Friday, August 12, 2011

Posts from Last Year - Seonyudo Island

In November last year we joined an Adventure Korea group and went on a bike tour of Seonyudo.

A note on Adventure Korea (AK) - they're awesome. The company provides tours geared towards foreigners in Korea. All of the guides speak excellent English (and a lot of them are Westerners themselves). The tours are very loosely structured, they offer a variety of different activities and if you're not interested in one part of the experience, you can opt out. The tours are also well-priced, Tom and I paid 90,000 won each ($110) for transport, one night's accommodation (private room), two meals and bike rental. We went on a booze cruise with them, and it cost 35,000 won ($42) which included live music, food, and beer! Yay!

Gunsan Port
Seonyudo is a popular summer destination located an hour and a half off the coast of Gunsan, in the Jeollabuk-do province (the one we live in!). Instead of heading all the way to Seoul we met the tour at the port in Gunsan and caught the ferry towards the islands - there's 4 of them linked together by bridges making them awesome for cycling!

On the boat ride we got a good view of all the fishing nets stretched across the ocean. 
Almost all of the other tourists were English teachers, so conversation centred around classes and culture shock and all of the regular topics we waygooks talk about when we get together. When we reached the islands we dropped our bags at the Love Motel and hopped on the bikes. AK gave us a few hours to cycle around and explore.

Seonyudo is beautiful and reminded me of the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. Lots of hills and craggy peaks sheltering small, private sandy bays.

After about 5 hours we returned our bikes, ate dinner and bought some booze so we could sit and watch the sunset, drink in hand. Korea, (or Buan at least) is overcast 70% of the time. During winter I really struggled not seeing blue skies and the sunset, and three months into our Korean life I was already missing watching the sun go down. Sunset in Seonyudo didn't disappoint. It was stunning.

Tom is happy too! (and handsome)
Our group lit a bonfire on the beach and set off some fireworks. At some point we had a lively discussion with some Korean businessmen visiting the island for work. A few of them had been to New Zealand and Australia and took great pleasure in our accents.

We opted out of waking for the sunrise the next morning, but got up to hike to Seonyudo's highest peak. The climb was pretty easy and relatively short (it takes 20 minutes or so) but the views were incredible, even with my shoddy camerawork.

After the climb we had a few hours to eat and explore before we caught the ferry back home. Tom and I decided to check out the 'Moses Miracle,'  which appears at low tide between the beautiful beach and a small island offshore. Do not attempt to walk out there without shoes! The miracle is mostly an oyster bed and super spiky!

Although I returned home sunburned, hungover and splay-legged from cycling, our trip to Seonyudo was one of the nicest weekends I've had in Korea. Thumbs up to Adventure Korea and big thumbs up to Korea for being awesome.

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