Kkotji and Anymyeondo Natural Recreation Forest are in the top 100 places in Korea.
Working at a university has advantages and disadvantages. The one big advantage is vacation time. August 2018 was my first full month of summer vacation that I have had in a long time. My wife, Hyewon and I traveled the states to visit America. My places of employment however scheduled a workshop for the last day of August on a Friday. Hyewon said she would join me, and I the day after we would make a road trip to Taean on the western coast.
We spent the night in Kongju on August 31 and woke up early to go to Taean. It was long ride, but not a lot of traffic. We stopped once to stretch our legs and use the bathroom.
Taean is a country and that is located on the western part of Korea in South Chungcheong Province. Most of the big tourist attractions are located on the coast as most of the coastline is a designated national park in Korea called Taeanhaean National Park. The coast in the national park is about 230km. Public transport would take a much longer time than if we did not drive. One of the most iconic scenes is called Kkotji Beach, which is roughly translated as flower.
We were able to walk to the rock formation and explore. We explored the wildlife which consisted of watching in awe small crabs scurrying under rocks. I wanted to go swimming in the sea, so I let Hyewon explore some more while I went for a dip.
Another famous site in Taean is called Anmyeondo Island. Anmyeondo is a proteced area where there is a one type of pine that only grows there. There is a small entrance fee, but it is worth it. The forest consists of the natural forest, and a well managed garden. Since we visited in summer, the flowers weren’t as colorful, but we were told spring is a better time to visit.
The forest has a sky walkway where we can be higher up and actually see how tall the trees are. There are some cabins that can be rented out and gazebos for resting in.
There are some tiny peaks to make people feel accomplished about hiking a mountain.
In the forest there is a small museum showing things that are made out of various pines from Korea and abroad. The museum has air condition so it was a good break from the heat.
We were hungry after exploring Anmyeondo, we were hungry, so we went out to to seek food. We found a small seafood restaurant. We ordered mussel soup, and raw fish bibimbap.
There was a small seafood market a short drive away. We were able to sample tiny crabs, which turned out to be a good snack on the way back home and various fried seafoods.
There were a couple more sites to see that were still a short drive away. The first one is the biggest tourist beach called Mallipo Beach. It is closer to the main amenities such as hotels, convenient stores, and tourist needs. It is not in the main town of Taean, so even if you take a bus from another city, you would need to get on another bus. The beach was wide, but I don’t think it is that special, unless you lived nearby. Kkotji beach was more interesting.
The last site we visited was Sinduri Sand Dunes which is the largest in Korea. If you have ever visited the Outer Banks, you will be disappointed. However there is wooden foot path to prevent erosion to certain parts of the dunes.
Taean was an amazing place that I can highly recommend with private transportation or a long weekend. It was a great getaway before the semester started. The drive back home to Wonju lasted about 4 hours, because we left in the evening during rush hour. The peak of it was in Dangjin which is also located in South Chungcheong Province, but it borders Gyeonggi province.
Taean and its attractions are in the top 100, but I’ll put it in the middle of the pack because of its difficulty of getting to.