Last weekend Sam and I were lucky to visit one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve been to in South Korea yet! Jangho Port, also called the ‘Napoli of Korea’-mostly for the large rock formation and rocky coastline along most of the port-had the clearest water I’ve ever seen.
We saw the most incredible sea life-including a type of starfish specific to Japan and the East Sea. The water was perfect for swimming, the beach was clean and best of all, there was almost no one there!
We also found the area was perfect for snorkeling, and many of the small shops around Jangho also offer clear-bottom kayaking or even dive equipment.
Jangho Port is made up of around 70 families, so it was a tiny town that seems to make most of it’s money from fishing or tourism. Since we were visiting for Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving in October, it was pretty dead and the tourism season was over. We met one other couple (hi Mel and Martin!) who were traveling through Jangho on they’re way to the south.
Mel and Martin shared with us that Jangho Port and Village actually won an award for being the prettiest village in Korea. I can see why the Port received an award, but the village was nothing beautiful. However, it was adorable in a sleepy, off-the-beaten-path Korean village sort of way:
Lodging near Jangho Port
It is NOT difficult to find a place to sleep, but it will be pricey. Off season though we were, we were only able to find a room for 50,000 KRW-which is the highest price we’ve paid in Korea for cheap housing.
And here’s the not-so-great part: There was no bed. There was a stove, a mini fridge, an air conditioner (not necessarily common) and a TV with cable, but no bed. Instead, we were given several comforters to sleep on.
However, our accommodations were clean, and although there were some other hotels in the area (with beds-we checked) other tourists we met told us they were more expensive.
No jimjilbangs or hostels here! Instead, just ask anyone if they have a room to rent out. Most of the restaurants have rooms on the floors above. Just make sure they know you mean ONE night (we had some confusion here) and make sure to see the room before handing over your credit card.
If you’re willing to do a bit of traveling, here’s a list of hotels near Samcheok-and about 10-20 mile radius of Jangho.
Ok, ok. This isn’t the most important piece of information in the world unless, um, you’ve just spent the night on a FLOOR and you desperately need a cup o’ joe to get you feeling like yourself. Coffee here is expensive (as it is most of the time in Korea), and we only saw one coffee shop, so if it’s closed or out of business, you’re out of luck.
We brought our own, which was a life saver.
Getting to Jangho Port
From Seoul, take an Express bus from Express Bus Terminal to Samcheok (삼척). For one adult, the ticket is 17,300 KRW as of 10/2015. The bus will drop you off at the Samcheok Express Bus Terminal after about 3 1/2 hours.
From Samcheok Express Bus Terminal, walk outside and turn right, rounding the corner of the express bus terminal. You’ll walk to the end of the block, cross the street, and take the No. 24 Bus. The bus stop is in front of a large gray motel:
The No. 24 bus will take you to Jangho Port and take about 45 min. Show the bus driver the Korean for Janghohang-장호항-and he’ll drop you off seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Just walk toward the coastline. Do you see lots of boats and a few houses? You’re there.
Here’s Visit Korea’s website about Jangho Port, but we found some of the information to be wrong (like how long the bus ride will take). However, the pictures give you an idea about the port and there are other activities listed on that site that we didn’t try (like deep sea fishing!)