The most famous of Korea’s east coast beaches, Gyeongpo Beach is also one of the most crowded, at least in summer, when the place can be wall-to-wall people (or wall-to-wall beach umbrellas, as it were). Fine white sand, backed up by verdant pine forests, extends up and down the coast for about 6 km. There’s plenty of motor-boating opportunities at the beach, too – just look for the boats (30,000 won for a short trip). Also along the beach is a strip of motels and restaurants – sort of like Miami Beach, just with less Art Deco and more love motels and raw fish joints.
Right behind the beach, Gyeongpoho Lake was originally a narrow-necked bay but sand and rock carried in by the tides eventually blocked it up, creating a shallow, placid lake. Its name means “clear like a mirror,” a reference to the stillness of its waters in contrast to the choppy water of the sea. Originally the lake was a full 12 km in circumference but, thanks to silting over the years, it is now just 4 km. In the center of the lake is a small rock island with a single Korean pagoda – it seems to be a popular resting place for birds. The lake is especially pretty in spring when the cherry trees that ring it are in full bloom.
On a hill overlooking the lake is Gyeongpodae, a handsome Korean pavilion with a fine view of the surroundings. It is famously said that from this pavilion, you can see “five moons” simultaneously: one in the sky, one reflected in the sea, one reflected in the lake, one reflected in your wine glass and the one reflected in your lover’s eyes.
Take the bus No. 202 from Gangneung Express Terminal and get off at Gyeongpo Beach. The trip takes about 20 minutes.
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