It was summer vacation in 2015. It was hot. Really hot. July in South Korea gets extremely humid and temperatures raise above 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). So, we decided it was time to leave the big city of Seoul to cool down at the beaches down south. After a little bit of searching various destinations, it was decided where we would travel to for three days. Geojedo, or Geoje Island.
Destination Name: Geoje Island
Country: South Korea
Destination Type: Island / Beach / Nature
How to Get There: The best way to get to Geoje Island and to get around while on Geoje Island is to rent a car. There are buses to get to Geoje, but while there you will be reliant on the taxi service which are fairly sparse throughout the island. They are available, but at times you will be waiting for a while to catch one.
Cost: Since we are talking about the island as a whole, the cost of your trip depends on how long you will spend on the island. A bus from Busan to Geoje costs a little more than 6,000 KRW (approximately $6 USD). Beaches on Geoje Island are free, getting transportation around the island will cost you money, and there are various attractions that the island offers, such as boat tours of smaller neighboring islands, that will cost you more money. The cost of your trip is what you make it. See more about our costs in the article.
Duration: Spending three days on the island was a nice escape from the major cities of South Korea. However, we did miss some things we wanted to do. There are smaller neighboring islands that would be interesting to take a look at if we ever found ourselves there again.
Summary: Geoje Island is a wonderful destination for beach-goers that do not want to visit the crowded beaches of Busan, South Korea. Look into the various activities you can do while on the island, but we recommend adding the Oedo and Haegeumgang boat tour, in addition to whatever beaches you wish to visit, to your itinerary.
Geoje Island is South Korea’s second largest island, the first being Jeju Island, and rests on the south end of the country. It is conveniently connected to the country by a bridge, making it easily accessible by bus, car, or taxi. This makes it an inexpensive alternative to flying to Jeju Island, especially during the peak season. Geoje Island has a large shipbuilding industry near Okpo-dong. When traveling there, you will come across several expats that live there, as well as foreigner only bars.
On our first day, we began our travels from Seoul, South Korea. We hoped on the KTX from Seoul to Busan. We left at 8:22 AM and arrived at 11:47 AM, lasting three hours and twenty-five minutes. It cost us 47,800 KRW each (a little less than $45 USD). After arriving in Busan, we caught a bus outside the train station that took us to a bus terminal where we purchased bus tickets to Okpo-dong, Geojedo, where we were staying. These tickets cost 6,800 KRW (approximately $6 USD) and the bus ride lasted a little less than two hours. The views from the bridge crossing were beautiful, as the bridges hope from island to island towards Geojedo. After arriving at our hotel, we took advantage of what little daylight we had left and left to the first of three beaches we visited on this trip. Deokpo beach is a small uncrowded beach with white sand. It was a nice place to spend the evening, but the beach was a little bit dirty and filled with trash. Unless you are in the area, you could skip this beach and look towards better beaches that are in the area.
On the second day, after breakfast, we went straight to Jangseungpo Port that offered boat tours to Oedo and Haegeumgang. See more from our boat tour here. I wont go into detail about this boat tour as we have covered it in our Worldwide Travel Attractions category on our blog. I will say that this is a nice three hour tour of the rock formation islands of Haegeumgang and the more exciting one and a half hour tour of the botanical gardens of Oedo. Definitely worth adding this to your itinerary if you find yourself on Geoje Island. The tour cost us 19,000 KRW each (approximately $18 USD).
After the boat tour finished, we had lunch at a nearby restaurant that served fresh seafood soup. Following the lunch, we traveled by taxi to two nearby beaches. The first of which was Gojura beach. This is a more popular and fairly crowded beach on Geojedo, but it is beautiful and there is a lot to enjoy while on the beach. The second beach was Wahyeon, which was much less crowded and a more relaxing area. It did seem like Wahyeon would be fairly crowded during peak hours of the day, but we made it there just before sunset and enjoyed the beach almost to ourselves. The beach sand there is not as white as it was on Gojura. After seeing the locals set off fireworks, we made our way to the street behind the beach, found some street food, and left for our hotel.
Finally, when the third day arrived, we were ready for our departure back to Busan where we would conclude our trip and leave the southern part of South Korea back to Seoul. It was difficult to say goodbye to the island as there were still things we felt we wanted to do. The return trip cost us 52,900 KRW each (a little less than $50 USD), lasting three hours and ten minutes, from 7:10 PM to 10:20 PM.
There are several other opportunities to do tours of other neighboring islands. Given more time, we would checked out Jisimdo. Take advantage of these while you are visiting. These islands a rich with history from past wars. Geoje Island has some amazing beaches that offer a great alternative to Busan’s busy beaches. It is a nice island that will provide you with lots to do. You could easily spend five days on the island and not be lacking in activities.
Geoje Island in South Korea is the country’s second largest island. Because of the bridge, it is accessible by car, bus, or taxi. The island is historically significant as it was the site of battles, a prisoner war camp, and defensive positions. It also is a beautiful island to visit for any traveler. Off the South East shore of Geoje Island rests Oedo Island. This island is available on a boat tour departing from the port nearest it. Included on this tour is also a tour of Haegeumgang, nearby rock islands.
Oedo Island, Korea
Attraction Name: Oedo and Haegeumgang Tour
Where: Geojedo, South Korea
Attraction Type: Island / Nature
How to Get There: Once on Geojedo, take a taxi to the port where the boats go to Oedo. Public transport is difficult on the island and it can sometimes be hard to find a taxi on the island. Renting a car is the best way of getting around the island.
Cost: The cost of the tour and admission onto Oedo is 19,000 KRW (approximately $17 USD).
Hours: The tours depart based on when the boat fills up, though we were told every 1 to 2 hours they depart with the last one leaving around 5 pm.
Duration: The entire tour lasts about 3 hours, with 1 hour to explore Oedo.
Summary: If you find yourself on the island of Geoje, it is definitely worth it to add the Oedo and Haegeumgang Tour to your itinerary. It is worth the money to visit these islands and to get out and see the flora of Oedo.
Haegeumngang is a set of rocky islands off the South East shore of Geoje Island. These rock formations are massive and impressive to see from up close. From afar, they make for good sunrise and sunset photos. This boat tour allows you to get as close as anyone can get to these rock formations. The boat will actually travel right into a small opening of the rock island and rest there for a moment before turning back. As you can witness from the video, it is an impressive site to see. We were a little bit disappointed though, as the brochures we read that highlighted this part of the trip read that the boat will actually pass right on through from one side of the island to another, indicating that it was like a separation in the islands that you could pass through. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
The next stop on the trip was Oedo Island. On the botanical garden island, we were dropped off for an hour and a half to explore. The island provides visitors with a unique opportunity to see the beautiful flora generally not native to these parts of the world. There are amazing seaside and coastal views from viewpoints throughout the island. The path from the port loops around a small portion of the island. It takes you through pathways lined with trees to lookouts surrounded by sculptures and columns. Along the way is a small building that offers small snacks and desserts. At this point, there is an amazing view from the balcony possibly unrivaled by any other point on the island. There is also a small gift shop and museum to show you a history of the island at the end of the walk. Given the time frame, we almost ran out of time taking pictures, sitting down for a small snack, and marveling at the vast ocean and flora of Oedo.
The tour costs 19,000 KRW (approximately $17 USD). This includes the boat fare and admission onto Oedo. The entire tour lasts about 3 hours, and you are given 1 to 1.5 hours to get off the boat and tour around Oedo. As previously mentioned, this gave us just enough time to tour the island, shop for touristy things, and get back to the boat.
When traveling to Geoje Island, you will be presented with many things to do. Unfortunately for us, we had to pick and choose what our trip would include as we only stayed for 3 days. Luckily enough, Haegeumgang and Oedo made it to that list. Especially the Oedo visit, this is something that should be added to your itinerary. In addition to this, we chose to tour the beaches of Geoje. This boat trip provided us with an enjoyable break on the water, a chance to see the rock formations of Haegeumgang from up close, and a beautiful walk around the botanical island of Oedo. Going to Geoje Island? Add Oedo Island to your itinerary . . . it is worth it.