No trip to the North East of the DPRK is complete without spending a night at the country’s only homestay village located just outside the breathtaking Chilbosan mountain range and situated on some of the most prime beach real estates in the entire region. A nice break from the often incredibly fast-paced itinerary.
The homestay village gives guests an excellent opportunity to relax, enjoy various sports and of course most importantly interact with the wonderful Korean families who host us. Made up of 20 or so houses some with western style accommodation and others Korean style (mattress on a heated floor) and complete with a general store and restaurant, staying in this village is unlike any other accommodation available in North Korea.
Upon arriving and checking in, you will be met by your magnificently friendly and also very curious host family. For the first half hour or so you will be given a chance to get to know them (A small gift, some pictures of home and a few Korean phrases is an excellent way to begin breaking the ice). After the quick “Get to know you” meeting, lunch is served at the local restaurant wholly staffed and served by the families that we stay with. After lunch is where the real fun begins, however, with a completely free afternoon that generally consists of any (or all) of the following activities.
Sun tanning and braving the cold waters of the Chilbo Sea on an incredibly picturesque beach.
An intense, but friendly match of volleyball with the very competitive locals.
Korean Style wrestling.
A demonstration on the making of Potato Noodles with the opportunity to sample them.
Mingling and socializing with our host families.
Image via @mattkuleza
When the evening inevitably rolls around groups are invited down to the beach for a good old fashioned bonfire. Taedonggan beer and soju a plenty, North Korea’s answer to EDM music blasting from massive speakers all under some of the most gorgeous stars you will ever witness provides a fitting and unforgettable end to the homestay experience.
Next month YPT is incredibly proud to be running the very first study program ever to North Hamgyong Province from July 10 – 19, which includes not only a night in the homestay village but the unique opportunity to receive Korean Language instruction from a local teacher at the village. This coupled with our previous classes at the Chongin Foreign Languages school, and the unprecedented level of interaction the Homestay Village supplies will lead to a truly remarkable experience as we eat, drink and converse among our respective families.
Image Via @mattkuleza
I am super excited to be leading this program next month and returning to my favorite region in North Korea. In a country that is becoming more and more open by the day, this is a chance to step into uncharted waters and become the first group of foreigners to attend Korean languages classes in Chongjin. No previous knowledge of the Korean language is required, just a desire and willingness to learn.