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:


  • 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!