Four reasons to go to Wando
May 11, 2017
An aerial view of Wando Tower / Wando County Office

WANDO, South Jeolla Province ― few travelers have heard of it, and the locals are not passionate about promoting it, yet Wando is home to beautiful natural wonders and exotic, tasty food.

Wando (완도) is the shining crown of southern Korea. The island has gorgeous mountains to climb, islands to hop, beaches to relax on and plenty of Jeolla-style cuisine, which is regarded the best in Korea. But the place has surprisingly few tourists, which makes it even more attractive for those who are tired of bustling areas like Daecheon or Haeundae beaches.

The “Wan” in Wando means “to smile broadly” and “do” means “island” in Korean. Tourists may find it a perfect name for the place, which is full of super-friendly people.

Juicy abalone bread

Heaven for abalone lovers

You can find other places for hiking, swimming and relaxing, but Wando is Korea's ― perhaps the world's ― only place where you can find “abalone bread.”

Wando is considered heaven for people who love abalone. About 80 percent of all abalone production in Korea comes from the island, where visitors can enjoy it in many forms, including raw abalone and abalone porridge.

Abalone bread is made of fresh abalone from Wando, wheat flour, organic sugar and butter. Cho Hong-joo, an owner of a local bakery, is known as its inventor.

It first came out last year, and has quickly become a symbolic food of Wando. It's sweet, soft and goes very well with hot coffee.

The Jeolla region as a whole is considered Korea's best for foodies, who can also enjoy a variety of dishes, such as its unique-style kimchi and tteokgalbi (galbi seasoned and shaped into a patty).

People walk along the reservoir at Wando Arboretum.

A magical subtropical garden

One may find it surprising that Wando is also home to one of the country's finest and largest botanical gardens.

The 2,050-hectare Wando Arboretum has more than 3,800 species of tropical and subtropical plants, including camellia and redwood evergreen oak.

Much of its garden, which was founded in 1991, has been preserved in its natural state. It is a center for plant research and a resting place for the locals.

The garden turns into different colors and settings as the seasons change. Sanghwangbong, the highest hill at the garden, and three other observatories offer fantastic views.

Wando Tower

Wando Tower is where visitors can enjoy the most iconic image of the island.

From its observation platform, which is about 51 meters high they can see not only tranquil scenes of Wando's downtown area but also ever-changing views of scattered offshore islands. On a clear day, they might be able to see Jeju Island, which is about 95 kilometers away.

The tower is a great place to enjoy the sunrise and sunset. It also offers a laser show Friday and Saturday nights as well as special occasions.

Filming site of Cheonghae Port

Film set of Cheonghae Port

Dozens of TV dramas, movies and commercials were filmed at Wando Cheonghae Port Set, including “Emperor of the Sea,” “Jumong and “The Admiral: Roaring Currents.”

Situated next to the beautiful beach, it is a great place for relaxing.

Walking through tile-roofed houses and traditional pavilions, tourists can learn about Korea's past and get a glimpse of what it was like to live in the town hundreds of years ago.

Source:The Korea Times

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