photos of local people.
  • Respect for symbols and leaders: Show reverence for national symbols and leaders of North Korea. Treat statues, monuments, and portraits with respect and avoid any disrespectful behavior or remarks.
  • Public displays of affection: Public displays of affection, such as kissing or hugging, are not common in North Korea and may be viewed as inappropriate. It is best to avoid such displays in public areas.
  • Table manners: When dining with locals, follow their lead when it comes to table manners. Use chopsticks appropriately and try to eat at a similar pace to those around you. It is also polite to try a little bit of everything that is offered to you.
  • Respect for the Juche ideology: The Juche ideology is a central tenet of North Korean society. While you may not personally agree with it, it is important to show respect for the ideology and not engage in political discussions or debates.
  • Be sensitive to cultural differences: North Korea has its own unique customs and traditions. Be open-minded, patient, and willing to learn about and appreciate the local culture. Show genuine interest in the daily lives of the locals and engage in cultural exchanges whenever possible.
  • Language and communication: English may not be widely spoken in North Korea, so it is helpful to learn a few basic phrases in Korean. Locals appreciate the effort and will likely respond positively to your attempts to communicate with them.

By being mindful of cultural etiquette, you can show respect for the local culture, create positive interactions with the people of North Korea, and foster a more enriching travel experience.



North Korean beaches may be lesser-known and often overlooked, but they offer a captivating and unique beach holiday experience. Despite the country’s political tensions, North Korea boasts stunning coastlines, crystal-clear waters, and a range of attractions and activities that cater to different interests.


Exploring the secluded beaches of North Korea provides an opportunity to witness the untouched beauty of its natural landscapes, indulge in outdoor adventures, and immerse oneself in the rich cultural heritage of the country. From sunbathing on the golden sands of Wonsan Beach to diving into the pristine waters near Nanam Island, each beach destination offers a distinct charm and an escape from the mainstream tourist crowds.


Traveling to North Korean beaches requires diligent planning, adherence to local regulations, and booking through authorized tour operators. It is important to embrace cultural etiquette, respect local customs, and approach the trip with an open mind and a sense of adventure.


By being mindful of travel tips, safety guidelines, and cultural etiquette, visitors can have a safe and rewarding experience while exploring the mysterious shores of North Korea. The journey to these hidden coastal gems promises a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural immersion, and unparalleled serenity.


So, if you’re seeking a truly distinctive beach holiday experience, consider venturing off the beaten path and discovering the enigmatic beaches of North Korea. Uncover the secrets of this fascinating land, immerse yourself in its intriguing culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime.