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“A beautiful island off Korea”
Review of Ulleungdo

Attraction details
Reviewed April 23, 2013

We took the ferry from Pohang. It's not cheap but it is quite fast and comfortable. Do not expect information in English, as almost all the people going there are Korean.

the following two paragraphs are just to give you a flavour of what to expect!

On a ferry of 1100 people they sat the four non-Koreans together so we had someone to talk to. It was not was not easy to see how to book it, there is a 'phone number but expect the person at the other end to speak Korean. If you do not speak Korean you will probably need a Korean friend to help you. In the summer it gets booked up in advance, so just going down to the dock on the off-chance is not a realistic option. Please note that you HAVE to check in rather like on a plane. This is also true on the way back - HOT TIP make sure you know where the ferry office is before the day you need to come back! We were providentially looked after by the help of two young language teachers who pointed us in the right direction on more than a few occasions.

Booking accommodation is another trick. A Korean friend of our son's helped him book us a room over the 'phone and then he paid for it with an ATM transfer. He put all the details into his mobile. Great, all done. Then he dropped his mobile in the bath. He told us - 200m from the ferry, the motel next to the Family Mart. Easy. No, there are three motels next to that shop, its other side is on the road. So we went to the first. Nice people. We shared a handful of words, none relating to hotel bookings made by our son. However, they had the bright idea of ringing one of their guests who was on holiday from Seoul and who spoke English (a rare skill in those parts). He found out that they had no idea about any booking, so he very kindly (how very helpful so many Korean people are) took us to the others. They all denied any knowledge of such a booking. When we remember that it had to be changed to include a western style bed, the owner of the Ulleung Motel remembered the call, but had canceled the booking having not received the transfer. It turned out a week later that she had and refunded it to our son. We hastily went back to the Dokdo Motel and secured the one remaining room. Not cheap, but perfectly good. Not very usual by western standards (the hair brushes in the drawer came with hairs in them, for example) but fine.

When our two sons went, they camped out in one of the free camp sites, the one in the volcano crater - they liked it and the price was right.

It turns out that the standard method of booking if you do not speak Korean is to turn up and one of the hotelier ajummas with grab you on your way from the dock. However ...... as it turned out, we had arrived on day one of the annual Ulleung Squid Festival.

If you were in any doubt as to what the main product of Ulleung is, this would evaporate very quickly. It is all about the squid! They land 70% of Korea's prodigious intake of squid. Lots of places to eat, and some variety, but when we went to nearby Jeodong-ni for the Squid Festival events, you can guess what was on the menu. Naturally, being in Korea, the barbecued squid came stuffed with hot red chili paste, so make sure you get some makali (chilled rice beer) with it! Uncharacteristically for Korea, the prices were inflated, which was the only downside (other than the chili paste). The squid festival was highly entertaining, and very ... er .... squiddy.

The best thing to do on Ulleung in our opinion was to walk the cliff walkway (part path, part bridges) from Dodong-ni rear the ferry dock to Jeodong-ni. Wonderful views. Jeodong harbour is the main squid centre. The two concrete penguin loaders are really funny. We got the bus back to Dodong, it was dark and we were tired. Nobody was quite sure where it was going - to be fair there is not a great deal of choice of destination - but nobody asked for a fare either. They just seemed to want to get people back to their accommodation.

The cable car from Dodong-ni up to the summit is excellent. You have to have slight doubts when the jingle that announces its approach is "London Bridge is falling down", but presumably its builders did not know what the words of the song were. make sure you get a return ticket (they do sell singles as well - there is also a road).

There is a very nice cafe at the top with fantastic views. On a clear day, they say you can see Dokdo. However, it seems a tad too far to be actually do-able. There are enormous binoculars and an even bigger sign (with an unusual English subtitle) pointing to Dokdo. The binoculars are fixed in one direction - the only direction to look!

The Dokdo dispute was flaring up again whilst we were there. If you want to know the Korean perspective, there is the excellent Dokdo Museum next to the lower cable car station.

Duration? We went for a weekend. This was slightly short but we saw the two main villages and the Squid Festival, walked along the cliffs and took the cable car. Lots of the Koreans were going for a week's holiday.

Ulleung was beautiful and quite an experience. Like most good experience, it is the people who make it special. Kamhasamnida.

26  Thank 893philb893
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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12 - 16 of 27 reviews

Reviewed March 11, 2013

Ulleungdo is the Amalfi coast for the budget traveler. In fact, it's better. Because when you get there you'll have no idea what's going on. Squid hanging like notes from five-tiered rope? Korean clowns sitting down to undesignated dinner? If you're at all European--(and by relation American) looking, you'll be accosted and forced into various adventure. What else could you be looking for? If you're traveling at all, and this sort of thing turns you off, go home, for God's sake, and soak in the tub. Otherwise, wear your oldest parka and get ready for some saltwater. Gamsamnida!

4  Thank Ryan C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2012

I'm surprised Tripadvisor had no reviews about this place and well getting information about this place was quite difficult. You can try the Ulleung Island main page for some information: http://www.ulleung.go.kr/English/.

Anyway, I spent about '2' days there. Took a ferry from Mukho Passenger Terminal at Donghae on 13 July 2012. With the grace of God, I reached the terminal on time as the only ferry departed at 0820am [Ticket price: 55,500won] (I had no clue about this timing since everywhere in the internet kept stating that ferries from Mukho depart at either 9 or 10am). If you have the luxury of a phone or the knowledge of Korean, please do call in a day before to check the ferry schedule and ferry ticket prices. Also, there was only one ferry back from Ulleung to Mukho, at 1250pm [Ticket price: 54,000won].

The ferry was humongous and pretty comfortable, but it was also the first time I felt like puking on a boat ride, so be warned. It's a 3hr 40min ride approximately.

Upon reaching the island, the first thing I saw was the staircase to the entrance to the Haengnam seaside walk on the right. Anyway, I had every intention to first find the tourist information booth that was supposed to be near the harbour (took me one hr and half and asking another 2 lost tourists before I finally found the place). When you look at the map of the town, there would be 3 parallel streets leading into the island. Walk towards the leftmost area and past the last street to the far left end of the harbour, that is where you'd find the tourist information booth. Note, the two people I spoke to hardly understood English, so be prepared as well. But they were extremely helpful!! Get your English maps and information booklet there.

There are a variety of accommodations there. Due to my small budget, I chose a homestay sort of place [35,000won per night]. It was very homely, clean and near the harbour. I got this homestay through the tourist information booth personnel.

After which, my exploration of this island began. I took only two modes of transport: public bus and walking. The buses took me along the coastal road, the seaside scene was beautiful. Visited the towns: Taeha, Hyeonpo, Cheonbu and Jeodong.
Places: Nari basin (by sitting on a random bus, haha), some famous rocks in the sea, Jeodong port, Haengnam seaside walk.

If you would like to hike up to the Seonginbong Peak, there are road signs albeit not obvious at times along the road up from the Dodong harbour. I didn't get the chance to due to lack of time.

Also, just a warning. Try not to visit Ulleung Island during the mid of the year (monsoon season). I saw ALOT of mist and crazy, rough waves [one even engulfed the bus I was sitting on while we were travelling along the coastal road]. But the island was still beautiful no doubt despite such conditions.

16  Thank starlova
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile
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Thank Emy H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2016
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Thank 나영 김
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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