No trip to the northeast of North Korea is complete without spending a night at the country’s only homestay village located just outside the breathtaking Mt. Chilbo 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 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. We recommend bringing a small gift and some pictures back home for your home stay family, as well as a Korean phrasebook for them to get to know you better. Freshly made local dishes is served at the local dining hall wholly staffed and served by the families that we stay with. You will then have a free afternoon that generally consists of any (or all) of the following activities.
Activities at the home stay include sun tanning and braving the cold waters of the Chilbo Sea on an incredibly picturesque beach, an intense but friendly volleyball match the very competitive locals, Korean wrestling – known as Ssireum, a demonstration on the making of potato noodles with a family and sampling them, and mingling and socialising with your host families.
When the evening inevitably rolls around groups are invited down to the beach for a good old fashioned bonfire. Taedonggang 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.
Your following day will include hiking the stunning mountain ranges of Mt. Chilbo which offer spectacular views of the East Sea of Korea and the homestay village below. The hiking track is carved out of the mountain and is wide enough to support military vehicles, and is relatively a gentle hike. We recommend bringing a cap, sunscreen, and two water bottles.
The unprecedented level of interaction the Homestay Village supplies will lead to a truly remarkable experience as uou eat, drink and converse among our respective families. It is possible to request to stay at house no. 16, as this was personally inspected by Kim Jong Il during his visit to the village in 2004.