Muuido Island is a tiny island located off the western coast of South Korea. It is covered in lush forests and pristine beaches with low entry water access and beautiful views. It’s in close proximity to the ICN Airport, and two of South Korea’s largest cities: Seoul and Incheon. If you’re looking for an Incheon Beach, Muuido Island is your answer.
Korea during the summer is not only hot, but it’s incredibly humid. There aren’t a lot of places to go swimming outdoors on the peninsula, so spending a day at the beach is one of the most gratifying ways to escape the heat.
This is everything you need to plan and prepare for a stress free, relaxing and fun filled day at Silmi Incheon Beach on Muuido Island.
7 Mistakes to Avoid on Muuido Island
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310-11, Daemuui-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
인천광역시 중구 대무의로 310-11 (무의동)
The coast of South Korea is dotted with islands. Jeju Island is the most famous, and technically Incheon is an island itself. But closer to the mainland are small, lush and tropical paradises such as Muuido Island. It’s famed for camping, horseback riding on the beach and hiking.
Ferry to Muuido Island
A quick internet search will tell you that you can hop on a quick five minute ferry from Yeongjongdo Island (where the ICN airport is) over to Muuido Island and spend the day frolicking in the sand, playing on the white sand Incheon beaches of Korea and soaking up the sun like a proper summer should be spent.
Except that information is old and outdated. There is no ferry. It’s been replaced with a bridge.
How to Get to Muuido Island
Due to the location of the islands, and the routes to get there, this is the one time you want to splurge for a taxi.
- From Songdo: 2+ hour bus ride with 3-4 bus transfers
- From City Center Incheon: 3+ hour bus ride with 3-4 transfers
- From Incheon Airport: 1+ hour bus ride with 2 transfers
- From Seoul: 2+ hour bus ride with 3-4 transfers
The taxi fare is just about $30 and will get you there in just about a half hour.
There is No Ferry
We asked our taxi driver to take us to the ferry dock, but of course there is no ferry dock!
As the dock inched closer along the GPS map we were following on our phone, the taxi driver was instead preparing to cross over a bridge and taking us far from the ferry dock where we wanted to be.
Gabriel kept telling the driver we wanted to go to the ferry dock, and the driver appeared confused.
Naturally, the taxi driver spoke Korean and we spoke English.
As it turns out he wasn’t confused because he didn’t understand what we were trying to say, he was confused because there is no ferry dock.
#1 Take the Bridge to Muuido Island
The internet has no updated information regarding how to get to Muuido Island, until now. You are reading it here: As of 2019 there is now a bridge to get to Muuido Island from Yeongjongdo Island.
It’s straightforward, and there are even signs along the way. Heck, there is even bus service to/from there.
Not knowing this, we insisted that the taxi driver drop us off at the ferry dock.
This is when not knowing the language becomes a huge barrier. Most of the time, we will tell you that it’s not that huge of a barrier to speak a different language when traveling, but then there are times when not speaking the language is a huge impediment.
#2 Listen to Your Taxi Driver
He took us over the bridge, but we had no idea which island we were on, so we kept pointing at the map on our phone.
So, probably thinking we were absolute morons, he did as we insisted and drove us back off Muuido Island to the non-existent ferry dock, where there is no one and nothing to do. We got out of the taxi to see people standing on the dock fishing.
A building, we presume was the once ticket office for the ferry, had a large banner draped across the front doors.
There were no tell tale signs of any boats coming or going, in fact there were no boats anywhere to be seen. There were no tires attached to the dock to buffer the gap between the concrete platform and the boat. There was just the sun, the sky, the clouds and the water.
#3 Don’t Leave Your Phone in the Taxi
We had no idea where we were, and then we realized I left my phone in the backseat of the taxi.
I’m not even going to begin to attempt to answer the question of why this continually happens to us. We have left a scooter at a Subway station, a phone at a restaurant, a backpack on the subway…, and now a phone in a taxi cab.
Clearly, neither Gabriel nor I have Total Recall. I’d like to think we are teaching the kids to learn from our mistakes though.
The most ironic part of this entire day is that according to Google Translate Muuido translated from Korean into English means unintentional.
At the very least, we’re teaching the kids how to attack problems head on. Even if they are problems we created for ourselves.
The taxi service we used, Kakao Taxi, allows you to leave a review for your driver up to three days after your ride. We left a review with the notes that we left my phone in his car. With this service, you also have access to your driver’s phone number – so we immediately called him.
The Korean language is considered one of the hardest languages to learn, and although we try and study a little bit of it every single day we haven’t been able to get much to stick. However, one thing we have noticed is that nearly every sentence ends with nida, ayseo.
So, when we called him we added nida and ayseo to every word.
- “Angyang ayseo.”
- “American ayseo.”
- “I left my phone in your car ayseo.”
- “Do you understand ayseo, nida?”
The driver kept repeating, “Do not speak English.” I definitely understood that.
From here we used google translate to rely on the kindness of strangers.
We found a couple picnicking on the side of the road and asked if they would use our phone to speak to our taxi driver and relay the message.
They were willing, and we think the plan was to call the driver again when we returned back to Songdo and he would meet us where he picked us up originally.
There was nothing else we could do, so we decided to try and figure out how to get to Muuido Island.
Remember, we were still at the non existent ferry dock. We decided to walk across the bridge to the island.
I can’t even be mad about any of it. It was a gorgeous and absolutely thrilling view of the seascape, islands, and calm waters that drifted out to the horizon.
As we approached the island we could hear it buzzing and teeming with life. It was calming and tranquil.
Once we crossed the bridge we were immediately greeted by locals, and Gabriel and Widmore decided they wanted to eat an entire bag of fresh snails.
Hot and sweaty, we were ready to find a beach, and especially ready to get in the water.
We found a trail through the forest that looked like an adventurous shortcut to the beach, but Molasses had just fallen asleep in the stroller so we decided to let her take a nap for a few minutes.
While she was sleeping, we decided to take a walk through the city. Along the way we found a road with a sign indicating there was a resort with a beach just 700 meters away.
This was a win-win; the baby could sleep and we could still go to the beach.
#4 Don’t Take Shortcuts
700m is roughly a half mile, but this stretch of land was all hills. It felt like miles. The sun was beating down on us as we traversed up and down hill after hill after hill.
Finally we got to the resort and saw there was a gate and a guard checking in all visitors. After all that time and energy spent, we were devastated that we might not be able to get in because we weren’t staying at the hotel.
Incheon Beach Resort
The trek ended up being worth it! The entrance fee was paltry! Just ₩2,000 for adults and ₩1,000 for kids. Eclair and Molasses were free.
The resort is not particularly fancy, not at all what you envision when you hear the word resort, but there is beach access.
There are only two beaches on the entire island, Hanagae Beach and Silmi Beach.
We found ourselves on Silmi Beach. Had we gone during low tide, we could have walked directly out into the Yellow Sea to Silmido Island.
Food Options at Silmi Beach
The Silmi Incheon Beach destination offers two restaurants selling fresh fish at ₩120,000 a plate!
If you are cheap, there is also a convenience store.
We skipped the restaurants and picked up popsicles, crackers and water at the convenience store and headed out to the water.
What to Expect at Silmi Beach
This is Korea after all, so there were very few people actually in the water. Most were day camping in tents, and nearly everyone at the beach was under the shade of the trees. In the background we could hear karaoke and someone belting out Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You.”
With great disappointment we must report that the water at Silmi beach is cold. Not so cold that kids can’t have fun, but cold enough that searching for seashells was preferable.
In our case, seashells are on par with the excitement of the water. We have jars of seashells at home labeled from our favorite places we’ve been!
The sand at Muuido Island is thick and grainy, similar to what we found on Jeju Island. All the better for seashells to stick on the shore!
We found every type of seashell from clam shells the size of our palms, to teeny tiny augers. We collected more shells than we could possibly bring home! The girls have grand plans of making earrings and necklaces with them.
At this point, my phone had called Gabriel’s phone at least three times and we were getting nervous that perhaps the translation from our earlier conversation with the taxi driver didn’t go as smoothly as we originally thought.
We found out later that he was trying to send us a text, but since phone calls cost 25¢ a minute here, we wanted to do what we could to make sure nothing nefarious was going on.
Gabriel texted the LDS missionaries to ask if they could call the driver to double check on the phone, and they assured us the plan was still in motion to meet the driver tonight.
A few hours at the beach with only a few snacks to tide us over, and we were ready to head back for dinner. Both Gabriel and I agreed we were long overdue to go back to Chinatown and dine on the best Korean Chinese food in Incheon, South Korea.
Bus From Silmi Beach to Yeongjongdo Island
Even though there is a bus stop at Silmi Beach, the route has been discontinued and there is no longer a pickup at the beach.
We had to hoof it all the way back over the millions of hills back to the main stretch of land to find the bus stop that takes you back to Yeongjongdo Island.
We waited and watched as three different buses passed by. After the third one passed by without picking us up, Gabriel called a taxi to take us to Chinatown.
#5 Double Check Your Destination Pin
I didn’t have a phone with me to leave in the taxi, but Gabriel accidentally put his pin at Incheon City Hall, instead of Incheon Station.
- Only a difference of one hour by bus!
- On empty stomachs.
- At 7 o’clock pm.
- After a long day of playing in the sun.
- After we already made one huge mistake for the day.
We are just a bunch of idiots traveling around the world.
I was pissed when we got out of the taxi at Incheon City Hall. 8 more stops until we were back home, until the subway pulled up to Wonijae: the transfer point for Chinatown.
Pie turned to me with the sweetest imploring face and reminded me that this is where we transfer to Chinatown. She was desperately looking forward to getting her favorite noodles, jajangmyeon.
After the day we had, and all the walking we had to do, we deserved it. She melted my ice cold heart and we made the trek out to Chinatown after all.
#6 Again: Don’t Leave Your Phone in the Taxi
After dinner it was 10pm.
As soon as we got off the Subway in Songdo, we contacted the taxi driver to ask him to meet us so we could get my phone. A few anxious minutes later we finally heard back.
The taxi driver decided to drop my phone off at the police station – back in Wonijae!
Gabriel took another taxi back out to Wonijae and I was stuck with four children who were sticky from sweat, salt water, sand and sugar. I had to bathe them all and get them in bed whilst 8 month old Molasses screamed her head off and couldn’t understand why she wasn’t being nursed to bed the second she demanded it.
#7 Don’t Drive Your Car Onto The Sand
At least we didn’t drive our van onto the beach and get it permanently stuck in the sand.
What a day!
► For Kids: Silmi Beach on Muuido Island is an awesome family destination. Kids will love exploring, finding insects, splashing in the water, and hunting for seashells.
Have you been to the other beach on Muuido Island: Hanagae Beach? How does it compare? Let us know in the comments!
► What We Learned: There is not only a bridge to Muuido Island and two Incheon Beaches, but it’s best to follow the instructions of your taxi driver.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve ever lost on your travels?