ulleungdo

Voyage to Ulleungdo, Gem of the East Sea

Over Chuseok vacation, I headed to Ulleung Island, a destination I had been dreaming of visiting for quite some time.  Situated in the East Sea (or the Sea of Japan to all of you living outside of Korea), Ulleungdo is an island that promises visitors spectacular scenery, tasty seafood, and a chance to relax far from the chaos of the mainland, which is what I was most looking forward to on this trip. 
 


Sunrise to Japan and Other Thoughts


Sunrise, Ulleungdo

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Finding the Snow Fields: Road to Nari Basin

I realize it’s mid-April, and photos of snowy Korean fields on an island off the east coast might contradict the reality of bursting cherry blossoms along my neighbourhood stream in Busan (as well as trigger an unexpected chill in my Canadian readers who are enjoying the thaw of spring), but snowy fields is what I’ve got to show you.

They were taken in a place called the Nari Basin, which is the only flat stretch of land on Ulleungdo–yep, I’m still posting about Ulleungdo (the island was gorgeous, why stop now?)–and surrounded on all sides by volcanic mountains.

Like most places we ventured to during our off-season stay in early February, the Basin, we discovered, wasn’t accessible by local transport.


Squid Boats and Island Dusk

Squid fishing’s big on Ulleungdo.  It’s done at nighttime, when old Korean fisherman pull out in boats strung with long hanging bulbs that plunge light deep below the sea’s surface, luring the creatures toward their next-day destiny of drying out in the sun. 

I’m not drawn toward spending days out on an open ocean, but I love strolling through ports like this one in Jeodongni, the island’s second-biggest (but still village-like) settlement.  Old, rusty boats rock against the dock at dusk, waiting to set out for the evening’s catch.


Death of a Laptop and Ulleungdo in Late Winter

Hello everybody!

The busy level here in Busan has cranked up about nine notches in the last couple weeks, hence my lack of Coco posts and pics.  I’ve got a couple new projects on the go, and as my Toshiba died its final death in early January, my current computer time is a juggle of brief breaks at school and late hours in the dungeon-like PC bong below my apartment building, where I prep essay-writing lectures while sitting wedged between teenage Korean gamers playing Starcraft.  At least I think that’s what they’re playing.  I slap the headphones on pretty quickly, click onto CBC Radio 2, and tune into the Classical station, attempting to drown out the sound of gunshots and K-pop blasting from both sides of my cubicle.  It almost works.


Destination: Dokdo Museum (Ulleungdo)


Destination: Ulleungdo (part 3)

Read up on part one and part two before continuing!



With a few hours left on the island, it was time to see the falls. My last stop for the trip was the Bongnae waterfall area (봉래폭포). Along the way, you'll pass a curious natural phenomenon - a natural air conditioner (천연에어콘, or 풍혈), also called a wind cave:

Destination: Ulleungdo (part 2)

If you haven't read part one yet, read it first before continuing!

Where we left off, I had gone back to my hotel to relax and freshen up. After awhile, I headed down to the harbor for some dinner (PROTIP: don't bother - it's overpriced) and see what sort of night life the locals enjoyed:



While I couldn't tell they do this every night, the trio of saxophonists seemed pretty comfortable on the harbor's stage.

Destination: Ulleung-do (part 1)



One of Korea's most distant islands, Ulleungdo retains a certain mystery and exoticness held by few other destinations in Korea. Perhaps it's because of its distance from the mainland, or perhaps it's because of the unusual difficulty of actually getting there. From Seoul it's a 3 1/2 hour bus ride to Donghae, a short taxi ride to Mukho ferry terminal (묵호 여객선 터미날), then a 2 1/2 hour ferry ride - not exactly a day trip. If you do make the trip out, there's more than enough to make the trip worthwhile.

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