Off the coast of Busan, a city known for its bustling ports, high-tech industries, and stunning beaches, lies Gadeokdo Island, the city’s largest and most historically significant island. Often overlooked by tourists, Gadeokdo Island has recently been making headlines due to the construction of a brand new state-of-the-art airport, but it has much more to offer visitors than just the buzz surrounding the new transportation hub.
History and Culture
Gadeokdo Island’s history dates back to the New Stone Age, and it was later inhabited by the Gaya, a confederacy of territorial polities in the Nakdong River basin of southern Korea. Evidence of this era can be found in the form of shell mounds and tombs on the island, offering a glimpse into the early civilization that once thrived there. Over the centuries, the island has played a pivotal role in Korea’s marine transportation, serving as a strategic location for military operations and as a hub for seaborne trade. It was also a site of conflict, with the Japanese invading Korea and using Gadeokdo Island as a fortress during the Imjin War (The Japanese invasions of Korea) in the late 16th century. The Russo-Japanese War saw the island playing host to the command of the Japanese military, as well as a landing site for their troops.
One of the island’s most popular destinations is Yeondaebong Peak, which stands at 459 meters above sea level and provides breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding sea and the Geogadaegyo Bridge. The hike to the top is relatively gentle and suitable for light climbing with the family. On the way to the summit, visitors can enjoy the beautiful views of the island and the sea. At the top, they will be amazed by the stunning scenery of the city’s coastline stretching from Dadaepo to Myeongji New Town, as well as the Noksan Industrial Complex through Nakdonggang River and Eulsukdo Island.
Another must-visit location on the island is Gadeokdo Lighthouse, which is considered a remarkable cultural property for its intricate design and unique shape. Built in 1909, it is patterned after the gothic style of lighthouses in France and is owned and managed by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. The old lighthouse was designated Tangible Cultural Property No. 50 of Busan in September 2003. Visitors can contact and register with the Busan Regional Maritime Affairs and Port Office prior to visiting the lighthouse. Those who participate in the Lighthouse Experience Program can even spend the night in the innkeeper’s room for free.
Gadeokdo Island is undergoing development to become a hub for transportation and economic growth in Busan. The new state-of-the-art Gadeokdo International Airport is scheduled to open in 2030, aiming to address the capacity constraints of the current Gimhae International Airport. It will offer larger aircraft the ability to take off and land 24 hours a day, providing more international travel options for tourists and residents.
Moreover, Busan is investing in the Busan New Port project, which aims to become a major transportation hub. The port will include reprocessing and port automation facilities that will connect cargo and passenger transportation. In addition, the Noksan National Industrial Complex is being developed in the region to become the center of Busan’s industry.
The Beauty, History, and Unique Cuisine
Gadeokdo Island offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history, and unique cuisine, making it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Busan. From Yeondaebong Peak’s stunning views to the intricate Gadeokdo Lighthouse’s design, the island provides a glimpse into the city’s past and future.
The island is also home to a variety of local restaurants and cafes, offering visitors a chance to experience Gadeokdo Island’s unique cuisine. The traditional seafood dishes are a must-try for anyone visiting the island.
As the island prepares for its future as a hub for transportation and economic growth, tourists and locals will have the opportunity to witness the transformation of the island and the city as a whole. Exciting developments, such as the Gadeokdo International Airport, Busan New Port, and Noksan National Industrial Complex, will make Gadeokdo Island a vital part of Busan’s future.
Don’t miss the chance to experience the magic of Gadeokdo Island in Busan, where history, culture, and nature come together to create a truly unique destination. Whether you are interested in exploring the island’s natural beauty, learning about its rich history, or trying its unique cuisine, Gadeokdo Island is a destination that should not be missed.