- RegionYeosu-si Jeollanam-do
- Duration2 DAYS/1 NIGHT
No tour through Jeollanam-do is complete without stopping in the cities of Yeosu and Suncheon. Yeosu is a beautiful city on Korea’s southern coast, bringing charming views of the sea and nature, while also displaying fantastic architecture, all of which was showcased at the World Expo in 2012. Visitors to Yeosu can enjoy deep blue ocean views during the day, and then see the ocean change colors in vibrant night scenes. Many tourists also choose to visit the nearby city of Suncheon, Korea’s center of ecology; the whole city can be called a garden for the abundance of beautiful, well-preserved nature found here. To make the most of one’s time, we recommend a two-day course through these two cities, offering stunning views of both nature and man-made accomplishments.
DAY 1 Yeosu
- 19:00 AMTravel to Yeosu21:00 PMExpo Ocean Park
32:00 PMHanhwa Aqua Planet Yeosu
44:00 PMOdongdo Island
- 56:00 PMYeosu Maritime Cable Car
1:00 PM, Expo Ocean Park
- 【 Photo: Sky Tower observatory 】
- 【 Photo: Water fountain in a family motif 】
The first thing you will see when exiting Yeosu-Expo Station is the ocean park next to the overwhelmingly vast blue waters. The site opened as the venue for the 2012 Yeosu World Expo, and now serves as an exhibition and event site as well as offering various water leisure sports.
Of the park’s many facilities, the two that stand out the most are the large circular BIG-O, and the cement storage silo-turned-observatory, Sky Tower. The exterior of Sky Tower is accented by a gigantic pipe organ, included in the Guinness World Records in 2011 as being the world’s loudest pipe organ. Looking out of the observatory windows offers a panoramic view of Expo Ocean Park and the deep blue ocean fading into the horizon beyond.
The BIG-O show is one of the park’s finest attractions, displaying an outstanding water fountain show set to a sweet melody. In the daytime, it is simply a unique sculpture, but at night the lights turn this large ring into a performance more exciting than fireworks.
- Address: Area of Bangnamhoe-gil, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do
- Directions: Connected to Yeosu-Expo Station
- Operating hours: 09:00-21:00 (Mondays 09:00-20:00)
- Sky Tower
- – Operating hours: 09:00-22:00 (Open all year round)
- – Admission: Adults 3,000 won / Teenagers 2,000 won / Children 1,500 won
- – Pipe organ performance: March 18 – December 18, 2016 (No performances from mid-December to February)
April – August Tuesday-Sunday / March, September – December Friday-Sunday (20 minute performance timed with the arrival of trains)
- BIG-O Show
- – Operating period: April 2 – November 27, 2016 (Closed Mondays / Only showing on weekends (Friday-Sunday) in April.)
- – Fare: Adults 18,000 – 22,000 won / Teenagers 14,000 – 18,000 won / Children 12,000 – 16,000 won (Ticket sales begin on-site at 17:00 on the day of the performance)
* Standing ticket: Adults 14,000 won / Teenagers 10,000 won / Children 8,000 won (Only sold when all seats are filled)
2:00 PM, Hanhwa Aqua Planet Yeosu
- 【 Photo: Up close and personal
in the underwater tunnel 】
- 【 Photo: African penguins on display 】
When visiting a coastal city, one activity you cannot skip out on is the chance to get close to marine life; Hanhwa Aqua Planet Yeosu located inside Expo Ocean Park can fulfill all your aquarium needs. Here you can see rare beluga whales swimming freely, as well as Baikal seals, loggerhead sea turtles, African penguins and more.
If you plan your trip just right, you can see the feeding programs for various animals, from raccoons and penguins to seals, piranhas, beluga whales, and more. The highlight is the feeding program in the main tank, home to over 3,000 animals in over 280 species, where a diver feeds large rays by hand.
- Address: 61-11, Odongdo-ro, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do
- Directions: Located inside Expo Ocean Park
- Operating hours: 10:00-19:00 (Last admission at 18:00, open all year round)
- Admission: Adults 23,000 won / Teenagers 21,000 won / Children 19,000 won
- Website: www.aquaplanet.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
4:00 PM, Odongdo Island
- 【 Photo: The island is connected by a breakwater 】
- 【 Photo: Odongdo Lighthouse 】
Odongdo Island is Yeosu’s most representative tourist attraction. The island itself is quite small, but has much to offer, including over 190 rare species of trees and unique cliffs with amazing views of the ocean. The whole island is dotted with camellia trees, enough so that the whole island can be said to be a camellia forest. The flowers peak in mid to late March, just in time for the annual Camellia Flower Festival.
Despite being an island, visitors can walk over along the 768 meter-long breakwater connecting Odongdo Island with the mainland. The breakwater is great for a walk with the sea breeze blowing in over the waters below, but if you want to arrive at the island a bit easier, you can take the Camellia Train. You can also ride on a sightseeing ferry or take a motorboat to take in the natural beauty of the ocean and the coastal scenery of Odongdo Island.
There are four paths to reach the peak of Odongdo Island, all starting in various points but meeting at Odongdo Lighthouse. After the hike up, take a moment to rest and take in the view of the refreshingly blue ocean before deciding which of the paths to take down and end your relaxing time on the island.
- Address: 242, Odongdo-ro, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do
- Directions: Walk approx. 1.5km from Hanhwa Aqua Planet Yeosu
- Camellia Train
- – Operating hours: 09:10-17:40 (30 minute intervals, schedule subject to change based on weather and season)
- – Fare (one-way): Adults 800 won / Teenagers 600 won / Children 500 won
- Website: www.odongdo.go.kr (Korean only)
6:00 PM, Yeosu Maritime Cable Car
Yeosu Maritime Cable Car stretches 1.5km over the open sea from Dolsan Park, on a nearby island, to Jasan Park on the mainland. Moving at a speed of 5km per hour, a one-way trip takes about 13 minutes, with a round-trip journey requiring 25 minutes. With boarding platforms at both Dolsan Park (Nora Bus Stop) and Jasan Park (Haeya Bus Stop), travelers can pick the nearest location for a fun experience. This recommended course departs from Odongdo Island, so boarding at Jasan Park will be more convenient.
The cable cars are divided into regular cabins and special Crystal cabins. These special cabins are recommended for thrill-seekers, as they have a see-through floor. If you’re brave enough, look directly down to see nothing between your feet and the ocean far below. Operations run late into the evening, offering fantastic views of the night scenery, including the wonderfully colorful Geobukseokdaegyo Bridge.
- Address: 39, Jasan 4-gil, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do (Haeya Bus Stop, Jasan Park)
- Directions: Walk approx. 1km from Odongdo Island
- Operating hours: 09:00-22:00 (Sunday-Friday, national holidays) / 09:00-23:00 (Saturday)
General cabin: Adults one-way 10,000 won, round-trip 13,000 won / Children one-way 9,000 won, round-trip 7,000 won
Crystal cabin: Adults round-trip 20,000 won / Children round-trip 15,000 won
- Website: yeosucablecar.com (Korean only)
DAY 2 Suncheon
- 109:00 AMTravel to Suncheon210:00 AMSuncheon Open Film Location
31:00 PMSuncheonman Bay National Garden
44:00 PMSuncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve
10:00 AM, Suncheon Open Film Location
Suncheon Open Film Location opened in February of 2006 at the site of a previous military base. The set displays houses, shops, and the general street life of Seoul from the 1950s to the 1980s. It has been used as the filming location of over 700 Korean television programs and movies, from dramas “East of Eden (2008)” and “King of Baking, Kim Takgu (2010)” to variety program “Running Man” and movies “A Werewolf Boy (2012)” and “Love, Lies (2015).”
- 【 Photo: Props make the streets come alive 】
- 【 Photo: Couple posting in old school uniforms 】
Suncheon Open Film Location is popular among visitors of all ages, as Koreans born before the70’s feel strong nostalgia for their youth, and younger visitors enjoy the activities and chances to experience life from the 60’s to the 80’s. The most popular experience is by far the chance to wear school uniforms of the past. For just 2,000 won, you can rent an old school uniform for 50 minutes and take photos throughout the set, starring in your own photo story. Be sure to stop by one of the “jumak” restaurants for a taste of buchimgae (Korean fried pancake) and dotori-muk(acorn jelly salad) before setting off in search of the homes of various drama characters.
- Address: 24, Biryegol-gil, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do
- Directions: From Suncheon Station, walk approx. 300m to Suncheon Station Bus Stop → Take Bus no. 77 and get off at Drama Set Bus Stop → Walk approx. 400m to Suncheon Open Film Location
- Operating hours: 09:00-18:00 (Last admission one hour before closing)
- Admission: Adults 3,000 won / Teenagers 2,000 won / Children 1,000 won
1:00 PM, Suncheonman Bay National Garden
【 Photo: Suncheonman Bay National Garden’s flowers and trees burst with life 】
Suncheonman Bay National Garden, the first of its kind in Korea, has great value for the work put into protecting the important ecological treasure of Suncheonman Bay. The largest man-made garden in the nation, the brightly blooming tulips and vast fields of golden canola blossoms draw in crowds of visitors every spring. People also flock to the garden and the bay for the annual Suncheonman Bay Reeds Festival held in late autumn each year. The garden has two entrances, with Suncheon Lake Garden and World Garden located by the east gate and Korean Traditional Garden and Suncheon Bay International Wetland Center near the western gate.
Suncheon Lake Garden is characterized by a landscape of small hills peaking up around a lake. Set off on a world tour by visiting Thailand, Japan, England, the Netherlands, France, China and more through the various countries’ traditional gardens in the World Garden section of the park.
The garden is extremely large, and would require a few hours in order to see everything. To keep within a two-day schedule, we recommend picking up a free map from the ticket booth when entering and following one of the set courses.
TIP. Traveling from Suncheonman Bay National Garden to Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve
Take the SkyCube from Suncheonman Bay National Garden to Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve! This monorail runs from Garden Station in the garden to Literature Museum Station by the reserve. From Literature Museum Station, you can walk or take the Reed Train (closed Mondays) for the remaining 1.2km to Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve.
- Address: 47, Gukgajeongwon 1ho-gil, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do
- Directions: Walk approx. 1km from Suncheon Open Filming Location along Wanggungjungang-gil Road to Geumdangdongsin Apt. Bus Stop → Take Bus No. 100 and get off at Suncheonman Bay National Garden Bus Stop
- Operating hours: November-February 08:30-18:00 / March-April, October 08:30-19:00 / May-September 08:30-20:00
- Admission: Adults 8,000 won / Teenagers 6,000 won / Children 4,000 won (Admission to Suncheonman Bay National Garden and Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve included in single ticket)
- SkyCube Fare: Adult round-trip 8,000 won, one-way 6,000 won / Children round-trip & one-way 6,000 won (Closed Mondays)
- Website: www.scgardens.or.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
* Related column
Nurtured with the sun, sky and the wind – Suncheonman Bay
4:00 PM, Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve
Suncheonman Bay developed on the southern coast as a coastal wetland, featuring a serpentine watercourse running through fields of reeds and colonies of sea-blite. The reserve is home to over 200 species of birds, including 11 rare species like the hooded crane and the black-headed stork. Due to the reserve’s high biological value, it was included in the Ramsar list of protected wetlands.
A walk through the vast field of reeds is beautiful but for a more magnificent view, you will need to take a hike up a small hill. If you walk just 1km farther from the end of the boardwalk through the reeds, the trail will guide you to Yongsan Observatory. From here you can see all of Suncheonman Bay at a single glance, make it one observatory you should not miss. Another thing not to be missed is the sunset from this point; the sight will stay with you long after you visit.
- Address: 513-25, Suncheonman-gil, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do
- Directions: Take the SkyCube from Suncheonman Bay National Garden to Literature Museum Station. Alternately, take a taxi from the garden.
- Operating hours: 08:00-Sunset
- Admission: Adults 8,000 won / Teenagers 6,000 won / Children 4,000 won (Admission to Suncheonman Bay Wetland Reserve and Suncheonman Bay National Garden included in single ticket)
- Website: www.suncheonbay.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
* Related column
Nurtured with the sun, sky and the wind – Suncheonman Bay
TIP. Additional attractions to see
The following places were sadly a bit out of the way of the way to fit into two-day tour. If you have time for a more leisurely tour of Jeollanam-do, we highly recommend visiting these places as well.
Yeosu – Hyangiram Hermitage
Hyangiram Hermitage is a small temple set high up on a cliff with a fantastic, unblocked view of the open waters beyond. Founded around 1400 years ago during the Baekje Kingdom, the view of the sunrise is particularly beautiful, with many tourists visiting on December 31 in order to catch the first sunrise of the new year during the Yeosu Hyangiram Sunrise Festival.
There are seven stone caves along the path to the hermitage, and it is said that if you pass all of these caves, your wish will most definitely come true. Many people also stack coins or small rocks atop larger stones in the area of the main temple in order to make their wishes come true.
- Address: 60, Hyangiram-ro, Dolsan-eup, Yeosu-si, Jeollanam-do
- Directions: From Yeosu-Expo Station L Bus Stop, take Bus No. 111 and get off at Impo (Hyangiram) Bus Stop → Walk approx. 400m to Hyangiram Hermitage
- Admission: Adults 2,000 won / Teenagers 1,500 won / Children 1,000 won
- Website: www.hyangiram.org (Korean only)
Suncheon – Naganeupseong Folk Village
The fortified town of Naganeupseong is as densely packed with thatch-roofed houses in modern times as it ever was in the past. The families living here have been here for generations, creating a very strong sense of community in this small village. Town castles or eupseongs served as both the center of local administration and as a protective force for the citizens, with Naganeupseong being one of the most complete and well-preserved fortified towns from the Joseon Dynasty. Walking through this folk village, you will get a strong sense of the traditional appearance of villages, as things have not changed over the years. Your time here can be made more exciting by following the activity course and visiting the marketplace, gift shops and traditional craft shops throughout the village.
- Address: 30, Chungmin-gil, Nagan-myeon, Suncheon-si, Jeollanam-do
- Directions: From Suncheon Station Bus Stop, take Bus No. 63 and get off at Naganeupseong Bus Stop
- Admission: Adults 4,000 won / Teenagers 2,500 won / Children 1,500 won
- Website: www.suncheon.go.kr (Korean only)