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  • fka
  • Expert Waygook

    • 500

    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« on: June 30, 2020, 10:01:13 am »
I've come across a few announcements about social distancing guidelines and reserving spots on Korean beaches this summer. It doesn't seem like the reservations will be required on every beach, if this is any indication:

https://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AKR/FU_EN_15.jsp?cid=2659250

If you have any more info on this I'd appreciate it as I was planning to go to Yangyang at some point.

However, I'm also really curious about this phrase "opening the beaches", which I've head every year since I came to Korea. How are the beaches otherwise "closed"? Does it mean that there is literally no access to them? Like, what would happen if you walked on one of the 250+ beaches that Visit Korea classifies as closed until July?


Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 10:28:55 am »
I think they mean open for swimming.


  • fka
  • Expert Waygook

    • 500

    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2020, 10:48:59 am »
So you can't swim unless a beach is officially "open"? What would happen if you did?

PS - I know this makes me sound a bit dumb but I've never lived anywhere coastal in Korea and my summer trips to the beach have left me with more questions than answers about Korean beach behavior.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 10:57:07 am by fka »


Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2020, 11:23:30 am »
Technically, no, you're not supposed to go swimming in the sea unless the beach is open because that's the only time they'll have lifeguard staff to look out for you. Also, that's when they mark how far you'll be permitted to swim out to with those rope thingies. It's really more for your protection than anything else, riptides and undertows are problematic here, I think?

I still see people who might wade through the water year round, but they never go farther than calf deep. Not actually swimming.

And no one is really around to prevent anyone from swimming in the sea when the beach is "closed," but, if there were, you could possibly face a fine.


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 1813

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
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Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2020, 12:03:55 pm »
I've swum (actual swimming) at the beach most late Mays, Junes and Septembers for over fifteen years and have had no problems. Koreans are in the water at those times too, but in lesser numbers, notably at Sangju beach on Namhae, Myeongsashimni beach at Wando, a pppular local beach on the Sian peninsula north of Mokpo, a beach whose name i know but temporarily am mentally blocked about near Yeosu, Wahyeon beach on Geoje and several beaches of Jeju.

It's 28-30 C late May so that's when i make my first weekend overnight camping trip to a beach. Early September the water is very warm and the crowds have 90% disappeared.

The ONLY problems i have had swimming and camping at beaches has been during July and August when lifeguards yell at me to stop swimming out, where a bloody coast guard boat was sent to blowhorn demand I turn around (was 100m out in a large shallow bay - could see the bloody bottom!) and officials demand i camp in designated areas only, pointing at the sardine can of packed tenting area. Here's hoping social distancing will excuse me not pitching my tent inches from others.

In short, opening the beaches in practical terms means enforced rules and regulations, crowds and lifeguards.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 12:10:03 pm by VanIslander »


Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 12:16:17 pm »
Technically, no, you're not supposed to go swimming in the sea unless the beach is open because that's the only time they'll have lifeguard staff to look out for you. Also, that's when they mark how far you'll be permitted to swim out to with those rope thingies. It's really more for your protection than anything else, riptides and undertows are problematic here, I think?

I still see people who might wade through the water year round, but they never go farther than calf deep. Not actually swimming.

And no one is really around to prevent anyone from swimming in the sea when the beach is "closed," but, if there were, you could possibly face a fine.

I believe the law was changed, I think it was last year, to let people swim whenever they want....of course at their own risk and depending on the time of year without a life guard.....on the east coast the waves get quite rough and so although people can legally swim it might not be a wise idea.....several people have died in the rough waves


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 1813

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
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Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 01:04:05 pm »
I never swim in the east sea, just wade. It's too deep and dangerous. The west coast has many shallow beaches and the south coast nice bays. Jeju is hit or miss: i never swim out at the surfing beach of Jungmun but shallower Gimnyeong, Pyoseon and - to some degree - Hyopjae I do.


  • LIC
  • Expert Waygook

    • 833

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 01:10:30 pm »
Sangju Beachee standing with the water about waist deep.


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 1813

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
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Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2020, 01:26:20 pm »
Sangju Beachee standing with the water about waist deep.
One of the ones i mentioned. I was there three weekends ago. Used to go plenty of times when i lived in Hadong.

It is a big beautiful bay. I love swimming out in it. It is like the bay near Wando. Warm water, nice swim, big enough beach, not crowded outside open season but with all the amenities you need nearby (restaurants, could sleep in tent or get a room, bus service or parking, nice mountain hike for a few hours jaunt).


  • LIC
  • Expert Waygook

    • 833

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2020, 02:02:43 pm »
Sangju Beach from the Buddhist Temple atop Geumsan Mountain, and from the road just past as it winds its way around to Mijo.


Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2020, 02:52:29 pm »
Technically, no, you're not supposed to go swimming in the sea unless the beach is open because that's the only time they'll have lifeguard staff to look out for you. Also, that's when they mark how far you'll be permitted to swim out to with those rope thingies. It's really more for your protection than anything else, riptides and undertows are problematic here, I think?

I still see people who might wade through the water year round, but they never go farther than calf deep. Not actually swimming.

And no one is really around to prevent anyone from swimming in the sea when the beach is "closed," but, if there were, you could possibly face a fine.

Before surfing at popular beaches, I had to sign a waiver (no pun intended) absolving liability from the city.
Even then, the cops will call you out if the conditions are "dangerous" and you'd have to pay a fine.
When surfing at emptier places, there was no worry... until some busybody would see me parked car, see me (or other surfers) enjoying ourselves and proceed to squeal to the cops, who'd rock up to "rescue" us. 


  • hangook77
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1700

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: What does "opening the beaches" mean in practical terms?
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2020, 05:33:13 pm »
I believe the law was changed, I think it was last year, to let people swim whenever they want....of course at their own risk and depending on the time of year without a life guard.....on the east coast the waves get quite rough and so although people can legally swim it might not be a wise idea.....several people have died in the rough waves


For real?  You can swim now in Sept or Oct?  Use to years ago but have heard in recent years that police and local officials would chase you away.  Haeundae was notoriously bad I had heard.