Cheongsando Island 청산도

Before I start to explain about this awesome island, I want to explain about ferries in South Korea. Korea has many islands and ferries visit most of these islands including Jeju-do. However if you live near an airport or Gimpo is convenient to go to, then flights are better to Jeju and usually cheaper. Korea has a program called 바다로 which can be found here. It is translated to Sea Road. Since August 2019 I have used it to travel to four islands. It originally was for 28 years old people or younger and I was 32 years old, but in 2019, the age changed to 34 years old.

This program is wonderful, because it gives you a discount on ferry tickets. You should pay for the coupon though, but it is quite cheap. Both Koreans and foreigners can get this ticket, but it must be paid for online. For the summer season it cost 4,900won and seasonal which is summer and winter season it costs 7,900 won. This ticket gives you a 50% discount on the weedays and 20% on the weekends. I got the seasonal ticket. During the summer I went to Ulleungdo and Hongdo, and during the winter season I went to Somaemuldo and now Cheongsando. I will write later about, Ulleungdo, Hongdo, and Somaemuldo. Without the discount the cost of visiting these four islands would have been about 240,000 won, but since I traveled during weekdays it ended up being 120,000 won.

Now lets get on to the good stuff. Cheongsando is supposed to be quite beautiful in the spring when the flowers and trees are in bloom. I traveled there January 21, 2020. I highly recommend going here as not many visitors come here at least in the winter time.

How do you get to Cheongsando? It is quite a journey and it isn’t cheap either. First I traveled here by bus. I got on a bus from Gongju to Gwangju-U Square. The cost was 13,000won. From Gwangju, I took a bus to Wando. This bus does make stops along the way but Wando is the last stop. It’ll take about 2 hours and the price was 18,000won, so its not cheap. Most cities and towns will go to Gwangju, but if you are coming from Seoul there is a direct bus to Wando. I arrived in Wando at night around 8:20pm. The bus terminal was already closed, but there convenient stores nearby like every town and city in Korea.

There is a jjimjilbang which I explained in my Ulsan journey about 200 meters away from the bus terminal. It is a small one and the facilities seem old, but I did sleep well. There are also many motels and hotels scattered around.

I woke up early as usual as I like to be as ready as possible for a new journey. The ferry time was 7am and I would come back to Wando on the 11:30am ferry. There weren’t many people at the terminal, so the queue was short. A round trip ticket cost a little more than 14,000 won, so my round trip ticket was a little more than 7,000won.

The ferry arrived at Cheongsando around 7:50am. There is a very tiny information booth which is where you would get your return ticket to Wando. There was no one there, but the doors were unlocked so you can get the free map of Cheongsando.

Cheongsando is called a slow city which means walking is the preferred way for tourists. There are a few buses and a very few taxis. There are 11 walking courses which total about 42km. I only walked 4 of the shorter courses all of which are doable from the ferry port. I walked 1, 2, 3, and 11.

Cheongsando in terms of natural beauty is difficult to match. It was quite clean even with people living on this island. There are some drama settings which I don’t know too much about but they had a minimal impact on the island. Even though it was winter it was very peaceful and not too cold. Since it was a smaller island it was easier to navigate than Jeju, so I would place it above Jeju. However it was bigger than Somaemuldo and Hongdo which makes Cheongsando better still. I was unable to explore the entire island because of limited time, but the ferry price makes it affordable to go back, so I would like to go back in the spring during the walking festival.

Course 1 is the most accessible course from the port to get the best views of the island in terms of natural beauty. To get to course 1, I walked up the road a little bit and got onto a wooden walkway which was on the right side of the road.

Course 2 is connected to course 1 and goes through the woods and eventually meets course 3 in one of the small towns on this island.

Cheongsando is an agriculture island with local farmers living on it. There are terraced rice paddies. There are also canola fields, barley fields, and there is a market for seaweed, too. The farms and towns have stone walls that make the towns quaint and unique to other towns in Korea. This town was on course 3.

After course 3, I walked back to the port and walked on course 11 which was the town in front of the port so it was short and easy. There aren’t any souvenir shops , so any gifts would be good from the local Hanaro mart which can be found in most towns and cities in Korea. Before heading back to Wando, I got a coffee from one of the local cafes. The ferry arrived in Wando around 12:20 and I slowly made my way back to the bus terminal.

Cheongsando was the in the top 100 places to visit in Korea in 2017/2018, but it is not on the 2019/2020 list. I think it should remain in the top 100 as this was one of the most amazing islands that I have visited in Korea. I will be back here in the future! I give the island a 10/10, but getting here a 4/10 because it was a long journey.

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