Monday, September 17, 2012

Muuido Island: Mud, Huts, and Walking on Water

Last weekend I took a scenic trip to Muuido Island, a two minute ferry ride off of Korea's west coast. Seriously, the island is so close to the mainland they could easily build a bridge, or give visitors inflatable row boats to drift on over, but nope, gotta take the ferry. I suppose it keeps the small island from being completely overrun with fishermen and tourists. I myself went with the Seoul Hiking Group (kind of like Climbing in Korea...with less climbing).

I was bummed when I left Yeoju Saturday morning since the weather wasn't so great, but it turned out that the low temperatures were perfect for Muuido since its beaches aren't really for swimming.

From the edge of the water, looking at the island. There's a small sandy beach then it's all mud. Mmmm squishy.
Though beautiful, the tide drifts in and out over a kilometer, revealing a muddy, snail infested coast, perfect for squishy barefoot treks and clam digging, but not so great for swimming. By the time you hit the ocean when the tide is out, you'd probably have to wade another half a kilometer to reach waist deep water. When the tide does come in, it's up to you whether or not you want to enter the opaque shallow waters and swim with hoards of -insert crustacean and/or slimy sea creature-. In spite of my oh-so-sincere love of crabs, I decided to pass on that experience.

Even if you don't want to swim there's still plenty to do on Muuido: ziplining, ATV riding, hiking, horse back riding, and eating seafood. Or you could really indulge your adventurous side and do what I did: nothing. I spent a blissful 48-ish hours just sitting, relaxing, and taking occasional walks on the beach. The only real variation was Saturday night, when I joined the group to warm up with a bonfire, some wine, and a pair of iPod speakers.

There were a few different sleeping accommodations. I opted for the "beach hut", though "beach box" might be a more appropriate term. When looking to travel cheaply in Korea, most people stay in pensions, which are like hostels, except the rooms have no beds, just blankets and pillows. The hut/box was like a much smaller pension room, sans bathroom (there were relatively decent public bathrooms a few paces away).

Pick a hut, any hut.

My size.
Sleeping on the floor isn't so bad unless you're like me and like to sleep on your side. Then you get to spend a lovely evening with your shoulder jammed awkwardly into your chin. Had it not been so cold out, I probably would have just piled up some sand and slept on the beach. Guess that brings me to Muuido travel tips: bring a sleeping bag and snacks (there is a small convenient store, but it has a limited selection with jacked prices since it's an island).

Sunday morning I took advantage of the low tide and took a quite literal walk around the island. You can walk where there used to be water and get great pictures of the Island's rocky cliffs and shores. When there are no people around the effect is surreal. I'm sure James Cameron could put these rocks to work as some distant planet movie set.

Welcome to planet Muuido. The Muuidians are expecting you.
For extra fun, bring a friend along and have them take a picture of you out on the shore; from far away it looks like you're walking on water:

No man is an island...except this guy. I wasn't exaggerating when I said you have to walk really far to hit water of any actual depth. On another note, there's been no shortage of inspirational scenery lately. Due to a wave of typhoons (unintentional pun, now intended), we've been experiencing some amazing sunsets. Unfortunately I didn't have a real camera on me, just my iPhone, so the color/picture quality isn't great, but I was able to catch this sunset by the river in Yeoju:

I wish this photo captured the atmosphere better, it was like someone plugged in an electric pink light bulb behind the clouds. Speaking of light bulbs, the classy, glowing building to the right is a love motel...can't win them all I suppose. Then this weekend I lucked out when I caught this sunset while riding the subway in Seoul. Who needs Instagram filters when you've got a phone camera that's useless in low light and a tinted train window? Not me:

Keep in mind that's a very, very very small portion of Seoul you're looking at right there.
Well, that's all for FlyLikeaSegal, the sunset addition. Sorry for the delay, I'll try to get out my next post by earlier next week! Stay tuned for baseball in Korea...I hope you like cheering. 

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