This was our second camping trip to Wido Island, a small island on the west coast of Korea, accessible only by ferry from Gyeokpo.
Even though right now it's technically Winter here in Korea, I saw buds on the trees while working to work yesterday. So thought this post would be a good one to write now so that you can get planning your first Spring camping trip of the year.
Having a dog here in Korea (click here to read more about our rescue pooch #ShadowTheJindo & owning a dog in Korea) makes it hard to travel. We do have a car(our little red Matiz, Cherry who you can see in the images below), which makes our lives 100 times easier, but the accommodation is always a problem. You see many Koreans are terrifies of 'big' dogs (even though our pup would only be considered a medium sized dog in most countries). Here in Korea, he is a great big, scary wolf. and so booking accommodation is always a problem. Even the places which allow dogs usually turn us away when they catch a glimpse of him. This is why we go camping so much. This post is all about Wido Island, and one of our favourite (usually deserted!) places to camp in Korea.
We often visit the beach near Gyeokpo, and the ferry to Wido Island is easy enough to access from the Gyeokpo port. You can take anything on the ferry (cars, dogs, bikes) although we had to stay on the lower deck with our dog, Shadow. It's a short, 60 minute ferry ride which you can also stay in your car for. We found sitting in our car far more comfortable than squashing into the ondol style rooms above deck.
There is a shuttle bus that rides around the island, but as the island is very small, the bus route and times are very unpredictable. We went by car were therefore a lot more flexible with finding a good camping spot. From what I have experienced about camping in Korea, you seem to be able to camp anywhere, as long as you respect the area and clean up after yourself. Click here to see all the places we have been camping, as well as info on how to get there.
We arrived at our favourite spot only to find we wern't the only ones there to enjoy the weekend. There were a few families of Koreans, who had also brought along their small dogs. This made us feel better about camping on the beach. They were so friendly, and came over to bring us a 'legit' trash bag for our recycling, as well as to warn us about the wind and to suggest we weigh down our tents with sand bags. We brushed off their polite suggestions of needing to weight down our tents, something we regretted as soon as the wind picked up and we all had to run and catch our tents which were picked up like feathers in the wind! Next time we are going to make sure to pay close attention to how the neighbouring Koreans have set up their campsites for sure!
We went with a great group of friends (there were about 12 of us and about 5 tents) and had a great time. There are no toilets at that particular beach, and the actual campsite toilets and showers were all locked up. It seems that camping season was definitely over for the local Koreans. It wasn't too cold when we went (September 12th) but it did get a little chilly once the sun went down.
The sunset was beautiful though, and we managed to take full advantage with a mini photo shoot. Even Shadow got in on the action.
We made a big fire (something that we have yet to get into trouble for) and cooked loads of meat, vegetables and then finally s'mores for dessert. It was a great trip and one I look forward to doing again this year when the weather warms up.
Here's a video that Farmboy made of our trip which sums up our adventure on Wido Island:
Here is some more info on getting to Wido. The Ferry schedule changes quite often, so to be sure of the exact times make sure to ring the wonderful English hotline (1330 from any Korean cellphone). They will be able to confirm the schedule. This was the schedule, and it doesn't seem to deviate too much from these times:
Gyeokpo - Wido: 8h00, 9h40, 10h50, 12h10, 13h30, 14h40, 16h20, 17h40
Wido - Gyeokpo: 7h50, 9h30, 11h00, 12h10, 13h30, 15h00, 16h40, 17h40
There are a few less ferry times for week days.
Cost: W8 300 per person one way and W15 000 for a small car (our little Matiz)
Make sure to have your ARC or passport handy when booking tickets.
Time: 1h30 ferry ride
HOW TO GET TO GYEOKPO:
1. Catch a green bus from the main Buan Bus Terminal (this is considered the 'fast' bus and costs around W3 000 each way and takes about 30minutes).
2. Across from the bus terminal outside the Paris Baguette in Buan there are a few more intercity buses that run to Gyeokpo. These are slower, often stopping to let old adjumas on and off along the way. They can take up to an hour, and costs about W1500 each way.
All the buses will take you to the end of line in Gyeokpo (the final stop) which drops you off in front of a GS25 and another little mart. From there it's a short 5 minute walk to the ferry terminal. If the GS25 is directly in front of you, walk towards your right, away from the bus stop and keep walking through the little restaurants until you see the ocean. You should be able to easily find the ferry from there.