Guest Post: Weekend Trip to DeokJeokdo

A perfect weekend trip from Pyeongtaek
Guest post by: Nick
DeokJeokdo Island, South Korea
Deokjeokdo island is situated about 45 miles off the west coast of South Korea from Incheon’s port.  My wife and I recently visited and here is a synopsis of our experience:
Before you go: A little bit of planning before heading to DeokJeokdo Island.  Although on Google Maps it looks tiny, it is deceivingly big without a vehicle.  So, make sure you at least bring cash.  100,000 won would be a good amount to bring.  Many of the stores and taxis do not accept cards, and there is only one ATM on the island but you have to have a Korean card to use it.  Secondly, try to figure out your accommodations beforehand.  There aren’t traditional hotels…it is mainly mom n’ pop motels.  We stayed with Daniel at his place near Seopori Beach.  His phone number is: 010-8352-0599.  He speaks nearly perfect English and is super nice!  His place cost 80,000 won/night, and breakfast 8,000 won/person.  It isn’t 5-stars, but it is a bed and has air conditioning.
Getting there:
  • Getting to the island is pretty simple.  You will need to find your way to the Incheon Port.  There are four ships a day, with the earliest at 0800, and the latest around 1200. Two of those ships can take vehicles, and the other two are for passengers only.  Taking your vehicle over with you is very simple but be sure to arrive 2-3 hours before sailing time to ensure you can get your ticket and get the vehicle loaded in a timely manner.  We didn’t bring our car, so our tickets were around 80,000 Won roundtrip.  It takes about 70 minutes on the non-car bearing ferry, and about 90 on the one with vehicles.
Arriving:
  • You will arrive at the Dou Ferry Pier on the southwestern part of the island.  The ferry building has some maps available.  I highly recommend you grab one as they are very helpful in orienting yourself.  Once you get off the ferry there will be some shops for food, buses, and taxis (there are only like 2-3 taxis on the island).  Make sure you ask the bus driver where they are going (use the map to point and talk) so you don’t get on the wrong bus.
Things to do:
Biking: There are a ton of options for mountain biking, and road biking here.  Plus is that you can bring your bike on the ferry for free.
Hiking:  There are a ton of trails on the island.  My wife and I have hiked a ton of mountains in Korea and as you may know, most of them are very well maintained.  Some of the trails on this island are not…and very difficult to find.  Luckily they are listed on the map you pick up at the ferry.  We hiked Bijobong peak and Unjubong Peak (see below pictures).  They are pretty short hikes, and accessible from Seopori or the port town.  They give you incredible views of the island.  If you are really up for a challenge you can hike Gooksubong peak as well.  You will follow the ridges from Unjubong or Bijobong to reach it on the other side of the island.
Stunning view from atop Bijobong Peak.
Another option is going to the Seopori Ferry Pier.  There is a trail right by this pier that boasts some awesome views of the coastline.
From the trail near the pier.
Beaches:
    • Seopori Beach: This beach is huge…it is 2 km long and has nice sand.  Sadly, we have pretty high standards for beaches, so it wasn’t that nice for us.  The tide goes WAY out at low tide, and the water is pretty dirty.
    • Batjireum Beach:  This was the best beach for swimming we saw there.  The water is very clear and calm.  There is also free camping on the beach here, and the sand is perfect!
Batjireum Beach
    • Neungdong Jagal Madang:  This is a rocky beach with calm waters.  I don’t think you’re supposed to swim here, but it has some incredible views.  If you like to climb on boulders this is a fun spot to visit too.
Neungdong Jagal Madang
    • Sojae Beach: I didn’t see anyone at this beach…and it was pretty dirty.
Camping:  You can camp on this island pretty much anywhere, and for free!
Food:  There are a couple restaurants in the port town, Seopori and others spread throughout the island.  There is a pumpkin café near the elementary/middle/high school located on the southern end of the island, and west of Seopori beach.  They have awesome muffins and cookies! There is only one commercial store on the island (a CU) in Seopori.  This place is always hoppin too!
All in all Deokjeokdo island was a welcomed change in pace.  It was quiet, and very slow compared to the mainland.  It has fully adopted the “island time” mindset and is a great place to reset yourself before heading back into our day-to-day grinds.  Lastly, the people we met here were so incredibly nice…honestly some of the nicest people we have met in the six countries we have traveled in Asia.  For example, we got on the bus one afternoon to only be left at the port b/c the bus going to Seopori had stopped running.  The bus driver that dropped us off turned the bus around, came back and picked us up.  He then took us to where they park the bus and then drove us in his personally owned vehicle to our hotel.  Seriously…I have never experienced something like that before without them wanting something in return.  He just did it out of the kindness of his heart.  If you ever have any questions let me know, and I can try to help as best as I can: nickcav777@gmail.com
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