Foreigners Guide on How to get Ferry Tickets in South Korea (Ulleungdo, Jeju, Hongdo)
Did you know that there are more than three thousand islands in South Korea? Your friends have probably recommended Jeju or Ulleungdo already, though you might want to check out islands like Cheongsando or Somaemuldo which are less crowded yet still very scenic. While the most popular travel option for foreigners looking to travel to Jeju would be via flight, we would recommend trying a ferry cruise instead. Of course, for islands like Ulleungdo or if you plan to travel to Jeju with your car and pets, then a ferry would be the only option for you. Having extensive experience helping foreigners get ferry tickets to various islands in Korea, Wonderful compiled this guide into the most popular islands in South Korea, as well as a brief guide on how to buy ferry tickets. You can always reach out to Wonderful, if you want to avoid the hassle of booking it yourself.
There are very many unique islands that are not well traveled by foreigners but are still worth a visit. The best way to secure a ticket would be online, as some of them sell out. However, the ferry websites are only in Korean and have typical issues related to payments on Korean websites. We have given a basic summary of the process, though the website still does not support foreign cards. Also, ferry tickets are notorious for getting canceled due to weather conditions, and they only communicate in Korean. While Wonderful can assist with dealing with the whole process, it would still be a good idea to be flexible with your travel plans.
Jeju-do is the largest island in South Korea. Koreans like to call the island “Hawaii of Korea”. It has always been the favorite place to visit for holidays, anniversaries, school trips, etc. There are lots of beautiful beaches, cliffs, and also the highest mountain in South Korea, Halla mountain. We can also find hotels for backpackers, luxury resorts, and gourmet restaurants.
Ferry Travel tips
There are many ports that you can use to get to Jeju via ferry; Busan, Incheon, Mokpo, Wando, Nokdong, Samcheonpo, Yeosu, etc. The Incheon to Jeju cruise was launched in December 2021 and takes around 15 hours in travel time. The cabins are fairly comfortable, though that depends on what options you choose. The ferry allows you to board with a pet, so you do not need to get a pet sitter during your trip.
Ulleungdo is an island located around 120 Km from the eastern coast of South Korea. Koreans call it “mystery island” and say that it should be on your bucket list while in Korea. You can enjoy the crystal clear ocean water lapping against the jagged cliffs as you take a walk along the seaside walking path. The only way to travel here is via ferry.
Ferry Travel tips
There are currently 4 ports available; Gangneung, Pohang, Hupo, and Mokhang. As Gangneung and Pohang are larger cities, they would have more seating capacity than the other ports. Pohang has a luxury cruise called Shidao International Ferry, with a capacity of 1,200 passengers. The size might make it easier for those with motion sickness.
Cheongsando is an island close to Jeonnam Wando (Southern Tip of Korea). It takes 50 minutes by ship from Wando port. The island was designated as the first Asian “slow city” in 2007, meaning much of the island has been spared rapid development in certain aspects of daily life. The aesthetics of the island are centuries old and a lot of the restaurants only offer slow food. There are 11 tracking courses on the island and the slower you move, the more you can enjoy the scenery.
Ferry Travel tips
You can get a ferry to Cheongsando from Wando. There are currently 6 ferries per day but the schedule could be changed depending on the weather. You can board the ferry with your car.
Somaemuldo is located close to Tongyeong and Goeje. The island, while small, is very scenic, and there is another island right next to it called Deungdaseom (Lighthouse Island) that you can walk to during low tide.
Ferry Travel tips
You can get a ferry from Tongyeong or Geoje to go to Somaemuldo. It takes about 1 and a half hours at the same time from either port.
Buying a Ferry Ticket
You can use this website to get a ferry ticket. Most ferry tickets can be purchased from this website, though for some, the website will redirect you to a third-party website. They have an English version, but you can only make reservations on the Korean website. Here are step-by-step instructions on purchasing a ticket.
Click Join and sign up.
Please click on the left button on each section for the terms and conditions of the website. You should click on the agree button to use the website.
Please fill out the blanks to sign up.
Once you make your account, you should click on this icon to book a ticket.
A pop-up will appear, you can either log in with your information, or you could try the Non-member log-in option
The image shows basic translations of the different sections and options available. You can choose what you want depending on your preferences. The numbers circled in yellow are the numbers of available seats. If that section shows 0, then you need to choose a different option.
Once you select a ferry, you should provide your personal information as shown in the image.
A pop-up with the refund and cancellation policy would show up. You should click the button at the bottom to proceed. Typically if the ferry gets canceled/rescheduled due to weather, you would either get a full refund or have the new tickets purchased at no extra cost. There would be a cancellation fee if you decide to cancel it by yourself.
Lastly, you should put your payment information then click on the orange box to proceed.
Additional Useful Tips
- Ferries can easily get canceled due to weather conditions, sometimes a few hours before they depart. This website shows the latest weather updates in Korea which might give an indication of how likely a ferry would get canceled. Fog levels and wave height areas are also strong indicators of whether a ferry would get canceled.
- If your ferry gets canceled or changed, you will get a text message or Kakao message from the ferry company once they make the decision. Wonderful can help check on these before you depart so you can make backup plans.
- If you especially plan on going to Ulleungdo, you should have a flexible return schedule. Might be good to talk to the hotel to ensure you have some space left in case the ferry gets canceled. - If you bring your car, please make sure to be there 1 to 2 hours before the departure time. Loading a car on the ferry could take more time than you expect.
Wonderful can help make the whole process hassle-free, by purchasing the ferry ticket, contacting ports to check on weather conditions, researching accommodation options, and even helping to rent a vehicle during your stay on the island. Whether you use us or not, we do hope you enjoy your stay and have a memorable adventure.
Regarding our pricing, we charge for the time taken working on your request at 800 KRW/min (There is a 15% discount for first time users), and you can get a refund on the remaining time within 3 months. There are NO processing fees when you pay us via bank wire transfer. (You will pay only the cost of the item(s)). When we charge your bank card, there is an 8.5% processing fee that goes to the payment processor for their services. We do NOT benefit from this fee. For more information regarding our pricing, please follow this link.
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