Destination: Byeonsanbando National Park / Wido Island
This trip to the Buan peninsula had been canceled twice previously, so even though I got rained out on the last day it was still labeled a success. The entire area is beautiful and offers excellent coastal roads for cycling (didn’t do much hiking due to the incredible heat during mid-August). Oddly enough the biggest challenge was finding food!
The Damyang House to Gosapo Beach in Byeonsanbando National Park
I got an early start as I was hoping to avoid the mid-day heat (didn’t work) and made great time for the first 40km. This first half of the day, until about Jangseong Lake, is the same route I take to Naejangsan National Park and one I have done many times. Its a beautiful ride through the Damyang countryside.
After cycling around the outer limits of Naejangsan National Park you eventually have to start heading west, deeper into the countryside. And so began the first of many epic quests for food! Over the years I’ve taken for granted the fact that no matter where you are in the country, you’re never far from a proper sit down meal that is guaranteed to be both cheap and delicious. All I could find along this route, within about 30km, was this little mandu spot. 4,000won for 10 mandu. Not exactly the caliber of food I’m used to, but I’ll give this little old grandma credit; she didn’t even flinch when the sweaty white guy in cycling gear walked in. I’m pretty sure I ate in her living room.
The next 25km after this point isn’t nearly as scenic, but it’s not terribly difficult either. Once you get closer to the peninsula and onto the coastal roads it’s much prettier, offers a nice breeze and there are plenty of shops for food and water. There’s one last mountain pass, but it isn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be and the beach and camping area (Gosapo Beach) is pretty much right there when you come out of the mountains.
My hammock view
The camping area was pricey at 30,000 night, but there isn’t much around that is cheaper. And to be honest, there isn’t much around at all. The family running the area I was camping in (I think different people run different parts of the beach camping area) was really friendly, and because there weren’t many people there, very attentive. The showers, toilets and sink area were all pretty rough, but were appreciated in such hot weather. They even hooked up my campsite with an extension cord so I could charge my phone and speaker.
After I set up camp, I showered and hopped back on my bike to find a place for dinner. I cycled down to the next beach, supposedly the “developed” area, and found nothing except for a GS-25. I had my heart set on 바지락죽, one of the local specialties, so this was a pretty big disappointment. Back at my campsite and pretty exhausted and hungry by this point I asked my new friends what my food options were. They were excited to recommend fried chicken and so I called, ordered and had fried chicken delivered to my beach campsite within 30 mintues. God bless this country.
Thankfully the one thing my campsite did sell was beer (and water). I spent the rest of the evening in the hammock sucking down beers and watching the sunset.
I wanted the day to explore so I was happy to pay for another night for my campsite just so I could leave everything setup and get on the road as quickly as possible. I had decided to make my way via ferry to Wido Island, so I headed straight for the ferry terminal where I knew there would be more food options. I found 백핲죽 for breakfast and it was delicious!
First customer of the day
백핲죽 – (Buan specialty)
The ferry terminal isn’t much to look at, but it’s efficient and pretty easy to navigate. The one hour ferry to Wido Island was 7,000won and “storage” for my bike was 1,000won. Not a bad deal! The ferry has air-conditioned rooms, open air seating up top, and of course a small store selling beer, makoli and snacks.
Leaving the mainland
Ajummas feeding the birds
Me and Wido Island
Wido is a beautiful island, but goddamn is it remote. Not much around at all, even in comparison to the beach area I was staying at. I found ONE restaurant that was open and even that was empty. The really nice lady running the place and was happy to make me a fresh bowl of 바지락칼국수. Great place to get out of the sun and enjoy lunch.
After lunch I took the opportunity to circle around the island. It’s not big and it’s nothing but scenic coastal roads the entire way around. About 20ish km. Plenty of opportunities for back-country beach camping, but I didn’t have my gear so I made sure to head back to the ferry terminal before the last one left for the day (make sure to double check that schedule before you head off on your bike!).
I grabbed some 바지락비빔밥 back on the mainland near the ferry terminal before heading back to my campsite. I even picked up some snacks for the morning. Another night of enjoying the sunset from my hammock. Not a bad way to end the day.
Gosapo Beach to the Buan Bus Terminal
Cycling: 27kmWeather put an end to this trip a bit early. I was scheduled to cycle back to Gwangju anyway, but a massive storm was due to hit around 1pm. There was no chance of making it. Thankfully this is Korea where there is always a bus terminal nearby offering cheap tickets and bike storage under the bus. The 27km to the bus terminal was uneventful, but allowed me to complete the loop around the Buan peninsula so at least I wasn’t backtracking. Quick lunch at Kimbab Nara before getting on the bus. I was in Gwangju and back at my apartment before lunchtime~
Too cold for beach camping? Try one of our other options.