EXPLORING KOREA: Jebudo, Getaway for Seoulites

by Jimalee Sowell, 16/10/2008

Jebudo, a small island near Incheon, is a popular place to get away from the city for the weekend and let off some steam. When we got there on Friday evening, there were already lots of fireworks, parties, and games going on. Most of the visitors to Jebudo seemed to belong to groups, either groups of friends or organized groups from schools and companies. Jebudo is like the answer to indoor camping for Seoulites, and because of all the festivities, the island is not particularly quiet until the wee hours of the morning.

The main economy on Jebudo is tourism. This made me wonder what the local residents think of their home being turned into a giant party every weekend, but they seem to tolerate it quite well, knowing how much money the visitors were bringing to the island and that the weekdays provide some respite from the lively weekends.

Before leaving for Jebudo we were advised by several Koreans to take along some food, which we found rather puzzling. “Food. Why? They must eat on Jebudo, right?” Unfortunately, we didn’t heed the warnings and later regretted that choice when we found that nearly every restaurant on Jebudo serves the same menu of rather pricey fish specialties and kalguksoo (knife noodles). All we could find in the way of restaurants beyond seafood places were a few hotdog stands, and though there are a few supermarkets, they are only stocked with a few basic items. So if you don’t want to have seafood for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, take along some provisions. Most rooms are equipped with cooking facilities.

Finding a place to stay on Jebudo should pose no problem, as there are numerous  minbaks, pensions, and condominiums and a couple of hotels on Jebudo. We stayed at Bada Poong Gyoung Pension (바다풍경펜션), and I highly recommend it. I’m not joking when I say that it is the best place I’ve stayed in Korea while traveling. Bada Poong Gyoung Pension is newly-built and as such is fresh and clean and sports a luxurious plasma TV. Surprisingly, too, the rates at Bada Poong Gyoung Pension are quite reasonable. Call 031-366-7778 to make reservations. As for Mr. Seo, Soon Seok (서순석).

What to do on Jebudo
Besides eating seafood, shooting off fireworks, and partaking in regular beach activities,  what can you do on Jebudo? Well, Jebudo is the perfect place for a long walk—either along the beach or through one of the island’s hiking trails. If  you’re not up for a long walk, riding mini rental motorbikes is a fun way to check out the island. There’s also a small—miniature, actually—amusement park with rides a few rides and games. If you’d like to get your own shellfish for dinner, you can join the locals in digging up clams when the tide is low. Jebudo is also a great place to watch the sun set.

How to get there
One of the great things about Jebudo is that it is relatively easy to get to from Seoul, and because all you need is the subway and local busses, the travel to Jebudo is also relatively cheap. From Geumjeong Station (line 1), take bus 330 to the last stop. Then, get off and wait for the Jebudo bus. You’ll know it when you see it. It’s brightly painted with inviting sea creatures and plants. It is also possible to walk across the causeway, but perhaps not much fun if you have a lot to carry. Before leaving for Jebudo, you need to know that timing is important. In the middle of the day, the tide comes in, the causeway to Jebudo is impassable. Of course, the time of the tide changes daily, but as a rough guide, the causeway is usually passable from 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 7:00 to 1:00 p.m. 

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