Monday, 13 June 2016

Pohang Beach Camping



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.




When we arrived, the weather wasn't the best, but it was pleasant enough to be 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.





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 and 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 camp 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 about 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 as well as 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 has been the best thing we've done in Korea as 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?

14 comments:

  1. Ah great find! I love Chilpo, Odo, and Wolpo Beach. Back when I used to have a motorcycle I'd drive up that way before work, but I haven't got wheels this time. Glad you enjoyed your stay near Pohang ;) Whereabouts are you located now?

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    1. We are in Changwon (near Busan) at the moment! This was such a beaut spot. Loved it!

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  2. Looks like you guys had a blast even though the weather wasn't quite as you'd hoped! I can't wait for the weather to warm up so we can get back on the beach, will have to try out Pohang it looks like a beautiful spot! And not too crowded like some of the beaches in Korea.

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    1. We were pleasantly surprised at the amount of people. Beach camping here is great when you have the patience to go look for places or are lucky enough to have somebody else to point you in the right direction!

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  3. Summer in the Korea is the best (as is banana makgeolli!) I have loved visiting the beaches here but usually stick to the ones nearby- I've not made it as far as Pohang although I've always wanted to see that big hand! Korea's lenient camping laws are the best, aren't they!

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    1. Aren't they just! I think if it wasn't for the camping we may not have made it through our second year!

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  4. Glad to hear your experience with beach camping in Pohang went well. The only time I tried to beach camp was at Geoje and it was a total failure. It rained the entire weekend and I've been jaded ever since. I doubt I'll attempt this year haha

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    1. Camping was never my idea of fun. Back in South Africa the first two times Kayley and I went camping it rained. I vowed to never go camping again. Our first camping trip here was freezing cold still but we met some great people and ended up having an amazing time. Give it another chance, check the weather forecast first and have a backup plan...

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  5. this post is making me miss the beaches. back when i was in the university, my campus was near the beach and most of us students would do overnights at the shore. we didn't have camping gears. mats and blankets are enough or we just hide at the nearby cottages. lovely memories. i saw lots of photos of that hand and the year's first sunrise. people are unmindful of the cold.

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    1. Without a tent the mosquitos in Korea would eat you alive! Spending nights on the beach sounds like a great way to get through your student years.

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  6. Great choice! I haven't been to Pohang and many many years, BUT even in the hot summer there are enough rather obscure beaches there that don't get overrrun to make for good camping or just secluded beach lounging. If you don't mind walking around some wire fences, you're good to go. Great spot.

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    1. We were quite surprised as the area leading up to the beaches does not looking welcoming at all. The wire fences are just there to keep the less determined people out aren't they?

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  7. I was wondering if you were camping on the beach with the hand, but I guess not! I've never been to Pohang but it seems more popular for soccer than camping and beaches. Great that you've shared there's more to see! That sunset is beautiful. That banana makgeolli is killer, too. I'll need to check out Pohang soon!

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    1. As with most of the Korean coast line, the beach near the Hand is just rocks and muddy flats. Not very scenic at all. Korea does deliver some spectacular sunsets along the coast, photos never seem to do them justice!

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