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Oedo Island is Korea’s Paradise Isle

Recent Posts, Posted by Matt in ALL DESTINATIONS,Best of DK,Gyeongsang,Nature, 18 Comments

Oedo Island is Korea’s Paradise Isle


Some 40 years ago, a fisherman came to Oedo island (외도) to escape the rough seas of Korea’s southern coast. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife started what would become one of Korea’s most exquisite private gardens. Over 25 years the couple kept their isle a secret until 1995, when Oedo-Botania (외도해상농원) was opened to the public.

From Oedo Island – Botania (외도)

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At just 14.5 hectares, Oedo (pronounced way-do) is a tiny island located beside South Korea’s fourth-largest isle, Geojedo (거제도). Oedo island was made famous by the blockbuster television drama, Winter Sonata. The island’s owners – Lee Chang-ho and his wife Choi Ho-suk – sculpted Oedo into terraced gardens featuring an impressive array of subtropical plants. Resembling formal European gardens instead of traditional Asian ones, the Versailles-inspired Venus Garden features a zig-zag camellia hedge and 12 white marble ladies along with a modest white cottage.


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Helpful signs guide visitors along a thorough walking course. The often-times steep pathways pass alongside whimsically trimmed evergreens, beneath rows of tall palms, and at one point to a cactus garden that’s home to over 50 species of succulents. The island is also home to a natural camellia forest and fossilized dinosaur footprints. Should you need a breather, a handful of strategically placed stands sell delicious ice cream cones (tastes like homemade!) and basic snacks.

From Oedo Island – Botania (외도)

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Another site worth mention is Castle Oedo, a flat terrace area cajoled from the island’s bluffs. From there, viewing binoculars zoom in on the craggy cliffs of Geoje Haegeumgang (거제해금강). On that note, my cruise from Geojedo’s Jangseungpo Port cruised around Haegeumgang before reaching Oedo island. The island, whose name means “The Ocean’s Geumgangsan mountain,” is so-named for its dramatic natural rock features. The quick approach makes for a nice pitstop on the way to Oedo island.

From Oedo Island – Botania (외도)

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Virtually everyone reaches Oedo island via ferries that depart from six locations on Geojedo island. Typically, there’s only about 90 minutes to enjoy the island before the boats make their return journey – overnight stays are not an option. The time is adequate, unless you want a leisurely tea at the Panorama Coffee Shop, whose wicker chairs afford appropriately dramatic views of the Korea Strait. Although our visit in late March meant forgoing the gardens at their summer best, we avoided the madness of the peak season. April is said to provide the best mix of flowers without the crowds.

From Oedo Island – Botania (외도)

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Finally, before descending the whitewashed staircase through the Friendship Gate and to the ferries, check out the Seaside Observatory. More great views to be had, but this time from an airy pavilion that provides shade from the mid-day glare. Underneath is a one-room museum that features a few old photographs of Oedo island and the garden’s early years, as well as an exotic collection of sea shells..
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For your information…

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Closed Seollal and the day prior. Ferries only dock for about 90 mins.Admission: Adults: ₩8,000; Youth: ₩6,000; Children: ₩4,000;055-1330
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South Gyeongsang Province Geoje-si Irun-myeon Oedo-gil 17From Seoul Nambu Bus Terminal, take a bus to Geoje via Jangseungpo. Get off at Jangseungpo and take a taxi or local bus to the ferry dock.website
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18 Comments

10 April 2010 21:43

Phuong Chi

Finally I found a good page to know more about Korea. I like traveling very much, and your blog helps me a lot in discovering Korea. According to you if I want to go to Oeto from Pusan I should go to the Pusan Passenger Terminal and take a ship to the Geojedo (how long does it take?), from there to Oeto. Can I go there during 1 day?
Thank you for your help.

April 13 2010 10:09 am

Matt

Hello Puong Chi,
Thanks for your note. I put the travel information at the bottom of the post after the "Getting There" image. The ship from Busan to Geojedo's Jangseungpo takes about 50-60 minutes. From there, the ferry to Oedo (via Haegeumgang) is about 45 minutes. If you start your day early, you can definitely go from Busan to Oedo and back in a day. Although Geojedo Island is a great destination, too, it's quite large and you'd need to rent a car to explore it comfortably. I hope you enjoy your trip! Best, Matt

11 April 2010 12:41

flower

I’m speechless, I can not believe how beautiful the view, every day I was more impressed with the natural beauty of Korea. Thanks.

April 13 2010 10:06 am

Matt

Hi Flower,
Thanks for posting. It always amazes me how a lot of Korea's natural beauty escaped the ravages of the war. Fortunately, there's a growing trend here to preserve what's left! Hope to hear from you again. Best, Matt

11 April 2010 20:22

solotune

Hey Matt, so you finally went to Geoje-do! was supposed to leave my footprint there last Winter but have since decided to postpone to this summer. May email for more advice.
Cheers!

April 17 2010 22:51 pm

Matt

Yes, I did! But I didn't make it past the wharf. My friend and I contemplated renting a car (since everything I've read has said that relying on the island's public transportation is a mistake), but instead we decided to visit Oedo, and then head back to Busan for the night. That said, I really hope to make another go of it and give Geojedo the full day(s) it deserves! It's nice to hear from you. Best, Matt

12 April 2010 20:22

Korea: Day 10 « smalldose

[...] a ferry to Oedo Island.  DiscoveringKorea.com, one of my new favorite blogs, did a great writeup here. The gardens of Oedo were truly breathtaking but I just couldn’t seem to get the right [...]

15 October 2010 14:24

TAN

Hello Matt,
I Plan to visit PUSAN for 2D1N on MAY2011.
Pse advise can I managed to visit the places below.
Thanks.

- 10am from Pusan airport to Oedo island (take 2hours to reach the island? Then Walk around the paradise garden.
-Back from Oedo island visit Taejongdae ( Danubi Train)
-Visit Yondung-sa Park
- Pusan International market
- PIFF Square

Next day plan to travel Gyeongju

3 November 2010 20:23

Discovering Korea – All Destinations

[...] Oedo: The South Coast’s Paradise Isle [...]

14 April 2011 12:51

Yuli

Hi Matt,

I have just read your blog regarding Odeo island and I wish I have time to visit that island. Could you recommend which island is best to visit: Nami island or Odeo island.
I will visit Seoul on April 16, 2011 and will stay for 7 days.

Thanks.

April 16 2011 09:53 am

Matt

Hi Yuli,
Wow, they are so different and on opposite sides of the country. During the summer, however, both can feel overrun by tourists. Both are naturally beautiful, but Oedo is more like a huge formal garden, while Nami Island has more things to see and do, with shops, museums, etc. Also, you only have about 90 minutes to look around Oedo, whereas you can leave Nami anytime because the ferries are frequent. If you plan to visit Busan (a great destination!), then definitely visit Oedo. But it's too far to do a day trip from Seoul. If you plan to stay in Seoul, Nami is much easier, thanks to a direct daily bus from outside Tapgol Park (near Insa-dong). Have fun!

24 March 2012 16:52

Hedy Chan

Hi, I’m, confused about this ferry to Oedo Island. Can you be so kind and provide a step by step procedure from Sunset Hotel in Haeundae to the ferry going to Oedo Island/Haegeumgang? What’s the earliest ferry going to the island and the last ferry going back to busan? Thanks so much

March 26 2012 11:36 am

Matt

Hi Hedy,

Thanks for your note. I can't provide directions from your hotel, but - at last check - to reach Oedo from Busan, you'll need to go to Geoje Island (Geojedo). These depart from Busan's Passenger Terminal. Oedo is a popular destination, so you should be able to find pamphlets at major tourist centers, and I'd imagine that your hotel might have info on it as well. Good luck! Best, Matt

27 March 2012 21:23

Hedy Chan

thanks so much for the info

1 May 2012 00:11

Name

hi matt! is there a bridge connecting geojedo and oedo?

November 12 2012 18:50 pm

Matt

Nope, no bridge, but frequent ferries departing from three spots on Geojedo, last I checked!

17 July 2012 17:10

Guido Helmers

Hi Matt,

I went to Oedo a couple of weeks ago. I was told the operator running the ferry from Pusan to Geojedo has gone bankrupt. Since May 2012 there are no more ferries between Pusan and Geojedo (as well as Pusan Jeju).

The best way to go to Geojedo is now by bus. In Pusan, go to the bus terminal at Sasang subway station (사상역). Take a bus to Jangseungpo (장승포) on Geojedo. From the Jangseungpo bus terminal it takes about 20 min. by foot to the passengers terminal (외도 / 해금강 유람선터미널).

Guido

October 06 2012 00:12 am

Matt

Thanks for the updated information, Guido!

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