With spring nearing I am wondering where did the New Year bliss of ‘new beginnings’ go. Reminiscing the first few weeks of 2017 brings me back to a special trip my boyfriend and I went on together on Geoje island in Korea. It was our sixth trip together, I believe, outside of the Seoul city area and our third trip to Korea’s southern coast.
Our trip to Geoje also known as Geoje-do, was first planned mid-last year after we had enjoyed a previous winter getaway to Jeju-do island. Having both never been to Geoje before was a main reason for the trip in addition to spending a mild winter break together along Korea’s coast.
Deciding to travel to Geoje mid-week we left the Seoul area by bus and arrived in Geoje within 4 hours. Upon arrival we could feel the warm weather and felt comfortable wearing light-layered jackets. Since we had arrived around noon time we decided to visit a sushi restaurant recommended by my boyfriend’s Geoje based friend. For anyone who has read my K-Travel: Bucheon(부천)/Aiins World (아인스월드) you might recall that me and my boyfriend had a hard time finding a sushi restaurant to eat at a number of times earlier(Ｔ▽Ｔ) Thankfully, we satisfied our mutual sushi hunger, by having sushi for lunch at a restaurant called Sushihwa (스시화) on our first day in Geoje.
After having lunch we took a stroll around the central city area before hailing for a taxi cab to take us to Hakbong Mongdol (Pebble) Beach (학동흑진주몽돌해변). Prior to looking for a taxi we had discussed taking local transportation, however, due to discovering a nearly 1-hour wait time in-between buses for the route we wished to take we agreed on using taxis for the duration of our trip. The taxi ride took us from the central city area across the lush green mountains of Geoje and finally around a very large dam before zigzagging down the mountainside to a small coastal beach strip known as Hakbong Mongdol. On route we had a very friendly conversation in Korean with our taxi driver who was interested our winter vacation on Geoje and happy to provide friendly travel tips for us Seoulites. Our driver was so kind that after parking by the beach strip he offered to take our photos with the beach as a our backdrop.
After having our photos taken and chatting a little more about the beach and its scenery we said our goodbyes and me and my boyfriend headed down to sit by the pebble shoreline. After taking in the view we dropped our belongings, dipped our feet in the water, and played a few pebble games together before spreading out our jackets to lie down in the sun. I can’t recall how much time passed since we had arrived, but can say that we spent most of the afternoon relaxing and listening to the unique sound of the water rubbing against the pebble stones. For those who are unfamiliar with Hakbong Mongdol, it is one of Korea’s few pebble stoned beaches. Due to this there are many signs posted around the beach entrance/exit informing visitors to keep the beach clean and not remove the soft pebble stones.
After waking up from our nap on the beach I noticed many visitors like us played with the stones too. My boyfriend even made a few stone wish pillars that are often found on the grounds of Buddhist temples in Korea. After soaking up some sun and sea air we packed up our stuff and headed over to a local mart-store to pick up a few items to take to our pension house, which was located on the Haegumgang peninsula of Geoje. After shopping for some items we walked along the street-side of the beach and waited for a while until the next taxi drove our way. Unfortunately, we waited close to 30 minutes for one to show up, so we decided to call one by using the Korean Kakaotaxi app.
This time we left Hakbong Mongdol and drove again up and down Geoje’s mountainsides to the southernmost extended peninsula portion of Geoje known as Haegumgang. Once we arrived at our pension house we received our keys from the landlord and decided to spend the early evening relaxing. A few hours later we left our pension house and toured the nearby area. Being only a 20-minute walk away from Geoje’s picturesque Windy Hill(바람의 언덕) we talked over what sites to visit around our pension house as we checked out the nearby restaurants that were still open. A short while later we chose to eat at a raw seafood restaurant(*right next to the Haegeumgang Theme Museum) called 명승홧집, which directly translated is called ‘scenic raw fish house’（´∀`）ｂ. Located on a cliff by the East Sea one can expect lots of fresh sea food, which we enjoyed as our second meal during our first evening in Geoje.
After dinner we paid our bill and being the only customers left in the restaurant had a small chat with one of the owners about the discount Oedo Island boat ride coupons they had posted at the entrance. After receiving a coupon we left the restaurant and walked up the cliff side to check out the view. However, there was not much to see as it was already past sunset and there were very few night lights along the street. Deciding to turn in for the evening we strolled back down the cliff side toward our pension house. On the next day, I woke us up early to check out the sunrise from our balcony porch. It was truly a sight to see and our first East Sea/ New Year sunrise together.
Waking up early to watch the sunrise allotted us ample time to relax before we would set out for Day 2 adventures on the island. We slowly got ready, ate some breakfast items we had purchased, and together watched an episode of Reply 1997(*an old Kdrama) on TV before cleaning up the rooms and checking out. Day 2 would be our final day in Haegumgang before heading back to Geoje’s central city area. After checking out of our pension we had hoped to catch a taxi to take us down the cliff side to Haegumgang Island Boat Ticket office(해금강유람선) where we would purchase our boarding tickets for the mid-morning boat to Oedo-Botania Island(외도 보타니아-해상관광농원) and Geoje Haegeumgang Island (거제도 해금강).
(…to be continued)
For Part 2 please refer to K-Travel: Geoje-do (거제도) – Part 2
*Note: All pictures posted are owned by the Yeppunshikan author, usage of these pictures without the owners consent is strictly prohibited.