Are you planning to visit Korea during summer or are you already in Korea and looking for something unique to visit before you return to your home country?
Well, I may have a suggestion for your trip to Korea.
South Korea has over 3,358 officially affirmed islands off its coast -inhabited and unhabited- and most travellers might have already heard about the most famous island of Korea, Jeju, one of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature”.
But there are also smaller islands, who are popular spots during summer holidays and recommendable for tourists who want to get away from the busy city and relax.
One of those islands is Seonyudo (선유도), which can be reached via ferry from the Gunsan Coastal Ferry Terminal (연안여객터미널).
Seonyudo is part a group of ~20 islands in Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do and has lodging facilities and restaurants, specialized in local sea food dishes.
Since Seonyudo is linked to four other islands (Munyeodo, Jangjado and Daejangdo) with connecting bridges, tourist are able to explore the neighboring landmarks as well.
During my visit on Seonyudo Island I stayed in one of the small guest houses, fully equipped with bathroom (with a shower), kitchen and television (but seriously, who has time to watch TV if you can explore an island?).
The houses reminded me of the sturdy guest houses you can find in Norwegian fjords and I found them very charming.
Those little houses are ideal for couples on a romantic get away or familes with children -I had a roommate, but a family up to four people could easily fit into one of those houses!- and were located on a quiet bay with an own beach.
The owner of the beach houses also provided us with breakfast -sea food specialities-, delivered each morning by boat.
There are many ways of exploring the island, by foot, bicycle, boat or a special sight seeing car, but if you have time, I’d recommend that you try all three options, because they will lead you to different places and impressions.
The sight seeing car, which looks like a golf cart, will give you great view of the harbor, the neighboring islands and the outer areas of the island.
With the bicycle you are able to reach the connecting bridges to the other islands and get to major viewpoints, which are restricted for cards.
If you go by foot, you can also climb the rocks for a better view, explore the fauna and train your stamina as well!
Popular sights are the wonderful sunrise or sunset, I loved seeing the gleaming reflection of the sun on the water, the beach in the moonlight and various peaks and bays.
A local legend says, that two gods are playing baduk (a board game) on the mountain Seonyu Peak – I’m not sure about the gods, but if you look at the scenery, it does seem like a little heaven on earth!
I think that Seonyudo Island is the perfect place to recharge one’s batteries, especially in a fast paced world like ours.
For your travel preparations
Adress in English: Seonyudo-ri, Okdo-myeon, Gunsan-si, Jeollabuk-do
Adress in Korean: 전북 군산시 옥도면 선유도리
How to get there: Regardless where you are (be it from the airport in Incheon or from Seoul etc.) pick “Gunsan Station” or “Gunsan Bus Terminal” for your first stop.
From Gunsan, take Bus No. 7 and get off at “Gunsan Coastal Ferry Terminal” (in Korean: 연안여객터미널).
Then, take the ferry to Seonyudo island (선유도), that’s your destination.
What to bring (for summer):
- Sunscreen, you might not notice it because of the fresh breeze from the sea, but the sun is very strong; good for a summer tan though
- Foot gear, you need sturdy shoes to explore the island, since parts of Seonyudo are still “wild” (lots of rocks to play and climb!) the right shoes are key for a great vacation.
- Mosquito repellent, it doesn’t matter if you are allergic or not, mosquito bites are unpleasant and the reaction to the bites might differ from your home country.
- Food, most guest houses -mine did- allow their guests to have their own, private barbeque party on the beach, since the numbers of convenience stores are limited on the island, make sure you have your BBQ ingredients ready by evening!
1. If you can not speak Korean, you can always hire a guide (before you arrive on the island) or ask a Korean friend to write the key names and instructions in Korean (like the Korean name of the ferry terminal, bus stop name etc.), you can show this to the driver, guide or guest house owner.
If you book a stay in a guest house, the guest house owner will mostly pick you up from the ferry.
People are very helpful and in my experience, the guest house owners and guides could speak English.
2. It can get cold in the evening and night, make sure to bring a sweater, even though it’s summer!
3. Have fun!