Memorial Day Weekend
A long weekend in June, thanks to Memorial Day gave us the perfect time to do some beach camping! A little bit of research and a reluctance to spend too many hours in traffic led us to Pohang. A slightly obscure blog post mentioned a secluded beach, next door to Pohang’s main beach Chilpo, where camping was possible away from the crowds. Kayley’s navigation and investigation skills eventually led us there. Initially it didn’t look too promising as the roads went through a very industrial area that wasn’t too inviting. It did, however, lead to a small fishing village with a lovely little beach that we ended up staying on for 2 nights/3days. At first, we had just headed straight into the village and spotted some cars that were parked very close to where we wanted to camp but there were no roads from the village. We backtracked a bit and found an access road right down to the beach. Guerilla camping heaven.
A few Korean families were set up well back from the beach on a grassy area, so we proceeded to set up right on the beach near a few small cliffs that provided a nice shelter from the wind, some privacy and a handy “camping loo”. We set up our tent, did a bit of beach clean up and collected some firewood. There was also lots of ocean debris around that we ended up using to make a lounge area and outdoor kitchen around our camp fire. We ended up having a very comfortable set up.
Relaxation and Fun
When we arrived, the weather wasn’t the best, but it was pleasant enough to be beach camping and we even got some sun on Sunday (with a bit of wind). We woke up on Monday morning to a beautiful sunrise and the rain held off until Monday afternoon while we were packing up. We spent the days lounging around enjoying the outdoors, reading, fishing and learning some Gaelic football moves. I also did a bit of fishing off the rocks and managed to catch a few strange looking fish. We had a big bonfire each night, as well as our delicious samgyupsal (pork belly) and lamb chops dinners. We spent the evenings sitting around the fire swapping stories with our friends John and Neeta. Fortunately firewood was plentiful.
Facilities and Entertainment
The main beach (Chilpo-Ri) was very close to where we camped and there was a small shop for ice/beer/water etc as well as large public bathrooms if you were really desperate. The ocean was cold but good enough for a quick rinse if you felt the need. The beach was soft sand. It was really very picturesque with the little fishing village and harbour in the distance.
The Sunday evening was a lot busier and quite a few Korean families set up to do some beach camping, but it never got crowded. The entertainment for the evening was a Korean man who had probably had a few too many drinks and tried to show off to his friends by driving along the beach. He proceeded to get stuck in the very soft sand and it took an hour, two other off-road vehicles and a four-wheeler to eventually get him off the beach.
After packing up, Kayley and I took the “scenic” route back home. We meandered along the coast line up to the Homigot (Hand of Harmony). Pohang is very well know for this giant hand statue in the ocean that apparently sees the first sunrise of the Korean New Year. If you time it right, you can snap a picture of the sun resting in the hand. Of course this means there are hordes of people trying to capture the perfect selfie and making weird poses (we did the same…) Lots of small Korean restaurants in the area to grab a bite. There are also a few coffee shops if you’re looking for something a bit more western. The drive along the coastal road is a bit tedious and time-consuming though!
Guerilla camping (and beach camping) has been the best thing we’ve done in Korea. It allows us to escape the city and get some reasonably fresh air and enjoy a bit of nature. Being able to camp just about anywhere has made it a lot of fun to explore the countryside.
Have you tried camping in Korea? Have any favourite spots?