With the arrival of the World Expo to its sleepy shores in 2012, Yeosu found itself blinking in the harsh spotlight of the world’s attention. And just like that, it was all over. Millions of won invested resulting in some incredible infrastructure dotted along the stunning waterfront, yet after the last echoes of the festival faded away it slowly but surely degenerated into a graveyard of rusty sheet metal and lonely concrete walkways.
Dig a little deeper though and you’ll find that Yeosu is actually a fantastic little city in which to spend a few nights. It’s renowned throughout South Korea for its mild climate and sensational coastal aspect, but unfortunately for us we got Yeosu on a bad hair day! Drizzle, rain, drizzle, hint of sun, and then more drizzle.
Not enough to stop us though! After checking into the fantastic Benikea Hotel, the first thing (as always!) was to explore the local area for a hot meal.
The instructions provided by the receptionist proved sketchy, but ultimately successful! Horse meat was on the menu, but we decided to go for a traditional BBQ meal with an obligatory bottle or two of Cass.
The following morning we decided to brave the local public transport system and catch a bus across to the World Expo precinct, and then walk our way around the coastline back to the centre of town.
Odongdo (Odong Island) is located just off Yeosu’s shores. The lazy can take a train across, but we decided to walk over and then explore the numerous trails circling the tiny island.
After a dodgy coffee in a coffee shop straight out of the 70s, we started out walking alongside the ‘foot massage path’! That’s right, on a sunnier day we might have been tempted to take off our shoes and try it out.
The paths aren’t long by any means, but they do present you with some really nice scenery, varying from coastal cliffs and caves to green trees and bamboo forests.
Before long we were walking back over the causeway and making our way to central Yeosu. If the weather had been kinder we may have considered making use of the fantastic bike rental system in place in Yeosu. There are a number of bicycle ‘stations’ located around the city and you can pick up or drop off your bike wherever you like for a very reasonable price.
The shopping precinct of Yeosu was actually really nice. There was a good mix of both old and new and the locals seemed really friendly. One of the benefits of the World Expo is that all the local eateries were required to place English signage and menus in their establishments. As so few tourists would normally visit Yeosu it was a pleasant surprise to walk the food streets and be able to see what was on offer inside without needing to ask for a menu at the door.
We decided on this place, as it appeared to offer a number of local seafood delicacies for a pretty decent price.
What a great decision!
We knew seafood was their specialty, so we decided to go all out and order their banquet. Little did we know how epic it was going to be! What you can see below is only two thirds of the meal. After finishing the hoe (Korean version of sashimi) and crab in the middle we thought we were done, only to find the chef bringing out another half a dozen or so dishes filled with hot foods and other delicacies! While the vast majority were delicious, one particular plate of skate had to be the nastiest, most vile tasting dish either of us had every tasted in any of our journeys across the world!! With a foul ammonia-like waft coming off it in waves, we braved a bite each and immediately wished we’d never bothered. Apparently skate can have quite a strong flavour, but this was just ridiculous! Thankfully there were still plenty of other dishes remaining, and a glass of beer, to wash the taste away.
It was a shame the weather didn’t come to the party, because we could only imagine how beautiful the harbour would look under a bright sun. Still, we made the best of a bad situation, and would quite happily return another day to explore some of the other things to do in Yeosu. Yeosu may not be on the typical Korean tourist trail, but it’s well worth a visit!
As you can see from the panoramic photo below, the views from the Benikea Hotel in Yeosu are stunning. We like our privacy and found the Benikea Hotel to be in a really good location; not right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of town, but close enough to be able to walk in and have a meal, or just hop on the bus to get across to the more touristy shopping area.
You can check their availability and make a booking if you like here on Booking.com. We really enjoyed our time there and we’re sure you will too!