Tongyeong is a well-known tourist destination, with romantic coastal views of the sea and many islands. The harbor area is great for exploring the local culture, from mural villages to delicious foods. It’s also a great starting point for heading off on an adventure with ferries traveling to the many surrounding islands. If you still want to enjoy the sea views but avoid any boat rides, you can visit coastal parks or go for a drive on the main island! Whatever your preference, Tongyeong has something for everyone!
The panoramic view of Tongyeong as seen from the cable car is unlike any other! Departing for the peak of Mireuksan Mountain at 461 meters above sea level, the cable car is the longest in Korea, stretching a distance of 1,975 meters! The height makes for a thrilling experience while the length allows riders to fully take in the beautiful views from every angle. After arriving at the summit, step out on the skywalk if you are brave enough. The panorama includes all of downtown Tongyeong, as well as Geoje Bridge. The boats moving around the harbor resemble the many islands both large and small which dot the sea.
If the cable car is the best way to experience Tongyeong by air, Skyline Luge is perfect for the ground. Your heart will race as fast as your luge cart as you zoom down the curvy track! The carts are designed for safety and are very easy to use. After a short two-minute lesson, anyone and everyone will be able to operate the cart with ease. Skyline Luge is great for families, as children between 85-110 centimeters tall are allowed to ride with an adult. Anyone over 110 centimeters tall can ride by themselves.
Take in the view from the Skyride, a special lift that will take you to the luge track starting point at 100 meters above sea level. At this point, you will attend a short lesson on cart usage. After picking your course, it’s time to ride down. The track includes various thrilling sections, from curves to tunnels, all taken at high speed! After night falls, bright lights illuminate the tracks, making the ride more exciting.
Dongpirang and Seopirang Mural Villages are two of the biggest reasons why Tongyeong is the great cultural destination it is today. The two neighborhoods are set to the east and west of Tongyeong Jungang Market. Built on a steep slope and becoming an eyesore as it fell into disrepair, Dongpirang Village was slated to be bulldozed. The residents living here obviously rejected this idea, and with the help of volunteers, set about to transform their neighborhood with whimsical murals. It quickly became known as an attraction by word-of-mouth, and Seopirang soon followed suit.
The murals in Dongpirang Village were created by amateur artists, but this gives the village a friendly, approachable feeling. It’s easy to see the love each artist had for the village through the styles and colors they chose. Seopirang Village also offers sculptures and photo spots in addition to the murals. Some of the most popular attractions include 99 Steps, Butt Chairs, and Malttukbakgi (Korean game similar to buck buck) Chairs.
If the hills of Dongpirang Village have you feeling exhausted, this café is for you. Café Positives Tongyeong is perfectly Insta-worthy, designed to give off the vibe of going on a secluded picnic. Guests can choose to enjoy their drinks and desserts inside the cozy café, or outside on the patio or a picnic blanket. The café menu changes throughout the year, using fruits as they become seasonally available. We recommend ordering the apple cider and green grape tart when they’re on the menu.
Tongyeong is famous for its culture of “dajji,” where the restaurant prepares enough food to match the amount of alcohol ordered, a complete reversal of the standard format. Being surrounded by the sea, naturally, most of the dishes at Tongyeong restaurants include some type of seafood. To provide the freshest taste, the menu changes based on the seafood available in market that day.
Beoksudajji is perfect for visitors looking to try out this local food culture! Dining here is like eating in a family home from the past. The restaurant became quite popular after being introduced on a TV program. One of their specialties is the ge hoe (raw crab), which is similar to ganjang gejang (soy-marinated crab) but has a unique taste. The meal is served in courses, starting with cold dishes and slowly getting warmer. By the time the last dish is served, you will be stuffed to the brim! Feel free to avoid any dishes you are not comfortable eating, such as raw octopus, fish, and crab.
Taking in the local attractions is great, but tasting the regional food is just as important! Some of Tongyeong’s foods include Chungmu-style gimbap, uzza (noodles in udon broth and black bean sauce), honey bread, and ppaedaegi juk (porridge made from dried sweet potato). Chungmu-style gimbap is a simple take on the classic gimbap, with just white rice wrapped in seaweed; it goes great served with seokbakji (radish kimchi) and ojingeo eomuk muchim (spicy squid salad). Uzza, combining udon with jajangmyeon, offers a taste special to Tongyeong! If you’re looking for gifts to give out when you return home, Tongyeong honey bread is a great choice! The fried bun has a red bean filling and is coated in honey. All these local foods can be found around Tongyeong Jungang Market, so be sure to include a visit here in your itinerary!
Located out of the main city area on the southern part of the island, Dara Park provides views of the mountains and sea. It has long been known as a great spot for taking in the moon, but many people also visit for the sunset. The park is filled with people on December 31 every year, all looking to end the year with a beautiful view. The drive to reach the park is also famous for its beautiful coastal views.
Yi Sun-sin Park is dedicated to Admiral Yi, who fought off the invading forces during the Imjin War (1592-1598). Even now, visitors can feel his protection by looking at the 17.3-meter-tall bronze statue of Admiral Yi gazing out to sea. The park is near Tongyeong Harbor, offering views of the port, fishery market, and Dongpirang Village. If you’d like to get away from the city, follow the park’s boardwalk. The many sculptures along the way create great photo zones and the ocean breeze will blow your cares away.
Mystique Lounge is perfectly situated for a break on the way to Dara Park or during the return trip. With large windows that let in plenty of natural light, you’ll feel like you’re right at the beach, even while sitting inside. However, if you want to get even closer, be sure to grab a seat on the terrace or the rooftop. We recommend the refreshing grapefruit ade and sweet mille-feuille to refuel! If you just can’t bear to leave, there are pensions around the area so you can easily extend your trip.
Of Tongyeong’s 567 surrounding islands, the most famous is by far Somaemuldo Island. The fame comes from the 50-meter-long sea road that connects the island with the smaller Lighthouse Island twice a day during low tide. The path is made of large and small stones, all smoothed out by the rolling of the waves. It’s a good idea to check the tide timings beforehand so you don’t get stuck on Lighthouse Island. Additional things to see on Somaemuldo Island include a vast field of poppies and fantastic rock formations, such as Nammaebawi Rock (Brother and Sister Rock), Gongryongbawi Rock (Dinosaur Rock), and Chotdaebawi Rock (Candlestick Rock). The ocean around the island is also great for scuba diving!
If nearby Geojedo Island has Oedo-Botania, then Tongyeong has Jangsado Sea Park. The island is decorated with man-made sculptures, many giving off their very own unique, art film vibe. Every aspect of the park, from the artwork to the flowers to the surrounding sea, is in harmony with one another. With beauty like this in the background, every photo taken here will turn out wonderful. The best time to visit is in spring, when the many camellia trees bloom bright red!
* This column was last updated in September 2020, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.