The beach town you’ll probably never see: Wonsan, North Korea

Umbrellas are firmly planted in the sand, and children splash through the water in pursuit of a ball or each other. The scene is exactly what you’d see on either U.S. coast, or at any number of beaches around the world. And, because access is free, all walks of life can be found lounging on the sand, dipping a toe or simply enjoying each other’s company. Yet, this isn’t just any beach – it’s one of the toughest in the world to reach.

The seaside community of Wonsan affords a bit of relief from what can be a difficult life in North Korea. Food isn’t always easy to come by, and low pay leads to little disposable income – not that everyone would have ample opportunity to use it. None of this prevents people from spending some of their time at the beach, however, a true equalizer in a political environment that seeks exactly that goal (regardless of whether it attains it … or even truly pursues it).

Anyone who’s taken the family to the beach here in the United States, doubtless, knows that snacks can be a bit pricey – and it usually makes sense to bring your own food. Well, it’s time to stop complaining! Compared to the costs in North Korea, you have it easy. Back in Pyongyang, where the sartorial freedom of the beach is not permitted, you’ll drop £4 on a pizza, which is equivalent to three months’ salary for the average person in this “workers’ paradise.”

Check out the original coverage in the Mirror for a glimpse into daily life in North Korea (through authorized photos).

[photo by stngiam via Flickr]