Monday, May 13, 2013

Cycling and camping in Korea

On a hilltop in Yamido, Saemangum.
The guys set up their hammocks in one of the few places that wasn't stupidly windy.
The Korean word for camping is 야영장 (ya-yeong-jang). According to many websites, it is practically impossible to find good camping away from large groups of people in this country because of the lack of natural settings and large populations. I feel that these people just haven't looked hard enough. I usually go camping with my Korean family twice a season. Aside from that, I love to explore and cycle past city limits. Believe me, there's camping.

The girls get ready.. wait, is THAT
what you're going to cycle in?
Perhaps you don't know this, but South Korea is the home of the world's largest estuary seawall (at least, the last time I checked). I went with some friends this weekend to see if we could cycle some of it and set up a tent somewhere.

In preparation for the trip, the newcomers to Korea had to fit themselves up with some bike gear. The gear available in Korea can get expensive! Luckily, bargains await those who search hard enough, and after some trading, wheeling and dealing, we were all ready to go.

The plan was to camp out on a deserted island. When we got to the island it became apparent that I hadn't done my homework: 4pm and the tide was in! There was nowhere to launch from. So I had to cast away my feelings of disappointment, and we settled on an even BETTER spot: the top of a small mountain.

Photo by Dana Felthauser.
Sparkler fun in the hilltop pagoda.
As night fell, we ate traditional Korean snacks and wandered over to a hilltop pagoda to have night time sparkler fun. In the morning we awoke to moka pot coffee and ramien noodles. A few of us cycled home while the rest went further, out to an island called Sinshido to see the estuary gates. We cycled back past a wind farm and chilled out at a red lighthouse for snacks and pics.

This place is the perfect setting for fairy tales.... and summer has just begun!


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