We had planned a long weekend on the island of Geoje and, in doing my in-depth research (as I always do before any of our trips!) I came across so much information on Tongyeong that I felt it needed to be explored, in it’s own right, and I’m so glad we went.
While Geoje remains perhaps the most popular and more visited of the two, Tongyeong really is beautiful and sits just a twenty-minute drive away from Geoje. With it’s myriad of little islands, a geography that consists of some amazing mountain ranges with views to die for, and one of the most beautiful looking ports, Tongyeong should definitely not be missed.
Whether you are going for a weekend or a day trip, there are some highlights that you really need to fit into your schedule so here’s a few things we enjoyed that we think are worth a mention.
Hallyeosudo Viewing Ropeway
Tongyeong is home to Korea’s longest cable car and was on the top of our list of places to visit. The Hallyeosudo Viewing Ropeway takes you up (Mt.) Mireuksan giving you the most astounding views over Hallyeohaesang National Park and the lush, green islands that are dotted around as far as the eye can see. The cable car will take you up to a viewing platform where there is a coffee shop and the chance to sit and enjoy the views.
You then have the option to continue your sight-seeing by heading further up the mountain by means of a wooden walkway. On the way up you’ll find numerous view points, each one giving yet another breathtaking look out to the surrounding islands. While there are a fair few steps (and it wouldn’t be suitable for wheelchairs or strollers) this is a relatively easy climb and allows you to make the most of your time at Mount Mireuksan. Time your trip to coincide with the sun setting and I’m sure it must give something pretty spectacular.
At the base of the cable car, there is the ‘Skyline Luge’, which is advertised as being a ‘unique wheeled gravity ride’, definitely an attraction that will appeal to the thrill-seekers as you make your way down winding tracks on your very own luge cart! The cable cars themselves go over the top of the tracks and I have to say that it looked like fun! We didn’t do this but for those of you already in the area and looking for something a little different, this has got to fit the bill! While the younger members of the family can’t ride their own luge until they are over 110 cm, they can ride with an adult, which makes it a nice experience to share! Above 110cm then…..they get control of their own luge – so beware!
If anyone in Busan has ever ventured over to Gamcheon Cutural Village then you may be interested in a similar concept on Tongyeong that goes by the name of Dongpirang. Bringing as much colour and delightful artistry to a part of the island that was set to be demolished before the idea of this project came along, you can easily spend an hour or two here.
Wander the meandering little streets, stop off at a cute little coffee shop and marvel in how this little village has been transformed by some truly talented artists.
There are murals on every wall, there are the quaintest little shed-like buildings turned into pieces of art and, of course, there are plenty of backdrops just pleading you to stop and take a selfie!
While Dongpirang may not be quite as large as Gamcheon, it certainly made for a lovely walk with some beautiful scenery and great views over looking the harbour.
Jungang Live Fish Market
Just below Dongpirang, making it easy to combine the two attractions while you are there, is the Jungang Live Fish Market. The hustle and bustle of this little local hang out gives an insight into local life which is worth a lvisit. With restaurants lining the main road it’s also a good occasion to try a speciality of the region or just to take in the atmosphere.
We really enjoyed our short time on the island of Tongyeong. We packed in quite a few things but realise that we only just scratched the surface of the sights to be seen. If you’re looking for adventures even further off the beaten track, the port offers some great boat trips out to islands such as Jeseungdang and Bijindo for something even more remote.
I have no doubt that we will be back to discover even more of Tongyeong and its mountains, parks, and museums, but until then, I hope that if you’re considering spending time here, that you enjoy it as much as we did. Happy travels!