Maemiseong (매미성) on Geoje Island is a super popular spot that draws instagrammers from all over Korea to its shores. It’s mostly due to one incredibly photogenic location inside the castle. And now that I’ve visited myself, I’d have to agree. Maemi Castle is magical and completely worth your time.
I mean, could there be anything more perfect than this ledge? It has an amazing view out onto the blue sea and sky, stone walls, and an ideal combo of shadow and background for incredible pictures. It’s not surprising that Maemiseong is so insanely popular.
Jump to what you want.
What is Maemiseong
Maemiseong translated into english is Maemi Castle, although it’s also known as Maemi Fortress. And while maemi means cicada in Korean, it’s not really named for that noisy insect. In actuality, Maemiseong was named after a powerful typhoon.
In 2003, the typhoon “Maemi,” swept through Gyeongsangnam-do Province and Geoje Island, destroying vegetation, crops and property along the way. Upon witnessing the horrible damage wreaked by the typhoon, a lone man – 백순삼 – decided to build a fortress of sorts to protect his homeland and crops from future typhoons.
The really crazy part is that 백순삼 had no prior design or building experience. Inspired by the design of medieval western castles, he built Maemiseong, brick by brick, by hand, with no real architectural plan.
Pretty damn amazing when you stand in front of the castle, knowing that fact.
What to do at Maemiseong
I’m not gonna lie. Most people head to Maemi Castle to get pics for their instagram feeds… but there is actually more to do than just that.
Take astonishing pictures
You can take great photos all over the castle, but there are 2 spots that are particularly worthy. The first is that gorgeous cutout with sea views. I recommend heading there right away and getting in line. Yes, there IS a line… but it moves pretty fast. We waited about 30 minutes for our turn. Head there first thing in the morning for the shortest possible queue.
The second spot is on top of Maemi Fortress, just up the stairs from the first spot. It’s much less photographed, but also gorgeous… and best of all, the wait here is very short. There was just one group ahead of us, when we visited.
Climb rocks and explore the castle
I had a great time with my daughter, exploring the rocky beach in front of Maemi Fortress. There are huge stones you can climb up and walk across, as well as tidal pools with small sea life to see. Be cautious though as the boulders can be slippery and the waves can get pretty big.
Get a rainbow slushy and eat street food
There’s some tourist infrastructure set up on the road leading to Maemiseong. You’ll find loaded hot dogs, toasted marshmallows, coffee, and best of all, rainbow slushies!
Believe me, downing a super icy slushy is pretty much nirvana, after wandering around the castle in the heat.
How to get to Maemi Castle
Address: 21, Bokhang-gil Jangmok-myeon, Geoje (거제 장목면 복항길 21)
The best way to get to Maemiseong is definitely by car or taxi. There’s a free parking lot with washrooms nearby, but it fills up fast, so a lot of people end up parking on the side of the road, or further away and walking in.
If you don’t have a car, there are buses that stop nearby. It’s best to search for exact routes and directions on an app like Naver Maps, which provides info in english. Just be sure to search 매미성 as your final destination, otherwise it won’t come up (it’s translated as Cicadaseong Fortress on the app).
You’ll have to walk down a hill to get to Maemiseong, but it’s not too steep or strenuous. I did it with my 4 year old with no problem!
TIP | If you’re staying in Busan, you can take this all day tour that includes Oedo Botanica, Haeguemgang, Windy Hill AND Maemiseong Castle. Book a tour of Geoje Island highlights, including Maemiseong Castle here.
We needed coffee, so ended up at a gorgeous cafe a short distance away, called Simhae. It has floor to ceiling windows, outdoor seating, and multiple levels from which you can check out Maemi Castle in the distance. We ended up just leaving our car there (which seemed to be no problem), and making the 5 minute walk over to the fortress.