Bijindo is an island just south of South Korea. After enjoying a sunrise hike in Hwangmaesan we took the ferry from Tongyeong Ferry Terminal to Bejin Island (do means island in Korean). The 40 minute trip went quickly as sea spray and fresh air came over the sides of the boat while a few seagulls entertained us by trailing behind and snatching chips out of the sky!
Once on Bijindo it was easy to find our pension. The whole island only has a few hundred people living on it in one small village and another smaller beach-side hamlet. From afar it is easy to confuse Bijindo with one of Thailand’s many tropical paradises.
After settling into our pension we set off exploring the beach. The long stretch of yellow sand was a bit chillier than I preferred with the water following suit so Ronda and I opted to catch a view of the island on one of the two hikes.
The wooded trail took us past farms and scrambling up a few steps hewn into the rocky undergrowth. There were two wonderful lookouts that brought spectacular views in spite of a mild afternoon fog. We were warned by a half dozen hikers not to bother with the peak and when reminded of that by some lounging Koreans at the 2nd observation point we took them up on their offer to wine & dine us.
It is commonplace for Korean hikers to offer soju (rice wine) and other snacks to foreign hikers but here on this remote island they spoke barely 10 words in English. My Korean is barely passable but it was enough for the 6 of us to enjoy a few laughs and get to know each other. If you get a chance to hike in Korea be sure to accept their gracious offer to share a meal with you because it was delicious!
Bijindo’s beach was perhaps the only place in Korea I’ve been to where I didn’t find a Noraebong! (Karaoke room) That meant we’d have to provide our own entertainment the rest of our evening. Lucky for us Seoul Hiking Group is always a friendly group and everyone enjoyed a small beach party before getting to bed “early” after our long day.
The next morning Ronda & I ate quick and packed while everyone else nursed their hangovers. We had plans to enjoy the clear skies and check out the other hike. Not realizing the low lying fog obscured the distant islands we were happy to find another quaint village at the end of the road. Even better was how quickly the fog dissipated opening up a stunning view of this magical farm-filled island.