Daytripping in Ulsan, South Korea
Stripes Korea | .
published: July 07, 2016
Busan’s neighbor to the north has a lot going for it for a fun weekend that’s not so far from home. From a sprawling park, to an observatory that overlooks it all, from delicious, locally-sourced seafood to the home of one of the world’s largest shipbuilders, there’s lots of things to see, do and eat in Ulsan.
“Seul” refers to the sound made by a Geomungo stringed instrument, which is said to be mimicked by the wind and waves hitting this rock island. The small quiet island, accessible by car or bus, is home to a number of attractions, including the Han-nyeo, the women sea divers known more famously on Jeju Island than in this mainland city. Their handiwork can be seen throughout in the form of the fresh hand-caught fish found in many of the island’s restaurants.
An unmanned lighthouse at the edge of the windswept destination makes for great photo ops, as do the myriad fishing and heavy industry boats out along the water. A sign near the lighthouse notes it as a location of the 2010 K-Drama “Fire of Desire,” as well.
In July 2016 a cultural center was opened, featuring island focused exhibits and a café.
While on Seul-do, grab lunch at Bada Bap-sang,( 바다 밥상), which offers seafood that is caught fresh right off the island. The Agu-jjim, a rich, hot fish stew, and bibimbap served with rice mixed with abalone are recommended!
Daewangam (Big Stone King) Park offers stunning seaside views and lots of room to roam through forests of pine, cherry trees, magnolias, forsythia and more, including some trees that are over 100 years old. Photo ops abound, including the many naturally-carved rock formations along the coast. A small shopping area is located at the park’s entrance.
Hyundai Heavy Industries
Get a tour of the world’s largest shipbuilder during your trip to Ulsan. Established in 1972, the Hyundai Heavy Industries company produces 15 percent of the world’s ships, with clients all over the world. Approximately 25,000 employees work at the shipyard site.
An onsite museum offers a tour (in Korean, with written information in English) dedicated to Chung Ju-yung, founder of the Hyundai Group of South Korea.
Tours of this site are available through the Ulsan City Tours Website
More information: Website or call 052-202-2114
Other highlights of the trip included a stop at the Jujeon Mongdol (“round stone”) beach, where a number of people were enjoying the warm early summer day, and the Ulsan Observatory, which has only recently opened and as such does not yet have a website (but it does have Google Maps directions here.
The new observatory provides dramatic views of the city, water, as well as several of the city’s industrial sites on one side contrasted with a sweeping canopy of green on the other.