WHERE TO SURF IN SOUTH KOREA? IS KOREA A GOOD PLACE TO SURF? WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SURF IN KOREA?
When you think of South Korea, you don’t necessarily imagine waves, nice beaches, and surfing. However, you will be quite surprised. This is at least what we discovered when we moved to South Korea.
South Korea has a growing surf culture
With its diverse coastline and a growing surf culture, South Korea is becoming a sought-after destination for wave riders. In this blog post, we’ll explore the best places to catch some waves and experience the thrill of surfing in Korea.
Folks, let us tell you that there are excellent waves in South Korea! Here is a list of what we believe are the 10 best surfing spots in South Korea.
Although surrounded by the sea, it is not really known that South Korea can get some pretty good waves.
However, there are more and more surf schools opening along the East Coast of South Korea. Over the last few years, surf has become more and more popular in South Korea. Winter is the best month to get big waves, but OMG it’s freezing! So be prepared.
You don’t believe it? well, check out this beautiful video which will make you wanna come to Korea and surf in the Winter.
Winter has the best waves, but Spring and Autumn are also pretty good seasons for surfing on the East Coast. From Yangyang in the east near Gangneung, to Busan in the South, Mallipo in the West (in Taean region) and Jugmun on Jeju Island, those are all great spots to have fun in the water with decent waves.
BEST PLACES TO SURF IN SOUTH KOREA
1. Jukdo Beach on the East Coast
Jukdo Beach boasts a dense pine forest and 2km of clean white sand in the Yangyang Area. It is perfect for surfing because of the shallow water and high waves.
Waves can go as high as 3m depending on the wind direction. From November to March, the wind blows offshore so you will get the best quality waves. Spring and Autumn are also good seasons, better for longboard and more mellow waves.
Jukdo is one of the best places to surf in South Korea
The area has a good vibe, spending a day there is always good fun. In the last few years, Jukdo has become the mecca of surfing in Korea, with many shops opening around the beach. It is probably the most popular surfing spot in South Korea.
>> READ ALSO: FULL GUIDE TO VISITING YANGYANG, KOREA’S SURF PARADISE
SURF RENTAL: To rent a board or get a surf lesson, check out . The shop is right in front of the beach, and the owner speaks perfect English. The quality of the equipment is top notch, and prices are affordable. Instagram:
ACCOMMODATION: We recommend staying in a home vacation called “Cat on a thin roof” It’s close to Jukdo Beach, and has many restaurants and cafes around. The house is also very modern and can accommodate up to 6 people. >> BOOK HERE
TIME FROM SEOUL: 3h drive. You can also take the train directly to Yangyang, which makes it a great weekend gateway from Seoul.
THINGS TO DO AROUND JUKDO: Jukdo is located on the east coast of Korea, near Yangyang and Gangneung. The East Coast is one of our favorite areas in Korea. We wrote a full post about the best things to do around Gangneung.
2. Surfyy Beach on the East Coast
A little north of Jukdo Beach, you will probably find what is the trendiest surf spot in South Korea. Surfyy beach is the only beach fully dedicated to surfing and chilling on the beach. It attracts a lot of hipsters every year. It is also one of the best places to surf in South Korea!
Surfyy can also get pretty good waves if the right conditions are here. The good thing about Surfyy beach is that even if there isn’t any wave, you can still have fun with the pretty cool bar and lounge area on the beach.
They even do yoga classes on the beach if you are up for it. If you still want to hit the water, you can also rent SUP. So fun is pretty much guaranteed at Surfyy Beach. More info on Yangyang here.
SURF RENTAL: there are rental shops right at the beach. You don’t need to worry about board or wetsuit rentals, everything is well-planned at Surfyy Beach.
SURF LESSONS: BOOK HERE
ACCOMMODATION: the closest hotel is, which makes it a pleasant stay overall. You can actually book .
TIME FROM SEOUL: 3h drive, or take the direct train to Yangyang.
THINGS TO DO IN YANGYANG: The east coast is one of our favorite part of South Korea. We wrote a full post here, about the best things to do in this area.
3. Jungmun Beach on Jeju Island
Jungmun Beach, located on Jeju Island, is a surfer’s paradise. We went there in late summer and the waves were surprisingly pumping. We had so much fun in the water. Good waves, good people, amazing scenery. Jungmun is definitely at the top of our list of best places to surf in South Korea.
Since 2003, Jungmun Beach has become quite legendary for Korean, as it holds every year the Jeju Jungmun Beach International Surfing Contest. Usually held on the third weekend of June. The competition attracts surfers from around the world, as well as various events such as barbecue parties. Jungmun beach is a perfect spot for surfers!
Before walking down to the beach, you will see a very cool bar on your left, called The Cliff. It’s definitely one of the best spots on Jeju!
SURF RENTAL: To rent a board, just head to the beach and many people simply rent out their boards from the beach directly. There is no proper surf shop there. However, it is still very easy to rent a surfboard.
TIME FROM SEOUL: 1h flight to reach Jeju. Then you will need to rent a car or take a bus to reach the city of Seogwipo. To find out the cheapest rate for your flight, click here.
4. Woljeongri Beach in Jeju, one of the best places to surf in South Korea
Woljeongri is simply our favorite place in Jeju, our #1 beach to go to besides Hamdeok Beach. We went to Jeju many times and visited many things on the island, but to this day, Woljeongri is still our top spot in Jeju.
Why? Well, just imagine emerald water, a white sandy beach, gorgeous cafes facing the sea, super cute restaurants, a traditional village, surfers everywhere, and very friendly locals. Exactly what we like. Not to mention that Woljeongri Beach is one of the best spots for surfing in Jeju.
>> READ ALSO: COMPLETE GUIDE TO VISIT WOLJEONGRI IN JEJU
SURF RENTAL: To rent a board, there are many rental shops right by the beach. They also offer private or group lessons.
TIME FROM SEOUL: 1h flight to reach Jeju. Then you will need to rent a car or take a bus to reach Woljeongri. To check out the cheapest rate for your flights, click here.
5. Gwakji Beach in Jeju
If the conditions are ideal, Gwakji can have pretty good waves.
We had some very fun surf sessions at Gwakji Beach with our longboards. The beach is also very nice with white fine sand and very clear water.
Gwakji is one of our favorite beaches in Jeju (full list here), and not only for surfing. The beach vibe is very nice there. There are also a few cafes and restaurants which make it a pleasant place to stay if you visit Jeju.
However, due to the proximity to Jeju City, this beach can get a bit more crowded than other beaches in Jeju.
SURF RENTAL: check out BeachSurf Camp near the beach to rent your gear (website here.). To book your lesson online, you can also do so
ACCOMMODATION: Many vacationers on this beach are staying in Jeju City the main city on the island. If you want to stay right on the shore, then 200 meters from it is Marevo Beach Hotel. This great hotel is directly facing the beautiful sea of Jeju in a quiet area. The hotel is fairly new with modern rooms. You can book here.
6. Goheung Namyeol Beach in the South
Goheung Beach is located on the warm Southside. Here, you can enjoy surfing all seasons. It is also a great spot to admire the beautiful sunrise.
The best conditions are usually between May and October with a southeast wind creating medium-sized waves. Also, there is no island blocking the beach, so you can experience the best waves from the Pacific.
ACCOMMODATION: Namgman Surf House offers great and simple accommodation right by the beach. You can check out their website for more information here.
- Caravan: 120,000 won during off-season, 150,000 won on weekends and holidays | Peak season (July to August) 170,000 won
- Campground: 20,000 won
- Pension One Room: Off-season 60,000 won on weekdays, 80,000 won on weekends and holidays | Peak season (July to August) 120,000 won
Phone: 061-835-3625, 010-3030-3625, KakaoTalk ID: nangmansurf
TIME FROM SEOUL: 5h drive.
7. Songjeong Beach in Busan
Songjeong is a great place for surfing enthusiasts. Located in Busan, this beach is much quieter than its sister Haeungdae.
In Songjeong, you can surf whole year round. During south swell in spring and summer, it’s perfect for longboard because of the large and soft waves. In the winter, get your shortboards out to enjoy the northeast swell, with more powerful waves.
In addition, the shallow water and the warm temperature make it the perfect surfing spot for beginners.
>> READ: BEST THINGS TO DO IN BUSAN
SURF RENTAL: check out Surfholic, they offer surf lessons, and surfboards rental at good price. They also have an English website, you can check it out . Address: 1F, Angelinus, 711-5, Songjeong-dong, Haeundae-gu, Busan (50, Songjeong Haebyeon-ro)
TIME FROM SEOUL: 4.5h drive.
8. Mallipo Beach on the West Coast
Mallipo beach is a surf paradise.
Imagine a beautiful blue sea, amazing sunset, and great waves. This is Mallipo Beach, also called “Malifornia” because of its similarities to California.
It’s ideal for beginners because of the sandy bottom and good-quality waves. It is also relatively close to Seoul, which makes it a great weekend gateway from the city.
Mallipo is located in Taean which is one of our favorite place in South Korea.
ACCOMMODATION:is nicely located, walking distance to the beach. It’s the ideal location for a nice stay near the one of the best surfing spot in South Korea.
TIME FROM SEOUL: 2.5h drive.
9. Wavepark in Incheon
In 2020, Korea opened a wave pool, using the latest technology. We were amongst the first ones trying the waves.
And oh man! It felt amazing. Very modern facilities, 2 big pools, one for regular and one for goofy at a decent price. Wavepark is open all year round.
Time to buy your thick wetsuit and enjoy great surfing all year round right next to Seoul (did we mention that they warm up to pool in winter?!)
The Wavepark near Seoul is now one of the best places to surf in South Korea!
Time from Seoul: 45min
10. Daejin Surfing Beach
Daejin Surfing Beach (대진해수욕장) is our latest discovery.
Daejin is located on the east coast, south of Gangneung. To be honest, this spot is really gorgeous and the waves are pretty good, even during summer.
The water is clear and clean. The beach is surrounded by a beautiful pine forest. The beach is 8 kilometers long and 100 meters wide.
In the background, you can admire the beautiful mountain range of Seoraksan (one of the most beautiful places in Korea) and the perfect sunset. What a sight!
SURF RENTAL: check out Lalasurf (). They also have the perfect view to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the surfers.
ACCOMMODATION: Book here.is the pefect spot at Daejin Beach. The laidback hotel is directly facing the sea. The rooms are modern and very clean. Make sure to reserve a bbq on the rooftop. With the sound of the waves right in front of the hotel, the atmosphere is just outstanding.
TIME FROM SEOUL: 3h drive.
BEST TIME TO GO SURFING IN SOUTH KOREA?
The best time to surf in South Korea is from late summer to early winter. Winter has the biggest waves in South Korea but the freeing temperatures make it quite unpleasant! So only for the hardcore surfers out there!
Late Summer to Early Winter (August to November):
- This is the peak surf season in South Korea.
- The water is relatively warm, making it comfortable for surfing in a wetsuit.
- Consistent swells and good wave quality can be expected.
- Crowds are generally smaller compared to the peak tourist season.
Winter (December to February):
- For more experienced surfers, winter can be an exciting time.
- The winter months bring larger swells, especially on the east coast.
- You’ll need a thick wetsuit, gloves, and booties to stay warm in the cold water.
- Be prepared for significantly lower temperatures on land, so plan accordingly.
Spring (March to May):
- Spring can be a challenging time for surfers in South Korea.
- The water is still relatively cold, and the swell can be inconsistent.
- There are occasional good days for surfing, but it’s not as reliable as the late summer and autumn months.
IN CONCLUSION ABOUT THE BEST PLACES TO SURF IN SOUTH KOREA
Surfing in Korea was quite frankly a great experience. We had no expectation at all but was pleasantly surprised by the great facilities, nice beaches, good waves, and cool vibe overall. We had amazing surf sessions at Jukdo Beach in Yangyang and Jungmun Beach in Jeju.
A friend of us also recommended downloading the application BANANA X on your phone. This app is actually super awesome, as they have a live webcam for all the surf spots in Korea. You can download it on the App Store here, and Google Play here A must-have app in Korea if like us you are a surfer!
If you never tried surfing, it is also a fantastic place to learn. You can get surf lessons pretty much everywhere. Or just try it out by yourself in the white and shallow waters.
We hope that you enjoyed our list of the best surf spots in Korea. If you have other recommendations on where to surf in South Korea, feel free to leave a comment below.