I think it's safe to admit that the idea of Spring camping is a whole lot more dreamy than the actual reality. Although the days are warming up nicely here in Korea, the nights are still pretty darn cold (something we all found out first hand after our first camping trip of the season here in Korea).
Hadong, a small town in Jeollonamdo is mist famous for it's cherry & peach blossom festival (something to keep in mind if you plan on making a trip there around the end of March as the traffic in and out is a NIGHTMARE!). I hadn't realised it but we actually went to this festival a few years ago (click here to see the photos and find out more about getting there by public transport). This year we weren't actually aiming to attend the festival, rather heading to the river and the famous sand banks to camp. The traffic was really bad, and just as bad for us coming into Hadong from the North as it was for friends arriving from the South (Yeosu) and from the South East (near Daegu). So keep that in mind if you are wanting to plan a camping trip near these blossoms. The blossoms themselves are beautiful, and well worth the wait in traffic, but do bear in mind that the whole of Korea will be with you while you take in the beauty of Spring.
This camping trip was a rather fun adventure as we met up with old & new friends alike. Stephanie & Ryan (the bloggers and youtubers behind the delightful travel blog The Hedgers Abroad) joined us from Yeosu. You might recognise Stephanie from some of my styled photo-shoots I've featured here on the blog...she has been my muse for a little while now (click here to see those styled shoots).
I was also excited to meet up with Megan & Scott from the awesome travel blog; Bobo & Chichi. Megan and I started up an online friendship a few months ago and it was wonderful to meet up in person. Scott creates the most amazing hyper-lapse videos of their adventures all over Korea, you should definitely head on over and take a look.
I also got to meet up with another fellow South African whom I have been connecting with via Facebook and it was great to share stories and laughs with her and her boyfriend around the fire. Even though it got terribly windy, this great group of people made the camping trip a real adventure. And of course my pup, Shadow, had a wonderful time being surrounded by dog-loving people (something he doesn't find too often here in Korea being a 'big, scary dog').
If you have a dog, this 'style' of camping is perfect for you. We do make sure to keep a long rope and clips in the car just in case we do come across issues with having him off lead, but this has yet to be a problem. I wouldn't advise letting your pup have free reign of an open space if they haven't had much experience being off lead before. As we live in a small town here in Korea and have a car, Shadow is off lead pretty much all the time. His recall is pretty good (not always!) and he generally stays near us. If you're looking for more posts on owning a dog here in Korea then click here, I've written some posts I think you might like.
Stephanie, Ryan, Megan & Scott commandeered a camp spot a little drive outside of Hadong itself; reason 1 to avoid all the crowds (none of us are into the traditional Korean camping set up where you set up camp on top of everyone and on a concrete floor) and secondly, because of our big scary wolf dog. We couldn't have him frightening the neighbors you see, and most campsites we have been to we have had to tie him up (understandably).
Luckily, our friends found a great stretch of river bed a little walk from where we could park our cars. We have camped a lot in Korea (click the links below to read more posts on our camping trips) and have yet to get into any trouble for setting up camp. We always make a fire too, and just make sure to clean up after ourselves and put out all the fires when we leave.
You really don't have to have a lot of fancy equipment to camp here in Korea. Having in car makes life SO much easier as you don't have to worry about carrying all your gear (and, if you're like me and like the comforts in life, you can pack your blow up mattress in the car too!).
We always make a fire and generally have at least one meal of our favourite Korean food, samgyupsal (or Korean BBQ). This requires very little prep, and is super quick to cook. It's always a huge hit with everyone, as nothing tastes better than camp fire samgyupsal.
For our camping trips we generally eat the following:
- Breakfast: coffee/tea and digestive biscuits or homemade granola breakfast bars
- Lunch: Bolognese mince/tuna wraps with salad
- Snacks: store bought popcorn/crackers/Gim or seaweed packs
- Dinner: samgyupsal/pre-cooked sausages/vienna sausages, sweet potatoes in tinfoil baked in the fire
- Dessert: s'mores (& wine/soju!)
Do you have any great camping spots you can recommend here in Korea? We have just under 3 months left of our 3 year stay here in Korea and plan on camping as much as we can in the short time we have left! I'd love to hear your suggestions.