The provincial government has announced that Jeju’s official beaches will be open from June 23 to Aug. 31.
Iho Taewoo Beach (#1 on the list below), Hyeopjae Beach (#4), Geumneung Beach (#5), and Hamdeok Seowoobong Beach (#19) open June 23. Gwakji Beach (#2), Gimnyeong Beach (#18), and Samyang Black Sand Beach (#20) open on June 30.
Iho, Hyeopjae, and Hamdeok will be open evenings during the hottest time of the summer — from July 14 to Aug. 19.
It added that because of the thousands of participants and visitors for the 2012 World Conservation Congress (Sept. 6 through 15), Hamdeok Beach will remain open until Sept. 15.
Get your sunscreen, your hat and folding chair ready. Swimming season is here, and Jeju has 20 top-notch beaches for you to enjoy. Of course, there are innumerable smaller coastal areas to explore, but you’ll find that even on the hottest days, when much of the population is on vacation, it will be rare to find the six-figure crowds that Busan’s Haeundae Beach is infamous for.
Take note: Beaches here are open to everyone, and using common sense you should be able to spend time on the beach or swim whenever you please. Still, be careful to obey any posted signs or directions from government personnel.
According to government statistics, these government-administered beaches recorded a combined total of 1.5 million visitors during the 2010 season. Compare this to 2002, when six such beaches (Geumneung Beach was added in 2010) saw only 254,000 people that season. That’s a big jump, but there’s more than enough beach to go around! Remember, Haeundae Beach in Busan can have hundreds of thousands of visitors in a single day during the summer.
So, let’s run down the 20 beaches on the map and the 2012 festival schedule. There will be more details available in July. So please note that the information below can change without notice. You can always call tourist information (064-1330) to get the latest info in English, Chinese and Japanese on the beach or festival of your choice.
1 Iho Tewoo Beach Location: Iho-dong, Jeju City Festivals: Iho Tewoo Festival (Aug. 3 to Aug. 5, 2012) Notes: The closest beach from Jeju City and Shin-Jeju, it is the island’s urban beach. Significant infrastructure has been added within the last five years. It is popular and crowded with various stalls.
2 Gwakji Gwamul Beach Location: Gwakji-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju Festivals: Gwakji Gwamul Beach Festival (Aug. 4, 2012) Notes: Gwakji boasts a lot of sand to get lost in. There is an open-air public sea bath available (look for the many pig statues which guard the entrance). The baths are gender segregated.
3 Mojini Beach Location: Hachuja-do, Chuja-myeon, Jeju City Notes: Located on Chuja Island, about 90 minutes by high-speed ferry. This is Chuja’s lone beach, but be warned it has many small pebbles as its sand base, making for a hard night’s sleep in a tent. The view, however, is unparalleled.
4 Hyeopjae Beach Location: Hyeopjae-ri, Hallim-eup, Jeju Festivals: Baek Nan Ah Song Festival (TBA) Notes: Beautiful vista of Biyang Island. Beach is about 200 meters-long with fine, crushed seashell “sand.” Close proximity to Geumneung Beach.
5 Geumneung Beach Location: Geumneung-ri, Hallim-eup, Jeju Festivals: Geumneung Wondam Festival (Aug. 4, 2012, though this may change depending on the tide) Notes: Hallim's second beach is in close proximity to Hyeopjae Beach. During a high tide, there is minimal sand, sometimes none.
6 Hamo Beach Location: Hamo-ri, Daejeong-eup, Seogwipo Notes: Completely protected by a harbor, it may be the island's best swimming spot due to virtually no current or waves. Flanked by a forest to the east, the water resembles a lake.
7 Hwasun Beach Location: Hwasun-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo Notes: In the shadow of Sanbangsan, there has been significant development in the last year and a half. It has become a busy beach for kids, complete with pool.
8 Jungmun Beach Location: Yerae-dong, Seogwipo Festivals: Yerae Nonjitmul Festival (Aug. 11 to Aug. 12, 2012) Notes: Jeju's most well-known beach, mainly because of its proximity to the island's major tourist resorts in Seogwipo City. It has also been labeled Korea’s Best Beach, by the central government. You may find it relatively crowded for a Jeju beach. Surfing and tropical vegetation give it a feeling of being somewhere in the South Pacific.
9 Soesokkak Beach Location: Hahyo-dong, Seogwipo Festivals: Soesokkak Beach Festival (July 28 to 29, 2012) Notes: Rent a small paddle boat or walk the wood stairs that run adjacent to the small inland water valley.
10 Pyoseon Beach Location: Pyoseon-ri, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo Festivals: Pyoseon White Sand Festival (July 28 to 29, 2012); Night Beach Festival (July 30 to Aug. 13, 2012) Notes: The island’s largest area of sand, during a low tide it is a virtual dry lake. No matter how many people there are, space is always available. A perfect place to float in the shallows. 11 Sinyang Beach Location: Goseong-ri, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo Festivals: Sinyang Beach Festival (July 28 to 29, 2012) Notes: Popular with windsurfers, Sinyang offers spectacular views of Seongsan Ilchulbong. Throughout the year, massive amounts of seaweed roll on shore, but during peak summer season the beach is regularly groomed. 12 Hagosudong Beach Location: Udo-myeon, Jeju Notes: Located on Udo Island, some 20 minutes from Seongsan Port by ferry, this is Udo’s secondary beach. A large haenyeo statue adorns the sand. Come here to take a break from Udo’s other tourist attractions. It has a great flat grassy area to pitch a tent.
13 Sanhosa Beach Location: Udo-myeon, Jeju Notes: Located on Udo Island, some 20 minutes from Seongsan Port by ferry. A quick five-minute walk from the ferry, the popcorn sand is unlike any other.
14 Hado Beach Location: Hado-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju Notes: Head east on a scooter and get lost on Hado’s proud strip of luxury. It is usually not crowded, though sometimes it can be eerily bare during the right time of day.
15 Sehwa Beach Location: Sehwa-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju Notes: A beautiful beach along the coastal road. Come here on days ending in 0 or 5 to take in the Sehwa Five-Day Traditional Market.
16 Pyeongdae Beach Location: Pyeongdae, Gujwa-eup, Jeju Notes: With your own transportation, head east from Gimnyeong on the coast road and try to find this spot. You’ll be glad you did. Relax, there will only be a handful of people.
17 Woljeong Beach Location: Woljeong-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju Notes: Jeju’s most underrated gem. Relatively unknown and very quiet, you can spend all day here reading a book. One bus stop to the east of Manjang Cave and a 10-minute walk to the sea.
18 Gimnyeong Beach Location: Gimnyeong-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju Notes: Popular with foreigners for its combo of white sand and azure water, the island bus from Jeju City toward Seongsan deposits a passenger at Gimnyeong’s front door.
19 Hamdeok Seowoobong Beach Location: Hamdeok-ri, Jocheon-eup, Jeju Notes: Three separate beaches, a large open park and Seowoobong hill. This is the north side of the island’s answer to Jungmun, and, in the summer, undoubtedly boasts the most people. There are kayaks and banana boats for rent. Foreigners favor the small east beach, next to Seowoobong. Take buses 10 or 20 from Jeju City.
20 Samyang Black Sand Beach Location: Samyang-dong, Jeju Festivals: Black Sand Festival (July 27 to 28, 2012) Notes: The black sand beach is composed of pulverized volcanic rock. Some seek it out for medicinal purposes and cover most of their body in a pit. First beach east of Jeju City. Take bus 100.
This article includes reporting by Kim Jung Lim, Yang Young Jae, and Yang Ho Geun.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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