Geumodo is a fairly large island off of the southern tip of Dolsan in Yeosu, South Korea. With an affinity for island hopping and exploring the numerous (373) islands claimed by our city, we set out to visit this nearby island and do a bit of camping on a beautiful but slightly foggy weekend.
Getting to Geumodo is fairly simple if you have a car, but only slightly more complicated when using public transportation. At the far end of Dolsan is Singi Port where ferries leave every half hour for the island. After an early rise, we arrived around 8:40am and were able to put our car onto the 9:30am boat. A twenty minute ride away, the island proved to have a great many more luxuries than we’d expected after our other island adventures. Comprised of dozens of small villages and towns, Geumodo has ample marts and infrastructure to accomidate visitors, no matter their reason for visiting. Since we planned on camping, we had brought our own coolers full of food and beer, but there ended up being a good number of small restaurants and marts if we hadn’t been so forward thinking.
Since our sights were set on camping near a beach, we immediately set out to find Ando Beach, well reputed among our friends who’d visited before and known for its camping. We wound down the awesome roads of Geumodo and eventually found the beach where we unpacked and set up camp along a stand of trees away from the other campsites. Since the tide was up and covering the beach, we set our sights on having lunch and easing into our relaxing weekend with naps and general tom foolery. We tested our accuracy by throwing rocks at bigger rocks, spend time lounging in hammocks, and argued sports and politics under our shady trees.
Naps completed and bellies full, we set out on a small hike around the peninsula that holds Ando Beach. The hike is supposedly 7km, but this includes walking the road back to the campsite. The hike, even in its rather short length, was really nice. The scenery was spectacular, the difficulty was minimal, and the company was beyond comparison. We had a wonderful time walking along the path and discussing the gorgeous coastline that came in and out of view through the trees and stopping us at each open space to re-hydrate and revel in its rugged beauty. After about an hour and a half in the woods, we popped out into a small town and the nature portion of the trail was completed. The back alleyways of this rural island beckoned and we meandered our ways back toward the campsite.
Back “home” near our bright green tent, we decided that the 4 o’clock sun was calling us into the ocean. The tide was down and our rocky shore had turned into a large beach with spectacular sand. We put our toes in the sand and soon thereafter were in the clearest water we’ve experienced outside of the Philippines. Korean waters generally suffer from muddy waters and rocky bottoms, but this beach was polar opposite of what we generally expect. As we floated and enjoyed the inner tubes available from the local mart, we did notice an uncomfortable number of small jelly fish in the water which gave us a few little stings before our swim was through.
As the sun died we reconvened at our campsite for Korean barbeque and many laughs under our lanterns. The waves crashed nearby and hurried us to bed after a quick visit to the nearby shower facilities. Safely in our tents, the harmonizing of waves and cicadas put us right to sleep. In the morning, we dedicated ourselves to the production of coffee before breaking camp and setting off down a second hiking trail. This excursion was much shorter than the one before but it was still a nice little trail through the woods and along coastal outcroppings. At the end of the hike, and after eating trail meats and cheeses, we set off for the ferry terminal on our way home.
Geumodo was a terrific island for a weekend visit and more than impressed us with Ando Beach. Never in Korea have we seen such clear waters and perfectly fine sands. The island has another trekking course on the mainland of Geumodo that supposedly takes the majority of the day, but we were focusing on the area of Ando for our trip and didn’t make it to the longer course. For another trip…
Ferries to Geumodo can be found from the Yeosu Passenger Terminal or from the Singi Terminal on Dolsan Island. Both of these terminals have regular routes, but the proximity of Singi Port allows for passages every half hour and the convenience of carrying vehicles where the Yeosu ferries only carry passengers.
Bus 114 accesses Singi From Dolsan Bridge and we saw a small number of buses and taxis on Geumodo itself once we arrived. For additional information on ferry time, bus routes, and general travel information, call 1330 (02-1330 if you’re outside of Seoul) for translation services and assistance with checking on times and schedules at these locations.