The Wonsan Guide – is street food Wonsan a thing and just good are the beaches here? Seeing as I am now living in Cambodia it has meant I have been focussing much more on Khmer food than the usual international fare that my travel dictates, but very now and again it is good to mix it up and look back on old pictures and pull something from the depths.
With this in mind I present my guide to Wonsan, by far my favorite city in North Korea.
To read about street food in North Korea click here.
Where is Wonsan?
Wonsan is a city located on theeast-coasb of North Korea – it was formerly where the very from North Korea to Japan departed from until a whole heap of nuclear intrigue put paid to that.
You can though still hang out on the boat – which you can read about here.
It takes about 4 or 5 hours to get to Wonsan from Pyongyang which means it is not part of a Pyongyang centric tour to North Korea, utmost longer trips will take you to Wonsan and of course its beaches.
There is a fabulous stop on the way to Wonsan at a lagoon where you can pick up simple food, enjoy he view and if you fancy try snake soju – something that will indeed get its own article at some point.
What is there to do in Wonsan?
There’s lots of revolutionary sites (of course), some cooperative farms, the very cool Songdowan School Children’s Camp for both local and international Young Pioneers, of course as well as the aforementioned beaches, which we will get to in due course.
To read about what a Young Pioneer is click here
The main attraction though is that after a hard 4-5 days of full on North Korea travel Wonsan makes a pleasant lower key more relaxing change to your DPRK Tour.
Wonsan Guide – Where to stay
There are currently two hotels in Wonsan, both strangely next to each other (like literally) and both of similar quality. Most groups though tend to stay at the Songdowan Hotel, which offers great beach views, as well as the usual bar and of course billiards. Billiiards are a thing in the DPRK.
To read about the Songdowon Hotel click here.
Street Food Wonsan
Most of your meals in Wonsan will come at the hotel, but there is a great seafood restaurant located just opposite the Songdowon Hotel which most groups visit. I have had sashimi where the fish was still moving – freaky stuff.
The best bit of street food Wonsan action happens though when you walk from the hotel to the lighthouse, particularly if it is a Sunday, which is when everything happens in the DPRK. You will find people fishing and cooking up BBQ, which will often be given for free, or with some vendors selling stuff for next to nothing. This is the street food Wonsan epicenter.
The Wonsan Guide – Beaches of Wonsan
North Korea gets very very cold in the winter, but in summer it has great beaches in Nampo, Chongjin, and even Rason! But the best beaches in the country are found in Wonsan.
To read about street food in Rason click here
The main beach is situated not all that far from the school-children camp and consists of the paid part, which costs a few bucks per person and the free public beach. Foreigners as you might guess go onto the paid part of the beach.
There are a number of restaurants along the beach serving street food/seafood which you can have via a menu, or by charcoal BBQ cooked in front of you. Obviously a top treat.
You can then frolic on the beach to your hearts content, swimming with the locals, diving off the rather sketchy diving board and generally enjoying a North Korean beach holiday.
What about the new Wonsan Beach Resort?
The DPRK are currently building a huge scale beach resort in Wonsan, which while it has been delayed is very much going to happen. Quite how successful it will be is anyone’s guess, but you can see my take on things here.
And that is the overall Wonsan Guide – there are a lot of things to see and do in North Korea, but if you have the time and money Wonsan should be very much on your list.