A Weekend in Pohang, Korea: Fireworks Festival, Mulhwae, and Cafes
Last August I felt my feet itching to explore somewhere outside of Seoul again. I had heard about an international fireworks festival on the east coast of Korea and decided that that is where I would head to next!
One cloudy Saturday morning, my boyfriend and I hopped on the KTX at Seoul Station and cut across the peninsula until we reached the sleepy beach city of Pohang. Pohang is known as a big shipping town, with POSCO container ships dotting the coastline. We went straight to our AirBnb (then realizing it didn't have wifi, I guess we take wifi for granted usually!) and then went out to the water.
First stop was Youngildae Beach complete with a small rose garden and a parking lot full of food trucks. We meandered down to the pavilion out at sea which at the time had a large inflatable bear sticking out of it. Almost as amazing, there was a man riding some kind of jet-pack-meets-water-ski and was performing acrobatics in the air.
We took a break in a cafe overlooking the water and then took a quick taxi ride to the downtown area. We wandered the "stream street" and then explored the huge market place nearby. After eating my fill of bibimbap and watching trot singers perform on the old television set in the restaurant, we took one more taxi to the park where we'd finally see the fireworks!
We arrived around 7pm and got great seats and waited for the show to start at 9pm. There was lots of street food and people watching to keep up occupied.
We left just before the finale (we watched it while we hailed a cab) to be the rush because once the show started the park was absolutely packed. We went back to Youngildae and grabbed a quick bite to eat then went back to our AirBnb to nap - it was a long day!
The next day was much more relaxing.
We slept in until around 11am then headed out for 물회 (mul-hwae) which is a Korean dish I had never heard of before. It is a cold, spicy broth with noodles and raw fish. Doesn't sound great but trust me, it was delicious! The place we went to is apparently the most famous in town, 환여횟집, so we put our names on the long waiting list and went next door to Iron Rabbit to get a much needed coffee.
About 20 minutes later we were seated and chowing down on mulhwae. Even my boyfriend who hates anything with fish agreed that it was delicious. He was also proud that it was a uniquely Korean dish - and I loved it! We then rolled ourselves about a block to a hidden cafe called Meritullinatu, a Finnish inspired cafe!
The house it was in was designed beautifully and we happily broke out our books and spent a few hours reading, eating cookies, and looking at the interior design books stacked all over the cafe.
We had a few hours left before our train so we lazily walked north from Youngildae Beach. We grabbed Shrimp Box from the food truck area (a seriously delicious treat, I get it whenever I see it!) and some ice cream. We then hiked up the huge hill through Hwanho Park and stopped in the Pohang Museum of Art. If I'm being honest, it was mostly because we needed the air conditioning :)
We grabbed a taxi to the train station and made our way back to Seoul feeling refreshed, full, and ready for our next adventure!