written by: Sandra Stenske
Last weekend we traveled to Namhae Island. It was both exciting and relaxing at the same time.
Namhae Island is the fifth-largest island in the South Korean Sea, and you can see wonderful nature there. Although there are many beautiful beaches in Korea, the coast of Namhae Island is particularly stunning because there are 79 other small islands around it. This sight is undeniably beautiful.
The island is famous for its garlic and rice fields. Likewise, Namhae Island is the ideal place for water activities. Our weekend, therefore, consisted of enjoying nature, interesting views of the rice fields, and lots of fun water activities.
Below you can admire the pictures of our exciting trip to Namhae Island and get an idea of what this beautiful spot in Korea holds, without much tourism but with more relaxation and tradition.
The trip started early in the morning on Saturday. Already at 5 am, we started our journey with a sunrise hike up to Mt. Geumsan.
After about 1 ½ hour, we reached Geumsan Boriam Temple, located at an altitude of approximately 700 m. The view was spectacular!
It is a breathtaking view of the village, the sea, and the many small islands nearby. However, the beauty of the temple itself ties it all together. Even King Taejo spent 100 days in the temple and prayed. This is one of the reasons why the Geumsan Boriam Temple is considered one of the most prestigious prayer spots in all of Korea.
While half of the group climbed the mountain to the temple, the other half already went to the beach to spend the morning hours there and nap.
After our hike, we joined them to relax on the beach and enjoy the sun. Some of us have also already taken the chance to swim, grab a coffee at a nearby café, and eat breakfast.
From the beach, we headed to a fascinating and unique place.
During the modernization of Korea in the 1960s, many Korean citizens were sent to Germany to earn foreign currency. When they returned to Korea, they brought a little of the German culture with them. They built 70 German-style buildings, imported all the materials for these houses, and founded the little German village with white facades, red roofs, and gardens full of flowers.
Together we explored the place, which is popular among tourists. There you can not only, as many expect, buy German beer but also buy sweets popular in Germany or try a delicious Schnitzel, Schweinshaxe, and other German dishes.
It was time to meet our homestay hosts and check into the accommodation. We had the opportunity to stay two nights in Daraengi Village with local families. This village offers a unique experience and is famous for the 108 steps of rice paddies.
Now we had time to freshen up, change clothes, and admire the beautiful view. Just look at this village with its rice paddies and cute little houses. It just seems inviting to have an excellent time here. The villagers were so friendly and welcoming. We stayed with different families, but I’m sure everyone had the same positive experience with their hosts as I did.
In the afternoon, we spent a few hours on the beach. We swam and snorkeled, but my highlight was bare hand fishing. We held a small piece of sea squirt between the stones in the water, and a small fish would bite the sea squirt. Then we pulled the fish out of the water and put them in small containers filled with water. After looking at them, we finally released them back into the sea, of course!
After dinner, there were more activities on the schedule. First, we learned how to play Samulnori. We played the instruments in two groups and had extremely fun. Samulnori was traditionally performed in rice farming villages to ensure and celebrate a good harvest. A kind of Korean rain dance music.
Probably our Samulnori evening was also the reason for all the rain the next day.
But that was no reason for a bad mood because we adjusted the itinerary, we had to postpone kayaking, and further because the rain was a great blessing for the villagers and their rice harvest. So we still enjoyed the rainy day very much.
And right after the Samulnori activity, we got little lanterns and went for a walk through the rice paddies. The village’s mayor showed us some beautiful places, and in the darkness, you can see another form of the beauty of this village. You can hear the waves crashing on the shores when everyone is asleep. Even if you can hardly see anything in the darkness because there are no streetlights, you can feel the beauty of this village.
We spent the second day’s morning in small cafés in the village and went to a nearby restaurant at noon. There we had a fantastic lunch, talked and enjoyed the rainy day.
We already got in the mood for the evening with karaoke during the bus ride.
Since it was still raining when we arrived at Daerangi Village, we moved our game night inside.
No problem: we played some entertaining games!
Not only the youngest among us had a lot of fun. With this group, the game evening went very well, and everyone laughed a lot.
Afterward, we fired up the karaoke machine. Everyone sang loudly into the night.
The following day started with great weather, sunshine, and a delicious breakfast. Also, the breakfast served to us by the villagers over the weekend was traditional Korean and so good that no one wanted to skip breakfast.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that we were served rice grown in the village throughout the weekend. Due to the proximity to the sea, the rice has a unique flavor and tastes saltier than rice from other regions. You should try it!
After breakfast, we packed our bags, checked out of the accommodation, and went straight kayaking. Everyone was super excited and eager for this experience.
For about two hours, we could happily kayak along the coast. A great experience with beautiful views. Namhae Island is ideal for such activities as kayaking.
I hope that all participants enjoyed this weekend as much as I did.
Namhae Island is a beautiful place where you can not only have fun with water activities but also enjoy beautiful nature. Although the island is no longer an insider tip, there is still little tourism here. So this is ideal for a weekend to escape the city hustle and bustle and just unwind.
Likewise, the villages we visited are inhabited by very friendly and welcoming people. You can learn much about Korean culture and life outside the cities.
I can recommend this memorable trip to everyone!