Seonyudo(선유도) is a beautiful island along the West coast of South Korea, not to be mistaken with the Seonyudo in Seoul. This Seonyudo is part of the Gogunsan series of islands by Gunsan, Jeollabuk-do, and is a popular holiday destination for South Koreans during the summer. To get to Seonyudo we took a ferry from the Gunsan Coastal Ferry Terminal.
We think the ferry journey was approximately 1 hour, but we can’t be sure because it was possibly the most entertaining ferry ride ever. Being the tourists that we were, we all clambered up to the open deck to soak in the beautiful sea air and take a million photos, and then we witnessed a Korean Ferry tradition (possibly). Families gathered with packets of prawn crackers and started feeding the seagulls that followed the ferry. As we travelled further, more seagulls joined the flock, but we decided to ignore the horror movie-ness of it all and join in with the fun! Feeding seagulls prawn crackers from a moving ferry requires quite a bit of skill and you have to have arms of steel!
When you arrive, you are greeted by golf carts and trucks but no cars; this island feels so different to the bustling capital of Seoul. We all piled onto a open truck and rode through the scenic island. Seonyudo is known for it’s beautiful curved white sand beach and apparently translates to Angel’s resort and has a legend that angels used to play and frolic on this island in the old days – a very fitting destination for us….
When staying in Seonyudo we had our little corner of the island,where we stayed in little beach huts shared with around 2-3 person per hut. Our lodgings were by a beautiful pebble beach and was so calm and peaceful and absolutely breathtaking. We embark on our very own MT style trip with lots of food and beer and fun. At night after a very filling BBQ, we headed down into the pebble beach for another MT tradition, fireworks! Many city dwellers will understand how different it is to be out away from the city and see a sky with no light pollution. The night skies of Seonyudo is amazing with the most stars we’ve ever seen!
For the more energetic folks, you can hire bikes and ride around the island or jump on a golf cart for a ride. One must-see of the island is a very special lighthouse, some say it resembled praying hands and if you make a wish here, it could come true! Others say it’s a MASSIVE stop sign. It was possibly both and we especially love the details of the windows as fingernails.
We also stopped off to explore Jangja Island (장자도), which is to the west of the Island, and is joined to Seonyudo by the Jangjagyo Bridge. This Bridge is long and is not wide enough to drive a car across, so we all jumped off our truck and proceeded to cross the bridge for some hiking.
The name Jangja is made from the names of flatfish and flounder fish. This island is said to be shaped like a big bowl in front of a running horse and because of this, people believed that this island may produce many brilliant men. Residents of Jangja island believed this island was lucky as if you stood on the bridge, you could see Lion Rock located to the west of the island. This Lion Rock was believed to be a guardian against bad luck from the sea due to its “angel locations” staring at the west seas. Although nowadays Jangja island plays a smaller role than Seonyudo, 60 years ago it used to be the most plentiful island in the Gogunsan series of islands and used to function as the central sea port in this series of islands. Many fishing boats used to harbour around the front of Jangjado and at night, the sea used to be lit up with lights from fishing boats. Whilst crossing the bridge we saw a lot of people fishing, so these seas still seemed plentiful!
As we arrived on Jangja island, we were greeted by men playing a weird game that looked like a cross between tennis and football. Our fellow bloggers later explained that it was actually the Korean sport of Jokgu! We understand Jokgu is kind of like playing volleyball with footballing technique on a tennis court. You can find out more about this unique Korean sport here.
We proceeded to walk up a hill and then came down a mountain, all the while taking in some spectacular scenery. We were again filled with many emotions as we watched the sun set over the glistening sea. It was one of the most beautiful moments of our lives. As we stood on top of the giant hill, we had no troubles, we had no worries, we just felt fabulous. It was absolutely amazing to be able to see such a rural and untouched part of South Korea!
We can see why Seonyudo is a popular destinations for all those wanting to get away from the city. The atmosphere is so relaxing and different, you leave the island feeling refreshed! Seonyudo is truly one of the most unique places we have ever been!
You can access Seonyudo and Jangja island via a ferry from Gunsan Coastal Ferry Terminal! So what are you waiting for? Escape to the playground of the angels this summer!