A Guide to Touring Yeosu in 30 hours or Less

16 Sep

 Earlier this month I traveled to Yeosu, South Korea for a weekend out of the city.  It was not what I expected it to be, but it was most definitely a worthwhile trip.  I did so many things in 30 hours that I am thinking about getting a fanny pack.

Get out of that hot Asian sun.

These were permanent shelters on Manseongeori Black Sand Beach.

Yeosu is a coastal city in South Korea.  It hosted the 2012 World Expo. The theme of the expo was  “The Living Ocean and Coast.”  I went with a group of friends earlier this month to check out the remains of the Expo and to get out of Seoul for a weekend.

Travelling in the “Off Season”

The reason for going a full year late instead of when the Expo was actually happening is that Korea can get very crowded.  I heard from Korean friends as well as foreign friends that Yeosu was very crowded last year and many people opted not to go because of this.  I was one of these people.

As of September 2013, the Expo was virtually empty.  At first, I was a little disappointed.  This quickly passed.  Yeosu has lots to offer travelers.

Gate Three of Yeosu World Expo

This is the entrance to the Expo as you leave Yeosu Station.  I have a suspicion that most of these cars belong to staff.  There were more staff than there were visitors.

Getting to Yeosu by train

One of the great things about Korea is that it is easy and relatively inexpensive to travel the country.   Also, since moving to Korea I have discovered my love for trains.

We chose to take the KTX (over taking a bus or renting a car).  In my opinion,  the KTX is the best choice.  It is relaxing and you can enjoy the scenery.  It’s a part of your journey that you can enjoy as opposed to endure.

Now that you are in Yeosu, what are you going to do?

As you leave the station and enter Gate 3 into the Expo grounds, you see massive pavilions on either side of you.  This area is almost completely empty.  You might be thinking, “Why did I come here?  I should have gone to Busan or Mokpo or Jeju.”

Do not worry my friend.  There are actually so many things to do.

Sky Tower

This houses the water desalination machine which was not running while I was there.

You will see the Sky Tower to your left as you leave the station.  Inside this tower is the water desalinator.  It’s on the main floor and it is not turned on, which is a huge shame.  From here, you can get a real view of Yeosu.  At the top is an observation deck and a cafe.

Yeosu World Expo 2012...in 2013

The view from the top of Sky Tower. You can really get a sense that the Expo is over.

Delish.

I don’t think there is a place in Korea where you cannot buy a coffee and a pastry of some sort. This was in Sky Tower.

Here you can see Yeosu and buy a donut and a coffee.  You can skip this part if my pictures are good enough. The real lesson here is that no matter where you are in Korea, you can always buy a coffee.

Big O

The Big O! It has a nighttime water show that starts at 7:30p.m. If you are in Yeosu, go and see it.

This is the Big O.  My advice would be to head towards this first.  There are a few fun activities in this area: The Big O water show, kayaking, the aquarium and Odong Island (Odong-do).

The Big O

I met a convenience store owner near here who loved the Big O.  He said that it was a better water show than you would see in Dubai.  He showed us youtube videos of Dubai so that we could be better judges.  To be perfectly honest, this was the only watershow I have ever seen and I really enjoyed it.  There were fireballs.  It was like being in Koopa’s Castle there for a little bit.

Kayaking

You can rent kayaks and paddle around the Big O.  They open at about 2 p.m.  This is not sea kayaking or anything, it’s just a quick paddle around.  But hey, maybe you have never kayaked before.  Also, I was told it would be canoeing.  It is not canoeing.

The Aquarium

aquarium

The aquarium is one of the only remaining open venues from the World Expo 2012.

The aquarium was a good time.  I recommend it.  Also, after paddling around the harbour and viewing the beautiful fish if you have time you might want to take a break and eat on the sweet deck available from the the food court in the cafeteria.  It’s not fresh local cuisine, but it has a large outside deck.  There are western inspired and korean meals.  You can have fresh seafood later.  After that, relax and enjoy the 50 minute show from the Big O that starts at about 7:30.

Odongdo Island

This is close to the Expo grounds.  You can get to the island by walking, renting a bike or taking a train.  Our group decided to rent tandem bikes.  I thought this was a joke and laughed it off until I was sitting on the back of this one.  This is a great way to test a relationship.

How to test a relationship.

You can rent a bike to get to Odong-do. It is just at the entrance to the causeway to get to the island.

There is lots to do here including: hiking, seeing a lighthouse, seeing a turtle ship and watching a water fountain show.  The bike rental guy rents bikes by the hour.  You can easily see and do everything on this island within an hour.

Made for dates

Odong-do can be seen from the Expo grounds. You can rent a bike at the causeway to bike there, or you can walk or take a train.

Lighthouse

A lighthouse on Odong-do.

Manseong-ri Black Sand Beach

Just North of the Expo grounds is Manseonge-ri Black Sand Beach.  You can take a cab here for under $10.

don't write it off completely

Manseong-ri Black Sand Beach was fun. It was not the cleanest beach and the sand was not very black. It did have some highlights though.

This beach is not really black sand and it’s not exactly clean either.  However, it would be a really fun evening because the water itself is clean and it was not very busy, as you can see.  On the beach you can relax, eat fresh local seafood and light some fireworks.

Fireworks!

These were on sale at Manseong-ri Beach.

Eating outdoors is the best way to eat.

These little patios lined the street behind Manseong-ri Beach. All the restaurants had their seafood on display in tanks as well.

I liked it here because you could see the fishing boats out in the harbour.  I love looking at the fishing boats.  All along the street behind the beach were seafood restaurants.  They had their tanks out front where you could see the fresh food they were selling.   Eating fresh seafood outside, watching the ocean, playing with fireworks.  What more can you want?  You could easily spend an evening here and have a laugh.

Sail sail away

A Korean Dory

Let me out!

The local cuisine on display.

But wait, there is more to do in Yeosu

Go Rail Biking by Manseonge-ri:

I was the fastest.

After the KTX started going through the mountain to shorten the trip, this part of the railroad closed down. Now it is used for railbiking. This was a lot of fun and the views were beautiful.

600m tunnel

Emerging from the tunnel on the Rail Bike.

You will not regret coming to spend a weekend here.  I think this was the first place that I felt like a successful tourist.  I was taking pictures with my big camera around my neck, riding various new kinds of bikes and taking pictures in front of fountains.  We fit more things into a weekend in Yeosu than three days in Jeju. I didn’t think that was really me, but I was wrong.  I had so much fun.

Yeosu is a great spot to visit if you are in Korea.  The locals are very friendly, there are so many thing to do.  There was so much to do here jam packed in a small area.  It is a nice retreat with friends.  It is definitely very touristy but I like being a tourist sometimes.  If you get a chance to visit Yeosu, do it.

-Jenny

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One Response to “A Guide to Touring Yeosu in 30 hours or Less”

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  1. Trains | jackofalltrips - September 25, 2013

    […] well.  This is fun, convenient and comfortable way to travel as well.  This is how I traveled to Yeosu last time I […]

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