A Beach Getaway To Hamdeok on Jeju Island
I love living in Seoul, Korea. There is so much to see and do from morning until night. From the artistic adventures to the foodie delights and more, there really is something for everyone but sometimes, I just NEED to get away. Yes, I did just return from three weeks in the States, but I came back to the worst of the summer monsoon season here. The muggy air doesn’t allow one to breathe fully and the temperatures are honestly just too to bare. The humidity is beyond and so with that, I called up my friend Shelley from Travel Stained and we decided to take a little mommy/daughter vacation to Jeju for a couple of days. It may be high season, but it’s ten degrees cooler and there are beaches… BEACHES!
Having been to Jeju a couple times already and having done the hike up Halla Mountain, visited the beautiful Jeongbang Waterfall that falls right into the ocean, biked around nearby Gapa Island, and learned about legends of Jeju in the grotto of Sanbang Mountain, I was ready for something different. Of course, with two toddlers, this trip would be a bit slower paced too so with that we opted to head to Hamdeok Beach (함덕해수욕장) on the north side of the island and not terribly far from the airport. After a 40 minute taxi ride, we were looking at the quiet sprawling end of Hamdeok Beach (함덕해수욕장) and decided it was the perfect place to take it easy for a couple days.
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The thing about Hamdeok Beach is that if you arrive in the evening, you’re likely to think that there isn’t much of a beach.. or beaches in the area but that’s because the tide has come in and covered it up on the western end.
In the morning the tide goes out and you’re left with an amazingly huge sand bar with plenty of space for people to spread out, tide pools for little ones to play in safely and rocks to hunt around for crabs and other shellfish.
Hamdeok has three small beaches that don’t get taken over by the tide in the evening and the two to the east are the most popular by far. If you come in on that end of Hamdeok, you’re likely to think it’s too busy and want to leave during high season. I’d tell you to keep walking west and you’ll like what you see though. If you want your own space, go as far west as you can. That’s just what we did and it was spectacular. We had no problems with crowds, found our own little area to chill out with black lava rocks behind us, soft sand in front of us and beautiful blue water everywhere.
In the center of all the beach action, there is also the popular Cafe Delmoondo that serves up some coffee drinks and delightful pastry treats along with their gorgeous views of the surrounding area it’s a must see. Whoever bought up this land and put in a cafe was brilliant. There is indoor seating with air-con and outdoor seating on a wrap around terrace. There’s also a private area with beach access that you can rent by the hour. There are sunning seats and chairs and you can swim and enjoy the more private water here. This place was pretty happening during our stay, but we still walked in and found a seat easily. During low season, this cafe would be pretty desolate and perfect for a little sit and gabbing session by the beach.
Walk past the cafe and there is an arched bridge that connects to a small island where some beautiful pictures can be taken in the evening with the setting sun. But, also if you’re into water sports, this is where to rent kayaks and get all kinds of fun water sport gear for the day. There is plenty to see and explore in this little area with or without kids so take some time and see what you can find. There is a beautiful mosaic boardwalk which wraps around the western end where the water comes highest at night and here is where you can find a lot of restaurants lining the road as well. We checked out Burger 307 for lunch which has a cool island relaxed vibe inside with mismatched tables and chairs and bean bags to sit on. The burgers were good and the skinny fries perfect. We also checked out 대촌회미락, a fish restaurant, near our hotel one evening for dinner. We got cooked fillets since we had toddlers with us, but they also have a lot of huge hoe, raw fish, platters. The fillets were so big and so delicious though. This restaurant was one of the busier ones as the night progressed, which in Korea means good things, but we got there around 6 and got a table before all of the beach bums started wandering in a bit later.
For our stay, we found some great rooms with great rates at Co-op City Hotel Jeju Beach. We got one room with an ocean view and one room on the backside and both were great. The one with the ocean view came with a balcony, while the one on the backside with the mountain view had more space on the interior. The beds were comfortable and the decor not too fussy. It was a simple chic spot to rest for the night and not break the bank. I’d definitely stay there again.
Co-op City Hotel Jeju Beach also has a rooftop terrace which is NOT to be missed for some excellent views of the seaside from above. The only thing that we thought could be improved about the hotel, was the complimentary breakfast. The Korean selections were okay, but the bread and fruit was really wanting. Other than that though, it was a spot on location with steps right down to the large sand bar in front. If I wanted another quick beach stay, I’d definitely head to Hamdeok and this hotel again. The staff was great, the cleaning services nice and we had everything we needed in the building.
For a quick weekend away vacay, I would highly recommend visiting Hamdeok Beach.
Often on Jeju, there is an issue if you don’t have a car to get around because the island is pretty huge. For our stay, we just got a taxi in and a taxi out and it cost less than W20,000 each way. Everything we could have asked for was in the area, so we didn’t need to go far to have a good time. Next time I head to Jeju, I’ll have to get to the more eastern and western ends as now I’ve visited the north and the south. Any recommendations for the eastern or western ends and natural beauty to check out?
Hamdeok Beach (함덕해수욕장)
Address: 1008 Hamdeok-ri Jocheon-eup, Jeju, Korea
제주특별자치도 제주시 조천읍 함덕리 1008
Amenities: restrooms, parking, ocean sport gear rental, umbrella rental, dressing rooms, shower rooms, camping site
Co-op City Hotel Jeju Beach (코업시티호텔 제주비치)
Address: 1010 Hamdok-ri, Jocheon-eup, Jeju, Korea
제주특별자치도 제주시 조천읍 함덕리 1010
Amenities: Wifi, housekeeping, elevator, breakfast, cafe, restaurant, parking, convenience store
Burger 307 (버거307 제주함덕점)
Address: 제주특별자치도 제주시 조천읍 함덕리 1269-19
Days & Hours: Every day 10:00am ~ 1:00pm
Address: 1252-40 Hamdeok-ri Jocheon-eup, Jeju, Korea
제주특별자치도 제주시 조천읍 함덕리 1252-40
Days & Hours: Every day, 9:00am ~ 10:30pm
Cafe Delmoondo (델문도 제주 카페)
Address: 519-10 Johamhaean-ro, Jocheon-eup, Jeju, Korea
제주시 조천읍 조함해안로 519-10, 1층 카페 델문도
Hours: 7:00am ~ Midnight