The Chaeseokgang Cliffs are located in the west of Korea, on the coast of the Yellow Sea just on the other side of Byeonsan National Park in the Jeollabuk-do region. Its name was derived from a myth. As the Korean Tourism site explains:
“The origin of the name comes from China, from the story of Lee Tae-Baek, while drinking wine on a ship, he saw the moon reflected in the river and jumped into the water to grab it. The name Chaeseokgang was adapted as it resembles the Chinese equivalent of this location.”
As I mentioned in a previous post, I planned on going hiking in Byeonsan National Park back in early March of 2012. That didn’t quite work out. My failure to reach Byeonsan led me to visit Gyeokpo and the Chaeseokgang Cliffs.
In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t visit Beyonsan that day. I couldn’t have picked a better day to visit the Cliffs. I stepped off the bus and started wandering around in search of the Cliffs. The area reminded me a bit of Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. The entire town was quiet and virtually deserted except for the occasional shopkeeper.
By the time I arrived at the beach, a light drizzle had begun to fall and the clouds had darkened considerably. Virtually no one was on the beach as well, save for a few couples and a family, who eventually left as the drizzle turned into a brief shower. But the rain didn’t last, which made it possible for me to start taking pictures.
The Cliffs are breathtakingly surreal. The ocean has patiently and meticulously carved the Cliffs over the course of centuries, stratifying them and forming them into abstract and imposing shapes. The best part is just walking along them by the ocean, seeing how far you can go before having to turn back. I made it to an area where the lighthouse stands. The waves became a bit too strong to go any further.
If you find yourself in the area, I definitely recommend going. I am sure it is also amazing to visit it in the summer, but I think this is a place best visited on a miserable rainy day.
Getting there: You want a bus that goes directly to Gyokpo, which is a beach town where the Cliffs are located. You can also stop at the Buan intercity bus station and continue on a bus that goes directly there. A ticket shouldn’t cost more than 6,000 won, if that. The bus station is fully stocked with snacks and drinks, so don’t worry about any of that unless you know you can find it cheap elsewhere. I have included a picture of the bus timetable at the station, but I cannot say it is still accurate. Many stations in Korea have a tendency to make handwritten changes to schedules.