Pohang sits in the North Gyeongsang province along the east shore. As a port city, many cargo ships and shipping lines use Pohang as the intersection as they come and go. Known for the plentiful fishing grounds and agriculture, the city owns one of the most famous fresh fish markets in Korea. Both very modern and antique, each town in Pohang has a different vibe to them. Many would know this city from the fictitious suburb of Gongjin in the popular Netflix series Hometown Cha-cha-cha (filmed mostly in Chungha) that portrays the more antique and retro side.
If you visit Chungha you’ll get to encounter the Hometown Cha-cha-cha sets here and there such as the Bora Supermarket, the Live Café & Pub, the Gongjin Market, etc.! These places became popular photo spots for the K-drama’s fans, filling the town busy with tourists which made a positive impact on the local businesses.
Aside from the shooting sets, there are a handful of places to visit in Pohang when you’re there. The most famous would be the Homigot Sunrise Square, where the sun hits first on January 1st. The picturesque Hand of Harmony sculpture in the Homigot beach is the reason why photographers visit Pohang at sunrises, to grab that moment when the sun passes between the fingers. Not too far away, the left-hand sculpture is in the centre of the square facing the right hand that's on the beach. These Pohang landmarks were sculptured in the year 1999, to celebrate the new century and as a promise of the people to live in harmony.
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A must when you visit the Hand of Harmony is to take a photo placing the hand sculpture just on your sleeve for you to become one (in harmony) with Pohang 😂
After appreciating the gorgeous sunrise at Homigot Square, it’s time to fill yourself up! Korea is THE country stacked with thousands of delicious food, you know. Each city and town has their own speciality food, and for Pohang, it’s seafood and SNOW CRABS! As I said, Pohang has one of the largest and the most famous fresh seafood markets in Korea - the Jukdo Market. There are so many local markets in Korea that you can grab your freshest groceries, have meals in the hidden gem restaurants, and even walk around to find snacks as well! One other great thing is the “Jeong” (정/情, Korea’s unique concept of “warm attachment between close people”) of the people in the marketplace. Customers call the store owners aunties and uncles, and as you talk to them you’ll end up with a good laugh and a handful of food bought AND given for free from your new aunties!
Since Jukdo market is all about seafood, you’ll see a LOT of fish tanks in the market with fish, crabs, clams and scallops all caught fresh on the day. Of course, you can always buy your seafood and take it home to cook yourself. Nonetheless, the essence of this Korean fish market is choosing a snow crab in the tank of your choice then head to the back, take a seat, and have them all cooked for you on-site. I swear, these crabs in Jukdo Market will be something you’ve never seen before, full of meat and... talk about fresh! The Korean way to finish a steamed crab is to have fried rice in the head of the crab, and you won’t know how good that is until you have it yourself.
Now, you’re all well fed at the Jukdo market, had your coffee & dessert at the Insta-worthy ocean view café Do Not Disturb, and gone through filming sets of your favourite K-dramas (Pohang also has the sets of When the Camellia Blooms!). It’s time to enjoy the night lights. Yeongildae Beach is where you want to visit for your evening walks. The Yeongildae Sea Pavilion is definitely something to look for during your walk, as it lights up after sunset. The traditional Korean pavilion that’s sitting on the sea can be reached by going past a stone bridge from the shore.
If you’re interested in traditional Korean architecture, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the ceiling while sitting on the pavilion. From the little decorative details to the way the wood holds the roof is just amusing. The cool breeze from the ocean just makes the stop even more relaxing and peaceful.
That’s a whole route for a full enjoyable day in Pohang for you! There are a lot more places to mention like the Homibando Coastal Walkway with the astonishing landscape, the Guryongpo Japanese House Street full of historical stories, etc. Each city in Korea has their landmarks, the food they’re famous for, and must-visit tourist attractions that you all should read about. And as someone who really enjoyed my trip around Korea a few years ago myself, I’m truly excited to start these city-intro series 🥳 Hope you enjoyed this first one about Pohang, and fingers crossed we’ll all get to fly over to the country full of ‘Jeong’ soon!