I just spent a weekend enjoying a trip all the way down to the Southernmost point of the Korean peninsula. The last stop of KTX’s Jeolla line is the Yeosu EXPO Station. It takes three hours and costs 45,000 won from Seoul to Yeosu using KTX. I want to share with you why it is worth the time and investment. While I visited, I noted five reasons Yeosu is a must stop destination in South Korea.
Yeosu Ocean Railbike
Upon arriving to Yeosu, I made the Yeosu Ocean Railbike (여수해양레일바이크) my first destination. It is located less than 10 minutes away from Yeosu EXPO Station by taxi. The fare was less than 5,000 won. The price varies by how many people go. The more people, the less it costs: 2 people is 26,000 won, 3 people is 31,000 won, and 4 is 36,000 won. I went during the Chuseok holiday, so the wait time was 40 minutes. Plus, I was unaware that making online reservations was possible! I could have saved myself the wait time. On the bright side, I know better now and so do you – reserve at least one day before!
The rail bike trip itself is 3.5 km long. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. The rail bike goes into a dark cave that is decorated with many fun lights. While in the cave it does get chilly, so I recommend a light jacket. Even though it was September and a bright, sunny day, I would have liked to wear a cardigan in the cave. I get cold easily.
The main street in Yeosu is named after a famous Korean naval officer – Yi Sun Shin. Starting from Yi Sun Shin Square, there are many street performances to watch, games to play, restaurants to eat at, and street food to try. All the fun happens at night. That is when all the vendors finish setting up their tents and are ready for business. There is a model warship of Yi Sun Shin’s turtle ship, too. One can take a moment to step back in time and learn something educational about Korean history. I ended every night of my stay in Yeosu here. I even bought fireworks. There is a lot to do and enjoy on this strip.
The Yeosu Maritime Cable Car (여수 해상케이블카) runs from the mainland to Dolsan Island. I aimed to take the cable car from the mainland to the island during the sunset and return at night to get two different types of views. However, to do this I should have planned in advance. Again, I went during Chuseok, so there were a lot of people. There are two different cable cars – standard and crystal. The crystal cabins have transparent floors. I paid 15,000 won for a standard cabin round trip, because the wait time for a crystal cabin was too long at that time. A crystal cable car would have been 22,000 won round trip.
This is one of four hermitages in Korea. What makes this hermitage unique is its history. During Yi Sun Shin’s time, the hermitage was used by Buddhist monks that aided Yi Sun Shin fight against the Japanese invasion. One can catch a bus from the mainland that leads directly to your destination. The ride to the hermitage took about an hour and was filled with scenic sights of the ocean and rice paddies. However, the ride back took about 40 minutes. I held tight to my seat on the ride back. Having a bus driver with a heavy foot may end up being a part of your experience as well.
The admission fee is 2,000 won. The trails through the hermitage are well paved and there are plenty of stairs. Be prepared for the workout. Everything is steep. There are many spots to enjoy ocean views, mountain views and turtle views. The turtles aren’t real, but stone ones. The turtle is main symbol of this hermitage. For 5,000 won one can buy a gold leaf to write on, make a wish upon it, and hang around the hermitage. The money all goes towards the preservation of the temples there. Be sure to set aside an adequate amount of time for this trip – transportation to and from, the hike up and down, and time to fully enjoy the zen vibe.
Food is always a reason to go somewhere. Yeosu is no exception. Seafood is my favorite. There are many seafood main dishes and street foods. Pictures speak a thousand words. Absolutely delicious!
Giselle Moreno is from California, USA where she attended the University of California, Riverside. While a student, she always worked with international students and she decided to teach English abroad upon graduating during her third year of university. It was through the experiences of being an English tutor for international students that she felt really fulfilled. She found it particularly easy to get along with Korean students which is why she decided to pursue a teaching opportunity in Korea. She even attended Yonsei University in Seoul for a semester as a study abroad student and fell in love with the city. She is currently working at ChungDahm Learning’s April Daechi branch located in Gangnam, Seoul.