If you live near or around Busan then you probably don’t need an introduction to Gujora Beach on Gojae Island. But for us, who spent most of our beach time in Korea on the islands off Mokpo in the west, Gojae Island is a new discovery. We took our son on a day trip there last summer and vowed to make the trip again this year. It was by accident that we ended up there last weekend.
Our original plan was to take a ferry out to Hansando from Tongyeong (which we did) and camp (which we didn’t), but found that our hearts weren’t into camping in restricted areas and playing on pebble beaches (even though our son was keen!) So after a quick drive around the island looking for a nice camping area, we caught the last ferry back and drove to Gujora Beach on Gojae just an hour away.
Just to be fair to Hansando, it was a beautiful island. The ferry ride was quick (30 mins) and cheap (10,000 won round trip, 26,000 round trip for the car). Eventually, I’d love to take a bike back and cycle around. Most of the land is part of Hallyeo Haesang National Park where you are asked kindly not to camp, but there were plenty of nice looking minbaks and pensions and the roads were virtually empty. We wanted our weekend, however, to be all about beach time and swimming and Hansando didn’t really fit that vision, especially with our 3 year old in tow.
We arrived at Gujora just at sunset and we quickly got to cooking dinner. Our son ran around the beach like a kid who had been trapped in a car seat and my wife and I sighed with pleasure. The beach looked beautiful at this time of night and the samgyeopsal smelled heavenly. For us, this was exactly where we needed to be.
- Gujora’s water is perfect for swimming and ideal for a toddler. Our son had a blast running around the sand and dipping his toes in the water. There is almost no current.
- From Tongyeong there was no toll to Gojae, but if you are coming from the Busan area you will have to pay 10,000won to take the Busan-Geojae Fixed link (http://www.gklink.com/). They charge you both ways. From Daegu the trip down can cost up to 35,000 both ways just in tolls.
- Gujora gets hot and there isn’t much shade. We could have benefitted from a nice tarp or day tent that most well-prepared Korean families had that day.
- The beach is just a few hundred meters from a little village. There you can find places to stay and some great restaurants that serve delicious spicy fish soup. A great place to cool down and eat lunch.
- Gujora beach gets crowded in the day with Koreans and foreigners. It was a nice place to camp, but if you camp close to the parking areas you might hear lots of people coming and going. Though far away, Gujora always seems to be hopping with people.