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Ulleungdo

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Ulleungdo is an island to the east of the Korean peninsula.

Hyeonpo Port, opposite side of Dodong-ri

Get in

Ulleungdo does not have an airport, so access is only possible by ferries, operated by Dae-A Express [1] and Seaspovill[2]. Your port choices are Gangneung and Mukho in Gangwon, Pohang in North Gyeongsang. The Mukho Ferry Terminal is in the city of Donghae. There 1~2 boats a day. The fare for the Gangneung ferries "Sea Star" is 48,000 each way, for the Mukho ferries "Ocean Flower" and "Sea Flower" are 51,000 won each way. Since it's further away from Ulleungdo the fare for the Pohang ferry is 58,000 won each way.

Route Ferry Departure Departure from Ulleungdo Travel Time
Mukho to Ulleungdo Ocean Flower 10:00 17:30 2 hours 20 minutes
Sea Flower 9:00 16:00 3 hours
Pohang to Ulleungdo Sun Flower 09:40 14:40 3 hours

Get around

Dodong Port

There are local mini-buses that carry about a dozen people at a time. They depart from Dodong Port, the administrative area of the island, then split into different routes; one goes up to the north side while another runs into the center and the other takes to the south. There is a bus between Dodong-ri to Jeodong-ri every 30 minutes. For the latest timetable tourist information should have the most up-to-date schedule. As of November 2011, the basic fare is 1000 won to travel between Dodong and Jeodong. All other fares are 1500 won. The buses do stop running a lot earlier than on mainland Korea (last buses depart before 8pm) so bear this in mind, as it is difficult to get a taxi at night unless you are in Dodong or Jeodong.

Since convenient transportation is scarce, taxis may be a good option to get around the island. You can catch them at the Dodong Port when you get off. A taxi ride around the island should set you back around 80 to 90,000 won a day. There is also the option to rent a car but knowing someone who speaks the language would be a big plus.

See

Rich in tourist attractions, Ulleungdo will not leave you wanting for things to see.

  • Nari 'Bunji' Basin north of Seonginbong, it is a caldera basin and the largest flat area on the island. Residents earn their income by cultivating medicinal plants.
Nari Bunji
  • Bongnae Falls 25 metres high, it is the only source of drinking water for the island. Next to it is Punghyeol, natural air vents that blow cool subterranean air.
  • Jugam Mongdol Beach there are no sandy beaches at Ulleungdo but this beach boasts of the clearest waters and the most incredible scenic views. It should take a little over an hour to get there from the port.
  • Dokdo Museum in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the independence of Korea it was built in 1995. It holds ancient documents recording the history of Dokdo.
  • Songgot-bong near the Chusan Harbour on the north shore, is the name of the mountain whose steep cliffs rise from the water. From here you can also spot the interesting rock cropping sticking out from the ocean, Gongam.

Do

Ferry and bus tours are available. The bus tour costs around 15,000 won and last about 4 hours. But the timetables vary depending on the company. Contact Ulleungdo Tourism at 82-54-791-0066 for more information. The high speed ferry takes about 2 hours to go around the island. There are two to four rides daily. For the exact times contact the Ferry Association at 82-54-791-4477.

Yaksu Park

Yaksu Park directly translated, 'yak' means medicine and 'su' means water. The mineral spring is supposed to have healing properties. It is a short 10 minute walk from the ferry terminal and is also where you can find the Dokdo Museum and ride the cable car. Cable Car Ride this is a must-do activity. From the car you can get a panoramic view of the island. It goes up to the nearby Manghyang Peak and on a clear day, you can see Dokdo.

  • Seonginbong is the large mountain in the middle of the island. At the foot lies rare plants found only there. It is a good 5 to 6 hour (coming and going) hike from Dodong-ri or a similar 5 hour hike back to the Nari 'Bunji' Basin.
  • Dodong Lighthouse north of the Dodong Port, it is also called the Haengnam lighthouse. On a clear day you can see Dokdo from the top. You can have a leisurely 1 hour walk up a staircase from the ferry terminal.
  • Dokdo Observation Platform. Here you'll get a great view of Dodong from above, and the southern parts of the island. Dokdo is also visible on a clear day. You can see the platform when you arrive at Dodong harbor. To get here, take the cable car (7000 won return) from the Dokdo Museum.


Eat

Ojing-eo Bulgogi

Some of the food items that are unique to the island is honghap bap, seasoned rice with mussels; sanchae bibimbap, rice mixed with sprouts and roots found natively'; yakso bulgogi, barbequed beef that was raised on herbs and vegetables growing on the island. Other food items special to Ulleungdo is the cuttlefish and the hobak yeott (squash candy).

Restaurants

Most of the restaurants in Dodong-ri are clustered in the same small area. It is a couple of minutes passed the information centre then on the straight road towards Jeodong-ri. Here are two that serve the specialty dishes at decent prices.

Ulleung Yakso Sutbul Garden open from 8 am to midnight in the peak season, this place offers yakso bulgogi and honghap bab. Prices range from W6,000 to W15,000. Call at 82-54-791-0990.

99 Sikdang here you'll find their famous ojing-eo bulgogi (spicy grilled squid mixed with veggies) at around W9,000. Also you'll find another island specialty, taggaebibap (shellfish with rice) at W14,000. Call 82-54-791-2287.

Sleep

Pension house at Chusan-ri

The island is strewn with different types of housing for tourists. You'll have motels, minbaks or pension houses that rent out equipped rooms, tourist hotels, etc. Dodong Port is where everything meets; this is the end and starting point for the transport vehicles. About 10 minutes out of Dodong, in the mountainside you'll find the Ulleung Marina Tourist Hotel (82-54-791-0020). A room should set you back around 70,000 won. The Chusan Ilga Pension (82-54-791-7788) is right below Mt. Songgotsan in Chusan-ri, Buk-myeon, the other side of Dodong-ri. It's between two steep mountain faces on a cliff overlooking the ocean and a great view of the Elephant Rock. A room should cost around 60,000 won. For a less expensive alternative, you can stay at the Seonginbong Motel (82-54-791-2677). Recently newly renovated, it is right by the marina at Dodong and will set you back about 40,000 won. If you're looking for something cheaper, you could try camping for free at Naessujeon and Sadong-ri. There are toilets and showers at both places. To get to the camping area at Sadong-ri, ask for a taxi ride to Dong-A Resort in Sadong and walk down to the water from there.You can easily taxi, hitch or walk back to Dodong from the camping area in Sadong. It's about a 45 minute walk.

Chusan-ri coast

Contact

For more information on all of these sites, you can contact the Ulleung Tourist Office at 82-54-790-6465. Operators should be able to communicate in English as well. If not, there's always the trusty 82-54-1330 that have operators speaking English, Japanese and Chinese.

Get out

  • The hotly disputed islets of Dokdo can be reached from Ulleungdo.
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