Most eco-friendly tours in Korea

Most eco-friendly tours in Korea

Travel and conserve: Dodge bats and photograph salt farms on these eco trips
eco tour
Green is the new black in travel.

Becoming a tourist hot spot may mean fame and money for the locale, but it can often bring destruction to the beauty that prompts people to go there in the first place. 

While eco-friendly tourism has been gaining popularity around the world and organizations such as the International Eco-Tourism Society have been around since the early 1990s, environmentally friendly tourism in Korea is only a recent development. 

According to Good Travel, an environmentally responsible travel agency in Seoul, eco-tourism has is becoming more and more popular within Korea.

Here are some the most ecologically interesting tours in Korea that are also focused on conservation. 

1. Baengyong Cave (백룡동굴)

Baengnyong CaveWhat was that mnemonic memorization method again?


Approximately 4.5 hours from Seoul by car, Baengyong Cave is one of Korea's officially recognized National Treasures, and is one of the most interesting eco-tours offered in the country.

The "tour" is more of a hands-on caving experience, with every tourist required to don bright jumpsuits and headlights before embarking on the 90-minute crawl through the 1,800-meter-long limestone cave system. 

Originally only accessible by boat, you can now reach the cave via stairs built along the cliff to the mouth of the cave, which overlooks Dong-gang, or the East River. One can only tour the caves when accompanied by official local guides, who are very fatherly and will explain every single stalactite and stalagmite on the way if you let them. 

For preservation purposes, no photography (and only the most minimal light) is allowed inside the cave, and maximum occupancy is 20 people at a time. 

Beware the bats. 

Adults: ₩15,000, children: ₩10,000; Gangwon-do Pyeongchang-gun Mitan-myeon Maha-ri San 1 (강원도 평창군 미탄면 마하리 산1); From Mitan Intercity Bus Terminal, take a taxi to Baengyong Cave Experience Center (백룡동굴생태체험학습장);+82 33 334 7200; closed Monday. 

2. Jeungdo (증도)

Jeungdo slow city Where being slow is a virtue.


Of the 10 Korean cities that have been named "slow cities" as of 2011, the small island of Jeungdo is perhaps the most visually stunning, with its beautiful salt farms and mudflats. 

With the opening of a bridge connecting the island to the mainland, Jeungdo has seen a significant increase in tourism, and residents are trying to make it as eco-friendly as possible.

Visitors are shuttled around in electric cars and almost all stores on the island do not sell cigarettes as the entire island aims to be completely smoke-free in the near future. Pensions and lodging houses also provide bicycles to visitors for free. The island even has its own local eco-travel agency that handles the tours of the local wildlife and wetlands. 

The island is located about 3.5 hours from Seoul by car. 

Gil-beot Travel Agency, 1766-4, Jeungdojido-ro, Jeungdo-myeon, Sinan-gun, Jeollanam-do (전라남도 신안군 증동, 증도지도로 1466-4); + 82 61 261 6200

More on CNNGo: 8 easy ways to go organic in Seoul 

3. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)

wwoof korea No, dogs are not required to WWOOF.


As the name suggests, WWOOF is an international organization that offers people the opportunity to lend their hand on an organic farm in exchange for room and board. 

With the payment of an initial registration fee, the WWOOF-er gets access to a directory of farms all over Korea.

Eco tourists looking for a Thoreau-esque journey back to the basic human experience can contact a farm that they find particularly appealing, and set up their own customized trip. 

For more information, go to www.koreawwoof.com.

Good Travel Agency, 3/F, 93-25, Galwol-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울특별시 용산구 가월동 93-25); www.goodtravel.kr

More on CNNGo: 10 trips for every type of traveler