Camping in Spring in Korea - Hadong Riverbed camping, a dog friendly camping location

Camping in Spring in Korea - Hadong Riverbed camping, a dog friendly camping location

This camping trip was a rather fun adventure as we met up with old & new friends alike. Stephanie & Ryan (the bloggers and youtubers behind the delightful travel blog The Hedgers Abroad) joined us from Yeosu. You might recognise Stephanie from some of my styled photo-shoots I've featured here on the blog...she has been my muse for a little while now (click here to see those styled shoots).  

I was also excited to meet up with Megan & Scott from the awesome travel blog; Bobo & Chichi. Megan and I started up an online friendship a few months ago and it was wonderful to meet up in person. Scott creates the most amazing hyper-lapse videos of their adventures all over Korea, you should definitely head on over and take a look

I also got to meet up with another fellow South African whom I have been connecting with via Facebook and it was great to share stories and laughs with her and her boyfriend around the fire. Even though it got terribly windy, this great group of people made the camping trip a real adventure. And of course my pup, Shadow, had a wonderful time being surrounded by dog-loving people (something he doesn't find too often here in Korea being a 'big, scary dog').

If you have a dog, this 'style' of camping is perfect for you. We do make sure to keep a long rope and clips in the car just in case we do come across issues with having him off lead, but this has yet to be a problem. I wouldn't advise letting your pup have free reign of an open space if they haven't had much experience being off lead before. As we live in a small town here in Korea and have a car, Shadow is off lead pretty much all the time. His recall is pretty good (not always!) and he generally stays near us. If you're looking for more posts on owning a dog here in Korea then click here, I've written some posts I think you might like. 

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Island Camping in Korea...Wido Island

Island Camping in Korea...Wido Island

This was our second camping trip to Wido Island, a small island on the west coast of Korea, accessible only by ferry from Gyeokpo.

Even though right now it's technically Winter here in Korea, I saw buds on the trees while working to work yesterday. So thought this post would be a good one to write now so that you can get planning your first Spring camping trip of the year. 

Having a dog here in Korea (click here to read more about our rescue pooch #ShadowTheJindo & owning a dog in Korea) makes it hard to travel. We do have a car, which makes our lives 100 times easier, but the accommodation is always a problem. You see many Koreans are terrifies of 'big' dogs (even though our pup would only be considered a medium sized dog in most countries). Here in Korea, he is a great big, scary wolf. and so booking accommodation is always a problem. Even the places which allow dogs usually turn us away when they catch a glimpse of him. This is why we go camping so much. This post is all about Wido Island, and one of our favourite (usually deserted!) places to camp in Korea.

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Camping & Fishing in Korea, Gyeongbok Province & Andong Folk Village

Camping Fishing in Yeongju Korea

Farmboy and I camp a lot here in Korea. One of the main reasons for all of our camping is because of our pup Shadow. Another reason is that once you invest in your camping gear you no longer have to pay anything for accommodation (apart from campsite fees if you camp in actual camping grounds).

Having a car here in Korea has always been a big life changer, as we would never be able to get to the places we have explored without a car (and, being a CityGirl, camping for me should still involve some level of comfort and there is just no way I would be able to carry a blow up mattress and pump in a backpack loaded with everything else). If you'd like to read more about owning a dog in Korea then click here. I've written lots of helpful posts that you might find useful if you have a dog. Also, click here to see all our other posts on camping.

Camping in Korea Chuseok Gangwon Province (35 of 135).jpg

We went camping over the Chuseok holidays (we had a 4 day weekend this year with Monday & Tuesday being public holidays) up near Yeongju (Gyeonbok Province) and so this left us enough time to make the 6 hour journey up North from our town. Something to bear in mind over Chuseok, most Koreans head South to their family home towns meaning there are fewer cars heading North at the start of the holiday. We were warned about the traffic and had no problems as we were going against the traffic in both directions. We left at 3am on the Saturday and although out lane was completely clear, the traffic was almost to a standstill in the opposite direction...at 3am! So keep that in mind when planning your trip. We also tried as best we could to avoid the IC (main highways) and stuck to the smaller roads.

Fly Fishing in South Korea

Farmboy has really been into his fishing lately (both bass and fly fishing) and so we were headed up North in search of trout. Much to his disappointment, there weren't too many bites, even though we were in an area that is well known for trout. He still had a great time fishing, and the areas surrounding the streams and rivers were beautiful, so that made up for it. For this trip, Farmboy had heard that the streams around Bonghwa are great places to fish for trout and so we went onto google maps and searched for Bonghwa, and then zoomed in on the map in search of legitimate camp sites. If you zoom in close enough on an area in Maps on your iPhone you'll see the little brown tent symbol which shows campsites in the area. Then we simply drove along the road in search of the best place for us to itch our tent.

After our very early start, we arrived at 8am at one of the most beautiful valleys I have ever seen here in Korea.  We followed a small country road (following this address: 산129 Daehyeon-ri, Seokpo-myeon Bonghwa-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do). The area is known as Kosun Creek (고선계곡) and is filled with camping sites, MinBaks and Pensions (Korean Guesthouses). The first camping site we came across looked abandoned, and across from it another site only had one caravan. We headed over to chat to the only camper we could see and find out more about that particular campsite. He was incredibly friendly, spoke wonderful English and proceeded to tell us about much better spots to fish and set up camp further up stream. He also shared his breakfast with us. He had a rather impressive camp set up, which he told us was just for him when he needed a break from his family. He told us he has a much bigger caravan back home for when his wife and kids join him...sounds like a good life to me!

We don't like camping in specified camping grounds, and we also know that we would probably be turned away when people catch sight of Shadow, and so we usually just drive to a quiet spot to set up camp. We have yet to be kicked off a spot or to run into any problems just setting up camp. We also always make a fire and have yet to have any issues. If you do this, just make sure to clean up after yourselves. Toilets are the only downside to this kind of camping...bushes are your only option. We either burn the used toilet paper or keep it in a packet to throw away at home/along the way. We also like to camp near water so we can at least have some version of a bird bath if we are camping for more than one night.

For our camping trips we eat the following:

  • Breakfast: coffee/tea and digestive biscuits
  • Lunch: Bolognese mince/tuna wraps with salad
  • Snacks: store bought popcorn/crackers/Gim or seaweed packs 
  • Dinner: samgyupsal/pre-cooked sausages/vienna sausages, sweet potatoes fire 
  • Dessert: s'mores (& wine/soju!)

The only downside to this style of camping is you don'c actually know where you are going to be sleeping that night. This means you need to factor in time (while it's still light) to find and set up camp. We don't usually stay at the same spot 2 nights in a row as there is so much to see and explore here in Korea, and so we end up driving around (often times getting frustrated) in search of the perfect spot. We found the one below after about an hour and at the end of a very tiny country road that wasn't even on our gps. It was below a train line (a little bit nerve wracking) but the train was still far enough above us to not cause us any worry. It only ended up going a few times during the night.

As we had made it all the way to Gyonbok, we headed to Andong for the Mask Festival. I hadn't realised that there are two parts to the festival (the Folk Village and the Mask Festival) and that they are really far from each other. The Mask Festival is in Andong itself, whereas the folk village was about 30km out of town. There are shuttles that go between the two, but bear in mind that you probably need a car to get to the Folk village. We also had no idea if they would allow dogs in, but they seemed to have no problem with Shadow. 

Are there any great camping spots you can recommend? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. There are still a few more good weekends left before it gets to cold to camp. 

Camping with your dog in Korea

Camping With a Dog In Korea - where to camp with a dog in Korea

Owning a dog in Korea isn't easy. Especially if you own one of the larger breeds and you can't carry them in your handbag or in a pet carrier. This is why we spend a lot of time camping (click here to see more posts about camping in Korea), as finding pet friendly accommodation is pretty near impossible. If you live in Seoul you have a much wider selection of places you can easily visit and stay at with your dog, but if you live in the smaller country side towns in Korea, camping is your best bet. It's also the perfect time of the year to head outdoors, and so I hope this post is useful for you if you have a dog here in Korea and want to head out in search of an adventure.

Camping in Yongdam... click here  to read more.

Camping in Yongdam...click here to read more.

Camping in Gangwon... click here  to read more

Camping in Gangwon...click here to read more

Of course, having a car makes the whole camping experience that much more enjoyable as you can transport all your gear easily, but it's not a pre-requisite. Although, I can imagine carrying/walking your dog and your camping gear would all together be quite a feat!

From what we have gathered, you can camp pretty much anywhere in Korea, as long as you clean up after yourself. We have camped on tennis courts, closed off and abandoned roads, in river beds and in Museum gardens (that last one being a very late night find). Camping with a dog is slightly trickier, as if your pup is anything like our Shadow, he likes to explore his new surroundings and this often finds me running around like a headless chicken trying to catch him.

We have stayed at one actual dog friendly campsite in Yongdam (near Jinan, South Jeolla Province...click here to see a full post on it) and have also stayed with him the National park in Muju (click here to see the post). Dogs are not allowed (legally) to stay or be in National Parks according to the National Park website, but with a lot of smiling and our broken Korean we were told that he would have to be on lead and kept in the car. I think as long as your dog doesn't terrorise the neighbours and you keep them on lead, you shouldn't have any problems. Shadow just sleeps with us in our tent at night and so no one really notices him.

You might have a problem if your dog is very yappy or barks a lot as people will probably complain. Just keep that in mind and just use your common sense. We like to camp off the beaten track and so haven't had any problems so far with anyone complaining about us. We have also just bought a very long roll of rope to create a kind of extension running lead set up so we can keep an eye on him but Shadow can still move around. 

CampingWithADogInKorea

Overall, camping in general is really fun and being able to do that with your canine companion just makes it even more so.

I hope I inspire you to try out camping with your pooch.

If you come across or know of any great camping spots that are dog friendly, please leave me a comment below!

Camping in Korea - Namhae Island

Camping On Namhae Island, Korea. Camping on the beach in Korea

Four weekends of camping in a row, I didn't know I had it in me! We spent 2 weeks in Jinan at Yongdam (click here to find about more about this dog friendly camp site), a long weekend in Gangwon Province (click here) and then this, our last camping spot on a secluded beach on Namhae Island, on the Southern Coast of South Korea. 

Namhae is an island off Korea that you can reach without a ferry, something that is quite important to bear in mind if your are traveling over a long weekend and haven't booked ferry tickets in advance. It only took us 2 hours to get to from our home in Buan (a small town near the South West coast of Korea). Namhae Island has quite a lot of interesting attractions (which we did our best to avoid due to the large crowds) like the German Village; an odd settlement of houses along the coast built to welcome home the Korean families (and their German spouses) who had moved to Germany in search of work in the 1960's. 

Namhae is also very famous for it's rice terraces (although rice is farmed all over Korea it seems that Namhae is one of the few places that farms on terraces) and these terraces made an interesting contrast to the ocean views. The canola (or Rape Seed as it is called here in Korea) fields were still out in full bloom and also made for a pretty photo stop on our drive around the island.

I can't tell you exactly where we ended up camping, but i can say that it took us nearly 4 hours to find. We ended up driving up a tiny forest road, parking at the top of a very steep hill and then having to bundu (bush) bash through a forest and along a path that had not been used in years to get to this gorgeous stretch of quiet beach. We were alone, apart from a few early morning fisherman and hikers and had the beach to ourselves the entire time. 

Food is always a challenge with camping, unless you are able to bring along a fridge (something we would never be able to fit in our little red Matiz) and so one has to do quite a bit of planning. We only ended up camping on Namhae for one night (although we had planned for two).

Here is the menu we planned and prepared for:

DAY 1

  • Breakfast: coffee/tea and digestive biscuits
  • Lunch: bologniase mince wraps with salad
  • Snacks: store bought popcorn 
  • Dinner: pre-cooked sausages/vienna sausages, sweet potatoes fire roasted with garlic & spices
  • Dessert: s'mores (& wine!)

Day 2

  • Breakfast: coffee, tea and digestive biscuits
  • Lunch: tuna wraps with salad
  • Dinner: Left over mince, sweet potatoes and sausages
  • Dessert: s'mores (& wine!)

We spent the weekend on Namhae Island over Buddha's Birthday, one of the many long weekends here in Korea but what we hadn't realised is that it was also the famous Namhae Beef & Garlic festival. As we drive around the island we were greeted wit the warm smiles of of garlic farmers going about the business, reaping (is that even the right word?? must ask farmer husband) garlic. I have never seen so much garlic in all my life. We also managed to buy a small bunch/pocket/posie??? of garlic from a gaggle of adjumma's on the side of the road. They were full of smiles as we we drove away with our prized garlic in tow. 

The first picture below is of the famous Silver Sands beach, which we avoided at all costs as it seemed like the whole of Korea had gathered to camp there. We prefer to stay away from all the noise and chaos of the traditional camp grounds here in Korea and were so happy to finally find our secret spot after many hours of driving and searching. 

You can technically camp anywhere in Korea, as long as you clean up after yourself. We have on occasion when we have been able to find a land owner, asked permission to camp and have so far been greeted with a warm welcome (even with our pup!). 

Have you been camping here in Korea? Do you have any recommendations of places to stay? Please leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

Camping in Korea - Hwacheon, Gangwon Province

Camping in Korea, Hwacheon Gangwon-do, RIver bed camping in Korea

After a very successful camping trip with our pooch to Yongdam (click here to read more about this dog friendly camp site near Jinan) Farmboy and I, #ShadowTheJindo & our fellow SA friend and blogger Jenna (who blogs over at Komodoness) set off in search of adventure in Gangwon-do. It was a rather long, 8 hour drive to get there and so we broke up the trip with our first stop on a random gold course near Wonju. We left on the thursday after school and arrived at 10pm, and so we just set up camp in a very random place. It has been our experience that you can camp anywhere in Korea (we have camped on abandoned tennis courts, closed off roads and museum gardens) as long as you clean up after yourself. We did feel rather nervous about the golf course though, as it seemed very fancy, needless to say we packed up at first light and beetled out of Wonju and further up north to Hwacheon in search of a better site for the next 2 nights.

Before we set out we had looked on google and Naver maps and had found a load of great looking camp sites. We drove to a lot of them but didn't stay at them as they were very much the Korean set up on either gravel roads, or with tents right ontop of each other. We had something very particular in mind; a river/stream, shade and a whole lot of nothing else. After another 5 ours of driving we finally came across a stream and river bed with a very friendly looking farmer overlooking his crops. As it looked like he was the closest authority in the area, Farmboy used his Korean skills and asked the farmer is it was okay to camp on his stretch of the river. He was so friendly! With a big smile we told us that we could camp there for as long we wanted to. I wish I had gotten a photograph of him (note to self...take more photographs of the delightful people we encounter along our travels).

Bear in mind when looking for a camping spot, those neglected gravel roads are usually where the best spots are. Don't be afraid to go off-road a little. Our car has done some serious off-roading and hasn't failed us yet! 

Camping is never complete without a roaring fire. Luckily I married a farm boy who knows exactly how to make the perfect fire.

And then there's the food. Camping for 1 day is easy, but when you camp for 2 or more days there's lots to prepare and of course you have to figure out a way to keep everything cool. For this trip, we went to our local Baskins & Robbins ice cream shop and asked very nicely if we could buy some dry ice (our town is so small we know the manager by name and he was very kind to give us a huge chunk free of charge). The dry ice kept everything cold for 3 and a half days!

We are still working on the perfect menu, but here is a rough idea for 3.5 days worth of meals, from the thursday night dinner (it was a long weekend and we had dinner at one of the rest stops along the way) to the Sunday afternoon:

Day 1

  • Breakfast: homemade granola bars, coffee, tea and digestive biscuits
  • Lunch: tuna wraps with salad
  • Snacks: store bought popcorn
  • Dinner: pre-cooked sausages/viennas, samgyupsal cooked on the fire with a grill plate with kimchi, garlic, lettuce & onion
  • Dessert: s'mores!

Day 2

  • Breakfast: homemade granola bars, coffee, tea and digestive biscuits
  • Lunch: pre-cooked bolognaise wraps with salad
  • Dinner: pre-cooked sausages and fire roasted sweet potatoes
  • Dessert: S'mores!

Day 3

  • Breakfast: coffee, tea and digestive biscuits
  • Lunch: left over Bolognaise mince, wraps & salad

If you make it all the way up to Gangwon Province, the east coast isn't too far a drive for the day and is incredible beautiful. The ocean at Gangneung was incredible blue, and the sand was like powder. It was still a rather windy day with a quite a cold breeze as summer has yet to hit Korea, but it was a great way to spend a few hours.

Can you recommend any great places to camp in Korea? I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below.