I looked up some photos online before I came to Jeongdongjin. I remember thinking that the beach looked beautiful, but I’m sure it’s more underwhelming in person. Surely these photographs have been adjusted to make the reality of the place seem more appealing.
What you see in the picture above is what you get. Crystal blue water. Light sandy beaches. Quaint seaside town with so many delicious seafood dishes to choose from. And if you arrive in May (before swimming season begins in Korea), you will find that you have lovely beaches largely to yourself.
Arriving to Jeongdongjin via bus and taxi, we checked into our hotel on the hill with the lovely view, but quickly walked to the beach below before it got dark. As the sun set, we found ourselves pretty much alone on the beach, with the exception of a few families. Had we arrived one month later, we’d probably be lucky to find a place big enough to fit a beach towel.
We had no trouble finding food, there being so many beach-side seafood restaurants competing for business. We decided on Haemultang, a spicy red-pepper-based soup containing an assortment of fresh seafood. Being by the ocean, this was the perfect chance to get the freshest crab, fish, clams, and so on. A very delicious soup, but the spice level was so high that I had to throw in the towel.
Jeongdongjin is a place famous for its sunrise view. So, on the second day, I pried myself out of bed to catch the sun coming up. Our hotel, called Goodstay Davinci Hotel, had a small balcony with an ocean-side view, perfect for seeing the sunrise. Waking up to the quiet peacefulness of early morning was well worth it. My photograph will never do it justice. If you go to Jeongdongjin, wake up early and see for yourself.
Should you venture in that direction during New Years Eve, you can attend the Jeongdongjin Sunrise Festival.
After sunrise, we walked back down the hill towards the beach. The beach area and the little town are all walkable areas. If you want to venture out further, you should consider grabbing a taxi. Buses run, but infrequently.
Next on the to-eat list was more seafood. Again, seafood is a must, and is likely the majority of restaurants you will find in Jeongdongjin. I found a menu item I had never seen anywhere else: samgyetang, or ginseng chicken soup, with abalone. Besides the large abalone resting on top, everything else is standard samgyetang.
From our hotel, we could see this well-known hotel, Sun Cruise Resort. We were told that at the top was a 360 degree rotating cafe. Being that, unlike in the rest of Korea, we were largely unable to find any coffee shops at all, it was time for a caffeine fix.
I would be lying to you if I said I enjoyed the whole experience. I didn’t. The rotating view of the outside would be beautiful without the rotating part. It was making me dizzy, so I had to concentrate on not looking out the windows. The iced coffees we ordered were $9 each. NINE DOLLARS EACH. WE PAID EIGHTEEN DOLLARS FOR TWO COFFEES.
The following day, the sun was beckoning us outside. There are many gardens and terraces to get awesome views on the property of Sun Cruise Resort, so we spent the day walking around and taking photos.
If you are living in or traveling through South Korea, do not skip Jeongdongjin. With clean, uncrowded beaches (before mid-June), crystal blue waters, and fresh seafood, you won’t be sorry you made the trek.