|Buying Bus Tickets|
We were a group of nine, so one person collected the money from everyone, and then went to the East Seoul Terminal about 3 days before to make sure all of us would be able to leave that Saturday morning. We wanted to make sure that the buses didn't fill up before hand.
We left at 9:30am, and the bus ride took about four hours because of heavy traffic. It made one 10 minute stop at a rest area so that passengers can buy snacks, liquids and use the restroom. The driver took some back roads, which was interesting in a big bus. The Korean countryside was beautiful to watch from the window, and it didn't feel unsafe or have big cliffs/drops.
Once we arrived in Gangneung City, we got off at the second and final bus stop. We immediately decided when we were going to leave and bought our bus tickets there. I bought mine to leave at 5:00pm Sunday evening to Nambu Terminal in Seoul.
Then, it was time to hit the pension! They had taxis waiting there, but someone in the group had arranged two SUVs ahead of time, making it easier to fit us and all of our stuff.
|Standing in front of the pension entrance|
We booked a pension in the countryside by the lake, called the Golden Bell Pension (골든벨 팬션). Since one person drove, we ended up being a group of ten people. We ended up with a kind of suite, and it was pretty nice. The bus ticket, driver and one night here together cost me about 40,000 won. Not bad!
It was quiet and out of the way, while still being close to the beach. It's about a 3-5 minute drive and about a 20-30 minute walk. It came with two bathrooms (one men's and one women's) and a shower room. It had one big bedroom and a smaller sleeping room. The bedroom had three double beds. And both the bedroom and the sleeping room came with mats and pillows to sleep on the floor, which is the Korean traditional style.
It also had a balcony, a full kitchen and a noraebang! And a big fridge along with a kimchi fridge... with kimchi of course! Outside, the pension had grills and picnic tables for everyone to use. There's a tiny place to play golf and a swimming pool, but that pool wasn't filled with water when we were there.
|BBQ outside the pension!|
A big downside to BBQing at night were the bugs! They didn't have nets, candles or anything to keep them out or repel them. I would pour a drink and in two to three minutes, I'd look in it and notice that a bug drowned in it! Big bugs would fly right into our food. We had prepared a ton of meat (sausages, fried pork belly and beef) with rice and kimchi. That was such a nuisance. It was fun, but I think we should have grilled our food and eaten it upstairs.
Anyway, this pension is located at 113 Hyangho-ri, Jumunjin-eup, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do. To make reservations, they can be reached from within Korea at this phone number: (033) 661-1515
|The group on the beach|
We went to the beach. We immediately noticed that they had an outdoor swimming pool, which was... interesting! Anyway, it was nice, long and mostly clean, which I liked. There were people there, but relatively few of them compared to other Korean beaches, and especially places like Busan's Haeundae Beach. That means we had room, to sit, breathe, play frisbee and just hang out! I've been to Busan twice, and I didn't become a fan either time, due to the masses of people, umbrellas and Korean women struggling in sky-high heels. Take a picture, and it's hard to see either the sand or the water. Haeundae Beach's water was also too cold for me to get into. I'm glad there are better options out there!
The sand was nice and clean for the most part. The water was a pretty blue color, and it was at a good temperature. The water was pretty salty, and we also spotted a few jellyfish. It was shallow, without becoming deep quickly, which is probably why it's popular with families that have children.
All of us hit the beach on Saturday, and some of us went again on Sunday. On Saturday, we did some activities. We played some frisbee, took pictures together, played volleyball in the water and did some sunbathing. One of us wanted to be buried, so burying we did! We shaped her like a mermaid. One of the lifeguards also pointed us in the direction of a public shovel we could use!
Some we able to order chicken and have it delivered to the beach. There was a place selling fruit smoothies and a train café mostly serving Donkatsu. There's an open-air convenience store on the beach, but the prices were quite expensive! Other than that, there wasn't much of a boardwalk. That could be a bad thing due to inconvenience, and a good thing because it reduces the amount of trash and junk on the beach.
|Walking by the lake to the pension!|
On Saturday, we walked back to the pension. There was a rather dangerous street to cross, but other than that, it was a peaceful walk along a lake. We stopped to take some pictures of the ducks and a few folks in the group were more interested in the spiders!
On Sunday, there was just a few of us. It was a more relaxed day, and we spent it on the beach. It was also a hot day, so while I originally had planned not to get in, I did of course! We mostly chatted and sunbathed. When it was getting closer to the time to leave, we spent 2,000won each to utilize the showers that were available on the beach. There were no lines to get in, but the downside was that the showers were open. While I enjoy places like Korean style spas, sometimes I'm just not mentally prepared to be stared at!
|What's a beach post without bikini pics?|
After showering, we walked down the small boardwalk to see their restaurant options. They had just a few, mostly serving seafood. The others wanted some plain cold noodles, while I preferred to have some meat. I stopped at a seafood place and tried a seafood soup called maeun tang for the first time. It was interesting, and good!
I then went back to the bus terminal, which was about a 5 minute ride after asking the restaurant to call a taxi. The bus left right on time, toward Nambu terminal in Seoul. The unfortunate part was that this ride was made a bit longer due to this bus's multiple stops. As a result, the group that left 30 minutes after me to go to East Seoul's terminal ended up getting there an hour before me. That means I would have actually saved time by taking the East Seoul terminal bus.
Anyway, I made it home safe and sound, and very much glad that I went! I would totally recommend Jumunjin beach!