The route along Manseong-ri Black Sand Beach

After our trip,  I noticed that my phone pictures were matched with locations on Google Maps. I don’t know whether I should be worried by how fast AI is evolving, or be happy — because my work gets so much easier. This is a screenshot of our route from my phone.

Towards Light

After exploring the best sights of downtown Yeosu, we drove to Carp Island Pension. Manseong-ri Black Sand Beach isn’t far from downtown Yeosu, but passing through the long tunnel — that cuts across the mountain — will make you think that it’s another world. The tunnel has space only for one-way traffic and there’s a speed limit inside. However, most cars honked when Basil followed the speed limit and we had to go faster to keep a safe distance from the car behind us.

Carp Island Pension 

Korean pensions (bnb) are built at the best locations across the country. The views from our first floor room were stunning and we enjoyed watching boats sail on the water. We could watch sunrise from the comfort of our room and we saw the red moon at night.

Yeosu Ocean Rail Bike (여수해양레일바이크)

Rail bikes are a fun way of converting old rail tracks into tourist experience activities. Yeosu Ocean Rail Bike was just across our pension house. The owner had allowed us to check-in before time and we were free for the rest of the afternoon. We bought our tickets from the counter, on the opposite side of the road, and stood in line. After our safety instructions, we were all set for our rail bike ride.

There was a big group of school kids behind us and we were lucky to have a time delay — before they were allowed to hop on their rail bikes. The 3.5 km stretch is sandwiched between the long coast and the road above. It was a bumpy ride and the wind was great to keep the heat away. It’s not easy getting good shots because you can’t stop on the track. 

Tunnels are always good fun on a rail bike ride. We’d pass through the old tunnel that was built, a level below, the tunnel we had driven through earlier.

The instructor had advised us to reduce our speed inside the tunnel. Once again, we were the only ones sticking to the rules and instructions. The excited group of school kids had managed to reduce the time difference and were close on the heels of our rail bike. We could hear them racing and laughing towards us. It was tough to maintain a distance from the bike in front of us whilst hoping that we wouldn’t get hit from behind.

At the end of the tunnel, another man turns the rail bike, and re-directs you on the other side of the track. Pedalling on the other side took more effort and it was good fun.

The trip is over before you know it. Although, the price is a bit steep, the views make it worth it.

Manseong-ri Black Sand Beach

Pension houses don’t usually stock supplies and if you’re located in the middle of nowhere — it’s better to stock up before reaching your pension. We hadn’t thought about it and had to look for the nearest convenience store. Thankfully, we had our own car and could drive along the long coast. We stopped at Manseong-ri Black Sand Beach and enjoyed the cool sea breeze. The beaches hadn’t opened yet and a couple of raw fish restaurants were open. The showers and convenience stores were deserted and resembled a ghost town.

Green Cover

We had to find a convenience store to pick ramyon for dinner or we’d have to settle for waffles at the coffee shop. We continued driving along the coastal road and hoped to find a functional convenience store. Hallyeohaesang National Park is the fourth largest national park in Korea and spreads from Yeosu (Odong-do & Manseong-ri) in Jeollonamdo Province to Geoje in Gyeongsangnam-do Province. We got to drive through some scenic roads that were a part of this stunning national park.

Vantage Point

We drove for a very long time and found a small village next to a beach. This place had to have a convenience store. And we did find a very small, but functional convenience store. We also found a view point and climbed up to check out the views.

The views from the pavilion were stunning and we tried to spot the route we came from. We could see the coast and the black course sandy shoreline.

There were quite a few houses constructed along the narrow roads. People seemed to have disappeared from this coastal village town and from this point — it was just us.

We drove back to our pension house and passed through some scenic spots along the way. All these places were off the beaten trail.

Garden of Flowers

The owners of the pension house had quite a keen interest in gardening. In June, the garden had the brightest pops of colour that we’d seen so far.

A litter of kittens played in the garden when guests didn’t tried to cuddle them and hid under the patio if anyone got too close.

Peace & Calm

Cafe Bene is attached to the pension and we spent the rest of the evening trying to study Korean. The girl at the counter forgot our order and as an apology gave us complimentary waffles with our coffee and chocolate.

Manheung Park

We drove to Hyangiram Hermitage on the next morning. In the evening, we discovered Manheung Park — just across our pension. It’s a park that’s probably built along an old access road. 

This long walking park is developed on a slight elevation and gives a splendid view of the surrounding coast and lush greenery. Locals use this park for their daily evening walk or run.

Manheung Park is deceptive at the start. It looks like it will get over soon and you’d be able to walk the entire length. We should have taken a hint when we saw the bikes at the entrance.

The walking path passes through stunning vistas of the mountains and dense forest cover.

I’ve never seen snakes in Korea, and never thought there would be any, but I kind of believed this sign. The forest along the slope of the mountain was so dense and I wound’t want to venture inside. Basil stopped to try the outdoor gym and I walked ahead.

I was all alone on this path and I must confess: I was scared at times. Probably, I’ve watched too many Korean murder/serial killer films. Occasionally, I’d pass a Korean emo (aunty) or cyclists and breathe a sigh of relief.

The path just kept going on forever and I was happy when Basil joined me. We stopped at this tunnel and decided to go back to our pension. We wondered what was on the other side.

That night, we got to see a red moon. It looks more golden in this picture, because Basil struggled with the light around our pension house. Yeosu had been good fun and we were all set to go rural in Namhae.

Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

14 replies on “Driving Along Manseong-ri Black Sand Beach (만성리 검은모래해변)

  1. This looked like quite a nice peaceful adventure along Manseong-ri Black Sand Beach. So adventurous of you and Basil to drive along the coast and also tried out rail bikes. It is such an interesting name for BnBs, Korean pensions. At first I thought they literally meant houses for people on pension (is it???). Then as I read your post it sounded like these house s are sea-side homes for people who want to live by the beach or for passing travellers. The views are brilliant all round and Basil did a great job of capturing them 🙂

    The Manheung Park does look pretty quiet and when it gets too quiet on a path, so understandable that you’ll fee, afraid. I always thought Korea was a relatively safe place so I wouldn’t think walking through a quiet park would be cause for concern. Then again, you can never be too safe 🙂

    Basil also did a great job of capturing the moon. It looks glowing 🙂

    1. Manseongri is off the popular tourist grid. That’s what worked for us. 🙂 We liked its seclusion and quiet. I guess Korean pensions are run by retired folk. It’s quite common for people to make investments in apartments and give them for rent in Seoul. I guess, it’s similar with pensions. Some pensions have a breakfast option. Korean pensions have amazing views, but language can be quite a problem for foreigners. Korea is actually quite safe for travellers/expats. Locals won’t always agree. Their news is very different from what we watch on local TV. But I understand why they’d think so because of the movies that I have watched. I don’t anymore. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, Mabel! Trust you’re well!

      1. Ah, so pensions are like investment properties. Very interesting to know. They all sound professional and serve travellers well. Always better to be safe than sorry and I’m sure you’ll be careful travelling anywhere you go 🙂

      2. I guess you could call them investment or retirement properties. Actually, they are more homely than professional. But I do prefer their warmth and hospitality. 🙂

  2. What glorious trails you’ve been on and what a fun idea that rail bike thing is! I’d love to go on one of those. Your photos always manage to make Korea look so tranquil and I love your garden flower photos from this series. Stay safe out on those paths!

    1. The rail bike is super fun! We loved it! I like to find places with few people and more natural beauty. Korea has many such places because everyone flocks to Seoul or other touristy places. It’s what drives the tourism industry and helps people like us find tranquility. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

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