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Located on the southern coast of the peninsula, Yeosu is a pretty little port city. The town, whose name means "beautiful water," is located on the western end of the Hallyeo Marine National Park. The city includes 317 tiny islands off the coast, most of them uninhabited. A couple of those islands, Odong-do and Dolsan-do, are now connected by bridges to the mainland. Yeosu was the naval command center for Admiral Yi Sun-shin, who invented the turtle ship. There is still a full-size replica of one of the iron-clad ships that helped defeat the Japanese navy. The city is busy getting ready to host the 2012 World Expo.

Sitting pretty on the upper end of the Yeosu peninsula, just 40 minutes from Yeosu, is Suncheon. Sometimes called the "City of Beautiful People," it is the second-largest metropolis in Jeollanam-do. Nearby is Jogyesan Provincial Park, which surrounds Mt. Jogye. At its base are two Seon (Zen) Buddhist temples which have been instrumental in introducing and spreading this sect in Korea.

Both cities, currently experiencing rapid expansion and industrialization, are in danger of losing some of their original charm.

Floating Turtles -- Korea's most famous naval commander is Admiral Yi Sun-shin, who led the navy against Japanese invasion during the wars of 1592 to 1598. Legend has it that the admiral, who was killed during a skirmish in 1598 at the age of 43, never lost a single one of the 23 battles he commanded. But he may be most famous for his use of turtle ships, boats armored with thick wood planking, iron shields, and spikes that the Korean navy used to inflict heavy damage on invading Japanese ships. Capable of ramming other ships without sustaining damage, these turtle ships are considered one of the triumphs of Korean ingenuity.