Travel in Nearly Every Direction and Life's a Beach

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Travel in Nearly Every Direction and Life's a Beach

In early July, many of Korea's beaches opened for the summer, including 11 in Cheju province. The remainder should open by July 20.

The good news for fans of the sun, sand and surf is that this year many beaches will drop their admission charge. In a bid to attract visitors, other beaches have introduced or improved such facilities as parking space and showers.

East Coast

The beaches on the east coast of Korea are known for their beautiful scenery, clean water and big waves. Generally, finding accommodation is not a problem, as the coast is dotted with campsites, inns (yeogwan in Korean) and guest houses (minbak).

Starting from July 28, Yeongdeok county in North Kyongsang province will hold a Yeongdeok Beach Festival at Jangsa, Goraebul and Daejin beaches. Events will include sand sculpting, a water-skiing show and movie screenings on the beach.

Kangwon province will host a variety of seaside festivals. Gyeongpo beach, for instance, will put on a Sea Arts Festival between July 21 and 28. Sokcho beach will hold its Ocean Festival between July 23-26.

In late July, the town of Samcheok plans to put on its own Beach Cultural Festival, and, for music lovers, Songjiho beach has arranged a Hansori Concert for Aug. 12.

West Coast

Sprinkled along the west coast of the nation are dozens of small beaches with nice views. Those charming spots offer beautiful sunsets.

Near Inchon are about 30 islands fringed with beaches. Seopori beach on Deokjeok island and Yongdam beach on Yeongheung island are very popular, especially among residents of the Seoul metropolitan area, since it takes only about two hours to get there from Seoul.

Catching crabs and seashells in the mud flats of those beaches is a fun way to spend some summer days.

Hanakke beach on Muui Island is very close to Mount Horyonggok, which at 240 meters you can scale without too much effort. Accommodation at the inns and guest houses on the islands close to Inchon costs about 20,000 won ($15.40) to 30,000 won per night, but in the peak summer season competition for rooms can be fierce and you may have to pay a little more if you want a roof over your head.

Also, remember to check the departure times of ferries to the islands, as the schedule may change due to temperamental weather conditions during these hot months.

Byeonsan beach in North Cholla province is considered one of the best beaches on the west coast due to its fine sand and gentle slope. For many, the route to the beach passes by the controversial Saemangeum land reclamation. This reclamation project is the biggest of its kind in the nation and it is worth taking a look at the site.

Byeonsan beach is scheduled to open July 14, and there will be events to celebrate the opening of the beach including dance and singing competitions in late July.

Also in North Cholla province is Seonyudo beach, well-known for its fishing. Fish are plentiful, and if you visit the wharf or Munyeo bridge you won't need a boat.

South Coast

Haeundae, Gwanganri and Dadaepo beaches in the Pusan area, South Kyongsang province, are probably the most popular beaches in the country.

Every summer, the beaches are crowded with thousands of visitors, and it is almost impossible to have a moment of peace. But this may be the top choice for those hoping for fun-loving crowds and a vibrant nightlife.

Yulpo beach in South Cholla province boasts clean water and man-made swimming pools filled with seawater pumped up from 120 meters underground.

One of the pools contains green tea in its water as a tonic and is big enough to accommodate up to 600 people. You can enjoy great views of ocean while swimming in these pools.

Manseongri beach in South Cholla province is a good place to take a "sand bath," as local people have raked the beach free of rough pebbles. There are also new lockers and shower facilities available on the beach.

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