Cheongsando – The Slow Road
Cheongsando is this beautiful island that you don’t know just off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula and is part of the Dadohae National Park. Due to its locations, traces of battles from the wars of yesteryear against outside forces can be still seen all over the island. Also only a few thousand people reside on this island in pursuit of “happiness of the slow life”. Cheongsando is home to numerous tourist attractions including stone artefacts, walking trails, and filming locations of the Korean movie “Seopyeonje” and Korean TV drama series “Waltz of Spring.”
Although the island appeared on screen a few times, it was only recently, like from the middle of the 2000’s that Cheongsando starting appearing on the radar of domestic travellers in Korea. The key to this change happened when Cheongsando was designated as one of Korea’s “Slow Cities”. The annual “Slow Walking Festival” is held to promote tourism in this once sleepy fishing town. Although the festival has contributed greatly to the rising popularity of Cheongsando to Korean tourists, the slice of island life is still relatively unknown to much of the world.
Most of the tourists who visit are Koreans on group tours. You will see plenty of Koreans on group tours but not so many foreigners. Going in the afternoon has the benefit of that with only a few tourists were left in the island you can began your walk in a more carefree and jolly mood. The island is quite peaceful and you can fully appreciate the ‘countryside’ feel that the island offers.
Enjoy some brisk walks around the fields of barley and canola flowers, stroll into some villages and go to the coastlines before you decided to head up to the house on top of a hill, which was used as a shooting location for the drama, Spring Waltz. The shooting location itself can be good or bad but that is depending on the person but without doubt the view from the top of the hill was certainly a sight to behold. Look north and one can get a scenic view of the island’s beautiful coastline. Look south and the mountainous inland can be appreciated in its entirety. Aside from all these, there were also a few beautiful beaches that you can go to if you have the time.
The way to Cheongsando:
With Seoul Express Bus Terminal as your starting point, take a bus to Wando. To check the schedules and fares of the buses check on this website. Another way to get there is by train from Seoul to Mokpo and then you can take a bus thar brings you straight to Wando. As for me, I chose the long distance bus from Seoul since it is the better option for me. I found it cheaper and more comfortable.
Once you have arrived in Wando, flag down a taxi to Wando ferry terminal. The ride takes about 5 mins and costs roughly 3,000won. From Wando Terminal, a ferry ride to Cheongsando takes around 45 minutes and costs 7150won. The ferry departs frequently during the “Slow Walking Festival”. But on normal days, the ferry departs around 4-5 times a day. You can look at the timetable here though it is in Korean and I do not know if it is updated. So I recommend a Korean friend helps you search through the website or you can brush up on your Korean skills.
Cheongsando is highly recommended. If you have the time to go here, you will have zero regrets. This place is just that damn good.