The 12 Scenic Sites of Ulsan

Ulsan is not the most impressive city in Korea by any stretch of the imagination. As a result, it is consistently & unfairly left out of guide books, shut off from unwitting tourists visiting Korea. Ulsan is widely recognised as the industrial capital of Korea… not the best tagline to attract waves of holidaymakers!! It is also true that Ulsan does host the same unflattering sprawl of appartment buildings & tacky flashy neon lights that every other Korean city also posseses. BUT!… what every Korean city does NOT have, are ‘The 12 Scenic Sites of Ulsan’!!! This fine list of attractive areas are all neatly mapped out in a delightful little list compiled by the Ulsan Tourism Board. It may well be that they had time to compile such an illustrious inventory because of their lack of active undertakings with ACTUAL tourists… but that is neither here nor there!!  

We made it our goal to visit each of these ‘magnificent wonders’, & attempt to grasp their true beauty in entirety.  

Here are the 12 scenic sites of Ulsan & our experiences of them… : 

  • Mount Gaji

Ulsan’s tallest mountain offers a challenging hike up a steep, densely wooded slope. The 3 hour trek to the top you’re recompensed by an array of alpine glory. Gajisan’s higher altitude above its sister mountains allows it to boast the best views of the backdrop to Ulsan. The Yeongnam Alps may not compare to the real deal in Europe but they look quite stunning from Gajisan’s summit.  

Mount Gaji

Summit of Gaji high above the Yeonam Alps

  • Ganjeolgot

The lighthouse at Ganjeolgot is,… well, a standard lighthouse! With a nice scenery below though, the structure looks out east into the sea from its redundant post. It’s claim to fame is having the earliest sunrise on the north-eastern continent, drawing in crowds for new year celebrations.  

Ganjeolgot Lighthouse

A Touch of Gold at Gangeolgot

  • Black Pebble Beach

Pretty self explanitory… it’s a black pebble beach. A beach of black pebbles if you will. Waves loudly crash & smash the rounded rocks into the darkened coastline with seafood restaurants on hand for a spot of local cuisine.  

Black Pebble Beach

Sooty Stones & Crashing Waves at Black Pebble Beach

  • Daewangam Songnim (Pine Forest)

This picturesque pine forest is on the shoreline of Ulsan, next to Ilsan beach. The standout seduction is the suspension bridge that runs from the rocky coast to a small island jutting out from the East Sea, with a lighthouse perched above all.  

Daewangam Pine Forest

Daewangnam's beautiful bridge

  • Bangudae

Named after an island apparently shaped like a turtle, the main point of interest at Bangudae are the petroglyphs. A seemingly uninspiring rock across the river boasts a hidden gem with ancient carvings chiseled into its face. There is also an insightful, modern museum to explain the antiquated artistry.  

Ulsan Petroglyphs

Ancient Artistry: The Petroglyphs at Bangudae

  • Eoksae (Reed) Plain of Mount Sinbul

Just outside the small surburbia of Eonyang is Sinbulsan, Ulsan’s second highest peak. After a few hours’ ascent you’re rewarded with a sea of yellow reeds, surrounded by the hazy heights of the Yeongnam Alps… very Gladiator-esque!  

Mount Shinbul

Fields of Gold at Shinbulsan

  • Ulsan Sports Complex

A reprieve from the city concrete, Ulsan’s world cup venue, Munsu Stadium, is now home to the Ulsan Hyundai Tigers. As like most other world cup venues in Korea, the stadium is a shadow of its former self, used only for K-League matches & the odd event. But the surrounding area is beholds a lazy lake in amongst paths laden with greenery, offering a pleasant day out for any Ulsanite.  

Munsu Stadium

A Magenta sky above Munsu

  • Jakgwaechon

A rolling river runs over the glossy rocks of Jakgwaechon. Not the most breathtaking scenic site but ideal for a quick dip in the summer. Slip & slide down the rhythmic rapids, skipping over the smooth stones below in the chilly waters of this mountain pass.   

Jakgwaechon

The Smoothened Stones of Jakgwaechon

  • Paraeso Waterfall 

Nestled in amongst the trails of Sinbulsan is the gracious Pareso waterfall. 15 metres in height, fresh mountain water cascades down into the legendary pool below, cloaking it in a cloud of mist. 

Pareso Waterfall

A Cascade of Calm at Pareso

  • Seonbawi (Standing Rock) & Simnidaebat (Bamboo Grove)

It would be easy to speculate that these two sites have been slapped together because alone they couldn’t make the cut! Seonbawi is a rock, standing out from the river, & the bamboo grove is an average sized collection of bamboo… not the best scenic site! 

Seonbawi Rock
The Slightly more Impressive Seonbawi
  • Naewonam Valley of Mount Daeun

If you have ever come across a river in a wood, it’s probably not worth making the journey to Mount Daeun. The Naewonam valley has been impressively carved through the mountain by river rapids, but all that is left is a strolling stream over smooth-ish rocks.  

Naewonam Valley

Naewonam Valley: A river... well, stream... in a wood

  • Night View from Mount Muryong

An elevated overview of the gigantic factories that dominate Ulsan’s night skies. The true enormity of the operation can only be appreciated from Muryong with the industrial lights sparkling like stars… but really just polluting the planet at a horrific rate.  

Ulsan Industrial Complex

Picture courtesy of The Korea Times... because our camera was MIA

So, if you’re ever in Ulsan you should pop into the friendly people at the tourism board, conveniently situated outside Ulsan’s train station, & pick up a pamphlet. Then all you need is some patience on public transport or excellent map reading skills & you’re away! The wonderous 12 scenic sites of Ulsan await you!! 

Some useful links: 

 

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Comments
3 Responses to “The 12 Scenic Sites of Ulsan”
  1. meganlamoon says:

    I’m impressed you had the patience to do all 12!

  2. Tom says:

    That first mountain pic is mega sexy.

  3. Anonymous says:

    wow…beautiful 🙂

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