Many moons ago, the island of Jindo was plagued by savage tigers. Fearing the animal, villagers sought refuge on a small island off Jindo. During this escape Grandma Ppong was left behind. Wishing most diligently to be reunited with her family, she prayed to the gods. They answered her prayers and the sea parted enough so she could cross and be with her family again leaving the terror of the tigers and Jindo behind.
Every year for 38 years, Jindo has celebrated this magical crossing during the month of April when the tide is at its historic lowest. Being a newbie and experiencing for myself, I’m here to offer you some tips to make your sea parting experience even more magical.
1. Book a tour
While I’m not a fan of hoards of people being packed into a small island (like Thailand), this is the most stress free way. You don’t have to worry about transport, food or booking accommodation.
2. Pack accordingly
Take heed to my words from someone who’s been there. You’ll thank me later.
- Light jacket
- Gym leggings, jean pants, shorts, underwear
- camera, selfie stick, waterproof phone case
- flip flops, gym shoes, socks
- phone charger
- wet wipes and hand sanitzer(for cleaning your hands and freshening up)
3. Buy the festival boots
Our tour guide told us to bring rain boots and rain boots I brought. This was not a good idea.
Mistake number one: Mine only came up to about mid calf and the water was above my knees in some places. As hard as I tried not to get my clothes wet, my efforts were in vain. My pants and socks were soaked.
How to win instead: For the great price of 7,000 won you can own a pair of these stylish galoshes. The festival rain boots go up your thighs and you can string them into your belt loops for added support. They’ll keep you pretty dry if you walk along the path instead.
4. Be mindful of your torch and those of others
Keep your torch up and away at all times. Try to watch where you put your torch because you could accidentally burn someone. If your torch goes out while at sea don’t be a litter bug and dump it. Carry it back and respect the environment and all festival goers who might trip on your idiocy.
5. Dress Accordingly
This coincides with mistake number one. I had to walk around uncomfortably because I wasn’t dressed properly. Even though it’s cold at 6 am, and I was wearing warm clothes, you should wear shorts and flip flops. Once the sun starts rising, it gets warmer so you don’t have to worry about freezing. You’ll be moving so the sea won’t feel so cold against your legs. Bring a warm light jacket, wear a sweater under, shorts and flip flops. If the boots don’t keep the water out, you can hate yourself less for only having to use a towel to wipe yourself off after.
6. Haul Ass
I’m not even kidding when I say this. The morning sea parting to the island is a tough one and a very narrow path. Stray from the path and you may find yourself waist deep in water. It’s also really hard to see because the water becomes murky with all the people kicking up the sand. If you want to make it to the island, stay as close to the path as possible but walk as quickly as you can. I’m not talking a brisk walk. I’m talking about borderline running. If you don’t make it to the island by the time the sirens go off, turn around. The tide comes in deep and quick. It’s not a fun situation and if you’re a bad swimmer, I would suggest you move quickly. If you don’t make it, you’ll get picked up by boats and brought back to shore.
Now you can be just like Grandma Ppong and make your own magical journey across the sea as stress free as possible following these tips. Have fun and enjoy your magical sea parting like Moses. Hopefully these tips will help you get the most of your trip!
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