The first, Sorokdo Island, is infamous for its connection to the abuse of patients with Hansen’s disease, also known as leprosy.
The disease is generally not very contagious and treatable, but patients have been long stigmatized. In Korea they were forced to live in colonies like the one on the island. Recently some patients have won compensation for the abuses against them while living there.
There are still a few thousand leprosy patients living in Korea, and work is underway to reduce the stigma against them. The island was recently connected to the mainland by a bridge as part of that.
After visiting the colony, there will be a lunch of grilled sea eel before heading across the bridge to Ikgeum Beach on Geogeumdo Island. The beach is south facing and in a cove, meaning the water is swimmable regardless of the tide.
To join the tour visit gic.or.kr. and apply by June 18. The tour costs 40,000 won for GIC members, 50,000 won for nonmembers and 25,000 won for preschoolers. The fee covers transportation, lunch and insurance.