Not far from both Geoje and Tongyeong are some stunningly beautiful islands which can be reached by ferry. Some of the ferry services are for foot passengers only, whilst for some larger islands, it is possible to take your car.
If you plan on visiting any of the islands, you will need to present photo ID, eg Alien registration card or passport. You will also be asked for a contact phone number. During high season, reservations are recommended for the more popular island destinations, especially at weekends and on public holidays. You should arrive at the ticket office no later than 30 minutes before the ferry is scheduled to depart. If you have reserved tickets online, you will need to pick them up from the ticket office.
Ferry schedules vary depending on time of year and can also be affected by weather. Regular schedules can be viewed on links to websites run by the different ferry companies. As there is no website for the companies providing the ferry service to Isudo and the service from Geoje to Hansando, details are provided below.
For online assistance in English, contact the Travel Helpline on 1330. They will be able to confirm ferry departure times and provide up to date details on ticket costs etc.
Below are details for some of the islands accessible from Geoje and/or Tongyeong. Note that all of these islands offer cafe and restaurant facilities, whilst pensions on some also allow for an overnight stay.
Famous for its sculpted botanical gardens, Oedo is Geoje’s busiest tourist attraction. There are no vehicles allowed and it is not possible to stay overnight on this island. Lots of slopes and stairs, so not suitable for anyone with mobility issues. Passenger ferries run from several ferry terminals on Geoje and are managed by different companies. You will need to return on the same boat you used to arrive.
You can also travel from Wahyeon: Wahyeon Excursion Boat Ticket Office and from Dojangpo (the village where Windy Hill is located and the option which gives the shortest sailing time of 30 minutes): Dojangpo Excursion Boat.
Jangseungpo is the most popular and convenient starting point: Jangseungpo Excursion Boat Terminal . This cruise boat option includes a tour of the Haegeumgang rock formations. The whole trip takes around 2-3 hours, 1.5 hr of which is spent on Oedo itself.
The Oedo Botania site provides information in English: http://www.oedobotania.com/botania/introduction/. For those wishing to make reservations online, it also provides links to websites of the various ferry companies offering tours to the island: http://www.oedobotania.com/guide/ For websites in Korean, you can use Google Translate to help.
A very small island, famous for the large number of Camellia trees, many of which are very old. The island was used as a military base by the Japanese army during the Japanese occupation. There are some steep slopes and steps, so not suitable for those with mobility issues. No vehicles are allowed. There are a few pensions if you wish to stay overnight (details given on the website below).
The island can only be accessed from Jangseungpo waterfront, at the ferry terminal located next to the police station: Jisimdo Terminal. The boat trip takes approximately 15 minutes and it is possible to see the whole island in less than 2 hours. The blooming season for Camellia lasts from early December until late April, but the flower is at its best in March. For more information and online reservations, go to: https://www.jisimdoro.com/
Located off the south-west corner of Geoje, Jangsado Sea Park is another small island famous for its camellia trees in winter, as well as its hydrangeas in summer. It has been used as a shooting location for many Korean dramas. The island has a bonsai garden, a greenhouse, a tiny church and an outdoor ampitheatre with some unusual metal head sculptures. There are many steps, so not suitable for those with mobility issues. No cars or overnight stays.
The nearest (and therefore, cheapest) ferry terminal to Jangsado from Geoje is Daepogeun Pohang: Daepogeun Port. The ferry from Daepogeun to Jangsado takes approximately 15 minutes.
Daepo Cruise Center website allows you to book tickets online. Although the website is in Korean, Google Translate can be used to help if you don’t speak Korean. Online bookings are slightly cheaper than buying tickets at the ferry terminal office.
You will need to return with the same boat on which you arrived and will have 2 hours to tour the island.
Significant historically as the site of one of the most important battles in Korean history. It was here in 1592 during the Imjin War, that Admiral Yi Sun-Sin deployed the famous ‘turtle ships’ which defeated the Japanese war fleet. For tourists, there is now a memorial at Jeseungdang, where Yi Sun-Sin’s strategic headquarters were based. There are various monuments and you can visit the barracks, the Suru Watch Tower and Hansanjeong, where soldiers were trained in archery (the only archery field in Korea where water separates the archers from the targets). It takes about 1.5 hrs to visit the Jesuengdang memorial site.
If you wish to explore a bit more of the island as well as visiting Jesuengdang, it is possible to take a car over to Hansando from a small ferry terminal in the west of Geoje: Hansando Island Way Car Ferry Terminal. Ferries depart every hour on the hour, starting from 7:00am. The last boat leaves at 17:00 in winter season and 18:00 in summer. During high season, holidays and weekends, extra boats are put on to cater to demand.
There is also another, smaller and very sparsely populated island called Chubongdo which is connected to Hansando by a small road bridge, so if you choose to take a car, you can tour around both islands.
If visiting Jeseungdang without a vehicle, it is advisable to travel from Tongyeong Coastal Ferry Terminal: Tongyeong Ferry Terminal. Jeseungdang is approximately 15 minutes’ walk from where the ferry drops you off.
Popular with hikers and one of the most well-known attractions in Hallyeo Maritime National Park, Somaemuldo is a small island next to Maemuldo. It can be reached from either Tongyeong: Tongyeong Ferry Terminal or Geoje: Jeoguhang Port. The island is famous for its unusual rock formations, rugged landscape, clear waters and breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. The boat trip takes around 1 hour from Geoje and 1.5 hours from Tongyeong. The ferry passes a number of smaller islands en route. There are around 50 permanent residents on the island and some pensions for those wishing to stay overnight. No cars.
From Somaemuldo pier, the trail leads up to Mangtaebong peak, the highest point on the island. You have the option of hiking straight up the main path or taking a detour via the camellia forest woodland trail. The views of the ocean and surrounding islands from the peak are impressive, particularly the view of nearby Haegemundo, an image which appears on many postcards and TV advertisements. The white lighthouse on Haegemundo hill was built by the Japanese during the Colonial period (1910-1945). Twice a day, during low tide, it is possible to cross from Somaemuldo to Haegemundo via a 150 metre long rocky path. From here you can climb up to the lighthouse. Depending on fitness levels, the full hike to Haegemundo lighthouse and back to the pier will take around 2-3 hours.
For more information including ferry schedule, tide times and online reservations for ferry service, go to: http://eng.maemuldo.go.kr/sub/04_02_02.asp
Only 10 minutes’ boat ride from Jangmok-myeon in Geoje-do, this small fishing island has only recently been promoted as a tourist destination by the Geoje City administration. On a clear day, a trip to Isudo offers some scenic views of the Geoje coast-line and the fantastic Geoga Bridge. A hiking trail has been created, complete with observation platforms, picnic tables and a small suspension bridge. It is possible to hike around the island in less than 2 hours. The Haenyeo (female divers) can often be spotted in the sea around Isudo. Please be respectful and ask for permission if you wish to take their photograph.
The ferry service operates out of Sibang Quay in Geoje: Sibang Quay. The daily ferry service to Isudo departs every two hours, starting from 8:00-18:00hrs during the months of Feb-May and Sep-Oct. From June-August, there is an additional boat at 19:00hrs and from Nov-Jan, the last departs at the earlier time of 17:20hrs. For the return trip to Geoje, ferries depart Isudo at 50 minutes past the hour. Bear in mind that ferry times can vary depending on weather conditions.
Another small fishing island close to Geoje, famous for its oyster and scallop industry. Archaeological findings show that human beings have lived here since prehistoric times.
It is now possible to drive to Sandaldo from Geoje by crossing the recently opened road bridge. This is one of the few islands suitable for those with limited mobility as the road around the coast is completely flat. If you like, you can walk, cycle or drive around the whole island and enjoy the views of Geoje, Hansando and a few other small islands. To do the circular walk takes approximately 2-2.5 hours. Another option is to simply stroll around one or more of the three local villages. For the more energetic, you can hike up one or more of the island’s three mountain peaks and enjoy a view of the seascape and neighbouring islands. Several pensions have recently sprung up to accommodate visitors wishing to stay overnight and there are a few cafes and restaurants.
Sandaldo location: Sandaldo
This is actually 2 islands, joined together by a stretch of golden sandy beach. Spectacularly unspoiled and traffic-free, with calm, pristine waters and fabulous sunsets and sunrises, Bijindo is a small island, popular with visitors looking to relax and chill out for a few days. Alternatively, you can go for a day trip. Ferries run from Tongyeong only and the trip takes around 50 minutes. It is recommended to arrive 45-60 mins ahead of time: Tongyeong Ferry Terminal
Bijindo is suitable for visitors looking for a gentle walk along the beach and through the village. It also offers the opportunity for a challenging circular 2-3 hour hike. Fishing is popular and you can also hire inflatables and kayaks during the summer season.
It is possible to camp overnight on this island. Pensions and ‘minbaks’ are alternative options. For further information on accommodation, activities and other services on Bijindo, check out this excellent blog: http://www.goingthewholehogg.com/bijindo-island-guide/
Yokjido is the second largest island accessible from Tongyeong (the largest is Hansando). It is also one of the furthest islands to the south from Tongyeong. Yokjido is popular with hikers and there are a variety of walking trails ranging from easy strolls around the coastline and villages to more challenging mountain hikes. One of the highlights of the island is the attractive suspension bridge, from which you can enjoy magnificent views of precipitous cliffs and the surrounding seascape. Jabupo was originally the main village on the island and here you will find murals, photos etc. depicting village life of the past, along with some interesting historical information. It is possible (and recommended) to take a vehicle over to Yokjido. A driving tour of the coast road allows you to explore small villages and take in striking views of the island itself and neighbouring islands. For a full description of other transport options, along with detailed description of things to do and accommodation (including campsites), go to: http://www.goingthewholehogg.com/yokjido-korean-island-guide/
Ferries to Yokjido depart from Tongyeong Main Ferry Terminal and take about 1.5 hours (stopping off at Yeonhwa-do en route): Tongyeong Ferry Terminal . Direct ferries run from Samdeok, a small port south-west of Tongyeong city and take 55 minutes: Yokji Way Passenger Terminal.
Winter and summer schedules for ferries departing from both terminals are given here: Schedules to Yokji.