I’m sure you’ve heard expats working at a Hogwan complain of the lack of holidays. It is bad and you need to be careful when picking destinations for your time off. There has been plenty of countdown worms created (for 3-day holidays – so sad) because your time off is so precious. My sister and I had a coffee date for the sole purpose of finding something epic to do over our summer break.
I was craving some nature and the ocean was calling, so when we stumbled over Muuido Island, I felt happy tears streak down my cheeks. Not really, I’m being dramatic, but the thought of camping on the beach made me like, super stoked at life. It seems I can’t help reverting to surfer lingo when a sick beach vacay is the topic of conversation.
But, it’s so hot in South Korea in the summer?
We were well informed on the heat stroke that was looming but we knew we had to try. After all, we’re South African, how hot can it be? We’ll listen to what Mommy Lamb used to say and stay out of the sun between the hours of 10am-2pm. We’ll be fine.
How to get to Muuido from Seoul
I’m sure there are express buses, but when it’s a weekend vacay, you might get stuck in traffic getting out of Seoul. My advice would be to take the subway to Incheon Airport and get the 306 bus (bound for Eurwang-ri) or the 222 bus (goes straight to the ferry) from there. We went from Incheon Station because we were staying in Walmido and the 306 passed the airport as well. We got off at the Muuido Island Entrance stop and… it was a pretty far walk to the ferry. If you look online, it says to get off at Geojampo and it’s only a 10-minute walk. So, maybe listen to Google on this one. Our walk was beautiful though and there was a pleasant breeze coming off the ocean.
The ferry is pretty easy to find and you walk along this pretty bridge to get to it. We read a blog post and it said there was a bus directly to the ferry but it never came and we got over waiting so we walked – we did take it on our way back though! It’s the 222 bus and it was a majestic sight on our way back because we were tired as hell and the thought of walking 15 minutes was too much for us soldiers to comprehend.
The ticket office is visible and you can hold up your fingers to indicate how many tickets you want so don’t stress about a language barrier when organizing the sale. Your ticket is a steal at 4000 won ($4) and it’s a RETURN ticket. Cas and I were a little confused by that, but if you make it across, you are covered for your return. You don’t need to show your ticket for the return trip, you just walk on.
The ferry ride is a couple minutes long but it’s really cool and adds to the excitement of going to an island. They are building a bridge, which will open in 2019, so if you’re dreaming of that ferry ride, I’d suggest you get cracking! I’m really upset the bridge is being built; I think it will take away from the sparkle of the island.
Getting to Hanagae Beach and finding accommodation
Moving on, take the Muuido Bus number 1 (it’s green) to reach Hanagae Beach. Hanagae Beach is where the bulk of the accommodation is and where we found our little utopia for the night. The bus takes around 20 minutes and you can use your T-money card. Once you get to the beach, you will need to pay an entry fee of 2000 won and they only accept cash. We only stayed for one night but I assume it’s a one-off fee? It could be per night but I’m not sure how they would monitor that.
We had no clue how to get our accommodation sorted; we were walking around like sweaty headless chickens. My patience was running thin here and I almost walked into the shade and had a cry. It was super hot and we were dragging our bags around. We finally found the little hut to organize our accommodation and the dude was the sweetest. To save you the struggle, when you walk through the gates of the beach, you will come across a small hut on the right that says accommodation. Even if it’s a bit far from the beach, it’s where you pay for the accommodation. The prices given to us as of August 2018 were:
- Hut with no bathroom – 50 000 won
- Bungalow with bathroom – 70 000 won
They only deal in cash (I assume) so definitely draw out some money before your trip with these amounts in mind. The accommodation is pretty basic with no mattresses, but they do provide you with two big blankets and pillows per person. We opted for the bungalow and the bathroom is very simple with a toilet/shower. I didn’t get to see the communal ablutions but I assume they’ll be the same.
OK, you’re on an island – now what?
This is where going in summer made me a little frustrated – it was too hot to do anything during the day. We tried to venture out at around 5:30 pm but it was still too hot. The tide was way out at that time so we walked (10 mins) out to meet the water. We were sweating in a very unattractive way. Once things cooled down it got incredibly beautiful. We ate outdoors at this really epic spot and the locals were extremely welcoming.
After the INCREDIBLE sunset, we ventured out along the shoreline and just breathed in that salty air. Even with the suffocating heat during the day, it was all worth it.
Getting off Muuido Island
Go back to the same spot the bus dropped you off at and be prepared to wait a bit. Once you get back to the ferry, hop on (your ticket is paid for) and wait on the other side for the 222 bus. It will take you right to the airport and you can get the subway from there.
From leaving our accommodation to walking into my flat in Seoul, it took about 3 hours of travel. You could definitely make a weekend trip of it.
What we missed and what we’re going back for
We missed Silmido Island, which is an even smaller piece of heaven just off of Muuido. You can take a bus to the water’s edge and then take a 15-minute walk on a bridge to get to it. There are also epic hikes on the island that I want to do in the cooler months. We also missed out on a bonfire on the beach – my favourite. We’re going back in October and I cannot wait.
It was such a special getaway.