Things to do when in Tongyeong!
January 1, 1970
by Tasha Henderson
So you have made your way to one of the southernmost cities in South Korea, Tongyeong, and you’re not really sure what to do. Well, don’t worry! After having experienced a few activities during my time there, here is my list of things you can do in Tongyeong.
1. Skyline Luge
The Skyline Luge is a worldwide company that gives you the chance to basically play real-life Mario Kart; i.e. go-carting!
Skyline luge is based in Donam-dong in Tongyeong and is open every day of the week. This place is really popular so it is always packed on the weekend and on holidays, especially when it is sunny!
Tickets are purchased at the ticket office when you arrive and you can choose whether to get one ride, three rides or five rides! My friends and I went for three rides and felt it was plenty, especially as we kept trying to compete with each other!
Their motto is “Once is never enough“, and this is so true! The wait can be long but it is very worth it. You have to take a cable car from the ticket office up to the top of the mountain where the track starts. From the cable car, you can see stunning views of Tongyeong (specifically the Donam-dong area) whilst enjoying the cool breeze. There are also cameras set up to take your picture at the end of the cable car ride so remember to say cheese!!
Once you get to the beginning of the track, you are shown how to work the cart, as it runs on gravity (no engines!). Don’t worry if you can’t speak Korean as it is very easy to pick up from their motions! When you get the hang of this, all you have to do is enjoy!!
Little pro tip: I recommend you wear gloves to keep your hands warm as the wind steals all the heat from your hand when you speed down the track. Still an amazing experience, regardless.
2. Fish Market
Located in Jungang-dong, Tongyeong fish market is renowned in Korea for having the best fish (yes, better than Busan!) at really good prices. If you love fish and don’t mind the smell of it either, then a lovely stroll through the market should be on your agenda. There are also small restaurants in the market where you can pick and buy your own fish and have it sent to the restaurant to be freshly served to you.
The market can open really early (as in 5 am early) and stay open until late. The food is generally cheaper in the morning too so you may see a lot of ahjumma’s (older women) walking around getting their groceries for a great deal. Also, if you know how to haggle then this is a great chance to try! Sometimes the ahjumma’s or ahjusshi’s (older men) running the stalls can give you a lower price or discounts.
As I love fish my friend took me to this market one beautiful sunny day to try the fish. We picked the fish we wanted and the lady freshly cut it up for us there and sent it to the restaurant. We got sashimi (raw fish), grilled fish and fish head soup.
The food was heavenly; it had basically zero seasoning (as Koreans don’t really use seasoning) and cooked to perfection! It was the best fish I had ever tasted in my life and I really recommend the fish if you ever pop over to Tongyeong!
3. Turtle Ship
The Turtle Ships are located just opposite the fish market by the harbour in Jungang-dong.
Turtle ships, also called Geobukseon (거북선), are Korean warships used during the Joseon dynasty (late 14th century to late 19th century).The tickets are only 2,000 Korean won, which are super cheap! You can walk inside the ships and see what it would have been like for the officers.
There are also plaques with historical information in each ship, and has English translations so you can brush up on your Korean history!Since the ships are just opposite the market, you can always get your fresh fish after browsing the ships. Or before, whichever you prefer!
4. Bijindo Island
Bijindo is a small island situated south of Tongyeong and is accessible by boat or ferry. It has two mountains on it with a port on either side of the island.
You can catch the ferry at the ferry terminal situated in Seoho-dong, which is about a 10-minute walk from the Tongyeong fish market. Tickets cost around 15,000 won per person and the ferry times are listed clearly in the terminal. There are two stops for Bijindo: the first stop is the side closest to the harbour and the second is on the other side of the island.
The island’s two mountains can be hiked up to the top, and there is also a beach where you can enjoy dipping your feet into the ocean and maybe crack open a beer with your mates.
My friends and I travelled to the far side of the island on St Patrick’s day, when the weather was beautiful and sunny; perfect for a day at the beach and hiking up the mountain. In usual St Paddy’s day fashion, we cracked open a can of beer each (which you can easily buy at a convenience store just located by the beach) and celebrated my Irish heritage. For the hike, it took us about an hour to walk from the beach to the top of the mountain; but it was completely worth it. If you are not a hiking person, then deal with it and go up. Trust me. I hate walking and hiking but the views were just so stunning and completely worth the exhaustion I felt by the end of it.
There is also a restaurant located beside the beach where you can have a nice meal with a beautiful sea-view. You can treat yourself to some yummy food either before the hike in order to fuel yourself up, or after to satisfy the hunger you will very likely feel when you have finished your hike.
You can also camp on the beach with the tent if you don’t feel like catching the last ferry to the mainland! Just remember to bring a tent and a sleeping bag!
5. Dongpirang Mural Village
Dongpirang is an area situated just east of Jungang-dong and just south of Taepyeong-dong within Tongyeong and is also an easy walking distance from the Tongyeong fish market. It is called a mural village for obvious reasons: it has a lot of paintings and murals covering the street and house walls where you can take lots of pictures! It has a lot of cute cafes and restaurants nearby as well in case you want to refresh yourself before checking out the murals (or after).
This place is very popular with locals taking their selfie sticks and capturing lots of pictures with the murals.
So if you are the selfie type and want to update or upgrade your social media pictures, then you can easily find a mural to suit you as there are cute interactive ones or just plain funny ones. Check out my own little picture with a bunch of Disney princess. Think I could make the cut?