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Korea Summer Road Trip | July 2011

August 2, 2011

Was glad to get out of Seoul these last four days. Thankfully the weather in the south was pretty damn favourable.

I’ve taken a few road trips across Korea already. Last year we drove National Road 7 down the east coast, and this May we drove all along the southern coast, taking in Hallyeohaesang Marine Park, Namhae, Yeosu, Goeje and Busan.

This summer we decided to head southwest to Jeung-do.

Avis had some kind of promotion on this month so we were able to rent a 2011 Hyundai Tucson for four days for under 400,000, insurance and GPS included. A steal, really. In hindsight, given all the driving we did off-road, it was the best way to go.

On the drive down we stopped in Yeonggwang for lunch. Yeonggwang is famous for its gulbi, or dried yellow corvina, which is considered a prized delicacy and can fetch as much as 100,000 won for a bunch (you often see them bundled up like this around markets).

The fish spend the winters in the warmer parts, off Jeju Island, and then swim up the west coast to spawn. By the time they reach Yeonggwang, they’re at their largest and are filled with roe. That’d be why when you drive through the little town the roads are flanked with tons of restaurants selling the stuff.

Anyhow, we ordered gulbi jeongsik (40,000 won) which was fantastic. The grilled gulbi is served with all kinds of side dishes, including spicy gulbi soup and salad, together with lots of other Jeollanam-do specialties like hongeosamhab (skate wrapped in lettuce) and ganjang gaejang (raw crab marinated in soy sauce).

Jeung-do is a beautiful coastal town in Jeollanam-do’s Sinan region, just under an hour outside of Gwangju. The plan had been to check out Wando (after reading this awesome article), but a friend strongly recommended Jeung-do in the end. The island is home to Ujeon Beach, a 4km stretch of white sand, which is considered to be one of Korea’s best beaches so we pitched a tent about fifty yards from the shoreline.

Ujeon Beach is fantastic. The water isn’t all that clear, but it’s a great beach nonetheless.

After two nights of utter relaxation we drove to nearby Damyang to visit the bamboo forest (a welcome relief from the scorching weather), beautiful Baekyangsa that sits in an incredible national park, the idyllic Soswaewon Garden, and finally Samjicheon Village (slow city).

Later Saturday night we ate dinner at Juklimwon Garden (죽림원가든), a great little restaurant that’s situated right inside a bamboo forest. The meal included an assortment of banchan, or traditional Korean side dishes that were served in bamboo shoots.

On the drive back we stopped off in Jeonju’s Hanok Village for some bibimbap.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. SeungAh Lee permalink
    September 5, 2011 15:56

    Hey!!I’m korean.
    It seems you really enjoyed in korea:)
    well…the places that you’ve been are beautiful and I haven’t been there neither. well, I want to visit there as soon as possible.

  2. Matt permalink
    August 8, 2011 09:38

    Man, you really are a master of the Korean road trip. Looks awesome.

  3. August 3, 2011 11:15

    Another great road trip for ya. I’d like to do some beach camping sometime this summer. By the way, was it your first time trying hongeo? And that Sacheonwang’s (사천왕) expression is interesting. I’m not sure how to describe it except that it’s definitely not a fierce look, as they usually seem to have.

    • August 3, 2011 13:12

      I want to visit that part of the country again. Particularly to Damyang. There’s a real rustic, laid back feel there that’s amazing. I’ve tried hongeo before on a KTO tour I helped organize.

      As for the look, I thought the same thing myself. Not a usual sight, is it? Not at all like the intimidating figures guarding Sudeoksa. If you haven’t yet been to Baekyangsa, I highly recommend it. I’ll be going this fall.

  4. August 2, 2011 14:00

    Fantastic trip with wonderful view and food!

  5. August 2, 2011 09:10

    I wish I could’ve been there together. so that I could take you guys secret places like a little traditional cafes and knockout restaurants etc. Let;’s plan sometime in the autumn.

    • August 2, 2011 09:47

      Sounds good, HK! We really want to get back to Baekyangsa in the fall. I hear it’s beautiful then. Chat soon!

  6. August 2, 2011 09:08

    You guys rock! Can’t wait to get together soon so that we can talk about more details of your delightful trip!


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