Naksan Beach

Despite the gloomy skies we decided to attempt some beach-going while we were near the coast in Sokcho. I had researched beaches with waves, and Naksan showed up as the closest beach to Seoul with waves. We hopped on a bus and remained vigilant of the street signs (some of them are in English and Korean) so we could figure out when to get off (because all the bus announcements are only in Korean). Austin won the game and saw the sign for the Naksan temple so we hopped off the bus and headed for the beach. It was another misty morning with intermittent rainfall, but we decided to at least see the beach before deciding on the rest of our plans. Landon enjoyed walking up and down stairs and ramps near the beach front board walk as we waited out a few little rain storms. We waited for the convenience stores to open (5 7-11s just in Naksan that we counted!) so that I could buy Landon some sand toys. Somehow in our travels from Seoul we lost his sand bucket that he got from Ikea. At least it was just from Ikea.

We buried Landon in the sand. He was slightly amused.
The family on a rainy beach day

The beach itself was very long and for some reason the slope from sand to water was very steep so that even though there were waves, they broke right on the sand- not great for body surfing. We played with the sand toys for awhile until Landon started throwing a fit, then decided to take a break and check out the Naksana Buddhist temple that is unique in that it is built right into the cliffs overlooking the ocean. We hiked up to the entrance, and appreciated all of the different buildings and pavilions that dotted the cliffs. Some of the railings were spaced too wide for our liking right on the edge of the ocean cliffs, so Landon spent a lot of time riding on our backs. A nice Korean family gave Landon some yummy chocolate cookies to snack on, and he had more snack from us to keep him happy.

Near the entrance of Naksan temple

A Buddhist monk meditated in a cave near this little building and they put a hole in the floor of the building so you can look down into where the guy meditated

Landon is too interested in the ocean to look

Sleeping baby at the top of the mountain

Sleeping baby near the main worship building

Pond with pretty lotus flowers

Not far into our explorations, Landon sacked out while on my back, so I carried him up to the main worship halls and the big statue on top- which were the highest points on the cliff. It was a major workout, and made me think of all the extra weight I carried during my pregnancy, although it is much more awkward to carry a person once they are not inside you!

“Restroom for untying worries”

The temple complex was first built in 671 AD and has obviously been expanded and renovated since then. Most of the buildings were destroyed by forest fire in 2005, so many of them looked new. The statue on top of the mountain has a really long name that I don’t want to type, but is the biggest statue of its kind in Korea. The top of the mountain was really peaceful, looking out to the mountains on one side and the sea on the other- and was made more peaceful by the fact that Landon was sleeping the whole time we were up there! We enjoyed Popsicles (because suddenly it was sunny and hot) and then hiked back down. We were hungry for lunch, and there was a cute little stand outside the temple complex selling these fried scone pancake things. They had cinnamon, sugar and nuts in the middle of a pancake of dough, and then they were fried for a few moments to cook the dough. They were seriously yummy and only a dollar each!

Yummy pancakes!

Landon was not as much a fan of the water as he normally is. He was actually scared of the waves and not thrilled that I took him out in the water. It was a little cold, maybe we will try with warmer water next time.

There were swing sets dotting the beach and Landon liked swinging with mom or dad!

After the temple, Landon woke up and we decided to give the beach another go since it was more sunny and warm. I ventured into the water for a little bit, catching some waves (which basically meant diving directly into sand) while Austin and Landon made a sand fort. Landon likes to sit in little holes in the sand and use his shovels to move sand around. Landon also likes to watch boats, and at this point, there were speedboats on the beach. If you paid the drivers, they would take you on a wild ride out in the ocean for a few moments. The climax of the whole ride was the full throttle burst of speed up onto the sand, which I thought had to be bad for the boats, but whatever. Landon liked watching them, and really wanted to go for a ride. I didn’t want to pay for it, and get a whiplash and have Landon fall overboard while they made the crazy sharp turns that they were making.

In all, it ended up being a good day. I think after the slightly rainy morning, Austin was skeptical of it, but it was a fun day at the beach! I wish every day could be beach day!

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