EXPLORING KOREA: Seokmodo: Land of the Muddy Beach

by Jimalee, 03/07/2008

Looking for a cheap island getaway? Looking for a muddy beach? Love seafood? Seokmodo (석모도)  a small island to the west of Kangwondo, just might be the place for you.

If you like mud, walking in mud, playing in mud, and pushing your friends down in the mud, you will love Minmeoru Beach (민머루해변), the only beach in Seokmodo. Our pension owner who was afraid we couldn’t understand his Korean when he said ‘beach,’ explained it to us as Weikiki. Well, Seokmodo is not exactly Weikiki, but it does have its charm. Once the tide goes out in the afternoon, the coastline turns into a big mud vat and hordes of peoples, vacationers and locals, rush out to hunt shellfish in the black mud or just play in it. If hunting clams and getting caked in mud isn’t your idea of a good time, you can just lie down on the nice beach and watch all the mudbathers.

The other Replica Watches main tourist attraction in Seokmodo is Bomunsa (보문사), a Buddhist temple that is well worth the trip. Besides all the usual but wonderful things you can usually see at a Buddhist temple in Korea, Bomunsa also boasts a great view of the West Sea that is said to be especially beautiful at sunset. There is also a particularly majestic Buddhist shrine located inside a natural cave at Bomunsa.  To get there,  just hop on the bus bound for Bomunsa. Don’t worry about getting off at the right stop, you’ll know when you’ve reached the temple.

It is not easy to get around Seokmodo if you don’t have a car. Your feet can take you around your local area, but you’ll miss a lot if you stick with walking as your sole means of transport. You can rent bicycles that will be delivered to you at any place on the island. Bike rental advertisements are posted across the island, and there’s a place to rent bikes near Seokpori Dock. Of caution, though, most main roads on the island are quite narrow and at times rather busy and therefore inadvisable as a means of transportation outside your local area if you are not a confident and experienced cyclist. Buses run around the island, but they are few and far between. Make sure you ask a local for the bus times. Taxis are pretty much nonexistent.

If you like seafood, especially hoi (회), Seokmodo is a paradise for you. However, if you’re not a big fan of seafood, you might want to take some food with you. Nearly all restaurants on the island specialize in fish dishes, and most supermarkets and convenience stores on the island, which are few and far between, are sparsely stocked with just the essentials like ramen noodles and a selection of basic Korean junk food.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds of Seoul, Seokmodo is a nice getaway, but if you’re looking for a quiet and restful place, Seokmodo might not be that. Over the weekend or on a public holiday, you’ll find lots of mudbathers running around screaming and hooting about their mudcaked bodies. At night the frogs sing their lovely by noisy songs, and at our pension, we were woken up at five by a rooster and again at seven by ducks.

However, a weekend trip to Seokmodo is worthwhile, especially if you’re just looking to get out of the city and experience the countryside for a while. The rice fields, of which there are many, and the mountains are rather picturesque. 

How to get there: Take the bus from Shinchon Intercity Bus Terminal to Oepori Bus Terminal. Buses run from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at approximately one-hour intervals. If you travel at non-peak times, it is about a two-hour bus ride. At Oepori, take the ferry to Seokpori Dock. The ferry trip takes about ten minutes. Ferries run from 7:30 to 6:30 on weekdays, every half hour and as needed on weekends and holidays. A short walk from Seokpori Dock, you’ll find a bus terminal.
Be advised, though, that buses around the island stop running rather early. If you arrive at Seokmodo in the evening, you might need a pick up from your minbak or pension. However, many minbaks and pensions don’t offer this service. Fortunately, Deulgot Minbak (들 꽃 민 박)  does. Deulggot Minbak (들 꽃 민 박) is also near the Weikiki of Seokmodo (Minmeoru Beach). The phone number for  Deulgoot Minbak is 017-329-6228.

For more information about Seokmodo in Korean, see www.sukmo.net.


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