|Cheongsando is one of numerous islands and islets in Wando County, which is so beautiful that it has been designated as part of Dadohae Marine National Park. Cheongsando is covered with green barley fields, from where visitors can gaze out over the spectacularly blue ocean. The island has a charming pastoral atmosphere; the barley fields are ringed with traditional stonewalls, and visitors can stroll along muddle paths. In Cheongsando, farming is still done the same way it’s been done for centuries, and visitors can eat fish that the fishermen have caught that morning. Be sure to try the shellfish abalone, a Cheongsando specialty.
Located off the Southern tip of the Korea peninsula, Cheongsando is definitely off the beaten track. However, the view that greets you when you reach the island, will make the long trip worth while. <Seopyonje> the famous film by Director Im Kwon-taek, as well as the TV drama <Spring Waltz> were filmed on this island.
Cheongsando is the ultimate escape from city life, here everyone leads life at a much slower pace. On Cheongsando you are unlikely to find many other tourists, and a trip here would certainly make for a unique, memorable, and relaxing vacation. Read on to find out more about the charms of Cheongsando.
|Seaweed (in particular kelp and seaweed fusiforme) from Wando county, accounts for 80% of Korea’s total production. The sea around this cluster of islands and islets is virtually untouched by pollution and contains many nutrients, so this makes the seaweed grow particularly well.
Wando county is also well known for the shell fish abalones, and it is responsible for 90% of all Korean abalone production. The abalones in this area are of such good quality because they feed on the nutrient-rich Wando seaweed. Wando abalones are known for their rich taste, and large quantities are exported overseas. Unfortunately, customs regulations prevent visitors bringing abalones home with them, but dried seaweed, dried laver, and dried seafood make for great gifts for your friends and family back home.
Other local specialties of Wando are Citron Tea and Citron extract. Wando’s citron fruit is grown organically, and thanks to the clean winds and abundant nutrients in this area, they are juicy and rich in flavor. Most of Wando’s citron-based delicacies are vacuum packed, so visitors can conveniently carry them back home.
|Nearby Tourist Attractions|
|Famous Film & Drama Locations: Spring Waltz and Seopyonje|
|The setting for most of the early episodes of the drama <Spring Waltz> were filmed is Dangni Village, which is only 10 minutes of walk from Cheongsanhang Port. It is located on top of a hill that overlooks fields of green barley and yellow canola flowers. Here visitors can see a unique fusion of cultures, terraced rice paddies form a backdrop to white, European-style farming houses, and beyond them is the crystal-clear ocean. Many of the rooftops in this area were repainted red for this drama, making a striking contrast with the green of the rice fields. All of this makes Dangni Village a particularly scenic area, which visitors should not miss.
Other spots where the drama was filmed include Eup-ri Cheongyong Park (읍리 청용공원), wondumak (look-out shed), Dorangni Quay (도락리 선착장), Jiri Beach Resort (지리 해수욕장), Cheonggye-ri Janggimi Beach (청계리 장기미해변), canola and barley fields in the Eup-ri and Cheonggye-ri areas, and the Zelcova trees of Cheonggye-ri.
The set for the film Seopyonje is located 10 minutes from Dangni Village. The film Seopyonje was a great hit in Korea, attracting audiences of over 1 million people when it was first released. The film set is charming, consisting of two traditional-style houses in a large garden. At the front of the film location is a display area exhibiting photos of major scenes and a description of the movie.
|Jiri Beach Resort (지리 해수욕장)|
|Jiri Beach Resort is the most famous of all the beaches on Cheongsando. The scenery throughout the whole resort is very beautiful, but the most spectacular view of all is the sunset. The beach is ringed by around 500 pine trees, which are at least 200 years old, and the fine white sand stretches for over 1km. It is not uncommon to find people fishing for red snappers and other types of fish among the rocks on the seashore. If fishing is your thing, then Cheongsando is one of the most famous fishing spots in Korea. During the summer, the resort is also a popular camping place.|
|Terraced Rice Paddies in Buheung-ri|
|In the past, rice was rare and expensive, so the people of Cheongsando Island decided to make more land available for rice farming. They did this by flattening sections of land in the hillsides, and this created the rice terraces. The rice terraces are supported by stonewalls, which have been built with reclaimed stones from the region. These traditional rice terraces are famous in Korea, and they are often compared to the ones in Bali and the Philippines. During the farming season, farmers carry their equipment on their backs through the rice terraces, and most of the farming is still done by the hand. Farmers in this region rarely use machinery.|
|Changpogo (장보고) Drama Set|
This is where the drama <Emperor of the Sea> was filmed. Following the <Emperor of the Sea>, other famous historical dramas such as <Jumong>, <Dae Jo Young>, <Seodongyo>, <Tae Wang Sa Shin Ki (The Legend)> were also filmed here. This was also the first drama set to be designated as a cultural asset in Korea, and it is expected to open more facilities in the future, such as vessel exhibition centers, experience centers, and maritime leisure facilities among others.
|Wando Tower has become a major landscape in this region. It is an observatory tower that is 76 meters tall. The tower includes an audio-visual showroom, photo zone, and kiosk. From the top of the tower, visitors can enjoy a beautiful view out over the islands of Korea’s South Sea, and the nighttime view of Wando port and Sinji Bridge is breath taking. Every evening, Wando Tower is lit up by an exciting laser show.|
|Wando Arboretum is the largest breeding site of sub-tropical plants and trees in the country. It is home to approximately 750 types of sub-tropical plants, including the evergreen oak, camellia trees, and cacti. The huge facility covers 2050ha of land and has around 15 buildings, including the forestry exhibition hall, forestry environment training center, and various greenhouses. Popular attractions in the arboretum include, the four-season garden, a lake, the flowers arranged under different themes, as well as an Arboretum of Aquatic Plants. There are many beautiful promenades, so visitors can take a stroll enjoying the nature.|
|Gugyedeung (구계등) Pebble Beach in Jeongdo-ri, Wando Island|
|This beach, which stretches for 800m along the coast of Wando Island, is famous for its beautiful rounded pebbles. The beach has been being formed for over 10,000 years and due to strange tides, the pebbles have been piled up into 9 tiers (which is where the name of the beach comes from). The pebbles are so smooth that walking bare foot along the beach actually feels good, and Koreans believe that this is really good for your feet as it performs a kind of natural acupuncture. This is one of the cleanest and most well-preserved seaside areas in the country, and it is part of Dadohae Marine National Park. Behind the beach is a forest thick with maple, zelkova, and pine trees, where visitors can take a stroll. At the entry to Gugyedeung beach you can find the Wando Fishing Village Folk Museum (Exhibition Hall) where stuffed fish and various traditional fishing equipment are on display.|
|Wando Changpogo Festival|
|The Wando Changpogo Festival was started so that tourists could learn about the culture and history of the region. It started in 1996, and ever since then it has been held every year in May. It celebrates the achievements of one of Korea’s heroes, Chang Pogo, also known as “Lord (Emperor) of the Sea.” Despite the early period in history (Silla Period 787-846), Chang Pogo built an impressive fleet and established several important trade routes, which visitors can discover by taking part in some of the festival’s programs. Events also include academic seminars and ceremonies that were traditionally performed when sailors set out to sea. The festival offers several unique experiences, including taking a ride on a recreation of a historical ship, and a performance of a traditional shamanic ritual dance called “gut.”|
|World Slow Walking Festival|
|The World Slow Walking Festival began in 2009 and it is held in Wando county. Visitors to the festival can take a walk on the beautiful Myeongsasimni Sinji Island Beach Resort and Cheongsando Island, which is one of Korea’s official “slow cities”. Visitors can also enjoy open-air concerts and sample “slow” food, as well as a number of other interesting programs. In particular, this is a family-friendly festival. As the festival season attracts many visitors to this area, it is recommended that reservations are made in advance.|
|Favorite Local Delicacies|
The most famous dishes of this region contain freshly caught abalone, a local delicacy. Abalone can be eaten raw like sashimi or eaten with rice, vegetables, and other seafood in a bibimbap style. Not only is it delicious, but it contains many nutrients making it good for your health. Particularly famous to locals is the natural abalone rice porridge, which is so great for the body that it is served to patients after surgery. However, since Cheongsando is not a widely developed tourist destination, there are not many restaurants available, so visitors are advised to look for restaurants in Wando.
From Yongsan Train Station in Seoul take a train to Mokpo (05:20-22:05, 18 times a daily, Mugunghwa train (second class train): 24,600KRW/5hr trip; Saemaeul train (first class train): 36,600won/ 4hr 40min trip; KTX (express) train: 40,500Kwon/ 3hr 16min)-> From Mokpo Inter-city Bus Terminal take a bus to Wando (07:55-17:45, 6 times a day, 2hr trip, fare 9,600won)-> From Wando Inter-city Bus Terminal take a taxi to Wando Passenger Terminal (5min ride) or walk 10 minutes -> From Wando Passenger Terminal take a ferry to Cheongsan-ri (Wando – Cheongsan-ri ferry runs four times a day, 08:00, 11:20, 14:30, 17:40, journey takes 1hr 20 minutes, fare 7,150won)
From Seoul Express Bus Terminal take a bus to Wando (08:50 (Normal), 09:30 (Deluxe), 15:30 (Deluxe), 17:30 (Deluxe), four times a day, journey takes 5hr 40mins, normal bus fare 22,400won, Deluxe bus fare 33,400won)-> Get off at Wando Inter-city Bus Stop-> Take a taxi to Wando Passenger Terminal (5 minute ride), 10 minutes on foot -> From Wando Passenger Terminal take a ferry to Cheongsando (Wando↔Cheongsan-ri ferry runs four times a day at 08:00, 11:20, 14:30, 17:40, 1hr 20min trip, fare 7,150won)
|If you are planning a trip to Cheongsando, make sure that you set at least three nights and four days aside. It takes a full day just to get there, so it would be wise to plan for one full day of sightseeing on Cheongsando Island and one full day of sightseeing on Wando Island. If you really want to get into the “Slow City” spirit, add a couple of more days to the trip, that way you don’t have to make a fixed schedule. Traveling in Cheongsando Island is usually by foot or by public transit, so a light backpack and comfortable shoes and clothing will help you enjoy the trip. The best months to visit Cheongsando are April and May when the Canola flowers are in bloom and the abalone is at its most chewy and juicy. However, whatever time you chose for your trip, Cheongsando Island makes for a fascinating and relaxing vacation.|