The city of Yeosu is located within the boundaries of Dadohae National Marine Park and is one of the prettiest cities in Korea, famous for its temples, mountains, beaches, seafood and flowers.

Hallyeohaesang National park
Hallyeohaesang National park

What to see and do

Nestling amongst a forest of camellias on Mt Geumo (which translates to “large golden sea tortoise”) is Hyangiram Hermitage. This Buddhist temple dates from 644 and has spectacular views over the Marine Park.

Hyangiram temple
Hyangiram temple

Another temple is Hansansa, the source of the bell chimes that can be heard throughout Yeosu. The bell was made in 1750 and is noted as one of the eight greatest features of Yeosu.

One of the areas natural attractions and considered the most beautiful, is Mt Gubong. The name translates into ‘a mountain with nine peaks’ following a legend about nine phoenix descending from the heavens. The hike up to the top is tough but the view of the National Hallyeosudo Marine Park is breathtaking.

Another of the regions mountains, Mt.Youngchwi is covered in red in Spring from the millions of blossoming azaleas.

One of Korea’s most famous sailors was the Admiral Yi Sun-sin who defeated the Japanese in the 16th century. A recreation of a Geobuksean (turtle ship) his famous iron clad design is moored just across the Dolson Bridge. The Imnan Relic Exhibition Hall is located at the entrance of Jinnamgwan. This is a guest house built during the Joesun Dynasty which displays information about the naval battles during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592 and exhibits relics, portrait scrolls, and a monument to the Admiral Yi.

The city has a strong fishing tradition, which is celebrated in the Jeollanamdo Fisheries Science Museum, located just outside of town. The centre includes an aquarium with some 5,000 native fish of 100 different species

In line with its National Marine Park status and its 300 islands, Yeosu is the host city for the 2012 Expo with the theme of “the Living Ocean and Coast”. To find out more about it and the history of Expos throughout the years then head to the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea Promotion Centerwhich has all the details of this major event.

suncheon bay
Suncheon Bay

Where to eat

Yeosu’s local delicacy is Hwae (raw fish), and the best place to try it is in Hwae Town, in any one of a number of seafood restaurants which line the streets. If you don’t fancy raw fish, then there are plenty of cooked options and Yeosu being a port you can eat anything from oysters to spicy eel and a variety of grilled fish. A number of good restaurants can be found in the Jungang-no area including Baekcheon and Ihak. For spicy octopus, try Myeongshin.

Where to drink

Two of the bars most frequented by tourists are Wa Bar and Yellow Monkey, both located in Yeoseo-dong, a two minute walk from each another. The Lost Shepherd Girl Freehouse is the newest nightspot to open in town and is located in Yeochun, close to Turtle Park and Ho bak. It has free pool, darts, and a football table as well as Guinness on tap on Wednesdays, one of only two places in the whole of Korea where you can get Guinness on tap, apparently.
Another popular spot is the bar Elle Lui.

Green tea in Bosung
Green tea in Bosung

Where to stay

The Ocean Resort is definitely one for those wanting to splurge. The hotel is right by the beach away from the city centre. That’s not to say there is nothing to do, the complex also includes a water park, saunas, spas and a golf course. Rooms come with 32” HD TV, air conditioning and a microwave.

If you want something a little closer to the city centre then try the Eastern Jewellery Hotel. The 4-star rooms come with a minibar, internet access, hairdryer, safe and air conditioning. It is also 5 minutes walk from Yeosu train station and 20 minutes ride away from the airport.

The Bellagio Tourist Hotel comes in a little cheaper, but still includes air conditioning, a refrigerator and wired Internet access. All topped off with an ocean view.

For those of you on a tight budget there are also Jjimjilbangs – Korean spas that have communal facilities to stay overnight. These are quite popular with local families and couples looking for a few relaxing days.

Baekdo Island
Baekdo Island

Yeosu Fact File

  • The high-speed train from Seoul to Yeosu takes about 3 hours and 20 minutes.
  • There are dozens of different cruises hopping between different islands in Hallyeo Ocean Park.
  • Population 300,000
  • Climate: cool summers and mild winters
Fact File (Korea)
Population 49m, of which nearly 11m are in Seoul.
Language Korean (Hangul)
Climate Mild in Spring and Autumn, can be hot and humid in summer and with cold winters.
Currency Korean Won (approx KRW1,750 = £1)
Time Zone GMT +9 hours
Useful Websites Read the Korean Cruise Guide here
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