TongYeong: The Beautiful Port City of Namhae (by Jinjoo)


If you are interested in traveling around Korea, you might have heard of a place name ‘Tong-Yeong(통영)’, located almost at the end of the Korean peninsula at Gyeongsangnam-do(경상남도). Its distance from Seoul is similar to Busan but is a little bit harder to get there because there isn’t a train station at Tong-Yeong. So, you can only get there by bus. But it’s worth it, because Tong-Yeong is such an attractive place. Tong-Yeong is next to the Korean South Sea, Namhae(남해), so you can see the sea wherever you are.

Historically, Tong-Yeong commemorates Sunshin-Lee(이순신), who fought against the Japanese invasion of Korea at 1952. Tong-Yeong’ was even originally called ‘ChungMu’, named after Sunshin-Lee who was called ‘ChungMuGong(충무공)’. He defeated the Japanese fleet with only a few number of the famous ships, ‘Turtle Ship(거북선)’. There are several turtle ships at the dock, and one of them has opened the turtle ship to the public, making it available for visitors to go in and look around for a 2000 won admission fee.


<Turtle Ship at the dock>

‘Dongpirang Mural Village(동피랑 벽화마을)’ is the most famous tourist attraction at TongYeong and also the most famous mural village at Korea. It’s a beautiful town with interesting murals. It has even been the filming site of several Korean dramas such as ‘The Innocent Man (2012)’ and ‘Ppadam Ppadam (2011)’. It’s located on a hill, so if you walk to the top, you can see the beautiful scenery of the seaport. There are several cafes where you can watch the scenery, so if you feel exhausted from walking, you can take a rest there.


<one of the murals at Dongpirang>


<scenery of the seaport>

Also, you can visit several islands, such as Somaemuldo (소매물도), Bijindo(비진도), etc. near TongYeong. You can take a passenger ship at the ‘TongYeong ship terminal(통영여객선터미널)’ to get there. Somaemuldo Island is really famous because of the beautiful scenery and the sea around the lighthouse, which is split into two parts. So, some call this place Korea’s Miracle of Moses. Although it isn’t as magnificent as the name, it’s still truly beautiful. However, it requires an intermediate hiking course to reach the summit and the lighthouse, so prepare yourself for the hike. Also, check the time schedule for when the ships arrival and depart, or you might be stuck on the island until the next day. The price of roundtrip ticket for Somaemul Island is 32,700 won.


<Somaemuldo Island, after hiking>

You can also enjoy many activities in TongYeong. Most famous one is riding ‘Luge’. It’s a cart specially designed without a power unit, using only the gravity and slope of the track to move. It is only available in 6 places all around the world. You can control your speed by using the break, so if you can control the speed and thrill of the ride.

Address: 178 Balgae-ro, Donam-dong, Tongyeong-si, Gyeongsangnam-do



finally, there are several foods that TongYeong is famous for. First, TongYeong is of course famous for sashimi, because it is port city. Also, it is famous for fish named ‘puffer fish’. So there are lots of restaurants selling puffer fish stew(복국). It’s fresher and cheaper than what you can get inland.


Next is Chungmu Gimbap(충무김밥). It’s a gimbap without anything inside, only made with seaweed and rice, served with seasoned squid and radish Kimchi. This gimbap originates from a wife of a fisherman at TongYeong. She made Gimbap with the insides separately because the normal Gimbap she made for her husband often spoiled while he was out fishing.

Finally, there are a lot of stores that sell a bread named ‘Ggul Bbang(꿀빵)’, translated directly to honey bread in English. However, honey isn’t actually used to make the bread. It’s filled with adzuki beans, fried, and then covered with starch syrup. It was also used for fishermen’s snacks, because it didn’t spoil for a long time. Nowadays this bread is filled with many things like honey potatoes, citrons, cheese, etc, not only adzuki beans.


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