purple Banwol Island, Korea

South Korea’s all-purple Banwol Island: A Photographer’s Dream

Welcome to Banwol Island, South Korea’s all-purple paradise and a photographer’s dream come true. Situated off the west coast of southern South Korea, this once-forgotten farming community has reinvented itself as a vibrant attraction for the Instagram era. With its roofs painted a lovely shade of lilac and fields of lavender stretching as far as the eye can see, Banwol Island has become known as “the purple island.” As international travel remains restricted due to the pandemic, travelers hungry for new experiences are flocking to this picturesque destination. In fact, between June and August 2020, over 100,000 visitors flocked to Banwol Island, marking a 20% increase compared to the previous year. With its beautiful landscapes and colorful charm, it’s no wonder that this hidden gem is capturing the attention of photographers and travel enthusiasts alike.

purple Banwol Island
Anjwa-myeon, Shinan-gun, Jeollanam-do Photographer: Kim Ji-ho, Credit byKorea Tourism Organization, October 2022

“I purple you” is a phrase popularized by the South Korean boy band BTS, particularly member Kim Taehyung, also known as V. It’s a term of endearment and affection used by fans to express their love and support for BTS and each other. The phrase combines the color purple, which holds significance as a symbol of love and trust, with the word “you,” conveying deep emotional connection and camaraderie within the BTS fan community, known as ARMY.

Introduction

Welcome to Banwol Island, a picturesque destination off the west coast of southern South Korea. This article will take you on a journey to discover the magic behind the island’s transformation into a purple paradise. From its reinvention as a farming community to its booming tourism industry, Banwol Island has captured the hearts of travelers and photographers alike. Join us as we explore the all-purple island and learn about its unique attractions, colorful architecture, and the benefits it has brought to the local community.

The Purple Transformation

Reinventing a Farming Community

Banwol Island’s purple transformation began as a part of South Jeolla Province’s branding initiative to create attractive island destinations. Inspired by the native purple bellflowers, the local government embarked on a project to revitalize the island and its farming community. By embracing the color purple, the islanders have created a unique identity that sets them apart from other destinations.

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The Branding Initiative

The branding initiative aimed to showcase Banwol Island as a vibrant and visually appealing destination. The roofs of around 400 buildings on the island were painted a lovely shade of lilac, instantly transforming the landscape. This colorful makeover not only caught the attention of locals but also sparked curiosity among tourists.

Growing Kohlrabi and Beets

As part of the purple transformation, local farmers started growing crops that are on brand with the island’s new identity. Kohlrabi and beets became popular choices, not only for their vibrant colors but also for their nutritional value. This shift in agricultural practices not only contributed to the overall aesthetics of the island but also helped the local economy.

Lavender Fields and New England Asters

To enhance the visual appeal of Banwol Island, the local government planted lavender fields and New England asters. These vibrant purple flowers beautify the landscape and create stunning vistas for visitors to enjoy. The lavender fields, spanning over 21,500 square meters, have become one of the island’s main attractions, attracting tourists from far and wide.

purple Banwol Island

The All-Purple Island

Lilac-Painted Buildings

As you step foot on Banwol Island, you’ll be greeted by a sea of lilac-painted buildings. The cohesive color scheme creates a whimsical atmosphere and provides plenty of vibrant backdrops for your photos. Every corner you turn, you’ll find a new building bursting with shades of purple, adding to the island’s charm and appeal.

Amethyst-Hued Telephone Boxes

As you explore the island, you won’t miss the striking amethyst-hued telephone boxes scattered throughout the streets. These iconic purple phone booths have become sought-after photo spots for visitors. Snap a picture of yourself amidst these vibrant gems and capture a piece of Banwol’s alluring character.

The Purple Bridge

Most visitors arrive via ferry and are welcomed by the grandeur of the purple bridge. This iconic landmark connects the two islands, Banwol and Bakji, and is the gateway to the heart of the purple paradise. Take a leisurely stroll across the bridge, marvel at its purple hues, and immerse yourself in the enchantment of this unique structure.

Local Amenities

To accommodate the influx of tourists, Banwol Island has developed a range of local amenities. Enjoy a meal at one of the island’s full-service restaurants, relax at a cozy cafĂ©, or opt to stay at a small hotel. These amenities cater to the needs of visitors, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable stay on the all-purple island.

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purple Banwol Island

Tourism Boom

Increase in Visitors

Since the launch of the purple transformation project, Banwol Island has experienced a significant increase in visitors. Between June and August of 2020, more than 100,000 tourists flocked to the island, marking a 20% jump from the previous year. The allure of the purple paradise has captivated the hearts of travel-hungry individuals seeking unique and visually stunning destinations.

Domestic Tourism Trend

In light of the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel has been limited. This has led to a rise in domestic tourism, with South Koreans exploring their own country’s hidden gems. Banwol Island has become a top choice for locals, offering a captivating experience with its all-purple charm.

Popular Photography Spots

Lavender Fields

The lavender fields of Banwol Island are a photographer’s dream. With thousands of square meters of lush lavender blooms stretching as far as the eye can see, these fields provide the perfect backdrop for stunning photos. Capture the beauty of the purple petals and immerse yourself in the sweet aroma of lavender as you explore this natural wonder.

purple Banwol Island, Korea

The Purple Bridge

No trip to Banwol Island is complete without a photo on the iconic purple bridge. Its vibrant color and picturesque surroundings make it a favorite spot among photographers. Strike a pose against the backdrop of the crystal-clear waters and the lilac hues of the bridge, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

purple Banwol Island, Korea

Amethyst-Hued Telephone Boxes

For a touch of whimsy and vibrancy in your photos, head to the amethyst-hued telephone boxes. These eye-catching structures add a pop of color to your shots and showcase the unique charm of Banwol Island. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to capture the perfect Instagram-worthy moment.

Colorful Towns as Tourist Attractions

Examples from Mexico and Morocco

Banwol Island is not the only destination that has embraced vibrant colors to attract tourists. Colorful towns have long been popular among travelers for their picturesque charm. Take, for example, Izamal in Mexico’s Yucatan state. Its bright-yellow buildings create a magical atmosphere and provide a stunning backdrop for photos. Similarly, Chefchaouen in Morocco is famous for its blue-painted streets, creating an otherworldly ambiance that delights visitors. Banwol Island has now joined the ranks of these colorful towns, capturing the imagination of visitors from around the world.

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Izamal - Colonial city in Mexico
Izamal, Yucatan. Spanish colonial Yellow City, Convento de San Antonio in Mexico, Central America.

Getting to Banwol Island

Transportation from Seoul

If you’re eager to experience the all-purple island, getting there from Seoul is relatively convenient. You have the option to take a bus or drive by private car, with the journey taking approximately six hours. Embrace the anticipation of your adventure as you travel through the scenic landscapes of South Korea and prepare to be immersed in the vibrant purple paradise that awaits you on Banwol Island.

Benefits of the Purple Transformation

Economic Revitalization

The purple transformation of Banwol Island has brought about significant economic benefits. The increase in tourism has stimulated the local economy, creating new job opportunities and businesses. Local farmers have diversified their crops, focusing on kohlrabi and beets, which not only align with the island’s purple theme but also provide sustainable sources of income. The revitalization of the island’s economy has brought about renewed hope and prosperity for the community.

Boost in Tourism

With its all-purple allure, Banwol Island has become a sought-after destination for both local and international tourists. The island’s unique branding and vibrant attractions have put it on the map as a must-visit location in South Korea. The influx of visitors has not only boosted the island’s tourism sector but has also created opportunities for local businesses and artisans to thrive. The purple transformation has truly put Banwol Island in the spotlight as a thriving and visually captivating tourist destination.

Future Perspectives

Looking ahead, the future of Banwol Island appears bright and promising. As the allure of the purple paradise continues to grow, it is expected that the island’s tourism industry will flourish even further. The local community is committed to maintaining and expanding upon the island’s purple identity, ensuring that visitors will continue to be enchanted by Banwol’s unique charm for years to come. With ongoing innovation, community involvement, and the preservation of its natural beauty, Banwol Island is well-positioned to become a beloved and enduring tourist attraction.

purple Banwol Island, Korea

Conclusion

Banwol Island’s transformation into an all-purple paradise has captured the hearts of travelers around the world. From the reinvention of the farming community to the booming tourism industry, the island has demonstrated the power of color in creating a unique and captivating destination. As you explore the lilac-painted buildings, amethyst-hued telephone boxes, and lavender fields, you’ll be immersed in a world of vibrant hues and enchanting beauty. Banwol Island invites you to indulge your senses, capture breathtaking photos, and experience the magic of this all-purple wonderland.