Why Naksan Beach is Korea’s Perfect Beach Getaway (2020)

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The east coast of Korea is renowned for its great beaches, and Naksan Beach is no exception. If you’re wanting to get away from the city and disconnect from the chaos of it all, Naksan Beach is the perfect answer.

Here’s my complete guide to Naksan Beach including Naksansa Temple, where to stay, and how to get there!

Why Naksaon Beach Korea is the best beach in Korea
Naksan Beach in Korea

Psst… Planning your trip to Korea? Check out my other posts!

Why you will LOVE Naksan Beach

Situated in Gangwon-do Province, between Sokcho and Yangyang Beach in South Korea, lies the small town of Naksan.

It’s a seaside village with a close-knit, friendly community and a cheerful, relaxed atmosphere.

There are no skyrise buildings, no highways, and no shopping centers. Everything is within walking distance so there’s no traffic either.

People come here for two reasons – to laze on the beach, and to visit the beautiful Naksansa Temple which is located right on the edge of a cliff, overlooking Naksan Beach.

I wanted an escape, and I that’s what I got.

If you’re looking for activities a bit closer to Seoul, check out Nami Island and Gangchon Rail Park. Whilst they are both popular destinations, with lots of tourists, they provide a fun weekend getaway from the capital city.

Naksan Beach relaxation
After 6pm the beaches are empty!

6 things to do in Naksan Beach

1) Beaching

People flock to Naksan for one thing, and one thing alone. The beach.

Naksan Beach is a long sandy beach that stretches over 4 km. The beach is lined with pine trees and a boardwalk with many swings and other quirky sculptures. The water is clean and refreshing with many families laughing and playing together.

I visited Naksan Beach during our summer vacation, and yes, it was busy. However, the beaches of Busan and Jeju Island attract far greater crowds and Naksan Beach is one of the quieter beaches on the east coast.

Unfortunately the beaches in Korea are nothing like that of the Philippines or Bali so don’t expect a tropical island vibe. However, Naksan Beach is definitely one of the better ones in Korea with soft sand, clear water and great facilities.

If you’re looking for other beaches in Korea, don’t miss Daecheon Beach which is home to the Boryeong Mud Festival. This annual festival is a must for all tourists traveling to Korea in July.

Enjoying the warm weather and chilly sea!
Enjoying the warm weather and chilly sea!

Surfing in Naksan Beach

I never had any expectations for surfing in Korea but I’d read that Yangyang Beach and Naksan Beach are among the favorite surfing spots.

Trust me. They are not! There are no waves. If anything, Naksan Beach is like one big lake.

2) Visit Naksansa Temple

Located to the north of Naksan Beach lies Naksansa Temple. This Buddhist temple sits on a cliff with views overlooking the sea and the town of Naksan and Yangyang Beach.

Unlike other temples in Korea, Naksansa Temple isn’t as crowded and you’re able to move around without being pushed aside by other tourists.

You can enter Naksansa Temple from either the beach where you walk up the road leading towards the cliff. Alternatively, you can enter at the main gate which is just off the main road.

The entrance fee for Naksansa Temple is 3 000 won ($3) per person and it’s open from 6:00 am-8:30 pm.

Ocean views from Naksansa Temple
Ocean views from Naksansa Temple
Naksansa Temple
Naksansa Temple

3) Spend the day at Seoraksan National Park

Arguably the most famous National Park in Korea, Seoraksan National Park lies just a few kilometers away from Naksan Beach and Naksansa Temple. Here you can spend the day exploring the forests and hiking the numerous trails.

Seoraksan National Park gets extremely busy and the bus trip alone could take double the time due to traffic. Try to get to the mountain early to avoid the crowds, and the heat – especially in summer!

How to get to Seoraksan National Park from Naksan Beach

From Naksan Beach, take bus 9 or 9-1 towards Sokcho.

After about 15 minutes you will reach the turn-off to Seoraksan National Park. Here you need to change your bus.

Cross to the other side of the road and get on bus 7 or 7-1 which will take you directly to the entrance of Seoraksan National Park.

Seoraksan National Park is a short bus drive away from Naksan Beach
Seoraksan National Park is a short bus drive away from Naksan Beach

4) Can’t forget about the food

Naksan Beach is a seafood lovers dream!

The strip along the beachfront boast many seafood restaurants offering the biggest mussels and crayfish I’ve ever seen.

There’s also a wide variety of Korean BBQ restaurants, as well as Chicken and Beer, burgers and fries and many other mouth-watering foods to keep your tastes buds satisfied.

Check out this post on why I absolutely LOVE a Korean BBQ!

Enjoying one of many Korean BBQ's we had in Naksan
Enjoying one of the many Korean BBQ’s we had in Naksan

5) Watch a concert on Naksan Beach

On my first night in Naksan, there was a stage set up on the beach with a song and dance performance.

People from the audience were invited to join on stage and there were children dancing and singing.

This just added to that happy, relaxed atmosphere I mentioned earlier.

Quirky sculptures around Naksan Beach
Quirky sculptures around Naksan Beach

6) Enjoy the other festive activities

Naksan Beach has other activities such as a baseball batting cage and a carnival area where you can ride a Viking Ship.

There’s also a market on the road parallel to the beach with activities for children as well as all kinds of street food and drinks.

Lit up carriages making their way around Naksan Beach, and blaring music whilst they do so!
Lit up carriages making their way around Naksan Beach, and blaring music whilst they do so!

Beaches in Korea

It’s not only the actual beaches in Korea that are different to what I’m used to, but also the customs and culture when visiting these beaches.

If you’re new to Korea, this post will ease you into the culture shock which awaits!

I made a few observations on my trip to Naksan Beach which I never knew prior to living in Korea.

Floaties everywhere: Swimming with floaties (or Lilo’s as we call them in South Africa) is a huge trend in Korea. Back home, no one would dare take an inflatable into the sea as it would end badly for everyone involved.

Bathing suits: Koreans cover their bodies, top to bottom, as protecting their skin is of utmost importance. I stood out like a sore thumb as I was the only person on the whole of Naksan Beach walking around in a bikini!

The beaches in Korea, including Naksan Beach and Yangyang Beach, have official swimming seasons: In 2017, the official beach season for Naksan Beach was 7 July-20 August and you may not go into the water outside of these dates.

No swimming is allowed after 6 pm either. As this closing time approaches, the crowded beach is left deserted.

However, this is my favorite time to be on the beach. It’s cooler and quieter. Grab a few beers and snacks and take advantage of this when you visit Naksan Beach. You may not be able to swim, but you sure can relax in the sand with unspoiled views of the ocean.

Beaches in Korea are lined with hundreds of umbrellas and tents
Beaches in Korea are lined with hundreds of umbrellas and tents

Where to stay in Naksan Beach

I arrived in Naksan Beach with no place to stay! But, after walking from the bus stop towards the beach, I passed numerous pensions and motels which all had rooms available.

I met a lovely Korean women standing outside her motel who offered us accommodation for 50 000 won ($50) per night for a 4-night stay I can speak NO Korean at all! So these negotiations were done via Google Translate, hand signals, and a very poor attempt at putting on a Korean accent! Included was a spacious room with a double bed, balcony, bathroom and a small kitchen.

My motel’s name was in Korean, but here’s how to find it: After getting off the bus, walk toward the 7/11 corner store. Here you turn right and cross over at the first intersection. The motel is to your immediate left.

We were lucky to find this great spot during peak season, so it’s best to pre-book your accommodation. Here are a few options to suit any budget.

  • Budget: La Famille is ideally located a stone’s throw away from Naksan Beach and Naksansa Temple. It’s great value for money!
  • Mid Range: The Suites Hotel Naksan is perfectly situated opposite the beach. It’s a new hotel with top class facilities for an affordable price.
  • Luxury: Naksan Beach Hotel is arguable the best place to stay in Naksan Beach. It’s situated right next to Naksansa Temple with ocean views and luxurious room. This place sells out fast!
Accommodation in Naksan Beach
There are scores of motels around Naksan Beach

How to get from Seoul to Naksan Beach

There are two ways to get from Seoul to Naksan Beach. Either via Sokcho or Yangyang.

I chose the Yangyang route as I’d heard it was an easier and faster one. This bus cost around 16 000 won ($16) one way.

Seoul to Yangyang Bus Terminal: From Seoul Express Bus Terminal take the bus to Yangyang Bus Terminal.

Yangyang Bus Terminal to Naksan Beach: Once you reach Yangyang Bus Terminal, walk out of the terminal and turn to your right. The local bus stop is directly outside the Paris Baguette. Hop onto bus 9 or 9-1 until you arrive at Naksan Beach.

How to get from Seoul to Naksan Beach
After the sun sets, Naksan Beach is left deserted

How long does it take to get from Seoul to Naksan Beach

The bus from Seoul to Yangyang takes 2.5 – 3 hours. This is followed by a 10-minute bus trip on the local bus from Yangyang to Naksan Beach.

Thoughts On Naksan Beach

I was very impressed with Naksan Beach and it truly is a breath of fresh air having come from the rate race in Seoul! I recommend this place to anyone looking for a relaxing beach getaway.

Psst… Planning your trip to Korea? Check out my other posts!

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Naksan Beach in Korea
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