Yeosu: Korea’s southern paradise
About 28 kilometers east of Geomundo Island sits the mysterious collection of Upper and Lower Baekdo Islands. Comprised of 39 rock formations of all different sizes and shapes, organized into two clusters, the uninhabited islands remain naturally intact, with near-pristine environments and landscapes. Access to the islets is strictly limited, as they have been registered as a National Scenic Spot. The rocks are home to a variety of wild flora and fauna rarely seen elsewhere in the peninsula, including 400 species of subtropical plant, such as camellias, silver magnolias and day lilies, as well as the endangered wood pigeon and the fairy pitta, a small passerine bird.
The Baekdo Islands consist of two separate groups: the upper Sangbaekdo and the lower Habaekdo. A ferry plies between the two groups of islets, following a course between the rocks, the only way tourists can travel to the mid-ocean spot. The trip offers a stunning view of the wide variety of rock formations and rock cliffs, weathered and shaped by the passage of time. Legend has it that the Jade King sent his son to Baekdo Island, but his child, as well as all of his loyal followers who went with him, never wanted to return. Each rock formation is associated with an interesting tale and legend that has been handed down over the generations.
There is another famous island situated only a kilometer to the southeast from Yeosu city center. It is Odongdo Island, connected to the mainland by a 780-meter causeway. The tiny island covers only 0.5 square kilometers and yet is home to at least 200 types of tree. The most popular plant on the island is the red camellia. The camellias of Yeosu, compared to ones from other regions, have larger flower petals and are grown in denser clusters. Their vivid color contrasts between red flower buds and yellow pollen leaves, giving visitors a strong impression. The camellia begins to bloom in late autumn, in October, and fully blooms the following March. When they are in season, the whole island is covered with camellias. The “island of camellias” is visited by more than 500,000 tourists every year.
Besides these popular islands, Yeosu is surrounded by a variety of other islands, including Janggundo Island, Yado Island, Sado Island, Chudo Island, Geumodo Island and Mogaedo Island, the last looking like a heart when viewed from above.
The book of Yeosu photos introduces the city’s travel destinations, putting them into five categories: the Islands, Light, Scenery, Festivals and Life. It includes scenes of a romantic nightscape that are reminiscent of the lyrics from “Yeosu Night Sea,” sung by Busker Busker. The book also introduces local festivals and the nearby peaceful villages.
The photo collection offers translations into four languages: Korean, English, Japanese and Simplified Chinese.
More information is available at Yeosu City’s website: http://eng.yeosu.go.kr