In college, a graduating senior passed along a poster to me that read: “Visit Bangladesh Before the Tourists Come.” He passed it to me thinking that I was most likely to go to somewhere as random as Bangladesh at some point in my life. I haven’t made it to Bangladesh(yet), but sometimes I feel like I have come to Korea before the tourists’ invasion.
This weekend we spent another 36 hours camping, cooking, eating, playing, swimming, laughing and getting burnt with some of our best friends on one of Korea’s 3,000 islands. Koreans don’t go to the beach until July and few, if any, foreigners collide on the islands in the southwest of Korea. Once again we had this beach all to ourselves.
Korean islands have proven to be absolutely stunning. From Gwangju, they can be as far away as 6 hours and as close as an hour and a half. This island, Bogildo, was about a 5 hour trip that included a bus to Wando, a local bus to the ferry terminal, a ferry to Bogildo, and two more local buses to get us to our campsite. It was worth every transfer. The view from our campsite consisted of blue, blue water, islands rising out of the sea like miniature mountains, white sand, seaweed nets and fishing boats in the distance. We lounged in hammocks, played frisbee and soccer, drank beer and ate more meat than humanly possible. It was unbelievably peaceful. That is the beauty of being in Korea right now. You almost feel like an explorer going where few foreigners have gone before. Where the locals don’t speak English, where the restaurants and stores don’t cater to a foreign crowd and where you and your Western friends are the minority.