Udo island is a volcanic island which leads its formation since the Pleistocene, about 11 000 years ago. The whole island is lava plateau, which means it was formed by basaltic lava after numerous successive eruptions. It is named “Udo” (우도) which literary translates as a “Cow island” because it resembles a lying cow.
Udo was first inhabited during Joseon dynasty (around 1679 year). Back then the government built a horse ranch, therefore the first inhabitants were workers responsible for the management and raising of the state-owned horses. (Actually, Jeju island is famous as the only or the main place in Korea where horses are being bred.)
The only means of transportation to the island is a ferry. There are two ports at Jeju island from which you can catch the ferry for Udo: Seongsanpo and Jongdal-ri. The ferries between Seongsanpo and Udo are more frequent than those between Jongdal-ri and Udo. Actually, there is one going from Seongsanpo to Udo every 30 minutes. The ride lasts approximately 15~20 minutes. The round ferry ticket costs around 10 000 won. The ferries from Seongsanpo to Udo runs as early as 8:00 o’clock to 18:30 in the peak season. The last one from Udo to Jeju is at 18:30 o’clock, but it varies depending on the month.
There are two ports at Udo island, too, but it doesn’t matter from which one you will catch the return ferry. Also, the time schedule of the ferries is the same for both ports.
In front of Seongsanpo port there is a big and free parking lot. For the people planning to use the public transportation there is a direct bus from Jeju bus terminal to the port.
As for the people traveling from Seogwipo city, blue bus 201 goes from the Seogwipo bus terminal to the port.
Visiting Seongsan Ilchulbong might take you as little as an hour, but that time is totally insufficient for exploring Udo island. If you don’t want to miss anything, the bare minimum of time that is advised to be spend for the island is around 3 hours.
There are several ways to move. First and most convenient one is by car. You can take your own car on the ferry to Udo and drive it along the island. Second one is by the public transportation. Yes, the island might be extremely small, but there are actually two buses running around it.
There are a red and white one and their routes almost coincide. Both are running around the circumference of the island with the exception of a small part of the red bus’s route. In order to ride them, you have to buy a ticket that is valid through the whole day no matter how much you get on and off. The ticket costs 5 000 won and can be purchased from a booth located approximately 100m left from Udo’s Cheonjin port. The ticket is valid for both but the white one has a Tmoney validator, too. The buses run every 15 minutes and they go only one way starting and ending at Cheonjin port. When getting on it the driver will explain everything.
The third way is by renting a bicycle or a very small electric car. And the last one is exploring the island by foot but bear in mind that it is bigger than it might look like.
Udo island is very small but extremely beautiful and worth a day to be spend there. The island has its own list of sights:
Along the coast there are numerous cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops with a mesmerizing view.
Seongsan Ilchulbong and Udo island are located near each other and thus can be combined in a one-day trip. Also, from the entrance of Seongsan Ilchulbong to Seongsanpo port takes no more than 15~20 minutes by foot.
Check out: Udo island and Seongsan Ilchulbong (part 1)