Bogildo Magic


I knew two things about Bogildo Island before pulling up to it on an old Korean ferry: it was covered in pine trees, and compared to the other West Sea Islands Norbert Paxton wrote of in the Rough Guide, it was a “well-kept secret.”

I love trees.  And secret places.  The page was instantly dog-eared, and Bogildo became the mystery destination I planted in the middle of my week-long South Korea route.  After trekking around the volcanoes, falls, and caves of Jeju, I decided my time here would be dedicated to relaxing on the beach and experimenting with my camera, finding new ways to see the things I saw.  I couldn’t dig up any info on accomadation, but crossed my fingers for a minbak close to the sea, making the daily journey from sleep to sand a short one.

From the ferry terminal a bus shuttled a couple Koreans and me across the island…

which, I quickly noted, burst with every shade of green…

and every colour of roof. 

A taxi pulled up where the bus dropped me off…

and the driver flipped open a brochure, pointing to a photo that looked like this.

Sold!  To the girl in the white flip flops, for 5000 won.  The beach was called Yesongri, and the driver whisked me to a minbak approximately 10 feet from its shore. 

I love it when an idea manifests how you want it to.


Behind the minbak–one of several in the village–blue-shingled buildings climbed toward a mountain carpeted in pines and brushed with mist…

 which transported me back a few years to the lanes of whitewashed buildings I slipped through each dawn, still awake, on Ios–that Greek island I disappeared to for six weeks the summer I was 18. 

Of course, to these girls, the scenery wasn’t a taste of traditional Korea or a memory trigger of another island in a different sea…but just a moment on their slow skip home.

Behind the fishing boats docked on shore, ajummas watched the tide…

and after bartering with this lady for my minbak digs…

I bought a tall bottle of Hite beer, found a spot on the stones (the shoreline was more west-coast than tropical), and watched the evening arrive.

I may have gone back for a second tall bottle somewhere around now, as the Koreans camping along the beach lit fireworks, their flares sparking into the water as the trees turned to silhouettes and the stars began to appear…

and though you can’t see them here, they soon filled the sky, and I was so struck by these stars–a rare sight through the haze of Busan–that I forgot entirely about the moon, until it shot up from the sea, orange and much fatter than it looks here, reminding me of my friend Stu, who loves the moon as much as I do, and of a moonrise I saw once in the Sinai Desert, looming above the Red Sea, while arabic music drifted over the water and striped fish darted through the coral tunnels below. 

(Stu–I sent you a message from here, did you receive?)

After a morning sleep-in on my minbak mat, there was only one place to go…


Where I dissolved into the scenery all afternoon, until a viewing hut on a hill to the left lured me into a pre-dusk hike…

to watch the boats and the buoys…

and the clouds, sliding across the wide sky and between two temporary shores.

I recommend.


Get there:  Bogildo’s one of over a hundred islands scattered off the southwestern tip of Jeollanam-do, Korea’s southwest province.  From the bus terminal in Wando–a larger island connected to the mainland–catch a bus to the ferry terminal on the west side.  (Be sure to mention Bogildo as your destination, as most boats leave from a different terminal.)  The bus ride is approx. 20 mins, leaving every hour-ish.  Boats to Bogildo are fairly regular, and the sailing is about 45 minutes long.  Once docked, a shuttle will take you to Bogildo’s main hub, where you can taxi to other parts of the island.  Yesongri Beach is considered the most beautiful spot to stay, though various sites are accessible via car or taxi, including a lake in the island’s center.




2 thoughts on “Bogildo Magic

  1. Ah! The moon message.. were it not odd that I too was immersed in waters blue ,, in those precious moments of the last full moon….
    I was scuba diving and that night sat with my instructor marvelling at how huge and bright she was as we mutually mused over travel tales and cheap wine.
    I crave that island, love-bug.. it looks really peaceful and clean

  2. I love Bogildo, it is so magical, especially the wonderful
    full moon, with the water reflection. The blue shades are
    my favourite also, and the mist is so terrific it pulls me into
    the pictures you have taken. Your camera work has dev-
    loped a great deal Pic. Good work, it is now 14yrs. since
    you began to travel, I am so proud of you and the choices
    you have made.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s