Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pohang Camping: Chilpo Beach

Camping at Chilpo Beach near Pohang

Pohang isn't the most bike friendly place in the world, but it does have a few nice cycle paths around the city. One of them follows the canal past Posco, along the docks, past the main beach and downtown area, and if you continue around the headland eventually curves inland toward Jangsangdong, near where we lived. From there, the cycle path heads back toward the coast and about a 45 minute ride later will take you to Chilpo Beach.

The cycle path meets up with the coastal path here and you can actually go much farther, up to the next nice beach, Wolpo, and then on to the fishing villages and more beaches farther north.

Everything I need for camping strapped on my trusty mama-chari

Anna and Will ready to hit the road

Last summer we spent several weekends cycling out to Chilpo and camping on the beach. It's completely free to camp there and we often met up with friends and had a BBQ. There are a few shops at the beach where you can buy some basic camping supplies and food/booze, as well as a hotel and some more official campgrounds in the pine forests that give the beach its name (chilpo means pine tree beach in Korean.)

Camping with some friends at Chilpo

Mmm, BBQ....

Anna spending her non-working hours productively

In the early summer/late spring, you can have the beach all to yourself

In the summer there is a music festival here that draws out a pretty big crowd. We accidentally camped there one weekend during the festival, and the beach was crowded. But not many other people actually camped on the beach, so in the evening it was a bit quieter and we had some space to ourselves. The music was trying to be patriotic and came out sounding a bit melodramatic, but the beach was great and we had fun swimming and barbecuing. From around July onward, there will be food stalls on the beach selling things like hot dogs, grilled seafood, beer, etc.

I definitely recommend cycling or driving out there over taking the bus, which only runs in the summer and even then runs pretty infrequently. But it is possible to go by bus. If you do, catch the 510 that has a sign saying "Chilpo" on the front (in Korean). If it doesn't have the Chilpo sign, it's just headed straight to Bogyeongsa and doesn't pass by the beach. You can catch the 510 by the shiway (intercity) bus terminal or in front of the Jukdo Market stop downtown.

Getting into the Korean summer-time fashion

Not a bad view to wake up to

If you plan to cycle, the cycle path becomes part of the road once you get closer to Chilpo; you might want to check the route by road on Google Maps or Naver before you go so you don't get lost. There are a couple of big-ish hills on the way, but I was out of shape and managed to make it there, so it isn't too bad.

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