Summer time is often associated with summer school and summer camps and parents are always looking for top notch quality camps to send their kids to, and of course maintain the peace and quiet at home. Students have a plethora of options to choose from, starting with farming, science, and space camps for the intellectual. If the student enjoys being outdoors or just has too much energy, military and sports camps are also quite common choices. For every interest a child may have, a camp now exists, and now we can add one more to the list: The North Korean summer camp of Songdowon International Children’s Camp.

North Korean Summer Camp - Songdowon exterior

Austere yet inviting(?) exterior of Songdowon

That’s right. You did not misread that, North Korea.

Now, many of you are probably thinking that this is a camp for parents who’d like to teach their kids discipline. But in fact, this camp boasts everything a child might want at a summer camp, including a giant water slide, a location with clear water and sandy beaches, air conditioned rooms (with video games), volleyball courts, and various shows put on by North Korean children. It’s a week of fun as long as you follow the rules.

North Korean Summer Camp Canoeing

Additional activities include cooking, swimming, canoeing, and socializing

This year more than 300 children from countries such as China, Russia, Vietnam, Ireland, and Tanzania have enjoyed everything that North Korea has to offer. The program is heavily subsidized by the North Korean government, and for a reasonable $300 students from around the world can apply to attend this summer camp that relatively few have experienced.

The hotel rooms where the children stay have been upgraded and renovated to fit the 21st century, for the most part. If you don’t mind sleeping under the watchful eyes of Dear Leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, then this could be paradise. What more does a kid need other than a bed, AC, and video games? 

North Korean Summer Camp Dorm Room

Camp rooms

The children stay at the camp for eight days filled with many different activities and they even get a tour of the capital city, Pyongyang. But most importantly, these children, from all over the world and from various backgrounds, have the opportunity to meet and befriend North Korean children their age. Although they may never get a chance to Facebook friend each other or even exchange email addresses afterwards, both the international and North Korean children have the chance to learn first hand about a culture they may otherwise never get an opportunity to learn about. The camp brings about the potential to impact the students and the international community. Whether this impact be obvious, such as teaching each other how to dance “their” way, or not, much good could come from this. And according to North Korean officials, that is the goal of this summer camp.

So, if you have children, siblings, or cousins that you think are in need of a once-in-a-lifetime, nobody-else-has-ever-done-this type of experience, send them to this North Korean summer camp asap. The Songdowon International Children’s Camp is now accepting applicants from the USA as well.

Images courtesy of Raymond Cunningham.

About The Author

D Lee

D. Lee was once a work-a-holic turned explorer. He now seeks to see the world and all that it has to offer one place at a time. D. Lee is Cali bred, but is currently living in Seoul, South Korea. He enjoys trekking mountains, tasting diverse foods, and meeting people from around the world. D. Lee envisioned a consolidated place for readers to engage and sync in with Korean culture, which led him to co-founding SeoulSync.