The Great Korean Road Trip – Day 22 – Bijindo

Bijindo Twin Island

Much like Sado Island off the coast of Yeosu, Bijindo is a twin set of islands connected by a sand isthmus. I’ve actually seen this island quite a lot in promotional photos of the south part of Korea’s coast and have met people who talked up its beauty. After the disappointment that was Geoje, Bijindo definitely did NOT let me down.   

This tiny island has a handful of ferries that head over from Tongyeong port. However, if you want to go, look around, and come back in the same day, it’s best to take the earliest possible ferry and come back in the evening with the last one. Like a lot of islands in Korea, this one didn’t look to be cheap and as hostels are pretty much not a thing amongst locals, I didn’t want to stay the night and pay a hefty hotel fee. I kind of regret going here along as it looks like a wonderful place to visit with a significant other of even a bunch of friends. The water is crystal clear, it isn’t too crowded, and the views are quite something. One tiny criticism would be that the isthmus itself is paved on one half, which is something that is strategically obscured in every picture I’ve ever seen (looking closely its obvious though). But nonetheless, I kind of didn’t mind it after a while.

This is how the posters look like. I definitely can’t see the pavement here.

I think this is the time to talk about Korean “camping” as it is kind of relevant to any trip to Bijindo. I knew nothing about this island other than what it looked like, so I didn’t think to bring food or even snacks. Naturally, after a few hours of swimming, I got hungry. Other than a single chicken spot, I didn’t spot anything to eat on the entire island. The thing is, most Koreans come to stay in “pensions” in groups, what many consider to be “camping.” This means that the vast majority bring food to cook themselves and thus, there isn’t a large market for restaurants and the like. Bijindo is also within Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park so I’m sure this makes opening up a business more difficult as well. In any case, with nothing else to eat, I ordered chicken from the only restaurant… before I realized there weren’t any ATM machines in this whole island (nor do they take card). Luckily, I was able to explain my situation and I did have internet to wire them money (a common way to pay for stuff in Korea), but any visitor be warned, BRING CASH!

If you fancy a kayak, there was one hotel of sorts that had them out front, but I didn’t inquire. You’re on your own!

Julio Moreno
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