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Cool summer travel on Korea's coasts

With plenty of beaches, seafood, and ocean breeze, Korea’s coastal areas have long been favorite destinations for summer vacation. This summer, travelers looking for something new can head to the new scenic points that have opened up along the coasts and take in some of the most beautiful and unique ocean views that Korea has to offer.

On June 9, the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs announced the completion of construction on facilities for 16 new scenic points on the eastern, western, and southern coasts of the Korean Peninsula. Since 2010, the ministry has been working with local governments in Gyeongju, Taean, Busan, and other coastal cities to design and build observation decks, observation towers, walking trails, and rest facilities that would showcase the unique natural features of each scenic point.

The East Sea: pristine waters, volcanic prisms

In Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang Province), in the township of Yangnam, hexagonal columns of volcanic rock line the coast in various formations. Known as jusangjeolli, these rock patterns can also be found on Jeju Island, their varying shapes and appearances attesting to the rapid rate at which lava cools.

Two unique scenic points along Korea's coast include volcanic rock formations in Gyeongju (left), off of the eastern coast, and Suncheon Bay (right) off of the southern coast (photos courtesy of Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs). Two unique scenic points along Korea's coast include volcanic rock formations in Gyeongju (left), off of the eastern coast, and Suncheon Bay (right) off of the southern coast (photos courtesy of Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs).


Often called a “gift of nature,” the jusangjeolli are only one of the many sights that can be explored from the newly opened scenic rest point in Gyeongju. The observation deck offers views of Eupcheon and Haseo harbors, which are connected by a 1.7-kilometer walking trail that leads visitors by wildflower fields, an old lighthouse, and a swaying rope-bridge. The site is also an ideal place to catch the sunrise.

Serenity and inspiration off the western coast

Taean County in Chungcheongnam-do (South Chungcheong Province) has long been said to have been a stopping point during the wanderings of the beloved poet Li Bai of the Tang Dynasty, who, as the story goes, composed poems while walking along the rocky shore.

Scenic points along Korea's coasts offer unique views of the surrounding oceans. In Taean County, Chungcheongnam-do, a former military base has been remodeled into an observation area (left), where visitors can enjoy views of the ocean and nearby islands (right) (photos courtesy of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs).Scenic points along Korea's coasts offer unique views of the surrounding oceans. In Taean County, Chungcheongnam-do, a former military base has been remodeled into an observation area (left), where visitors can enjoy views of the ocean and nearby islands (right) (photos courtesy of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs).


Formerly home to a military base, the facilities off of the Taean coast have been converted into a park with a walking trail and an observation deck. From the deck, visitors can take in views of the nearby beaches, the Chilbaengi islands, the Sindu-ri coastal sand dune (Natural Monument No. 431), and other magnificent coastal scenery.

The southern coast, where the rivers flow into the sea

The scenic points off of the southern coast include an observation deck on Geoje Island, Gyeongsangnam-do (South Gyeongsang province) offering stunning views of the rock cliff island formation Haegeumgang as well as the outlying sections of Hallyeo Maritime National Park.

Visitors to Korea's southern coast can enjoy panoramic views of the ocean and nearby island formations (left) at the observation deck on Geoje Island (right) (photos courtesy of the Ministry for Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs).Visitors to Korea's southern coast can enjoy panoramic views of the ocean and nearby island formations (left) at the observation deck on Geoje Island (right) (photos courtesy of the Ministry for Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs).


In Wando County in Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla Province), visitors heading across Sinji Bridge to the soft, sandy shores of Sinji Myeongsasimni Beach or to the many islets in Dadohae Haesang (Marine Archipelago) National Park can stop at the newly constructed rest area that offers views of both Wando and Judo islands.

The charm of Korea’s coastal cities

Next to Democracy Park in Yeongju-dong, Busan, a new two-story building stands in an area that was temporarily occupied during the Korean War by people displaced from their homes. The view from the building combines the urban landscape with the natural setting and includes such sights as Busan North Port, Yongdusan Park, the Sanbokdoro Public Art Project, and Bongnae Mountain at the center of Yeongdo Island. The building also includes an exhibition hall displaying pictures and videos that depict the history of the inhabitants of the Busan port area from as early as the Middle Joseon Period.

Korea's coastal cities combine the natural beauty of the ocean with the bustling energy of an urban landscape. New observation points in the port city of Busan (left) and Wando County (right) provide visitors with unique views (photos courtesy of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs).Korea's coastal cities combine the natural beauty of the ocean with the bustling energy of an urban landscape. New observation points in the port city of Busan (left) and Wando County (right) provide visitors with unique views (photos courtesy of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs).


Scenic sites have been designated and constructed in other coastal cities, including Dangjin, Gangjin, Boseong, Tongyeong, Suncheon, and Yeosu, where Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is currently underway.

More information on locations, transportations, and local tourist areas can be found at the Korea Land Portal as well as the website of the Korea Tourism Organization.

By Kwon Jungyun
Korea.net Staff Writer

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