Mokpo, South Korea
How To Book A Hotel In Mokpo
The way to book a hotel in a very small town in Korea is to have someone else do it. I used a “concierge” service to book the hotel because I could not find any information online about lodging. When you are booking in the major cities or common tourist areas it is easy to use services like Hotels.com or Agoda.com just like your normally would. But in a smaller town that most people haven’t heard of those services can’t find you anything.
I used a “concierge” service called AskAjumma which is now Wonderful and I was able to message them with what I needed. They found me a hotel and made the reservation for me. You can’t even understand how convenient that is unless you have lived in a country where you don’t speak the language. We stayed at the Fontana Beach Hotel which ended up being really nice. That can be pretty hard to find in Korea especially when you leave the big cities. We even had a nice view of a bay and a fancy water fountain.
Interested in learning more about South Korea? Check out my other South Korea Travel Tips & Tricks
Rental Bikes Along The Waterway
We didn’t have any specific plans for the day but our hotel was right along Pyeonghwa Square, a very active park and waterway so we walked down to check it out. We started out walking but quickly realized that everyone else had rented bikes. The path was covered with bike riders and all of the kids were in these rented motorized cars that their parents were controlling with controllers.
It seemed like the thing to do so we rented bikes. They were not the rental bikes you see other places that are all brightly painted in the same color with a cute little basket. Nope. These were thrift store bikes, they were rusted and old and felt like they might fall apart right underneath you. We paid 10,000 won ($9) for all 3 bikes, they took my cell phone number and then we rode away. It seemed like a pretty legitimate system… We rode the entire path in about 15 minutes so then we went a little off the beaten path so we could see more of the town.
Maybe We Will Have Fish For Lunch
Mokpo is supposed to have good fish since it is right on the coast so that is what we went in search of for lunch. Actually, we walked into a restaurant that appeared to have fish based on the pictures. The lady inside pretty much just told us what we were getting and brought it to us, which was fine because we couldn’t read the menu anyways. It was some kind of fish and vegetable and tofu all boiling together. It was tasty but it took forever to eat because of the tiny bones of the fish.
Especially in these smaller towns a lot of people will not speak English. Most restaurants have pictures in their menu making it easy to point to whatever looks good. Otherwise, I would strongly encourage you to be really brave and play “menu-roullette”. That is where you just point to a random thing on the menu and hope its edible. It has only failed me a handful of times.
Next up was to get down to business with what we had actually come to Mokpo for, buying tickets for the ferry. The lovely man at the front desk of our hotel entered the info for the Ferry Terminal into our Korean GPS that came with our car. We got a good glimpse of the town on our way…it is not a pretty place. Mokpo is very industrial and not a tourist destination at all. I would not recommend it to anyone unless you are using it as a jumping off point to another location. There really is not anything at all to do and even the things they have seem pretty lame.
The Only Tourist Attractions In Mokpo
Using the GPS we found the ferry terminal easily, we purchased our ferry tickets to Hongdo Island quickly. We had some free time so we decided to check out Gatbawi Rock and Culture Street. Both are apparently “must see” attractions. Gatwabi Rock is pictured below and is supposed to look like 2 men with hats on:
So that was pretty cool for like a second. Next on the agenda was “culture street”, but we weren’t able to find it! We walked around but kept ending up back at the street where we rode bikes or the rock formations. The next day we realized we had driven on “culture street” without even realizing it. There were a couple museums on it.
In general the night was pretty underwhelming, we got dinner at an “Italian” place where the “pizza” had no sauce and was on a tortilla. Once it got dark we sat and watched the Mokpo Dancing Water Fountain, which was right outside our hotel. It was cool and probably the most interesting thing in town.
I think it is pretty clear to see why you would not travel to Mokpo. Luckily it is surrounded be some really cool stuff like Hongdo Island and the Boseong green tea fields. Don’t let this place fool you, South Korea itself if super cool. Check out the Korean Southern Highlights Itinerary for all the info you need to know about the GOOD sights.