In South Korea, there’s a group of islands in Sinan County in South Jeolla Province, which, at first glance, may not seem to be noteworthy. Except that two of those islands stand out so much because they’re just so purple. Banwol Island and Parkji Island, collectively known as the Purple Isles, are two of the 1,004 islands of Sinan County.
The Purple Isles were created when the local government of Sinan County decided to plant 40,000 lavender plants on the islands, along with empress trees, white cedar, and other purple trees and flowers.
But before becoming the Purple Isles that are slowly gaining popularity, the two islands were just quaint little towns just like any other. One of the few things that might’ve attracted some tourists were the Cheonsa Bridge (literally Angel’s Bridge), along with the accompanying view of the nearby islands and surrounding waters.
Constructed in 2008, the Cheonsa Bridge is a wooden bridge over sea waters, stretching more than 1,400 meters in total length and connecting three islands — the two of Purple Isles and Duri Island.
How to get there
If you’re coming from Seoul, you have quite a few options to get to Sinan County. You can take a plane to Gwangju, then a train and a taxi. You can drive. You can take a bus, or you can take the KTX.
Upon arrival at Sinan, you need to get a car to bring you across the 7.22-kilometer bridge connecting Abhae and Amtae, two of the thousand islands of Sinan. At Amtae, take a bus to Duri. From there, you can start trekking across the wooden bridge to get to the Purple Isles.
What to do
On top of walking across the long, long Cheonsa Bridge, you can rent a bike once you arrive at the Purple Isles. Hike up the mountain on Parkji. Take a break at the restaurants and cafes. And of course, take pictures for your Instagram feed. Or you can simply enjoy the thousands of lavender plants and other purple flowers and trees that make the Purple Isles truly purple.
Excited to see the island for yourself? You can find more details to plan your trip on their Instagram page!