It’s summertime, which on Jeju means the beach season. Parasols, mats and hats fill the island’s shops, freezer boxes are crammed with bottles of water and ice cream and children don swimsuits and visors while their parents slather them with sun block.
Starting on June 19 with Iho Tewoo Beach and Jungmun Beach, all of Jeju’s beaches have officially opened for the summer season, which lasts until Aug. 31.
Iho Tewoo Beach, Hamdeok Seowoobong Beach and Hyeopjae Beach will have staff on duty until 10 p.m. this summer, from June 17 to Aug. 15.
From last year, Iho Beach stayed open officially after sundown and has already gained a reputation as an ideal destination for city dwellers to meet and relax in the evenings. This is largely thanks to its inclusive atmosphere as Korean residents and foreigners alike gather together to share a few drinks or listen to music.
It also has much to offer for families. Iho’s soft sand and plenty of camping areas ensure that it is not forgotten in favor of Jeju’s more popular beaches.
Previously known simply as Iho Beach, the name was changed last year to include the traditional wooden raft that has historically been located there. A tewoo is on display on the sand, positioned just before the bridge, complete with a large fishing net that leaves no ambiguity as to the boat’s original purpose. The Jeju government is keen to revive the tradition of fishing using tewoo and the beach will host a festival Aug. 6 through 8.
West of Jeju City lays Hyeopjae Beach. A few minutes from Hallim Park on the west coast of the island, Hyeopjae has beautiful scenic views of Biyangdo.
This is the first year that Hyeopjae Beach will officially open at night, until 10 p.m. from June 17 to Aug. 15. The area also has plenty of camping areas. Combined with its close neighbor, Geumneung Beach, the area is a true gem of Jeju Island. The beach is around 200 meters long and is striking in the whiteness of its sand that is, thanks to the crushed seashells that help form it, also fine and soft. The sand combined with Jeju’s crystal-blue waters creates a location of picture-postcard beauty especially with the striking view of Biyangdo just off the coast. Visitors can picnic on the beach or choose from Japanese food, fried chicken, herb burgers or seafood at one of the many restaurants nearby.
Hamdeok Beach, also known as Hamdeok Seowoobong Beach, on the north-east coast encompasses two beaches: a larger one popular with Korean families and a smaller one which has become a favorite among foreign residents.
This is also the first year Hamdeok Beach will officially open after sundown and a large green area beside the beach provides many spaces for camping.
On any given weekend, friends and family groups gather at Hamdeok to relax in the seclusion provided by the volcanic rocks and the magnificence of Seowoobong, an imposing peak at the eastern end of the beach. Those feeling energetic swim out into the ocean with snorkel gear to catch a glimpse of Jeju’s aquatic life or climb Seowoobong to admire its breathtaking views of the coastline. Toward the western end of the beach stands a beautiful stone bridge that has come to represent the beach.
Situated on the south coast near Seogwipo city is Jungmun, Jeju’s most famous beach and home to the island’s largest tourist resort. Surrounded by trees and plants that create an exotic atmosphere, the great surf of Jungmun beach draws surfers and their boards from all over the island and beyond.
Previously known simply as Jungmun Beach, it has also been renamed as Jungmun Saekdal Beach. Saekdal is the village where it is located.
For those wishing to experience an energetic and lively beach atmosphere, Jungmun is an ideal choice. In the summer months, the sand is crowded with parasols and beachgoers playing volleyball, Frisbee and many other beach sports. The Jungmun Inter-national Surfing Competition was held here on July 2 to 4.
Recently renamed Samyang Black Sand Beach, Samyang is one of the lesser-known of Jeju’s beaches. The sand itself, made from pulverized volcanic basalt, appears an almost smoky, charcoal color when dry and is some of the softest Jeju has to offer. Believed to be good for the skin, it soothes and refreshes as well as perhaps offering medicinal benefits.
Many people travel to Samyang for a black sand “bath” which involves lying in a predug pit and being covered with sand. It is thought this can help ease neuralgia, arthritis and also dermatitis, and be especially useful for those suffering from athlete’s foot. The usual practical concerns are taken care of with showers, changing rooms and toilets provided on-site and an especially good restaurant, The Lighthouse, is located at the far end, offering a variety of Western food.
Samyang Beach will hold a Black Sand festival from July 31 through Aug. 1.
1. Iho Tewoo Beach
Iho Tewoo Festival (Aug. 6 ~ 8) Iho-dong, Jeju City Info: 064-728-3993 (Korean & Chinese only)
2. Gwakji Beach
Gwakji Beach Festival (Aug. 7) Gwakji-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju Info: 064-728-8835
23. Samyang Beach Samyang Black Sand Festival (July 30 ~ 31) Samyang-dong, Jeju Info: 064-728-3991 (Korean only)
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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