Ulleungdo needs your love too
While Jeju is widely believed to get all the love, Ulleungdo is easily the more beautiful island in South Korea. Sitting in the middle of the East Sea, Ulleungdo is often overlooked by travellers, but is definitely worth the time it takes to ge there . Ferries depart daily from several east coast cities, but due to their early morning departure, Ulleungdo is best visited as a 3-4 day trip if you are departing from Seoul. You need to check out the website too!
Ulleungdo is a wonderful place to see fantastic scenery and try some truly unique delicacies, but it is hands down most famous in Korea as being the departure point for trips to the famous disputed islands of Dokdo.
Few people, Koreans and foreigners alike, ever get the chance to visit this little piece of paradise. It’s not easy to find your way there . and that’s what make the island so special no doubt. Isolation has preserved it in original state of natural bliss. There isn’t any museums or theme parks for teddy bears, sex, Africa, tea, squid or pumpkins. In fact, the only museum on the whole island is the Dokdo Museum.
The adventurous traveller is left with untouched forest, breathtaking seaside cliffs, seagulls upon seagulls, squid to feast on, and the beauty of silence. A mysterious volcanic playground in the middle of the East Sea really does exist and it is right at home in Ulleungdo.
- The only way to appreciate the true beauty of this island is to take a boat tour around the island. The Ulleungdo Cruise Ship Assoc. has a 2 hour boat tour at 25,000won. Grab the boat at New Ulleung Port, just a 10 minute bus ride from Dodong.
- Camping in the Nari Basin. Bring your own gear.
- Most people have no idea that Ulleungdo is home to some of the best hiking you can possibly do in Korea. The 5 hour hike from the Nari Basin, up to Seonginbong Peak, and down to Dodong is well worth the time and effort.
- Many people who visit Ulleungdo also take 3~4 hours (round trip) Dokdo Island ferry trip. The waters might be rough around the island but don’t let that stop you though if you really want to go. 45,000 won round trip.
- Fish. Imagine how fresh and big the fish might be.
- Enjoy the scenery from the cable car when going up to Manghyangbong Peak. On a clear day Dokdo is possible from the observatory.
- Scuba diving is said to be fun but you would have to put up with strong currents in the area.
In Dodong, try to find Busan Restaurant. There you can enjoy one of the island’s most famous dishes: Honghap Bap or rice with mussels. If you like slurping down on spaghetti-like slices of chewy raw squid, get yourself down to the port and order some fresh off the boat. Naturally being on an island raw fish restaurants are everywhere. When you’ve had enough seafood, Mamma Park’s Pizza, also in Dodong is a savior. The Crazy Duck pizza is legendary. Ulleungdo’s other signature dish is Sanche Bibimbap or rice with wild greens. San Maeul Restaurant in the Nari Basin is probably the most rustic and original place to eat on the island. Wash it all down with a couple bowls of dongdongju or rice liquor.
You can reach Ulleungdo by ferry from two different departure ports. Mukho is the closest if you will go from Seoul and takes roughly 3 hours one way at 49,000won. Pohang is the other port, which also takes 3 hours 57,300 won one way.
Since public buses leave every half-hour from Dodong traveling around isn’t as frustrating as you might believe. You can hire a car at E Rent Car (erentcar.co.kr) when you are in Dodong. Keep in mind that gas is much more expensive than on the mainland. But I really would like to emphasise you can get around freely enough by bus and really don’t need a car.