A Weekend Getaway on Bijindo Island

Y’all, it’s September. Which means that there’s only 3 months left in 2015. CRAZY.

It also means that cooler weather is approaching, so I need to take advantage of this sunshine and warmth as much as possible. In other words, it’s time to get in as many beach and weekend trips as I possibly can my budget will allow before I go into hibernation. So, when I heard about the Seoul Hiking Group‘s trip to Bijindo (Bijin Island), I jumped right on it.

Truthfully, I didn’t know much about Bijindo when I signed up for the trip. Actually, it seemed like no one did since almost every Korean I asked had no idea where Bijindo was. IMG_0059Some research A quick Google search showed me some beautiful pictures and told me that it was a small island off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula. It’s actually a part of the Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park, but is a much less common beach alternative than some of the other islands in the are. Interestingly enough, Bijindo is made up of two smaller islands that are connected by a land bridge, and one half of the island is covered with a rocky bank while the other side is a sandy beach.

So here’s the low down on Bijindo. If you’re searching for a quiet (key word, QUIET) weekend getaway away from the city, then I’d recommend a weekend stay on this island.wpid-img_20150909_140015.jpg Honestly, it is not the kind of place you want to go if you’re trying to party hard or get into a lot of different activities. There aren’t many tourist attractions or even many people, but it’s great if you want to just relax and connect with nature. You can go kayaking (kayaks were provided by our pension), hiking up one of the mountains on the island, or fishing a little farther out near some of the smaller islands. Or you could just as easily chill on the beach and soak up some sun. Trust me, I did every single one of those things, and my body thanked me for it.

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Accomodation

Our pension was right along the beach, so it was easy to hop back and forth to clean up and change between activities. Since we were in a large group, the pension sent a truck to the ferry to pick up our things. (Yes, I rode to the pension in the truck even though it was less than a 5 min walk. #dontjudgeme) Although our 4-person was fairly small,  the ocean-front view made up for it and we had no other complaints. The rooms do have utensils and a gas burner stove, so you can cook your own food if you like, which I’d suggest during your trip. (Check out my other tips at the end of the article!!)

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Getting to Bijindo

Since I went on the tour with Seoul Hiking Group, we took a chartered bus to
IMG_0104Tongyeong and then caught the ferry from Tongyeong Ferry Terminal. However, if you want to get to Bijindo from Seoul on your own, it’s a little more complicated. You have to take the bus headed for Tongyeong from Seoul Express Bus Terminal or Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal. Then you need to catch one of the buses that goes to the Seoho Market stop, walk a bit to the Tongyeong Terminal, then catch a ferry to Bijindo. You can read more about that here.

Quick tips and advice:

  • Bring your ARC or passport. You’re going to need it if you want to purchase your ferry ticket. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • If you want/need it, bring it. Yes, this includes food. There is a small convenience store that sells snacks, beer, and soju, and a tiny restaurant that is known to have good seafood bibimbap, but that’s basically it. If you have dietary restrictions it may be difficult for you to get things to eat on the island. We bought our own food, and it was great to have our own beach BBQ. So if you want that pomegranate soju (which is bomb.com, I might add), your best bet is to bring it with you.
  • Throw your trash away. If there was one thing I didn’t like about the beach, it was the surprising amount of debris along the shore. I’m not sure whether people left their trash on the beach or if things were swept up from the ocean, but it kind of detracted from the overall beauty of the island. Don’t get me wrong, the views were still amazing and it wasn’t enough to ruin the whole beach experience, but that was kind of a letdown.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Bijindo as a spot for a lazy, weekend getaway. Sure, it’s not as popular as some of the other islands in the area, but that’s part of it’s charm. It’s nice to get away from the sounds, crowds, and sights of Seoul every once in a while, so you might as well get off the beaten path and explore somewhere new.

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