Around koreatourism & culture
Photos by Korea MICE Bureau
Maritime beauty spot Yeosu is a must-visit destination on Korea’s island-filled south coast. Its rich seaside scenery, nature trails and plentiful ports draw a steady stream of visitors throughout the year, as do its pleasing blend of ancient and modern attractions. In its time, Yeosu has been the victorious focal point in the nation’s battle for freedom, as well as a peaceful center of culture for the entire world.
Needless to say, visitors with twenty-four hours to spare exploring Yeosu are guaranteed a memorable mix of diversion and discovery. It has already proved a big hit for large-scale incentive travel groups from overseas, such as Chinese company Wan Mei, which included Yeosu in its reward trip to Korea twice across 2013-2014, bringing a total of 11,160 employees to the city. Yeosu also welcomed 2,547 and 14,791 employees from Infinitus and Amway China respectively in 2014; in each case with support from the Korea MICE Bureau.
Following are some of the recommended attractions to experience a bit of everything the city has to offer.
Course 1: Seaside Experiences
Follow this course to take full advantage of Yeosu’s coastal beauty while also discovering how Yeosu put itself on the world stage!
With ocean views all along the way, the Yeosu Ocean Rail Bike is the perfect way to explore the city’s stunning coastline. Winding their way along a picturesque 3.5km course, the rail bikes are perfect for group activities, with both bikes and track regularly maintained to ensure maximum safety. Just 200m away from the route, nearby Manseongri Beach is also well worth a visit; its black sand said to be good for blood circulation. The Rail Bike terminus is a 2km drive from Expo Station (taxi fare: 3,500 KRW). Alternatively, take local bus #6 or #7 to Yeosu Rail Bike stop.
Covered in red camellias for half the year and filled with winding forest trails, Odongdo Island is a perfect example of Yeosu’s natural beauty. Explorations through the island’s scenic walking courses will take them to various sites of interest, including the towering Dragon Cave, several strikingly-shaped trees, and a lighthouse observatory, offering panoramic views of Yeosu and its many islands.
Built to host the Expo 2012 World Fair, Yeosu Expo Park celebrates the city’s maritime spirit in a modern style. Those interested in reliving the fair can do so at the 2012 Yeosu World Exhibition Hall, meanwhile the Sky Tower Observatory offers great panoramic views of the surrounding region, while Hanwha Aqua Planet aquarium brings visitors up close and personal with the local marine life. Evening visits are especially recommended for the “Big O” show, a dazzling combination of lights, water, sound, and holography.
Course 2: Cultural Encounters
Take this course to discover Yeosu’s unique history and culture, plus dine out on the city’s freshest fish and see the Yeosu night lights from above the rooftops!
Start soaking in the culture at Mural Alley, a recent government initiative designed to showcase the city’s maritime character and the creativity of its citizens. Throughout the winding streets of Goso-dong, Yeosu’s historical quarter, pedestrians will find colorful wall murals of all kinds depicting the everyday lives of the residents – look out especially for the Angel Wings mural, which makes for a great photo opportunity. Follow this up with a visit to Jinnamgwan, a pivotal Joseon (1392-1910)-era naval base crucial to the Imjin Waeran War against Japan (1592-1598). From here, celebrated naval commander Yi Sun-shin developed and launched his innovative turtle ships (geobukseon) that turned the tide of battle for Korea.
Head downhill along the main road from Jinnamgwan (or turn right into the adjacent side streets for lunch options) to Yi Sun-shin Plaza, located by the harbor just beyond a rotary containing an imposing statue of the admiral himself. Floating next to a gangplank is a full-size geobukseon replica containing various exhibits and photo opportunities related to Yi and his seafaring creation.
Afterwards, take time to explore the streets directly west of the square (along I-Sunsin Gwangjang-ro St) filled with vendors selling dried foods – most especially fish, from mackerel to squid, and which make ideal, well-preserved Yeosu-style souvenirs.
Sample freshly-cooked local seafood at nearby Yeosu Special Seafood Market, where maritime produce can be bought from vendors and cooked at one of the market’s many seafood restaurants. Dried and ready-to-eat raw fish can also be purchased on site. To get there, continue along I-Sunsin Gwangjang-ro St, crossing the road to turn left at Yeogaekseonterminal-gil (Rd). Continue on past the canal bridge and Yeosu Specialty Seafood Market will be on the left.
Afterward, cap off the evening with a nighttime excursion on the Yeosu Maritime Cable Car to Dolsan Park, from which the lights of the city, Dolsan Bridge, and passing ships paint a spectacular vista. (Cable car closing time: 10pm) [More information] From Yi Sun-shin Square, take local bus 555 to Jasan Gongwon (Park) stop. The cable car station is a 4-minute walk from inside the park entrance.