Summer in Korea is bittersweet. Bitter in that many old or new friends start finishing their contracts and leaving. Sweet because Korea is a peninsula with a very accessible coastline. We have been having bittersweet days here in Korea, but we have been trying to focus more on the sweet than the bitter.
This weekend we opted for the mainland for our monthly(fast becoming bimonthly) beach camping trip. We not so gracefully took over the back of a bus to Buan just north of Gwangju. From there we awkwardly loaded another bus with our over-sized packs, cooler, ugly hats, burnt faces, sunglasses, flip flops and other non-Korean features (except for our patient and helpful Korean friends) and moved toward Gosapo beach.
Again, we moved just around the mountainous bend from the crowded local beach to find a stretch of beach without shelter, bathroom facilities or people and claimed it as our own. We drank, swam, played soccer, talked about our lives in Korea and elsewhere, consumed too much meat, built a campfire, did a night swim with phosphorescent algae, reminisced about our favorite Caroline(for whom the trip was in honor of) memories and generally had another great time.
Korean beaches must be one of the best kept secrets in Asia. They are mostly used for the fishing industry and the less popular ones hardly have a hotel to stay in. Koreans don’t love being out in the sun, so they aren’t the most popular destinations in the country. That isn’t to say you still won’t find plenty of Koreans packed on a beach somewhere, covered head to toe in clothes sitting under a large umbrella, but the chances are pretty good you can score some really good real estate on one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.