Learning about Pohang from the seat of my bicycle

There is more to this place than just Pohang “Shi” (City). Pohang is actually a region made up of several towns and townships. Last weekend I rode from Jukdo Market (downtown) to The Cape, just north of월포 Wolpo-ri (Wolpo Beach). I had great company- I randomly met the co-teacher of one of my friends while cycling the previous weekend. “Seabed”owns a Moulton and circumvented Korea on his  bicycle when he was younger. I’m going to dedicate a whole post to this guy and what he told me so let’s get to the ride.

 selfie

Once you leave Yeongildae (Bukbu) and Jangseongdong (JSD) behind, hang a right and this will take you up the coast past a few awesome places:

1,2 &3. Jukcheon-ri, Umok-ri and Yonghan-ri: These small townships offer great photo ops and you can find deserted hanok (traditional Korean houses) and 해녀 (bad-ass old ladies who freedive and collect everything from seaweed to abalone). We also stopped by an old ladies house to take some photos of her and her front room. She told us she lives “혼자” – (forever) alone. At least she has lots of photos on her wall.

boatoldladyfreediver

4. 영일만 Yeongilman: Home to the Pohang Surf School, a Scuba Diving shop where they don’t speak English and the Yeongilman Harbour.

5. 칠포리 Chilpo-ri:   The first decent beach north of Yeongildae- smaller than Bukbu and pretty by Korean standards.

On the way to Odo we were passed by a truck booming out announcements about its wares for sale. Usually you’ll hear “삭와” (apples) or “수박” (watermelon). On this occasion it was the “개” truck. I did a double take because I couldn’t believe my ears. Yep. A dog truck. Lots of little brown maltese poodles in the back.  Seabed explained that the dogs get fed a lot of water before they are sold because it makes the meat more tender. Very surreal.

We also cycled past many rice paddies being planted. Back breaking work, but made better with some makkoli no doubt! Again, idyllic scenery-  great for photos.

ricefield

6. 오도리 Odo -ri: I really like Odo beach. Smaller than Chilpo, good for camping and the water gets deep quickly (unlike Yeongildae where you’re knee deep for 200m). If you don’t want to camp there are a few pensions around. Peace and quiet.

월포 Wolpo-ri: Wolpo is OK. I think Odo is better but is beach has more facilities.

화진리 The Cape: We ended up at The Cape, just north of Wolpo. The owner showed us around and explained that many famous K-Drama stars and politicians often stay at his hotel. As you can expect, it’s decorated to very high specs and each sea view apartment has its own Japanese sauna. The cheapest room costs 150,000 won per night but I’d say it has the nicest, widest, cleanest, wildest beach I’ve seen 30km to either side of Pohang City. This is definitely the place to celebrate anniversaries and Valentine’s Day.

cape

A note on using naver: Search “포항오도리” and click “지도” on the top left hand drop down box. It will bring up a map of the area. Now hover over the bus symbol and all the other search categories will appear. Click on the Bed symbol “숙박” and it will display all the hotels, minibaks and pensions in the area, including the company’s website if it’s been provided. Take the tropical paradise looking cover photos with a pinch of salt though and look at the gallery for the truth.

If you fancy doing the route yourself click here. It’s approx. 60km and takes about 3 hours on a road bike.

If you don’t have a bike:

 Tsk tsk. Get one.

There is a country bus without a number you can take from the Heunghae Transfer Center Stop. You can get to Heunghae by taking bus 100,500, or 107 from Shiwae (stand opposite the bus station). The bus with no number only goes every hour or so… Taking a taxi from JSD is probably easier, or if you continue on the 500 bus or the 510 you can get to Wolpo beach. 

 

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