Wando County 완도군

Wando County is located on the Southern coast of Korea in South Jeolla Province 전라남도. Wando is known for its seaweed and abolone. It’s also the hometown of historic naval leader/trader Chang Pogo 잔보고 and more recently professional golfer KJ Choi 최경주.

 

TRAVEL COURSE: DAY ONE

1. Chang Pogo Memorial Hall 장보고 기념관

2. Cheongjaejin Historic Site 청해진 유적지

3. Chang Pogo’s Statue 장보고 동산

4. Dadohae Ilchul Park / Wando Tower 다도해 일출공원 / 완도 타워

5. Abolone Course Dinner 전복

 

TRAVEL COURSE: DAY TWO

1. Drama Haeshin Sillabang Set 드라마 해신 신라방세트장

2. Wando Arboretum 완도 숙목원

3. Drama Haeshin Cheonghaejin Set 드라마 해신 청해진 세트장

4. Fishing Village Folk Exhibition Hall 어촌민속전시관

 

You can get to Wando by bus, and it takes around 2 hours from Gwangju 관주. It is preferable, however, to travel in Wando by car, since there aren’t many local buses, and because many of the tourist attractions are spread far apart.

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In case you don’t know much about Chang Pogo, you can learn more about him at the Chang Pogo Memorial Hall 장보고 기념관 which was built in 2008 to celebrate the naval and trade achievements of this historic figure. English translations of most of the exhibitions are available. 

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Chang Pogo Memorial Hall Admission Fee: 1,000 won / adult

Operating Hours: 9am – 6pm(Mar-Oct) / 9am – 5pm (Nov-Feb) / Closed Mondays

Average Viewing Time: 45-60 minutes

Contact Information: 061) 550-6930    changpogo.wando.go.kr

From the exhibition walk, it’s a short walk across a bridge to the Cheonghaejin Historic Site 청해진 유적지. This is where Chang Pogo set up a fortress to protect civilians from the neighboring pirates. The fortress is no longer there, and at first sight it might not look like much is left, but it’s a very peaceful area that I enjoyed walking around. There are a few gates and towers that were recently rebuilt.

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Cheonghaejin Historic Site Admission Fee: free

Operating Hours: 24 hours

Average Viewing Time: 30-60 minutes

 

There’s one more Chang Pogo related attraction, and it’s a big sculpture of the man himself pointing the way towards the sea. You can skip this one if you’re running short on time, since you can see the sculpture from for away and that’s pretty much all there is to it anyways. It is a good photo opp though, and there’s a fun playground next to the statue.

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From here, you’ll go down south to the Dadohae Ilchul Park 다도해 일출공원. Wando Tower 완도 타워 is located at the top of the park.  On a clear day, you can see as far as Jeju Island, from the tower, and at night, there’s a laser display that you can see all the way from the downtown area of Wando.

Dadohae Ilchul Park Admission Fee: free

Operating Hours: 24 hours

Average Viewing Time: 30-60 minutes

 

Wando Tower Admission Fee: 2,000 / adult

Operating Hours: 9am-10 pm (summer) / 9am – 9 pm (winter)

Average Viewing Time: 30 minutes

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For dinner, go to the downtown area near the bus terminal, and get some abalone. If you want to get a abalone course dinner, it usually costs about 30,000 won per person and you’ll get two raw abalone, two grilled abalone, and some abalone porridge per person. About 80% of South Korea’s abalone comes from Wando, so the ones you get here are supposedly fresher. If you are looking for a more affordable meal, there are all sorts of other meals like beef stew 갈비탕, bibimbap 비빔밥, rice porridge 죽, etc that contain abalone.

For the night, I think it’s most efficient to find a place to stay near the bus terminal/downtown area. There are plenty of motels here and usually they will cost you around 40,000-50,000 per night.

The next morning you can check out some the Drama Haeshin Sillabang Set 드라마 해신 신라방세트장. This set was created for Chinese portions of the 2004/2005 drama Haeshin 해신 and the set features a place for trade and merchant lodgings.

Then go to the Wando Arboretum 완도 숙목. It’s a botanical garden that was created in 1991.  It’s the only warm temperate forest in Korea. (15% of Korea is considered a warm temperate region.) There are 30 special gardens, a green house, an observation path, and an observatory.

Wando Arboretum Admission Fee: 

Operating Hours: 9am – 6 pm (Mar-Oct) 9am – 5pm (Nov-Feb)

Average Viewing Time: 

Contact Information: wando-arboretum.go.kr

Afterward, check out one more set from the Haeshin drama which features a replica of the Cheonghaejin site ruins that we visited on the first day. The area is built as a fishing village from the Silla Dynasty, so in addition to Haeshin, pretty much every tv show since 2004 that featured the Silla Dynasty filmed here as well.

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Drama Haeshin Cheonghaejin Set 드라마 해신 청해진 세트장 Admission Fee: 5,000 / adult

Operating Hours: 9am – 5 pm 

Average Viewing Time: 2 hours

 

The last attraction is the Fishing Village Folk Exhibition Hall 어촌민속전시관. The building only has Korean panels available, so you might re-consider going if you don’t speak Korean. It’s a small hall that features a lot of fish and seashells, but if you’re running low on time, this would be the event to skip.

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Fishing Village Folk Exhibition Hall Admission Fee: 1,000 / adult

Operating Hours: 9am – 5 pm 

Average Viewing Time: 30-60 minutes

 

If you want some more great seafood before heading back home, I suggest some clams or raw fish.

 

Relevant Links

http://www.oneweirdglobe.com/2011/11/destination-wando-arboretum-wando-gun-jeollanam-do/

http://www.oneweirdglobe.com/2011/11/destination-wando-tower-wando-beach-park-wando-gun-jeollanam-do/

 

 

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