A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Geoje island (거제도). It’s located south west of Busan in the Korean strait. Personally, I would not opt to fritter away my free time camping, but when it’s between spending the whole weekend alone or roughing it with friends I would choose the latter.
Geoje is relatively easy to get to, but it is quite time-consuming. We caught a bus from Ulsan terminal that took around 2 hours to reach the island, and from there we hopped in a 15 minute cab to Gujora beach (구조라). All of that travelling made the camping excursion even less appealing. However, I quickly changed my mind once we pitched up. The location was picturesque; our tents looked out past the calm waters to the scattering of smaller islands that hugged the horizon. The beach itself was far cleaner and less crowded than other Korean beaches. We camped at the far end of the beach, away from all of the parasols and picnic benches, this meant that we were a little further from the shops and restaurants, (maybe 15 minutes) but it was much quieter and calmer.
Also, the swimming regulations seemed a lot more relaxed, there was far less ‘sea police’ patrolling the coast, and the general consensus was that you could swim as far out as you desired. There is an array of water sports on offer including the option of renting a kayak. Luckily, an American who was camping in the same spot offered his kayak to us. In pairs we rowed out to the uninhabited island that was located closest to us.
The evening turned out to be even more beautiful than the day. We set a fire going, and later traipsed down to the waters edge which was aglow with bioluminescent plankton. It was so spectacularly tempting that we all plunged in for a midnight swim. Each movement sent the miniature organisms glittering, like a mirror image of the starry sky. Due to the hot sticky days, the water was a pleasant temperature.
On the long return journey the next day, I realised hat Geoje had shattered my aversion to camping.