It’s been two grueling months of work and we have finally made it to our FIRST holiday with two lovely days off! Buddha’s Birthday + Children’s Day (because they could seriously use a day off) yesterday and today meant a 4 day weekend. A group of us decided to go camping on Geoje Island, which is the second biggest island in Korea (Jeju being the biggest).
I packed my bags full of hamburgers and hot dogs, skimpy clothes and swimsuits, a superb camping kit (including enough supplies to last me a month of camping), a tent and my Kindle. I researched and planned out the entire weekend:
Saturday: arrive at Geoje Island, mark our territory and set up camp
Sunday: tour Oedo Island and other nearby islands. Oedo Island is a fairly popular tourist destination with beautiful botanical gardens.
Monday: tour Somaemuldo Island, which is about a 40 minute ferry from Geoje.
In between, before and after all of these activities, we would be hiking, kayaking, frolicking in the warm ocean waters, reading, beach yoga-ing, BBQing and engaging in other awesome camping shenanigans.
The trip started out ideally – you know, 3 hours behind schedule. Our “one-hour-drive” turned into a three hour crawl to the island with multiple bags and camping supplies stacked on top of me (we may have over-packed). Luckily, we finally made it to our campsite, Gujora Beach, and it didn’t disappoint:
The water was incredibly clear, the sand was super soft and the weather was perfect. We gathered firewood (and when I say “we”, I mean everybody but me), set up our tent, poured drinks and cooked dinner.
The next few days went almost as planned. Except tickets to Oedo Island were sold out, the water was freezing and jellyfish-infested (we had two casualties because of this), the winds picked up and a few of us spent a large portion of Sunday trying to protect our belongings from flying away (I made sure to take pictures), we couldn’t be bothered trying to get tickets to see Somaemuldo Island or find kayaks, we were far too lazy (read: hungover) to even attempt a hike or do yoga, and shit got seriously COLD. We were slightly miserable the first night since apparently, 2 tiny blankets aren’t enough to keep warm when camping on the beach. Nor are lacey summer tops and short shorts. Who woulda thought?
Regardless, it was still an amazing weekend. My researched itinerary went out the window as soon as we set foot on the beach and away from the stresses of work. We were perfectly content laying on the beach all day while sipping on gin and tonics, keeping the fire pit alive and yelling at the wind.
Our last day came too soon and we found ourselves with way too much food, leftover wood and a surplus of alcohol – the dream basically. So we spent our last day trying (and successfully) consuming all of the extra bacon, burgers and beverages and burning the rest of the wood before heading back home.
It was the perfect way to spend our short holiday – sandy, sunburned, intoxicated and in good company 🙂
Camping DO’s and DON’T’s:
• DO pack more than tiny clothes that are meant to be worn in 100 degree weather. You may not know this, but the beach gets cold.
• DON’T fall into the fire pit. It hurts.
• DON’T ask drunk people to hold your camera. They’ll promise to guard it with their life, then forget about it and lose it all in the span of 10 minutes.
• DO dip watermelon into your gin and tonics. Just look how happy it made Nate:
• DO get a large enough tent for the entire camping crew to take cover in during the fierce winds when there’s still alcohol to be drunk and drinking games to be played.
This tent comfortably fit 7 sitting people. And was good until it started raining. (DON’T get a tent with only mesh walls if there’s a chance of rain.)
• DO bring along people who are experienced campers and know how to make a killer fire pit that all the other campers on the beach envy.
• DON’T try to burn fresh/still alive/soaking wet trees like the aforementioned campers did. It doesn’t work.
And some actual resources if you want to go camping on Geoje Island:
- Korean Ferries (lists ferries that leave from Geoje Island)
- Info about touring Somaemuldo Island here and here
- How to get to Geoje Island (+ other info) – from Busan you can take the metro to Sasong station (green line), which is connected to the Seobu bus terminal. You can catch a 7200 won bus to Geoje. It’s about an hour ride and the buses leave every 20-30 min usually. From the Geoje bus terminal, you can cab to Gujora beach for about 20,000 won.
- Camping spots: most of the Koreans that camp at Gujora beach will camp in the parking lot. We camped on the sand on the far end (right side of the beach near the rocks, if you’re looking at the water) and the rocks and trees provide shade, a bathroom and a little bit of protection from the wind.