For Chuseok this year, my friend Julie and I went to Ulleungdo together. Ulleungdo is a small island to the East of South Korea with a population of about 10,000 people. It is the island every Korean want to visit but most foreigners don’t know about. This made the island a nice getaway as it wasn’t populated with tourists.
Saturday, September 22nd, 2018
Getting to Ulleungdo is not easy. I live in Ansan and had to take an hour and a half subway ride to Seoul, then transfer to a bus to Gangneung Port which took 3 hours. Finally, the ferry ride to the island was another 3 hours.
Unlucky for me and the hundreds of other people on the ferry, the ocean was super rough on the way there. Everyone, and I mean everyone, got sick. The boat was enclosed and the AC was on full blast. It was cold and everyone was throwing up. I felt fine the first two hours but in the final hour, I felt sick and was unable to get a vomit bag in time. I ended up throwing up all over myself.
Three hours felt like forever but we eventually made it to the island! The first thing we did was check into the hotel and rested for a bit. Four of us were assigned to a hotel room and luckily we got the rooftop room! The view from the rooftop was gorgeous. After resting for about 2 hours, we went to eat lunch. Julie and I didn’t eat much though – we were still feeling too nauseous.
The first thing on the intinary was to hike the Haengnam Seaside Walkway. The hike itself wasn’t difficult. It was mostly bridges and stairs and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.
The path eventually led to the Haengnam Lighthouse. The hike up to the lighthouse was a little more difficult as the main path was closed for renovations.
But it was worth it in the end considering the view at the top was stunning. My photos don’t do the scenery any justice.
On our way down, we stopped for a bit to bridge jump. I was too chicken to attempt the 7 meter jump off the bridge.
Later, we went hiking up to the Dokdo Museum and Dokdo Observatory. Japan and South Korea has been fighting over Dokdo for hundreds of years. I personally don’t care too much about history so I didn’t spend much time at the museum. I did enjoy taking the lift up to the observatory though!
Sunday, September 23rd, 2018
After breakfast, we took a four hour bus tour around the entire island. It was relaxing after a long day yesterday.
After the bus tour, we drove up to the Nari Basin (나리분지) in the center of the island. This village was built on top of a crater and the people living here often get snowed in during the winter! 😮
For lunch, we ate bibimbap made with the island’s herbs. A lot of people on the trip complained about the lack of meat but I really liked it. I’m not a vegetarian anymore but I still prefer to eat vegetarian dishes over meat.
After lunch, half the tour group went on a 6 hour hike up Seonginbong Peak (성인봉). Julie and I decided to skip this intense hike and explored the island instead. We walked around and found another coastal walkway. This one, however, was closed for maintenance but we were still able to take some beautiful pictures.
Monday, September 24th, 2018
Our last full day on the trip. Most of the people in the trip went on the Dokdo tour but Julie and I used our free time to explore the island instead.
After exploring the waterfall, we met up with our roommates, Lois and Janice, and took them to closed coastal walkway to take pictures. We relaxed for a bit on the boardwalk.
We were very lucky on the way back to catch this amazing sunset on our way back to our hotel in Dodong.
Tuesday, September 25th, 2018
We only had a few hours before catching the ferry back to the mainland so we used our time to buy souvenirs.
Final thoughts: I feel like I didn’t do that much on the island compared to everyone else in the tour. Next time, I want to attempt that intense hike up Seonginbong Peak (성인봉) and go to Dokdo. Ulleungdo is a small island and can easily be explored in a weekend trip. I definitely want to go back again!