Korean Islands - The Purple Islands
Korean Tea Visits The Purple Islands.
Banwol Island and Bakji Island, known as The Purple Island, are located on the south-western coast of South Korea. Originally, these island’s main sources of income was farming, but they were able to transform themselves to attract tourists from all over the world by painting every inch of their towns different shades of purple.
In 2015, the South Jeolla Province decided to initiate Project Purple as a way to rebrand the islands. The colour purple was chosen to pay homage to campanula flowers, also called purple bellflowers, that are native to the area.
Everything is purple, from stores to bridges, the farmers started growing beets and kohlrabi and the government planted over 21,500 square meters of lavender fields, as well as 30,000 New England asters! The project was supported by the Korean government as well as its residents.
This decision worked in the county’s favour, with the rebranding quickly becoming a trending topic around the world. With many visiting the island and others putting it on their bucket list.
There are two main options when travelling to Banwol Island and Bakji Island. Many use their cars, Naver Maps can be a little confusing as it may try to get you to take a ferry. Once you get to Anjwa Village, just follow the tour buses to the car park. Make sure to take the bridge to Banwol Island, but you will have to leave your car in the parking lot outside the town as outside cars are not permitted.
Or take the KTX to Mokpo Station. Once there, take the bus to Anjwa-Myeon (Anjwa Village), where another specific bus will bring you to the purple islands.
There is an admission fee required to enter the islands, the price for adults is 5,000 won. If you are wearing purple, even an accessory, the admission is free.
What to do:
The main activity of the islands is viewing the beautiful purple sites the islands have to offer. The perfect way to do this is to simply walk around the area, which in total is around 6.2 km, making it reasonable to view the whole region. If you don’t enjoy walking, you can rent a bicycle, or a golf cart to freely explore your surroundings. There are maps at the start and end of the first bridge.
One of the main sites is the iconic Cheonsa Bridge that connects Banwol Island and Bakji Island. Feel the breeze of the crisp air and the sounds of the waters while passing by, it is truly an amazing experience. The name of the bridge itself translates to Angels Bridge. There is a nice cafe at the end of the bridge where you get take a rest.
Before leaving the island take a short detour and walk through some of the villages and see what rural life in Korea is like.
You may see benches decorated with stickers that say “I purple you”, a popular saying made by V, who is a K-pop group member of BTS. It means “I will trust and love you for a long time.”
For those who are more energetic, take a hike up Mount Eoggae where you can get the best views of the towns and the purple scenery. Summer season is probably not the best time to do this hike. It is a breathtaking experience and a perfect backdrop for any pictures!
The Purple Islands are not easy to get to, but they are a "must visit" for those who want to travel to a unique place, one that you will always remember.