“What to do in Yeosu?” was the question I asked myself as Dana and I planned to stay there during our Lunar New Year trip. Nearby Suncheon offered up the sublime Suncheon Bay, and Geumodo‘s beauty managed to ensure me and bring out the hidden casual hiker in me. Yet before embarking on the trip, I hadn’t actually checked out what to do in Yeosu itself.
Luckily I found plenty in the little port city, which surprised me as my only previous encounter was a visit to the 2020 Yeosu Expo, which was more than a little disappointing. The highlight of that trip was singing Donna Summer in the train’s noraebang on the way there. So without further ado, here’s your guide on what to do in Yeosu.
- Explore the Islands
OK, so this one may be cheating a little bit, as this activity doesn’t revolve around the city of Yeosu itself, but rather the many islands around the city that make up part of DadohaeHaesang National Park, which stretches all the way over to Mokpo in the far southwest of South Korea. Apart from Geumodo, you can also access Hahwado (하화도), Gaedo (개도), Hwataedo (화태도) and Baekyado (백야도) from Yeosu’s ferry terminal. If you want to really get off the beaten path, this is the way to go. You can check times and schedules on the Korean ferry website. To find out which islands you can access from Yeosu, click “출발터미널로찾기” on the left (the ferry symbol), and then “여수” (Yeosu). A list will then appear on the right-hand side of islands and ports that can be accessed from Yeosu.
- Yeosu Sea At Night
‘This Night Sea’ is a popular song in Korea by the band Busker Busker, and it kept playing on repeat in my head whenever Dana and I were strolling about in the city. The best place to see Yeosu at night is Dolsan Park. The walk is a little steep, but when the city is all lit up at night and the lights are reflecting into the sea, you’ll find yourself humming the lyrics and just gazing out at this rather pretty Korean city.
- Yeosu Sea In The Day
This isn’t the title of a song as far as I know, but Yeosu sea is no less beautiful during the daytime than it is at night. Dana and I hopped on a bus to Manseongni Black Sand Beach to check it out and were, well, less than overwhelmed by the beach that awaited us. However, as we walked, we came across a public railroad, where you can rent a bike and pedal across train tracks right next to the sea. At only 8,000 won each, it was an easy decision to make, and we got some gorgeous views of the surrounding scenery – not to mention a trippy light show in a tunnel on the route, which you can see in the cover photo here. Nature and nightclubbing all rolled into one – my kind of excursion.
- Jinnamgwan Pavilion
The largest single-story pavilion in Korea, Jinnamgwan played an important role in the naval history of the nation, thanks to national hero Admiral Yi Sun-Shin, who protected Korea from invasion against the Japanese thanks to his bravery and the rather innovative Turtle Ship. Korean history buffs will put this at the top of their list of what to do in Yeosu, and those who aren’t so into their history can enjoy the fine detail and beauty of the pavilion. Located in the heart of Yeosu, this is easy to access and free to enter.
- Super Fresh Fish
No list about what to do in Yeosu would be complete without mentioning the city’s super fresh seafood. I’ve previously written about my favorite Korean sashimi restaurant in Yeosu, and the city is practically bursting with places offering up the catch of the day. We feasted on some great galchijorim whilst in the city, too. I’m not the biggest fan of seafood in the world, but there’s no doubt that cities on the coast always have the edge when it comes to serving up the fruits of the sea.