Sunday, May 20, 2007


With beaches of shallower depth and, smooth slope shapes and, beautiful White sand, Buk do beaches provide, Safest and joyful stay for Family [sic] - Ongjin County tourist information

Map key:
Red line = Saturday bike route
Orange line = Sunday bike route
Blue line = Saturday ferry rides
Purple line = Sunday ferry rides

Saturday distance: approximately 60 km
Sunday distance: approximately 40 km

It was another nice weekend, so we decided to check out some more of the local islands. This time, we headed up to Bukdo-myeon, which is a set of four islands just north of the airport island. After meeting my friend at Incheon station, we made the short ride over to Wolmi-do. From there, ferries run every 20 minutes to the airport island. The ride down the south coast of the airport island is nice and flat, with lots of room on the shoulder. Although there was a strong head wind pushing against us. On the southwest coast, there is a small bridge that connects to a small island and from there you can take a ferry to Mui-do. But that is another trip. We headed back to the main road and wound through the hills north. Turning west, we once again were on flat, man made land, this time with the wind at our backs. About halfway back across the island there is the next ferry departure point, Mokko.

From Mokko, there are hourly ferries to Sin-do. When we arrived in Sin-do, the people seemed very friendly. One guy greeted us in English and asked if we were looking for some hiking trails. The little old lady selling potatoes and corn on the top of the boat ramp asked us a few questions in Korean. Although answering where I'm from is about the extent of my linguistic abilities. Sin-do is a pretty small island that took us about half an hour to bike around. Sin-do is then connected to Si-do by bridge. It too is a small island that just took us about 10 minutes to cross. Finally, the third island of Mo-do is also connected by bridge.

On Mo-do, there is one of the more interesting attractions I've seen in Korea. There is a surrealistic sculpture garden on the beach. A lot of the works were inspired by Dali and other artists, but it is quite an unusual site here in Korea. Along with the sculpture garden, there is a nice looking pension you can spend the night it, a cafe, and an old fishing vessel on the beach.

This sculpture, for example, was obviously based on a Magritte painting.

From there, we backed tracked to Si-do and started looking for a beach to camp out at. We found a nice, and for the most part unoccupied, beach on the north side of the island. There was one neighbor - the house from the TV show Full House. Of course, not the American TV show, but the Korean TV show. It's a very un-Korean looking structure, with big windows and a large beach at its disposable. Apparently, you can rent the house out, as there was a group of Koreans staying there and having a little party on the beach. Other than that, there wasn't much there. Just a small convenience store that closed at 6 pm. After finding the beach, we headed back into town for dinner, collected some supplies, and went back to the beach. We set up our tents, watched the stars, drank some beer, listened to planes passing overhead, and watched the Koreans set off there obligatory roman candles and bottle rockets. We could also see a much more impressive fireworks display across the sea on Ganghwa-do.

Early to bed on Saturday night, we were up and ready to go early Sunday morning. After getting our gear packed up, we headed back to the ferry terminal on Sin-do. From there, we hopped a ferry to the fourth island in the group, Jangbong-do. This island is a little longer than the others, with a nice sized hill in the middle to cross. After getting over the hill, we stopped in the town for some lunch. It was a nice little Korean town, with just a couple of convenience stores and a few restaurants. No big apartment buildings, just small houses intermixed with vegetable gardens. Every half hour there was a small wave of traffic representing the ferry haul. Other than that, it was quiet and peaceful. After exploring a little more of the island, we headed back over the hill and to the ferry. On the way back, we saw a couple of kids going up and down the road on their little 4-wheeler. While we were crossing over the hill, they brought each of us a can of Gatorade. When we got to the ferry terminal, we had a good laugh when we saw this old Korean guy we'd met on the way over and talked to briefly. He knew a little Konglish, so we were actually able to have a little bit of conversation.

The ferry then took us back to the airport island, where we took the short route across the middle of the island. It was a pretty basic ride, so I tried to lead us across some back roads that ended up looping back to the road we just left. So instead of returning all the way back to that road, we ended up taking a short cut across some fields to the southern road. It's not very easy crossing over field embankments between flooded prawn farms and rice fields, much less with a bike, but we somehow managed to do it. Once we got back on the main road, it was smooth sailing. The wind was at our backs and I'm starting to get back up to speed. The ferry terminal was a lot more crowded this time, since many people go to school or work on Saturdays. Back at Wolmi-do, the crowds were even larger. Too tired to stay and enjoy the scene, we headed back to the subway station, bound for home. Outside of having to carry my bike down 10 flights of stairs at the transfer, and back up 4 more flights when I got to my station, the ride home was a piece of cake.

Overall, I'd say the people we met in Bukdo-myeon were some of the friendliest people I've met in Korea. A lot of people asked where we were from, and everyone was super helpful. I'd definitely put it on my list of places to return to.

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