Posted : 2013-07-18 13:59
Updated : 2014-04-07 14:36

The Beach Special

/ Hamdeok Seowubong Beach in Jeju Island

Korea's best beaches: Travel reporters' picks

By Yun Suh-young

While the dreadful monsoon season keeps us running for shelter, we are all waiting for the clouds to clear so we can bolt for the beaches.

Weather forecasters predict it will be ripe to head to the beaches in a week or two. The challenge then will be to find places that are beautiful, comfortable and aren't packed with more people than a college bar.

But don't worry: our travel reporter has done the work for you. Here is a list of some of the country's lesser-known beaches that each have a claim on being called the country's best.
/ Korea Times photo by Yun Suh-young

1. Hamdeok Seowubong Beach – Jeju Island

The beach is located near Daemyung Resort in Hamdeok-ri, Jocheon-eup, about 19 kilometers east of Jeju International Airport. The beach is about a five minute walk away from the resort. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the resort from the airport by car.

There is emerald-color water that deserves to be described as mesmerizingly beautiful. The beach isn't immensely large, but is still enough to somehow accommodate 50,000 vacationers. Thankfully, that doesn't mean 50,000 will be there every day.

The water is shallow and calm, making it a great place for parents to take their children. Although the beach isn't large enough to accommodate too many people, just looking at the ocean is a refreshing experience in itself.

It is open until Aug. 31 and from 9 a.m. to sunset. Until Aug. 18, the opening hours are extended to 10 p.m.

For more information, call 064-728-7882 or visit
/ Photo contributed by Park Eun-kyung

2. Geumneung Euddeum Beach – Jeju Island

This beach is another gem in Jeju's crown. Located on the opposite side to Hamdeok Beach, about 40 minutes drive west from the Jeju International Airport, this beach provides a beautiful combination of sapphire-blue water and white sand.

It has a famous cousin in the adjacent Hyeopjae Beach, which is where most travelers go, but hopefully, not You the Reader.

''The water color at the beach is just fantastic. There's a small island across it and the clear water makes you feel like you want to walk to the island, which you can. It also has very fine sand. But you have to remember to go at full tide, because when you go at ebb tide, the scene isn't as beautiful," said Park Eun-kyung, a traveling writer for the Korea Tourism Organization.

The beach is located at Hyeopjae-ri, Hallim-eup in Jeju and opens from 9 a.m. until sunset.

For more information, call 064-728-7672 or visit
/ Courtesy of Korea Tourism Organization

3. Daecheon Beach- Boryung, South Chungcheong Province

Including Daecheon on this list sort of felt like cheating because it is already famous. But it was difficult to leave it out because, among Korea's good beaches, this one is the closest to Seoul.

Make no mistake: this will be a crowded beach. But not as calamitously crowded as the Haenudae and Gwangalli beaches in Busan.

The length of sand stretches 3.5 kilometers and is 100 meters wide.

It was a resort district for foreigners when it opened back in the 1930s and still remains as a popular destination because a mud festival is held at the beach annually.

''The beach is nice to take children to because the water isn't that deep. The beach is very well equipped with accommodation around it and has plenty of places to stay, eat and enjoy various activities. But the best part is that it's close to Seoul,'' said Kang Gyeong-rok, travel reporter at Edaily.

For more information, call 041-932-2023 or visit

/ Photo contributed by Park Eun-kyung

4. Gisamun Beach – Yang Yang, Gangwon Province

This is a small sandy beach located between Hangpogu and the 38th parallel, near the inter-Korean border. Hangpogu is a small fishing village in Gisamun in Yang Yang County, Gangwon Province.

While popular among surfers, the beach is rather unpopular to casual vacationers because it is tucked away in a small village and takes a long ride from Seoul.

''The beach has high waves that approach the shore in a straight line. The waves don't break up into small waves, so it's perfect for surfers. Also because the water runs deep, the water temperature is warm even during winter,'' said Park from the KTO.

"If you're a surfer, this beach will be nice to go to in all seasons. If you're not a surfer, watching people surf is in itself an exotic experience. You forget you're in Korea."

About five minutes away from Gisamun Beach is another beach called Jangyo Beach. Surfers aren't allowed to surf here but they can camp at the camping site which opened in 2011.

For more information, call 033-670-2724 or visit
/ Courtesy of Geoje City

5. Gujora Beach – Geoje Island, South Gyeongsang Province

Gujora Beach, located in Ilun-myeon, southeast of the Geoje Island, is praised for its clear waters. The beach is relatively small, stretching 1.1 kilometers at width of 30 meters. It has soft sand, a shallow sea bottom and mild water temperature. The beach is quiet like a lake.

Smaller islands such as Naedo and Oedo are nearby and visitors can board a boat cruising around the islets. There are about 50 guest houses located nearby.

"What's nice about the beach is that it has white sand and very clear waters that would even put some Jeju beaches to shame. Due to the clarity of the water and its emerald color, even scuba divers from Japan come to Geoje. I heard they highly regard the island's beach," said Lee Jee-hae, travel reporter at Money Today.

The beach will be open until Aug. 20.

Right next to Gujora Beach is Hakdong Mongdol Beach which has 1.2 kilometer beach covered by pebbles called "mongdol." According to local legend, it's healthy to walk on these pebbles.

For more information, call 055-639-3198 or visit

6. Daegwang Beach – Imja Island, Sinan, South Jeolla Province

/ Photo contributed by Park Kyung-il
This beach located in one of the many islands in Sinan, South Jeolla Province, boasts of the longest stretching beach at 12 kilometers. It is 300 meters wide and offers beautiful scenery at sunset.

The water doesn't run deep and the waves are calm. It takes about an hour and a half to walk from one side of the beach to the other and about 30 minutes by bicycle.

''The beach is so large that even when there are thousands of people at once, it doesn't look so crowded. People resemble dots on a painting. They can enjoy having their own space on this beach and not bump into other people every other second,'' said Park Kyung-il, a travel reporter at Munhwa Ilbo.

''The sand is great. You can also ride horses on the beach. They offer horse-riding activities and lessons.''

For more information, call 061-261-6524 or visit

/ Courtesy of Korea Tourism Organization

7. Songho Beach- Haenam, South Jeolla Province

This is the gem of Haenam, South Jeolla Province, located right before reaching "ddanggeot village" named for its location at the end of the peninsula. The beach is full of pine trees behind the shore and has soft, fine sand and calm waters. The "song" in the name "songho" means pine in Chinese characters. The pine trees here are about 200 years old.

The beach stretches about 1 kilometers and is relatively quiet, providing a private getaway for those who want some time away from the crowded beaches.

"What's nice about this beach is that there are pine trees lined up right behind the beach. It looks like a scene from a picture. The ocean is also very beautiful," said Choi Byung-il, a travel reporter for The Korea Economic Daily.

The beach is open all seasons.

For more information, call 061-530-5919 or visit

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