Pohang City Guide

A city dominated by industry, Pohang is the home of POSCO, the world’s second largest steel maker, and you won’t go more than a few minutes in the city without realizing it. One of Korea’s less attractive areas of coastline, much of Pohang’s shore features the stark factories of the company, though a few nice beaches still hold firm near the city’s lighthouse and along the main front.

Despite its industrial tendencies, though, Pohang has a few nice attractions. Alongside Sokcho, it’s the gateway to one of Korea’s more obscure and memorable attractions, the island of Ulluengdo, and is also close to a number of impressive Buddhist sights. Bogyeongsa valley is a mere 30kms away from the city, home to an ancient temple and the gateway to a picture perfect valley. Venture further up and you’ll discover a dozen waterfalls, creaky bridges across stunning gorges and a host of stupas. Just drifting around or heading for the peaks is the essential Pohang area experience.

Back in the city, the Homigot district is an interesting aside, facing out into the East Sea (or Japanese Sea if you live the other side of it), the district has become a popular spot to watch the sunrise at New Year, and is swamped every January the first. You’ll find a few people hanging out on the dock near the lighthouse museum every morning, symbolically watching a new day roll in from the East.

A down side to Pohang is that you really will struggle without English here. Take a guidebook to translate the letters on a restaurant menu and point to a few essential phrases, as outside of the higher-end hotels you’re going to find little more than a few words spoken amongst the bulk of Pohang’s populace.

Other than the obvious attractions, Pohang has a host of games rooms, cafes, bars and other forms of entertainment, including one of Korea’s top football teams, appropriately named Pohang Stealers and sponsored by POSCO. Amongst the long sandy beaches and lively main streets you can – when looking in the right direction, at least – forget about the extent of the city’s industrial aspects and enjoy a city with a different vibe. Don’t forget the out of town, natural draws though, as they’re the highlight.