Earlier this year of 2020 I visited the most western island in Korea. Last year I visited one of the western most islands in the southern part of South Korea. The island name is Hongdo. Hongdo is in Dadohaehaesang National Park. This is one of the marine national parks. Hongdo is about 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours away from Mokpo. It is about 80,000 won round trip to go to Hongdo, but with the 바다로티켓 it is much cheaper. Instead of spending 80,000 won, I spent 40,000won.
Hongdo was in the top 100 places in Korea from 2017-2018, but it is not included in the list which is a shame. I could easily put it in the top 50 places. Hongdo is doable as a day trip, which I would highly recommend, but you could spend the night on the island, too.
There are numerous ways to go to Hongdo, but the city of departure is called Mokpo. Mokpo is connected by bus and train from most of the major cities. I took a bus to Gwangju, then I went Yeongam and visited Wolchulsan, and then took a bus to Mokpo, and a bus to the port area. I would recommend taking a train instead. You can take the KTX which will cost more, but get you there faster, or you can take the slow train. I love the slow train because I can enjoy the views and it is cheaper, so I would recommend taking the slow train at least one way if not both.
Mokpo is a port city with a lot to offer, so you could take an extra day to do some sightseeing. I spent the night in Mokpo before I would go to Hongdo, which is again highly recommended. You can wake up early to go to the ferry terminal and get on the first ferry and the last ferry back. There are only two ferries a day.
The ferry ride was smooth and uneventful. The ferry does stop along the way at other islands, but Hongdo is last. I also met a young American traveler who was studying political science in Hong Kong. These destinations aren’t well known to foreigners, so it was a chance for me to share my Korean knowledge.
Hongdo is a small walkable island. Anyone could walk from one end to the other in a day, but we had about six hours, so I recommended that we go to the top of the island. We had to walk through the small town and past an elementary school that only had three students.
Hongdo has wooden stairs that eventually turn into a path going to the island peak. It is well maintained and the best path to go. The flora of Hongdo is special. It is the most unique and feels different from other parts of Korea.
The views going up were spectacular.
The morning was foggy. It took about 1 hour to go to the top. It was difficult to see anything from the top.
After going up, it was time to go down and get lunch. Hongdo does have brown outs, so bring cash just in case for the restaurants. We ate raw fish for lunch, but when I went to pay, I couldn’t because the card machine needed electricity. Thankfully the electricity did come back on.
After lunch, we explored the other half of the island.
After exploring, we went to the lone rocky beach.
Lastly we went back to the port and waited for our ferry to arrive.
After making it on the ferry, we arrived in Mokpo just as the sun was setting. We said our farewells and I departed for Gwangju to meet my Canadian friend.