Namhae Island, South Korea’s 5th largest island, lies along the southern coast of the country. About a 2.5-hour drive from Daegu, we picked up our rental car and embarked on our journey. Touted as one of Korea’s grandest landscapes, we were pretty excited to see if the hype was true for ourselves!
Armed with cheap tents and all of the supplies for an epic grill out, we had our hearts set on finding a secluded beach and setting up camp. We’d read numerous blogs detailing amazing experiences on the secluded beaches of Namhae and we were excited to have the same experience.
Unfortunately, after hours of driving and searching, we were unable to find any such thing. The island seems to be fairly well developed and any coastline that isn’t cliff seems to be public or inaccessible. A little disappointed but not totally discouraged, we decided to camp on Namhae’s popular beach campground Sangju Silver Sand Beach instead.
Camping in Korea is a popular pastime, so, during the peak summer months, make sure to arrive early enough to grab a spot! If camping isn’t your thing, there were plenty of cute seaside pensions around the island as well.
Beach drama aside, we had a fabulous weekend exploring Namhae Island. It truly is one of the most beautiful landscapes in South Korea. Rolling green mountains, ocean coastline dotted with small islands, and overall spectacular views make Namhae easy to love!
It truly is one of the most beautiful landscapes in South Korea.
What to do in Namhae
Drive along the coast.
Cruising the coast and taking in the beautiful landscape was one of the highlights of Namhae. Take a road less traveled and see the agricultural side of Korea that isn’t obvious in cities like Daegu.
Go to a Beach.
No seaside weekend is complete without a trip to the beach! We went near the end of spring so the weather wasn’t right for swimming, but we still enjoyed waking up to views of Sangju Silver Sand Beach and walking along others.
Visit Boriam Temple.
The temple is situated up in Geumsan Mountain on a cliff’s edge overlooking stunning views. From the top, you can see Namhae City, the ocean, green forested mountainside and the numerous islands along the coast. Definitely, my favorite Korean temple visit yet, and I’ve been to quite a few!
Hike Geumsan Mountain.
Not only is the view from Boriam Temple breathtaking, but the views all along the ridge of Geumsan are as well. If you have the time and energy, follow one of the hiking trails behind the temple. There is one that takes you past a small Korean restaurant that came recommended from locals on the trail (cash only), and on through to a rocky edge. We made the most of the epic view and couldn’t resist the photo op.
See the Rice Terrace Fields in Daraengi Village.
Daraengi Village’s claim to fame is their picturesque rice terrace fields that scale Mt. Seolheul to a height of nearly 500m. Sloping up the mountainside, the terraces have 108 total steps overlooking the ocean. From an observation deck, you can see the agricultural gem in its entirety.
Visit the American and German Villages.
The American and German Villages offer an interesting look into South Korea’s history. Built to welcome back Koreans who had left the country in the 60’s and 70’s in search of jobs abroad during tough economic times, these villages boast the vibes of their respective countries. If I could recommend one over the other, the German village had a bit more to do. It has many cute cafes, beer gardens and unique restaurants with the same stunning view all of Namhae seems to share.
The American and German Villages offer an interesting look into South Korea’s history.
How to get there
Rent a car from Lotte – The best way to experience the island and actually get there is to rent a car. Lotte offers cheap prices for car rentals in Korea, usually, about 130,000 won for a compact car for the weekend. They have two locations in Daegu, one near Dongdaegu Station and the other near Sangin Station. You can visit their site at www.lotterentacar.net. Don’t forget your International Driver’s Permit!
Get a GPS in English – Make sure you request an English GPS system from the car rental company. Since Google Maps doesn’t work here for road navigation, having one that does and that’s in English came in handy. All of the tourist sites should pull up on your GPS, but the island’s tourist attractions are well signposted too.
The drive will take you about 2.5 hours south of Daegu. Enjoy the beauty that is Namhae! If you’re looking for a great weekend trip outside of the bustling city of Daegu, Namhae Island is a great choice!
Written and photographed by Brittany Varano – Read more from Brittany on www.lifeofbrit.com.