Lighthouses of South Korea: Samsan Islands

For most of its history, Korea was an independent kingdom, or at least an autonomous kingdom under Chinese influence. This came to an end in 1910, when Japan annexed all of Korea. At the end of World War II in 1945, the 38° parallel was established as the dividing line between U.S. and Soviet zones of occupation, and in 1948 separate civil administrations were established in the two halves of the country. The Korean War (1950-53) ended in a draw, with the armistice line falling close to the prewar 38° line. The Republic of Korea (ROK), commonly called South Korea, occupies the Korean peninsula south of the armistice line.

This page covers lighthouses of the Geomundo archipelago and other islands lying south of Goheung County and southwest of the Yeosu Peninsula in the Korea Strait. These islands are governed as the Samsan District (Samsanmyeung) of Yeosu City.

Following several recent government reorganizations, navigational aids in the ROK are now regulated by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF). Most of the lights on this page are maintained by the Yeosu Regional Oceans and Fisheries Administration.

In Korean, the word for a lighthouse is deungdae (등대); dan is a cape, do is an island, and hang is a harbor .

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume M of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA

General Sources
Kiso's Lighthouses - Korea
Photos posted by a Japanese lighthouse fan.
World of Lighthouses - South Korea
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
KAAN Major National Lighthouses
KAAN is the Korean Association of Aids to Navigation. Small photos and basic data, all in Korean.

Old Geomundo Light
1905 Geomundo Light, Seodo, Yeosu
Yeosu Port Office photo

Sonjukdo Area Lighthouses
Note: Sonjukdo is an island about 20 km (13 mi) south of the Goheung peninsula.
Daeduyeog (Taeduyok) Seo
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 34 m (112 ft); white flash every 5 s. 6 m (20 ft) round white concrete tower. Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a skerry about 18 km (11 mi) east southeast of Sonjukdo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4300.6; NGA 17264.
Sonjukdo (Sonjuk Do)
1981. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); white flash every 15 s. 10 m (33 ft) round hourglass-shaped white concrete tower. Google has a satellite view. Located on a skerry just off the northwestern tip of Sonjukdo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4300.4; NGA 17232.
Jimado (Chimado)
1998. Active; focal plane 24 m (79 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 17 m (56 ft) round concrete tower, painted white. No photo available, but Bing has a satellite view. NGA misspells the name as Jimudo. Located on an islet about 15 km (9 mi) southwest of Sayang and 5 km (3 mi) north of Sonjukdo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4300.5; NGA 17262.
Muhakdo (Muhakto)
1998. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); white flash every 6 s. 7 m (23 ft) round white concrete tower. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located at the northern tip of Muhakdo, an island about 5 km (3 mi) northwest of Sonjukdo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4300.55; NGA 17261.

Chodo Area Lighthouses
Note: Chodo is an island about 25 km (15 mi) south of the Goheung Peninsula and 15 km (9 mi) north of Geomundo.
Junggyeoldo (Chunggyolto, Podunaji)
2000. Active; focal plane 78 m (256 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical white concrete tower. Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a steep-sided island about 6 km (3.5 mi) north of the northern tip of Chodo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4296.8; NGA 17233.
Chodo East
2011. Active; focal plane 13 m (43 ft); three quick white flashes every 10 s. 11 m (36 ft) post mounted on a concrete pier. Lighthouse painted black with one yellow horizontal band. No photo available, but Google has a satellite view. Located on a reef off the east side of Chodo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4295.2; NGA 17236.1.
Chodo
1982. Active; focal plane 55 m (180 ft); white flash every 6 s. 7 m (23 ft) round hourglass-shaped white concrete tower. Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a small island off the southeastern tip of Chodo. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4295; NGA 17236.
Chodo (Cho Do) North Breakwater
2002. Active; focal plane 18 m (59 ft); green flash every 5 s. 13 m (43 ft) octagonal concrete tower, painted white. Google has a distant satellite view. Chodo is a substantial island in the Korea Strait, about 6 km (3.5 mi) long and about 30 km (19 mi) southwest of Sayang. Located at the end of the north breakwater of Chodo harbor. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4295.3; NGA 17234.
Chodo (Cho Do) Inner Breakwater South End
2006. Active; focal plane about 13 m (43 ft); green flash every 5 s. Approx. 10 m (30 ft) post rising from a round 1-story base, painted yellow. Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located at the south end of the inner breakwater of Chodo harbor. Accessible only by boat but easily seen from shore. Not listed by the Admiralty or by NGA.
Yeokmando
1984. Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); white flash every 9 s. 6 m (20 ft) round white concrete tower. Two photos are available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a cliff on the northwest side of a small island about 10 km (6 mi) southeast of Chodo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4294.5; NGA 17240.

Sangbaekdo Lighthouses
Sangbaekdo (Habaegdo, Habaekdo, Habaeg Do) (2)
Date unknown (station established 1968). Active; focal plane 160 m (525 ft); white flash every 6 s. 7.5 m (25 ft) square cylindrical white concrete tower with lantern and gallery. A photo (1/3 the way down the page) shows the top of the tower. In a distant photo of this major navigational hazard, Sangbaekdo is the island on the left, and at high magnification (click on the photo) the lighthouse can be seen on the highest point. Google has a distant satellite view. Located on a pinnacle about 25 km (15 mi) east of Geomundo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4294; NGA 17260.
Munseo
2006. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); white flash every 4 s. 18 m (59 ft) octagonal cylindrical white concrete tower with double gallery, mounted on an octagonal concrete base. A photo is at right, and Google has a satellite view. Located on a rocky reef about 8 km (5 mi) north of Sangbaekdo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4294.3; NGA 17260.5.
Munseo LightMunseo Light, 2006
Yeosu Port Office photo

Geomundo Lighthouses
Note: Geomundo (formerly called Komundo by Westerners) is a small group of islands in the Korea Strait about 40 km (25 mi) southeast of Wando and 60 km (37.5 mi) northeast of Jeju (Cheju). The two principal islands, Seodo on the west and Dongdo on the east, shelter a magnificent harbor between them. As a result, the islands have strategic importance, and the British established a naval station called Port Hamilton on them in the 1880s. Today the islands are a popular tourist destination, with the historic light station as a major attraction. The islands are attached administratively to Yeosu City.
Sosambudo
2003. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 6 s. 13 m (43 ft) octagonal cylindrical white concrete tower with gallery. Two closeup photos are available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the eastern tip of a small island about 5 km (3 mi) northeast of the Geomundo lighthouses. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4293.5; NGA 17243.
Banyeo (Pan Yeo)
1987. Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); two white flashes every 5 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with double gallery. Lighthouse painted black with one red horizontal band. Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on a shoal about 1.5 km (1 mi) north of Geomundo. Accessible only by boat. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4293; NGA 17246.
#Noksangot (Nogsan Got) (1)
1958. Inactive since 2005 and probably demolished. 9 m (30 ft) round white concrete tower with gallery. A photo is available.
* Noksangot (Nogsan Got) (2)
2005 (station established 1958). Active; focal plane 95 m (312 ft); white flash every 6 s. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal white concrete tower with gallery. A photo is at right, a closeup photo is available, Google has a satellite view. Located on the northern point of Seodo. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4292; NGA 17248.
Dongdo North Breakwater
2000. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); green flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with double gallery, painted white. This light and the next frame the north entrance to the protected harbor of Geomundo. This light is on the right in a view looking north, Google has an indistinct satellite view, and Bing has a better satellite view. Located at the end of a short breakwater at the northwestern point of Dongdo. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4292.5.
Seodo North Breakwater
2000. Active; focal plane 15 m (49 ft); red flash every 5 s. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal cylindrical concrete tower with double gallery, painted red. This light is on the left in a view looking north, a photo looking west has the Noksangot lighthouse in the background, Google has an indistinct satellite view, and Bing has a better satellite view. Located at the end of a short breakwater at the northeastern point of Seodo. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4292.51.
* Seodo Hang
1985. Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); two white flashes every 6 s. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal white concrete tower with gallery. The 1-story building next to the lighthouse is probably a harbor master's office. A closeup photo is available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on a pier in northern Seodo, a short distance inside the harbor entrance. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4291.
Noksangot Light
Noksangot Light, Geomundo, 2008
Panoramio photo copyright Korea Tourism Organization
Geomundo Hang North Breakwater (Dongdo South Breakwater)
1989. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); red flash every 4 s. 9 m (30 ft) octagonal concrete tower with gallery, painted red. A photo is available, Bing has a distant satellite view, and Naver has a satellite view. This light and the next frame the southern entrance to the protected harbor of Geomundo. Located at the end of a 1 km (0.6 mi) long breakwater extending from the southwestern point of Dongdo. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4287; NGA 17252.
Geomundo Hang East Breakwater
1996. Active; focal plane 12 m (39 ft); green flash every 4 s. 9 m (30 ft) round white concrete tower with gallery. Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of a short breakwater opposite the Dongdo South Breakwater. Site status unknown. Admiralty M4286.5; NGA 17251.
* Geomundo Hang West Breakwater
Date unknown (recent; station established 1974). Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); green flash every 5 s. 7 m (23 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. A photo and a second photo are available, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of a short breakwater southwest of the East Breakwater. Accessible by walking the pier Site open, tower closed. Admiralty M4290.2; NGA 17250.
* Geomundo (1)
1905. Inactive since 2006. 6 m (20 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse painted white. A closeup photo is at the top of this page, the tower appears in JayHyuck Shin's photo at right, an October 2007 photo shows the lens still mounted in the old tower, and Bing has a satellite view of the station. Another photo is a closeup of the fog siren, which is still active. Accommodations are available in a hostel at the station. Located at the southern tip of Seodo, the largest island of the group. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS SKR-007.
*** Geomundo (2)
2006 (station established 1905). Active; focal plane about 95 m (312 ft); white flash every 15 s. 33 m (108 ft) hexagonal cylindrical concrete tower with lantern, gallery, and a large hexagonal observation deck. Fog siren (blast every 50 s). Entire lighthouse is white. JayHyuck Shin's photo is at right, a May 2006 photo and second photo showing both lighthouses are available, and there is a closeup of the new tower. This new lighthouse was completed in August 2006. It is clearly designed for public access, but we have no information on the schedule. Located adjacent to the historic lighthouse. Site open, tower open to the observation deck. Admiralty M4286; NGA 17244.
Geomundo Lights
Old and New Geomundo Lights, Seodo, August 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by JayHyuck Shin

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Goheung County | Northeast: Yeosu | Southwest: Jeju | West: Chuja Islands

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Posted January 9, 2008. Checked and revised August 12, 2016. Lighthouses: 24. Site copyright 2016 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.