Feeling blue? These purple islands will cheer you right up

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Feeling blue? These purple islands will cheer you right up

An aerial view of the Purple Islands, two islands in Sinan County, South Jeolla. [SINAN COUNTY]

An aerial view of the Purple Islands, two islands in Sinan County, South Jeolla. [SINAN COUNTY]

 
In South Jeolla’s Sinan County there are two islands that need to be seen to be believed.
 
The roofs of the homes and façades of the restaurants, as well as the bridges, guesthouses, pavilions cafes and phone booths all have one thing in common — the color purple.
 
And its not just the man-made facilities that give off a violet hue. The flowers planted alongside the walking trails are all purple too.
 
Lavender, purple hydrangea and other plants with purple-colored petals harmonize with the greenery.
 
You can guess what color clothes the residents like to wear... 
 
Walking trails, bridges and road barricades are all purple. [SINAN COUNTY]

Walking trails, bridges and road barricades are all purple. [SINAN COUNTY]

 
This purple oasis can be found on Banwol Island and Bakji Island, two small islands neighboring each other in the South Sea, in front of the slightly bigger Anjwa Island. You can reach both islands by crossing a bridge, that's purple of course, measuring about 1.4 kilometers (0.87 miles).
 
Before 2015, the islands had just 120 residents, most of them over 60 years old, with no nearby convenience stores or elementary schools in sight.
 
The South Jeolla provincial government as well as Sinan County decided that something needed to be done to brighten the islands' prospects and rolled out the purple-colored theme.
 
About 4 billion won ($3.34 million) was invested to develop walking and hiking trails around the islands to attract visitors interested in taking scenic walks. Many of the residents of both islands ended up getting involved in the revitalization project.
 
Even before the official opening, photos of islands went viral, capturing the attention of many.
 
Navigating the islands is similar to taking an easy walk around the block.


Both Banwol and Bakji have great paved trails that go the whole way around the perimeters of both islands so you can enjoy the ocean breeze as you leisurely explore.
 
The total distance of both trails combined is about 6.2 kilometers. If you prefer a faster option, there are bikes available to rent by the entrance of the islands that cost 5,000 won for the day.
 
Some of the about 120 residents on the islands pose while wearing purple clothing. Recently they've even coordinated their face masks. [SINAN COUNTY]

Some of the about 120 residents on the islands pose while wearing purple clothing. Recently they've even coordinated their face masks. [SINAN COUNTY]

 
There is also an option for a light hike. Mount Eoggae, which is about 201 meters high, offers an aerial view of the purple-colored villages.
 
The view that encapsulates the purple villages, greenery from the surrounding nature and blue tricking from the mountains, is simply picturesque and undoubtedly one of the many draws for tourists who visit the islands.
 
According to Sinan County, the islands see about 5,000 people visit every weekend.
 
The name of the islands' first festival translates to Island Purple Festival. The festival was set to open Thursday, but the county decided to delay events due to the rising number of coronavirus patients in Korea during the past week.
 
Tickets to enter the islands cost 3,000 won for adults, 2,000 won for teenagers and military personnel and 1,000 won for children.
 
But for those who decide to partake in the purple theme by wearing purple-colored clothes or even by wearing purple accessories, admission is free.
 
BY BAEK JONG-HYUN, LEE SUN-MIN   [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]
 
 
 

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