Baengryeongdo 백령도

Baengryeongdo is the most western island in South Korea. Travel blogs about Baengryeondo are few, probably because of the distance and the price. While there I was the only foreigner on the island. I went in February on a weekday when most of you have to work. The island is accessible by ferry from Incheon port. Depending on what ferry you take it is a 4 to 5 hour trip. Full price is about 140,000 won. However if you have 바다로 pass, then it is 50% off on the weekdays. I paid about 65,000 won for a round trip ticket.

Though Baengryeondo is not currently a 100 must see tourist spots of Korea, I think it is worth a visit. I have been to Jeju at the southern tip of the Korean peninsula. I traveled to Goseong DMZ which is the most northern border of South Korea. I visited Ulleungdo and saw Dokdo which is the most eastern island and finally I have reached the most western part of South Korea.

There are two ferries from Incheon. One leaving at 7:50 and the other one at 13:00. Return is 7:00 and 12:50. I recommend that you spend the night near Incheon Ferry Terminal and take the 7:50 ferry. If you are arriving in Incheon public transportation, then you will arrive probably at Incheon Bus Terminal. From there you will have to take the number 36 bus which was almost empty because of the coronavirus. This bus goes all the way to the ferry terminal. There are two jjimjilbangs in the vicinity. The one I slept in was strange because I was the only person there and the boiler was off, but it was 7,000 won a night. I cannot recommend this to one to anyone. So I will recommend the other jjimjilbang that I did not sleep in. I woke up early to catch the 7:50 am ferry.

The ferry was about half way full and there were a lot of military personnel as Baengryeongdo is close to North Korea. The ride to and from was smooth and no one got seasick. If you are hungry there is a small snack shop with reasonable prices, but I brought my own snacks. The ferry arrived around noontime. It does stop at two other nearby islands before reaching to Baengryeongdo. Also a tip, get a map either in Incheon or on Baengryeongdo of the island. It will be helpful if you can read some Korean to understand the bus system as there will be no buses waiting for you at the ferry terminal. You can rent a car which can be expensive if traveling by yourself or get a taxi or do what I did which was walk. I walked, took the bus, and some older men driving trucks offered to give me a ride which I accepted.

After I arrived I started to walk to the Jinchon the main town which is about a mile away, but a kind gentleman picked me and dropped off near a Chinese restaurant which has a wide variety of food. After I ate lunch I walked to Simcheonggak Pavilion which offers some good sea views. It is closed on Mondays but usually it is 1,000 won admission. There are quite a few military installments scattered throughout the island. If you do take pictures which I did, do not post them on the internet for security reasons. At the pavilion were binoculars which you can see some far of rocks in the sea and you might be lucky to see some seas on the rocks which I was able.

Afterwards I walked down toward the bus stop which is near the Nonghyup. All buses cost 1,000 won only with cash and no card. Renting a car is definitely easier, but the buses I took had only one other person or just me. I got on the bus around 1:45 and was headed toward 두무진 Dumujin rocks, which are the highlight of the entire trip. I arrived in the area around 2:10. The next bus would be at 3:50, so I had 1 hour and 40 minutes which is more than enough time. You will walk down a wooden platform to the some of the most amazing rock formations in all of Korea.

There were no restaurants or cafes to wait when you are finished, so I went to a nearby white church and waited inside until the next bus arrived. I was then head to 중화동 Junghwadong. I wanted to see the second oldest Presbyterian church in Korea called Junghwadong Church. The man who founded it was exiled to this island in the 1890s and the church was founded in 1896. There is also a fallen Rose of Sharon tree which fell down in 2018 because of typhoon. It had reached an impressive 6.3meters in length.

I walked back to the bus stop to wait for the next bus and went to a nearby pebble beach because the wait would be long.

As I was waiting a man driving a truck asked me if I wanted a ride and he took me to 사곳 Sagot. This area has a beach which was used as natural airfield. The sand is soft and hard, so military planes could land and take off here. The other place in the world is in Napoli.

There was a pension near here, that I can recommend. Most motels, pensions, and minbaks aren’t that good compared to mainland Korea. Most are 50,000won and some can be found for 40,000 won. The pension name is 프른바다 펜선/민박. You will get a little cabin-like building with a small kitchen and bathroom to yourself. I paid 50,000 won and the owner offered to drive me to town so I could eat dinner.

The island is really small enough to be able to see all the major tourist attractions in half a day. Therefore I reserved a ticket for the next ferry at 7:00am instead of having to wait until 12:50. The return took 5 hours.

I highly recommend visiting this island. You will see a lot of military personnel, but there isn’t a real threat for North Korea. The ferry felt safe and I think with a little more tourism infrastructure this island could be a real hit in the future. However I don’t think I would want to pay the full price to go here, so if you have opportunity to pay for a cheaper ticket then please go!!

If you have questions feel free to put some comments on this post.

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