The Great Korean Road Trip – Day 12 – Chuam Beach

Day 12 made up for Day 11’s blah-ness with a duo of highlights. First, to pick up where day 11 ended…

Sleeping through in a rest stop is not as bad as it sounds. Donghae Rest Stop boasts its wonderful view of the ocean. After taking in the morning sights, I headed to a Daegeumgul, or Daegeum Cave, a famous sight in neighboring Samcheok. I visited Samcheok about 8 years ago but this particular cave was sold out for the day and I settled for Hwanseon Cave. It was interesting, but I wasn’t a fan of how much colorful lighting they put inside to make it “prettier.” Daegeumgul was very different. After pleading for a ticket (you really should make reservations), I was able to get in and it lived up to the hype. A 4 meter powerful waterfall sits upon the entrance and that’s just the beginning of the highlights. For those that don’t know, caves are classified either as dry or wet depending on whether there is water still sipping through. In addition, wet caves can either be just dripping water, or actually have bodies of water flowing through. This is the latter with tons of small and large lakes along with the before mentioned waterfall. As much as I would have liked a picture, photography is not allowed within the cave itself. It is probably for the best because the wet nature of this cave would make pictures dangerous.

The beginning of the monorail to the cave.

As cool as that cave was, I think my favorite thing was finally finding an awesome beach along the east coast. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed every beach I have visited so far, but Chuam Beach in Donghae is my favorite. Busy enough to be considered lively, yet not unbearably busy to the point of being uncomfortable (looking at you Haeundae). Secluded enough to be considered a find, yet literally 100 meters from a train station. Chuam has beautifully clear water, just right waves, enough restaurants and conveniences, but not too much to make it seem too artificial. What’s best, and my biggest beach pet peeve, there is PLENTY of free parking. Yeah, maybe that one is just personal, but Gangneung has me twitching after a bit. In any case, the views are as lovely as the water. If you fancy waking up in the morning, to the tune of 5am, the sunrise is one of those spectacles to see in Korea. I guess this is why the catch phrase for this city is Lovely Donghae. Until next time.

Julio Moreno
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