Ulleungdo is the main island in Ulleung-gun (鬱陵郡), a county on the east coast of Gyeongsangbuk-do, Korea. The county consists of 44 annexed islands including Bondo, Dokdo, Jukdo, and Gwaneumdo on Ulleungdo on the East Sea. Ulleungdo is a volcanic rock region with a coastline of 64.43 km in length. In the center of the island, Seongseongbong (984 m) rises, and there is a Nari Basin formed by the depression of the caldera crater. It is rich in natural resources such as columnar joints, strange rock formations, spring water, and primeval forest, and 39 kinds of special plants and 6 kinds of plants are designated as natural monuments. It is a rare maritime climate in Korea, with a small daily temperature difference and a lot of snow. Specialty products include squid, pumpkin syrup, wild vegetables, and Ulleung Yakso. The county office is located in Ulleung-eup, and the administrative district is 1 eup and 2 myeon.
Ulleungdo is a volcanic island formed by hardening magma erupted from the seabed of the East Sea. Ulleungdo has not been formed for a long time, so the volcanic shape is well maintained. About two-thirds of the volcanic bodies are submerged in the sea, and the part exposed above the sea level forms a steep mountain area. At the top of the mountain is the Nari Basin, which is a caldera basin, and the Albong in the Nari Basin shows the characteristics of a double volcano as a whole. It is famous for its beautiful natural scenery, and the unique and unique topography of Ulleungdo is observed from the sea. Most of the island is rugged and mountainous.
The climate around Ulleungdo, including Dokdo, has a typical maritime climate that is highly affected by warm currents. The annual average temperature is about 12℃ and the temperature in August, the hottest month, does not exceed 24℃, so it is cool even in summer. 85% of the year is cloudy or snowy, so it is a relatively humid area. And January, the coldest month, has an average temperature of 1.0℃, which is warm. The area around Ulleungdo has a lot of fog, and there are more than 160 cloudy days throughout the year and about 150 days of rain. The annual average rainfall is about 1,300mm. Precipitation in winter is mostly in the form of snow accumulation, and heavy snowfalls frequently. The winds of Ulleungdo have a high frequency of occurrence of the western and southern winds, and the annual average wind speed is 4.3㎧.
Ulleungdo does not yet have an airport, so access is only possible by ferries, operated by Dae-A Express and Seaspovill. Your port choices are Gangneung and Mukho in Gangwon, Pohang in North Gyeongsang. The Mukho Ferry Terminal is in the city of Donghae. There are one or two boats a day. The fare for the Gangneung ferries "Sea Star" is ₩48,000 each way, the other ferries being slightly more expensive.
|Route||Ferry||Departure from Origin||Departure from Ulleungdo||Travel Time||Fare|
|Donghae - Mukho harbor to Ulleungdo||Ocean Flower||10:00||17:30||2 hours 20 minutes||₩51,000|
|Donghae - Mukho harbor to Ulleungdo||Sea Flower||09:00||16:00||3 hours||₩51,000|
|Pohang to Ulleungdo||Sun Flower||09:40||14:40||3 hours||₩58,000|
There are local mini-buses that carry about a dozen passengers 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 ₩1,000 to travel between Dodong and Jeodong. All other fares are ₩1,500. Bear in mind that buses do stop running a lot earlier than on the mainland (last buses depart before 20:00), 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 the boat. A taxi ride around the island should cost you around ₩80,000 to ₩90,000 a day. There is also the option to rent a car although knowing someone who speaks the language would be a big plus.
Rich in tourist attractions, Ulleungdo will not leave you wanting for things to see.
- Nari 'Bunji' Basin (north of Seonginbong). A caldera basin and the largest flat area on the island. Residents earn their income by cultivating medicinal plants.
- 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 Harbor on the north shore). A mountain whose steep cliffs rise from the water. From here you can also spot the interesting rock cropping sticking out from the ocean, Gongam.
- 1 Jukdo Island.
- Tours. Ferry and bus tours are available. The bus tour costs around ₩15,000 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. 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. 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 (also called the Haengnam lighthouse) (north of the Dodong Port). On a clear day you can see Dokdo from the top. You can have a leisurely one 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. The island of 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 (₩7,000 return) from the Dokdo Museum.
- Taehahyangmok Tourist Monorail.
Some of the food items that are unique to the island are 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 include the cuttlefish and the hobak yeott (squash candy).
Most of the restaurants in Dodong-ri are clustered in the same small area. It is a couple of minutes passed the information center then on the straight road towards Jeodong-ri. Here are two that serve the specialty dishes at decent prices.
- Ulleung Yakso Sutbul Garden, ☏ . 08:00 to midnight in the peak season. Offers yakso bulgogi and honghap bab. ₩6,000 to ₩15,000.
- 99 Sikdang, ☏ . Here you will find ojing-eo bulgogi (spicy grilled squid mixed with veggies) and another island specialty, taggaebibap (shellfish with rice). ₩9,000 to ₩14,000.
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.
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.
- Ulleung Marina Tourist Hotel (About 10 minutes out of Dodong, in the mountainside.), ☏ . ₩70,000.
- Chusan Ilga Pension (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.), ☏ . ₩60,000.
- Seonginbong Motel (Right by the marina at Dodong), ☏ . ₩40,000.
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.
- The hotly disputed islets of Dokdo can be reached from Ulleungdo.