While we’ve been living in Korea we’ve been craving a place to go that the masses haven’t found. We stumbled upon an island off the south-west coast purely by accident but it is IDEAL. We’ve been three times now with a fourth coming up soon (it’s not so adventurous but we love how empty it is!) so if you fancy a place that’s quite remote, pretty much empty of people, where you can camp, make a fire pit on the beach and hang out with friends, this is perfect.
Firstly, you need to get to Mokpo (목포). There are regular buses from Gwangju and the trains are very easy to navigate. A taxi from the bus terminal to Mokpo Ferry Terminal would cost around 5 or 6000 won, or you could get the No. 1 bus in front of the terminal (should take about 25-30 mins). A taxi or bus from the train station takes about 5 mins, or walkable in about 20 mins. From the airport there is a limousine bus that runs to the train station, then make your way to the ferry terminal from there.
From the ferry terminal there are two options. There is a slow car ferry which takes around 3 hours (I read that it’s around 6000 won but can’t be sure I’m afraid), or a fast passenger ferry that takes about 50 mins which is the more expensive option (around 20000 won). Fast ferry times (Depart – Arrive): 07:50 – 08:40/08:00 – 08:50/13:00 – 13:50/16:00 – 16:50. Slow ferry times (Depart): 07:20/13:20/15:00. Stop off’s are short and sweet to drop people off so make sure you don’t miss yours (like we did the first time around meaning we had to stay on the ferry getting greener by the minute for another hour all the way to Hongdo! [홍도]). There’s a huge sign on the side of both islands saying Bigeum (비금도) and Docho (도초도), you can’t miss it (unless you’re us!).
Once on the island (it seems to alternate which island it drops you off at but both islands are connected by a huge bridge) you’ll need to find a taxi to take you to Simok Beach (심옥). If there are no taxi’s about go to the ticket office at the port (also a good chance to find the times for the ferries going back) – they’ve always found a way for us to get there, a couple of times locals have given us a lift.
Biggest tip: Be prepared. There’s a shop at the port to buy food and stuff but the only place at the beach is a restaurant a short walk around to the right of the bay. The owner is a top guy, the food is tasty but not cheap and he keeps a nice stock of cold beers.
Facilities: There are two toilet blocks – the one on the beach is slightly newer and better looked after. There are showers but they’ve always been locked when we’ve been.