London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

2018 travel diary 1 – Mallipo out of season

9 – 10 November 2018. The first two nights of this year’s trip were spent on Mallipo beach, Taean-gun, because I liked the place so much when I visited last year. And I still like it. There’s not much more to say, other than it’s far preferable to Busan’s Haeundae beach. Next door to Mallipo is Chollipo beach, alongside which is planted the famous arboretum – well worth a visit at any time of year. Here are a few Mallipo photographs, with brief comments.

Mallipo at night

Many accomplished photographers have captured some great images of the backstreets of Jongno at night. Here’s my own paltry attempt to capture in similar fashion the humbler look of Mallipo as I walked along the beachfront a few hours after landing at Incheon, still adjusting to the timezone.

Beach and surf culture

One of the strangest things about the calm beach at Mallipo is that it has become something of a surfers’ destination. All good business for the surf rental shop, but there’s not much surf to be had in what is now becoming known as 만리포니아 – Korea’s answer to California.

The headland that separates Mallipo from Chollipo is a popular spot for early morning fishing, and has some of the best view of both beaches.

From the headland, which has a disused military guard post, you can see the headland that is the westernmost point on the South Korean mainland (the distant promontory in the below photograph).

Western headlands in Taeangun

And round the corner is Chollipo beach:

Evening entertainment with Lee Yong-bok

Lee Yong-bok and his wife own and run a live music cafe at the south end of Mallipo beach. Lee, who is blind, was a well known signer in the 1970s not least for a song entitled 진달래 먹고 물장구 치고, which gives the name to this café. He plays and sings for his customers lunchtime and evening, and does requests from his back catalogue of songs.

Here is a recent performance of his signature song

And someone filmed one of his sets at his cafe here.


Late afternoon was disappointing, probably due to poor air quality. About one degree above the horizon the sun disappeared into the murk.

Evening barbecue on the beach

The pensions and hotels of Mallipo provide a barbecue service: you provide the meat, they provide the charcoal grill. On the way back from visiting Taean’s rock-carved Buddha Triad (of which more soon) we popped into the supermarket to pick up some rice, pork belly, wrapping leaves, drinks and everything else necessary for a beach-side feast. It being the day before 11/11, Pepero was being heavily marketed in the store. And to complete the Korean experience, Chris and Eunok decided that we should buy some sparklers for playing with on the beach after dinner.

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