5 of the Best Islands to Visit in South Korea

on November 15, 2018

South Korea has a lot of things to celebrate, K-pop, delicious food, thriving economy and trendsetting fashion just to name a few, but not many people know about the nearly 3300 islands that the country boasts. If you’re keen to Teach English in South Korea, exploring these breathtaking islands should be part of your Korea bucket list.

With so many islands to choose from, we used the help of past reviews and our TravelBud alumni, to compile a list of 5 islands that you need to visit while you’re in South Korea. Other factors we took into consideration were accommodation and access to and from the islands.

Muuido Island

Sunset in Muuido Island, South Korea.

There has never been a more iconic duo.

This island is just off the coast of Incheon, west of Seoul, which is famous for being home to the county’s largest airport: Incheon International. Muuido is a perfect place to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of Incheon, it’s blessed with sandy beaches, a few hiking trails and exquisite restaurants. Although it’s quite a complexity to reach the Island, once there, you will not regret it.

How to get to Muuido Island

From Incheon station or Dong-Incheon station (Seoul Subway Line 1), take city bus No. 306 bound for Eurwang-ri and get off at Geojampo. Walk 10 min to Jamjinnaru Ferry Terminal, Yeongjongdo Island. Then, take a ferry to Muuido Island, which takes approximately 12 minutes.

Beach cottages on muuido island, South Korea.

These unorthodox beach cottages are very popular amongst tourists.

Where to stay on Muuido Island

Once you get off the ferry, you take Bus 1, the last stop is Hanagae Beach, which is where everyone stays on the island. There are very retro beach bungalows, they’re literally on the beach (as seen in the above image). There are also many locals who open their houses to tourists looking for home stays.

Jindo Island

Jindo island is the third largest island in South Korea. Jindo is largely known for one thing: its dogs. They are the most celebrated canine breeds in South Korea, they are prized for their incredible homing instinct.

Every islander tells a different story about the origins of the dogs on the island, but all of them confess that their forefathers had them and used them to hunt various animals, and they would always return home.

Jindo-dog-breed, South Korea.

The pride of the island.

The Island is also popular for the Jindo sea parting festival, where a natural phenomenon occurs, the Jindo Sea—the northern portion of the East China Sea—opens up just enough to reveal a 1.8-mile pathway connecting Jindo to the nearby island of Modo.

How to get to Jindo

Jindo is actually quite easy to get to, you can take a bus or train from any major city in South Korea. Jindo also has an abundance of ferries that go to other islands off the Korean peninsula, such as Jeju Island. So it’s the ideal location for those looking to island hop.

Where to stay on Jindo

With more than 300 000 people each year attending the parting sea festival, the island has been developed quite substantially with so many hotels and backpackers to choose from, where you stay will be all down to your preference.

Geoje Island

Geojo Island, South Korea.

Unparalleled views of the ocean.

Geoje island is located just on the southern tip of South Korea. It has undisturbed sea views. It’s a very unique island as its blessed with nice little beaches but is also covered in Forested cliffs.

Most visitors to this island come here for an adventure, there are loads of hiking trails with beautiful caves throughout the island. The best way to experience it is to hire a car or motorbike and drive around the stunning ocean view roads.

How to get to Geoje Island

You used to be able to take a ferry to Geoje island, but at the time of writing (15.11.18) all ferry services have been suspended. This is all due to the convenience of the new expressway from Busan to the island. You can either hire a car in Busan or take a bus that leaves hourly every day.

Geoje Island windmill, South Korea.

A perfect place to be one with nature.

Were to stay in Geoje

You’ll be spoiled for choices here, there’s jimjilbangs, where you can expect the usual pyjamas, saunas, blankets and heated floors. There are also home stays for those that want a more authentic experience. A few upmarket hotels can be found here too for those that want a luxurious stay.

Jeju Island

Jeju Island, South Korea.

One of Korea’s biggest draw points.

Some call Jeju Island South Korea’s crown jewel. It boast the highest peak in all Korea, Halla-san. This place is magnificent, you cannot get bored. It’s the perfect destination to escape the skyscrapers of mainland Korea.

Jeju’s countryside is simply breathtaking, not only that, but the beaches are stunning too. It is the largest of the islands and has an array of activities, such as rock climbing, hiking, fresh waterfalls, scuba diving, snorkeling, you name it, it’s got it!

Bringe in Jeju island forest, South Korea.

An adventurer’s paradise.

How to get to Jeju

Jeju island is easily accessible from both Busan and Seoul. With multiple ferries running each day from the major coastal cities. There three terminals are: Jeju Domestic Ferry Terminal, Jeju International Ferry Terminal, and Seongsanpo Ferry Terminal.

Where to stay in Jeju

Jeju being the biggest island in the country, means that there are so many choices for beach resorts, hotels, backpackers and bungalows.

Hongdo Island

Hongdo Island, South Korea.

A stunning little fishing village.

Hongdo island is just off the southwestern tip of the Korean Peninsula. This island is more popular amongst locals than tourists, there’s a very good chance you’ll be just one of two tourists on the ferry there.

The Island itself has a population of approximately 800 people, of which majority work in the fishing industry. As soon as you get off the ferry, you’re gonna be flocked by locals offering you fresh fish which they also cook for you right there and then.

How to get to Hongdo

The only way to get to the island is by a ferry from the city of Makpo. You can purchase tickets at the Makpo Ferry Terminal. From Makpo to the island should take you just over 2 hours. There’s two ferries a day, one departing at 7am and the other at 1pm.

mountain range on Hongdo island, South Korea.

Scenes like this are seen from almost anywhere on the island.

Where to stay in Hongdo

Most people who go to Hongdo just go for the day, they catch the early ferry going to the island and catch the last one coming back to mainland. Having said that, there are those that stay on the island.

Make Korea your home by teaching English here

One of the best ways to explore this fascinating country is by teaching English in Korea. By being based here you’ll be earning around $2000 per month and get free accommodation and a bunch of other great benefits to help you realize your travel dreams. Check out our video below on the South Korea teaching experience through TravelBud:

Interested in Teaching English in South Korea? We’ll send you more info!


You might also want to read:

About Ntobeko Ntombela

Ntobeko is TravelBud's marketing intern and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Digital Marketing. Read more about him and other TravelBud authors.

He handles TravelBud's social media, blog writing and general content creation. Check out the inspiring stories he's created on the TravelBud Instagram page, featuring TravelBud alumni and their incredible experiences teaching and volunteering abroad.

He's done a fair bit of travel in his life, having explored Thailand, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

His favorite place so far? That would be Rome, Italy but coming in a close second, thanks to a few memorable nights out, would be Phuket, Thailand.

Filed under  South Korea 


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