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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrSeoul is known for having a thriving nightlife, bountiful shopping districts, and enough pubs and bars to populate keep hardcore drinkers busy until the sun comes back up and the subways resumes running; what it does not have is beach culture. For that, we go to Muuido.
Located on the northwestern coast of South Korea, Muuido is a small island populated with famers, fishermen and just enough restaurants and shops to keep the island alive. Unlike Korea’s southern islands, Muuido sits mostly alone without any other islets to hop to. That being said, any expat or local worth their salt has at least spent one day enjoying the sand and sun in Muuido.
Life’s a Beach... At Least, Half the TimeEven though Muuido is an island, there are really only two beaches: Silmi and Hanaggae. The rest of the island isn’t exactly welcoming to beachgoers with rocky shores and the occasional cliff.
For anyone looking to have the standard beach experience, Hanaggae is probably the best bet. There are camping areas, public showers, bathrooms, and fountains to fill water bottles at. During the summer, visitors arrive by the boatload and take the local buses and taxis to the long stretching beach.
Once visitors take the ten minute taxi ride or the thirty minute bus ride over, there’s a fifty percent chance that what they’ll see is a wide and sprawling mud flat. Just like the rest of the island, Hanaggae’s water levels rise and fall every few hours bring the tide in and taking it out. When the tide is out, beachgoers are forced to walk ten minutes out to finally find water that is at least waist deep. Stay out long enough and that walk becomes a swim back to shore. Thankfully, the water never gets too deep nor are there strong currents that pull swimmers out into deeper waters. If anything, it’s an interesting feature rather than a drawback.
Silmi Beach, on the other hand, has a feature that Hanaggae can’t complete with: Silmido Island. The tiny island sits just off the coast of Muuido and, due to the island’s low tides, can be visited when the waves recede from the islands. Silmido doesn’t offer many comforting feature and because of the rocks on its shores, it doesn’t attract towels and sunscreen like Silmi Beach. What it does offer is a refuge away from the mainland to sit and enjoy nature. Expats and tourists don’t make their way to the island often but teenagers and locals routinely hold barbeques and camp out on the island during the summer months.
Just make sure that if you visit Silmi Beach you keep track of the tides. The last thing you want is to be stranded on the island or have the tide come in during your walk back.
Have FunAn island vacation would be nothing without fresh seafood, barbecues, and sleeping under the stars. Hanaggae Beach has more than a few restaurants serving up fresh seafood raw, grilled, or in a stew. Prices get a bit steep next to the beach but walk a few minutes inland and the numbers get a lot more reasonable. Also popular is horse-riding and the zip-line tower at Hanaggae. Not many take on the challenge of zip-lining but there are usually small crowds gathered under the shadow of the tower on hot days.
For anyone looking to avoid the sand and sunburn, there are plenty of trails cutting their way through Muuido. Some of the forests get dense enough to block out the sun, even in the summer. That being said, a lot of the trails here aren’t for the faint of heart. While they are all clearly marked, the terrain gets incredibly rugged and the path gets dangerously steep at times. For anyone looking for a challenge, there is a trail that starts at the ferry landing and crosses over four different peaks before depositing tired weary souls on the opposite side of the island; definitely not for amateurs.
DirectionsGetting to Muuido has gotten a lot better in recent years. All anyone in Seoul or Incheon has to do is catch the Airport Express subway line and take it to Incheon International Airport. From there, take the 222 bus to the Muudio Ferry dock and catch a ride over the narrow pass to the island.
Once on the island, there are only a few buses available and any one of them covers most of the island. That being said, if you’re looking to get to Hanagae or Silmi beach, a taxi is the fastest route. Otherwise the thirty minute bus ride over uneven terrain, hills, and narrow roads might be a bit off putting. Visitors tend to stream off the ferry and head straight to the taxis so getting off at the front of the crowd is an absolute must.
Of course, anyone who has a Korean or international license can rent or bring their own car to the island. There are a few gas stations on the island but it’s better to fill up before heading over. The ferry can carry cars over but the waiting line gets really long any time after 9 am on weekends.
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Author: bludreamers. Last updated: Apr 04, 2016