Camping in Korea: Beach Huts on Muuido Island

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

– Mary Anne Radmacher Hershey

img_8509The weather’s getting warmer. The sun is shining longer every day. Spring in Seoul is a welcome sight, and what better way to celebrate than by taking a weekend camping trip?

Last Saturday, a few friends and I decided to kickstart the camping season by taking a trip to Muuido Island, just south of Yongyu Island off the Northwest Coast of South Korea. Muuido, in Korean, means “the dress of a dancer”. It has actually served as a filming location for the drama “Stairway to Heaven,” and the movie “Silmido” (and if you’ve heard of either of those, you’re way ahead of me). It’s not far from where I live, and it’s a perfect weekend getaway from Seoul. To be honest, I really just wanted to see the ocean (which I haven’t seen since I spent Christmas in Indonesia!). Yes, it’s April, and yes, it’s still a little chilly, but why not get away when there are fewer crowds? My friends were in agreement, and so, all arriving from different parts of the Gyeonggi province, the five of us made our way to the International Departures area of the Incheon International Airport.20100420-845a6rkxiqw56ww4ytrgrif9ucFrom the airport, we caught Bus 306 from outside the International Departures terminal on the 3rd floor. It cost ₩1,000 (you can use your T-money card) and we took it to the Geojampo stop. From here, it was a 10 minute walk to the Jamjinnaru Ferry Terminal.

Ferries run every half hour. And this was literally the shortest ferry ride I have ever taken in my entire life (maybe 3 minutes?, from departure to arrival, no joke). From Jamjinnaru, you can actually see the Muuido docking point, and could probably swim across in under 10 minutes. The roundtrip ferry ticket costs a whopping ₩3,000 (about 3 bucks). (Ferry Hours: 07:00-20:00).

When we arrived on Muuido, there was a bus waiting on the shore. We spent another ₩1,000 (doesn’t accept T-money) and about 15 minutes on the bus as it took us across the island. We got off at the second stop (Hanagae Beach).

Apparently, in the summer, this is quite a busy stop. In April, however… not so much. ^^  There were a few families milling about on the beach, a heated soccer game of ajumas vs ajishis, and that’s really about it. The sun came out just as we arrived, and we spent ₩30,000 on a beach hut for the night (₩10,000 of which is a key deposit that you get back). So for about $4 each, the 5 of us secured a private room on the beach. AND it has heated floors. ; )


Luke found a couple Korean policemen (he would), who were altogether too excited to take group photos with us.

Greg the Kiwi brought Vegemite with him (of course he did). He made me a little cracker spread and gave me a cube of cheese. The verdict? Surprisingly delightful. ; )

We happened across a Korean boy-band making a video on the beach for one of their new songs. It was the most entertaining thing to watch.

And when we went for a bit of a walk, we ran into a very friendly hiking group… this woman was thrilled to meet us (from what I could understand through the language barrier, her son goes to school in Canada). And yes, she’s wearing a facemask. And yes, this is the cleanest air I’ve breathed since I arrived in Korea 7 months ago.

As the sun went down, the beach started emptying out. Until the five of us were the only people left.

We made a campfire, we made makeshift s’mores out of choco-pies and roasted them on sticks over the fire. Melissa brought her guitar and we spent hours under the clear, starry sky. When the fire started to burn down, we took the flashlight and hunted in the forest for more wood (we saw wild-pig tracks, too. Not a word of a lie, and yes it was terrifying. But the perfect accessory to some perfectly frightening campfire stories). ^.^

Perfect weekend. : )