Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A Beach Hut Paradise on Muuido: Part 1

Towards the end of our Chuseok vacation, Angela and I decided to spend some time on Muuido, an island on the west coast of Korea, not far from Incheon Airport. We'd already attempted to visit the island a couple of weeks previously, but Angela lost her purse on the metro, which meant abandoning our travel plans to try and retrieve it. This time round though, the journey went without a hitch, and we got to spend the afternoon, night and morning on a beautiful beach, relaxing in a laid back island atmosphere. We slept in a quaint little beach hut, played drunken ring of fire in the sand, and - most exciting of all - explored some vast, sprawling mud flats.

We took the Seoul metro to Incheon Airport, which itself is separated from the mainland by these marshes.
Inside Incheon Aiport, which has for the last 12 years been voted the best airport in the world. It has a golf course, spa, ice rink (which you can partly see in the picture), casino, indoor gardens, and a museum of Korean culture. It also has some of the fastest custom processing speeds, with average departure time taking only 19 minutes (compared to the international average of 1 hour).
We headed to the departures area on the airport's third floor and went outside to catch a bus (number 222, though you can also take 2-1 or 306) to the ferry port at Jamjinnaru.
There was a fifteen-minute walk to the actual ferry terminal, including a slightly treacherous stretch of narrow road jammed with cars.
The tide was low and there were hundreds of people out on the seabed, gathering sea creatures to eat for dinner.

On the ferry at last.

It was only a short ride across to Muuido.

Once on the island we took the island's only bus to Hanagae Beach on the other side of the island. On the way we saw this "TESCO Academy." I hadn't seen a TESCO in Korea up until now, let alone an academy dedicated to it. It conjured up images of hardworking students learning how to stack supermarket shelves.
After a longwinded journey on trains, boats and buses, we finally made it to Hanagae Beach. It was definitely worth the long trek.
There were rows of these miniature minbak or beach huts lining the shore, and since we didn't bring a tent we decided to stay in one ourselves.
Angela sitting inside our minbak. Each hut was quite cramped, with only enough space for around four people at most. For us, though, it was perfect!
Once settled in, we hung out on the beach, reading our books and generally chilling out. It felt like the perfect way to spend our last holiday of the warm season!

Muuido is a popular getaway from weigukin (foreigners) like ourselves, and there were a bunch of them hanging out, playing games, drinking beer and playing loud music on the beach.
Though we didn't try it out ourselves, there was a tower with a zipline running the length of the beach.

Me, getting ready to take a splash.

Soon, the sun began to set, casting orange light across the island.

We had galbi (beef ribs) and rice for dinner outside.
Later that evening, the tide was low, which on Muuido results in a vast expanse of mud opening up across the bay. In fact, you can walk almost a mile out from the beach before you reach the actual sea. Since so many others were out exploring the area, we decided to grab our flashlight and do the same.

Looking back towards Hanagae Beach.

There were lots of crabs scuttling along the seabed, exposed by the low tide.

We soon returned to the beach, where people were setting off fireworks.
Click here to continue the adventure in Part 2!

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