October 3 is a holiday in Korea. It is the National Foundation Day, so most people have this day off. That year it was a Thursday, so I could leave on Wednesday night.
Namhae is the fifth biggest island in Korea and connected by bridge to the mainland. There weren’t any direct buses from Gongju, so I had to go to Daejeon. There are a few direct buses, but the buses all stop in Jinju, which is a more popular route. I took the bus to Jinju which is a bigger town than Namhae. This meant there would be accommodations. I took an evening bus from Daejeon and it took about 2 1/2 hours. A typhoon was passing through part of Korea, which meant the southern area would be hit with a lot of rain. When we reached Jinju, it was pouring. I had to find a place. I found a jjimjilbang.
I woke in the morning and decided to see the fortress which was open to the public for free early in the morning. It was within walking distance from the jjimjilbang and bus terminal.
After visiting in the cool but not hot morning, I got on a bus to Namhae. There are numerous buses to Namhae from Jinju. The bus ride from Jinju to Namhae is really scenic and gorgeous. It was hard to believe there had been a typhoon just last night as the day was clear and so blue.
The bridge connecting Namhae looked similar to a tiny Golden Gate Bridge and fit perfectly in the scene.
The town of Namhae was quite small and the bus terminal was underwhelming, but that was okay. The buses are in Korean, so it would be useful to know the bus schedule when you go in and the exact destination in Korean so you can tell the bus driver. The first place is one of the iconic places in Namhae called Sangju Silver Sand Beach. 상주은모래비치
It took about 20 minutes to go there. When I arrived I was the only person there, but it was the perfect beach. It reminded of the Philippines.
Sangju beach felt like a perfect beach for camping and visiting in the summer. I really wanted to go for a dip but it was too cold and I didn’t have a proper change of clothes.
The next beach I went to was about 2.5 miles are 4km away from Sangju Beach. The beach name is Songjeong Beach. 송정솔바람해변. I wanted to take a bus, but the next bus was for another 90 minutes and there was no where really to wait, so I decided to walk the 4km which was a real treat. At the beach there were surfers, and supposedly there was a place to rent, so that is for next time. This beach had the bigger waves.
After spending some time there, I really wanted to go to get lunch at Oktoberfest! I went to the bus stop. A convenient store was next to it, so I went inside to ask the owner when the next bus would be. Another customer offered to give me a ride as he was a pension owner in the German Village.
I had low expectations for this German Village, but they quickly vanished and exceeded all expectations. The view from the village was spectacular. The homes have been turned into pensions/guesthouses for guests. Oktoberfest was just starting as soon as I arrived and would go on for the two more days after. The first thing I wanted was German food and drink which consisted of a nice bratwurst and a local beer brewed on the island using a German recipe.
There was many types of beer from Germany and local. I highly recommend the local beers brewed on Namhae because it will be difficult to get anywhere else in Korea. The beer and food is expensive and there aren’t many budget friendly eateries so be forewarned. But for beer lovers it is okay for a once in a lifetime experience.
The festival was under a large tent with German style music and yodeling. The Koreans have to learn German to be able to host it, so it felt really authentic. Everyone was there to have a good time and let go of their stresses.
I stayed and enjoyed the festivities for a few more hours. I walked around, and slowly sipped the beer, while also enjoying the surroundings.I even tried garlic ice cream. Garlic is a local produce in Namhae.
I had to make my way back to the bus terminal to catch the last bus to Daejeon and eventually make the three hour plus journey back to Gongju.
Namhae is definitely in the top 100. On my list it is in the top 10. It isn’t the easiest to reach, but it is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I would go back in an instant when I have more free time.