There are over 300 beaches in Korea, but finding a remote stretch of golden sand not overpopulated with tourists during the holiday season can be more of a challenge. For those seeking more tranquil surroundings this summer, the West Sea boasts a hidden gem in the form of the coastline around Taean in South Chungcheong Province.
An oil spill in December 2007 robbed the area of much of its allure, but several years later the sea and beaches are returning to their former beauty. Taean is home to 32 beaches, more than anywhere else in Korea.
One of the must-visit destinations is "Taebaegil," a recently created ecological path that used to be off-limits to the public. The woodland path can be accessed from the sandy beach and features photos of the oil spill as well as images of the subsequent clean-up.
Meanwhile, an observatory midway along the path offers sweeping views of the West Sea and neighboring islets.
The path winds around to a series of small beaches, where visitors can walk barefoot in the refreshing waters to ease their fatigue and soothe their feet.
Another attraction is Sinduri Beach, with a 5 km stretch costal sand dunes that is lined with resorts which are often stacked full of holidaymakers. The area exhibits unique geographical features and well-preserved vegetation, while wind-sculpted sand dunes nearby add to the scenic beauty.
Galeumee Beach, a popular filming location for dramas and movies, is also well worth a visit as camping is permitted and vacationers can enjoy the lush pine forest and unusual rock formations that surround the beach.
Five information kiosks for tourists will be open until Aug. 19.