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Gatbawi Rocks, coast along Mokpo

The "Gatbawi" rocks on Korea's SW shore
Two legends surround these distinctive 'tafoni'-geological formations on the southwestern coast of Korea. One involves filial piety—see the 'father' and 'son' wearing conical hats? The other says that when the Buddha and a disciple were in the area, they rested here, by the sea, but forgot to take their hats with them when they continued on their way...

An over-the-saltwater walkway now allows you to view these distinctive rocks without having to board a boat. A short walk away is Korea's National Maritime Museum (free admission!) where 12th-century relics can be seen along with the partially-reconstructed shipwrecks where they were found.

Mokpo, for most travelers, is simply the gateway to the hundreds of islands off Korea's southwest coast, including the subtropical volcanic playground of Jeju-do. But if you're a history buff, into spicy seafood and early 20th-century Japanese colonial architecture, stick around for a couple of days. Mokpo has a friendly if gritty charm that might start to grow on you. And there's even a seaside mountain within the city limits for forested urban hiking.

Mokpo is the terminus for the country's southwestern KTX railway and the major ferry and industrial port for the region.

Yonghae-dong, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea
+82 61-270-8383