Our Top 10 Favorite Korean Beaches!

If you know Tom and I…you probably know we absolutely LOVE hiking and we LOVE beaches. I wrote about my love for beaches here and we always try to scope out the best places to set up camp after a long day spent in the mountains. We find ourselves drawn to both mountains and the ocean quite frequently & our time spent in Korea has amplified our love for both. Here’s a complied list of our favorite beaches in Korea SO far.

10. Jangdueng Beach, Yeosu, Jeollanamdo Province. 

This beach is one of our favorites for the main reason that it’s secluded. It’s out in the middle of this teeny TINY Korean village. We love packing food/drinks & camping beneath the trees. To get to this beach you have to go down a large hill and the view from the walk down  is quite stunning. There are quite a few nice beaches in our city of Yeosu, but this one remains quiet and secluded. I also love view of the islands out in the distance from this beach.

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9.Jeongdongjin Beach, Gangnueng, Gangwondo Province.

This one is pretty unique in that the beach holds the world record for ” the closest train station to the sea.” It also has a cruise ship resort high up on the hill that you can see pretty clearly from this beach. Even though we visited it on a dreary day it still makes the list since I know it would be stunning on a sunny day.

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 8.The many beaches of Goheung, Jeollanamdo Province. 

We loved the beaches of Goheung because when we visited they were deserted! I’ve heard in the dog days of summer these places do attract people…but for good reason. Goheung is the next penninsula to the west of us in Yeosu. Tom and I enjoyed exploring this area one very warm winter day in December. Not quite warm enough to swim at 50 degrees, but was fun to explore the area! For sure make a stop at Narodo beach!

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7. Gosapo Beach, Byeonsanbando National Park, Buan, Jeollabukdo Province.

Stunning weather, long white sandy beach, and AMAZING camping made this beach easily place on our list of favorite Korean beaches. The shaded area in the woods made for amazing camping and provided lots of heat from the sun. It’s location was perfect for a long hike the next day in gorgeous Byeonsanbando National Park.

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6. Hwasun Beach, Jeju Island.

What I love most about this beach is the feel of it’s surroundings. We stayed at the cutest hostel on the beach that had such a laid back feel to it. No rush or hustle and bustle. A stop along the biking route brought lots of bikers to this area on Jeju’s southern coast. I love the view of Sangbangsan Mountain in the background.

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5. Gyeongpo Beach, Gangnueng, Gwangwando Province.

This beach is on Korea’s East Coast & was a fun place to relax for a bit. It’s a popular beach so expect LOTS of people. This beach is the longest beach on Korea’s East Coast. We loved the soft white sand and the nice shaded area of pine trees behind it. It’s got a nice location with places to eat and right across from Gyeongpo Lake!

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4. Sangju beach, Namhae, Gyeonsangnamdo Province.

Perfect for swimming and relaxing too the scenic cove earns Namhae a spot on our favorite beach list!180 (2)

3. Sinyang Beach- Jeju island’s east coast (just south of Sunrise Peak!)

Sometimes the best discoveries are hidden treasures. This beach was empty…and we weren’t sure if it was even on the map! Beautiful horses just hangin’ at this beach made it extra picturesque!

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2. Biguemdo Island’s Heart Shaped Beach (Hanuneom Beach), Shinan islands, Jeollanamdo Province.

This island can be reached via Mokpo ferry terminal. A car is most definitely needed as no buses run on this island. A heart shaped island in a beautiful hidden cove. Need I say more?

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Bijindo Island Beach, Gyeonsangnamdo Province.

A real slice of paradise. If I had to choose ONE favorite in the whole of Korea from what we’ve seen. This would be it. Bijindo island can be reached by ferry from the coastal city of Tongyeong. The view from the hike on the island is spectacular. It’s remoteness and it’s beautiful, soft, white sand give it the #1 spot for beautiful beaches to relax on in Korea!

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Korea’s East Coast Road Trip Highlights.

There’s this large map of Korea that sits in our living room with little yellow stickers dotting the places we have visited in Korea. Each weekend, with a new adventure planned (and making it easy since we have a car!) our map slowly begun to be sprinkled with yellow dots around the country as each weekend continued to pass before our eyes. It wasn’t long before we noticed that our stickers were concentrated on much of the southern portion of Korea. Easier to reach since we’ve spent the last 16 months living on Korea’s southern peninsula.  Tom and I begun to plot what we would do on a big road trip up along the eastern coast of Korea since we hadn’t ever been there, but our map certainly needed some attention in that area. Using our Korean guidebooks (mostly Lonely Planet this time) we set our sights on a road trip together for a long weekend this past June. Our main purpose of this trip was to hike/camp as much as possible…Where Tom wrote about that here and here. We also had a few places we were interested in seeing along the way. So, here’s a few highlights of a long weekend in June filled with camping, hiking, sightseeing, and of course lots of adventures along the way!

We had our sights set on Seoraksan National Park & it surely didn’t disapoint. A must see in KOREA!

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Gangneung- The largest city in Gangwon-do that is home to lovely Gyeongpo Lake & beautiful Gyeongpo Beach which is the largest beach on the east coast of Korea at 1.8 km long! A place to relax, rent bikes, and lounge on the beach.

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Jeongdongjin- Fun place to check out! Highlights for us were: Unification Park, Beach with the train station on it, as well as checking out the cruise ship resort on a cliff.

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Odaesan National Park has some pretty unique temples and gorgeous hiking!

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Snapping photos at  random spots along highway 7! Such a scenic road that winds along the coast.

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Stopping to eat & explore Pohang along the coast.

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*We wish we would have brought our passports as you can drive your car and do a self guided tour along the Civilian Control Zone that spans 20km from the  North Korean border. You can visit places like : the Second Tunnel, Cheorwon Peace Observatory that lies just 1km from the DMZ, Woljeong-ri Station, and finally the former Labor Party’s headquarters. Tom & I learned this after we had already begun the road trip so we didn’t have our passports along! Also, we didn’t have time for the caves Hwaseongul/ Daegeumgul, but would have loved to check them out if time had allowed.

 

I never knew Korea would be so beautiful! Do you love road trips? What are some of your favorite memories from road tripping?!

How Korea Has Changed Us.

South Korea. A place we call home. We’ve most certainly fallen in love with this little place surrounded with mountains and outlined in ocean. Although maybe it seems like it this life abroad is not always rainbows and unicorns.We do have jobs (although incredibly low stress!!!) We still work 9-5 and the kids…well they’re kids. They can be absolute little pieces of snot at times and the next day angels. We have 6 weeks of vacation a year. Which, by the way absolutely should be a world rule. Now, we just turn our noses up at the American standard of 2-3 weeks & 6 weeks maternity leave. Well, it’s safe to say we never want that again. We aren’t the “work till we die” kinda people & honestly I think Korea taught us that if we don’t want that? We never have to have it again. We all have choices & each choice may impact the next. For us, Korea has changed our mindset on so many things. It’s really hard to describe to people just how passionate we are about this lifestyle we are living & plan to continue seeking.

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#1. We LOVE traveling.

There is no better way to experience the world and learn about how it works than traveling. We can’t wait to slow travel. With no agenda other than to soak it all up. The people, the food, the mountains, valleys, and the hustle n’ bustle the cities will bring. We aren’t rich and we don’t ever plan to be, but we sure hope to provide this worldly education to our children someday. Not only did Korea further spark our desire to travel, but we are committed to make it apart of who we are for the rest of our lives.

#2. Community is everything.

Korean culture is community. If I had to use one word to describe Korea for me the first word that comes to mind is community. I felt it in Fiji & I feel it here. Everyone looks out for each other. Taking care of each other is what matters. Tom mentioned that despite communication barriers people are willing to help & therefore anything can get done. We bought a car in Korea, moved into an apartment we picked out, and figured out how to navigate daily errands- all with the help of a community that we’ve found in Korea.

#3. It was the best thing for our marriage.

It’s too much to explain here in just a few sentences. It’s been the best decision for our marriage, happiness, our future. I elaborated on this over on a guest post called: What living abroad did to my marriage.

#4. We learned that less is best.

That simplicity is what we seek. That we wish our storage unit back in Wisconsin would sorta just spontaneously combust so we never have to think about it again.

#5. You don’t have to love the food to make it work.

I don’t like spicy food. I hate raw fish & I especially dislike hot soup in the summer 90 degree heat and 100% humidity. I love breakfasts and brunch which are almost obsolete down here in our corner of Korea. Guess what? I’ve figured out what I do like. I make it work. Tom cooks up a mean brunch & other delicious fresh foods that I do love. Korea’s changed my view of food production & made me want to support local more than ever.

#6. Korean grandma’s are some of the most hardworking people I’ve ever met.

They garden, farm, fish & work extremely hard. It’s incredibly  humbling.

#7. Living abroad CAN be achieved.

Living in another country doesn’t just have to be something you only dream of. We did it. So can you. I wrote about that here. After I married Tom I wasn’t sure we would ever live outside the states. Now, I find myself livin’ & loving and writing this post about how Korea changed our lives & this is just the beginning!

#8. You meet people who are CRAZY interesting.

Living in Korea has led us to some of the most interesting & unique people. With similar passions to see corners of the world that we never dreamt we could see. People who are thinking outside the box to make this lifestyle work. A guy hiking across the entire country of Korea, a gal and her boyfriend who are both sponsored to hike all over the world, crazy cool expats with travel stories to last years. There has never been a time in my life that when I look around I realize that the small group of us is made up from people all over the world. There is nothing cooler than that to me.

#9. We seek new opportunities for growth. 

Both Tom and I are quicker to recognize fun opportunities for growth in our lives. He is the calm to my storm. I’m the girl who is always looking for “what’s next” & Tom is the steady, reasonable, logical 1/2 to our team. I think together we are able to feel when things are becoming stagnant and when we are ready to seek a new adventure. Korea reminds us that the world is SO big & that there is so much to see.

#10. Everything in moderation.

Living in Korea (especially for Tom) changed our view on work. We both don’t want to work ourselves into the ground. Life doesn’t have to be one big bucket of stress and work.  We both view work differently after living here. We don’t want to live to work. Rather, we know that no matter what we decide to do we have SO many options. That we can always make do with very little. That if you don’t like something- change it. If you want something bad enough- find a way to make it work. Work in moderation & don’t work yourself into the ground.

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