Haebyeongil Hiking, 3rd and 4th May 2013

0 - opening shot

After spending the early part of the afternoon watching baseball at Seosan Jen and I took a taxi back into town and then travelled fifteen minutes by bus to Taean. From there we caught another bus, this time to Kkoti beach. That journey took us through any number of small villages and by the time we reached the final stop forty five minutes later we were the only passengers remaining.

The reason for all the bus journeys was that we wanted to be at one end of the Haebyeongil Trail. It’s a five section walking route with one end being at Kkoti beach and the other being, well, I don’t know where. I’m not sure the entire route has been revealed yet. Sections four and five definitely exist though and our plan was to walk the twelve kilometre section five from Kkoti Beach to Baeksajahang.

Haebyeongil Map - Sections 4 & 5.

Haebyeongil Map – Sections 4 & 5.

The baseball and the buses meant that we didn’t arrive at Kkoti beach until half past five in the afternoon. With a maximum of two hours of daylight ahead of us it meant that we wouldn’t finish the section in one go and that we’d have to stay overnight along the route, completing it the next morning. That’s a bit embarrassing really, having to spread 12km over two days, but whatever, it’s how it had to be.

A big rock on Kkoti beach.

A big rock on Kkoti beach.

The halt for the evening happened sooner than we’d intended. We’d probably have put up with the strong wind and heavy mist for a while longer but once it started raining there wasn’t much point in prolonging things. We’d gained a bit of height in the first kilometre and were able to look down on Bangpo beach. We could see what appeared to be hotels and restaurants ahead and after dropping down to sea level again we just picked the hotel that looked like it had the best view.

Bangpo beach.

Bangpo beach.

The sea view was as impressive as we’d hoped and the exploding shellfish cooked on a grill were even better. Next morning we woke to a sunny day, meaning that our decision to stop as early as we did had turned out to be the right one.

Bangpo beach the next morning.

Bangpo beach the next morning.

On leaving Bangpo the trail goes up into the woods and then down to the beach again. It pretty much repeats this all the way to Baeksajahang.

Through the woods.

Through the woods.

The walk is generally well sign-posted. We lost the route a couple of times but were soon back on it. When you’ve got the sea as a guide it would be difficult to get too far lost.

And along the beach.

And along the beach.

Three hours after setting off we arrived in Baeksajahang. It’s full of market stalls and restaurants so you wouldn’t go hungry. There were a few places to stay but we didn’t see anything that you could guarantee would have a bed. A new bridge is being built that when finished should nicely connect section five with section four and avoid the need for a detour around an inlet.

Baeksajahang

Baeksajahang

We kept walking through Baeksajahang and when almost at the end of town spotted a bus stop where we were able to catch a ride back up to Taean. Once in Taean you can pretty much get to most places in Korea. Jen went back to Seoul, whilst I took one to Suwon as I was heading off to a football game.

Here's the timetable.

Here’s the timetable.

I thought the section of the Haebyeongil Trail that we hiked was a decent walk. Some of it is on wooden boards but the majority is on beachside paths or woodland trails. If you started a little earlier in the day than we did I imagine that it wouldn’t be too difficult to do sections four and five together in about seven hours of walking. If we get to spend more time in Korea then I’d like to do the rest of it.

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