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Ganjeolgot Cape – Ulsan’s Sunrise Hotspot

Words and photos by Jason Teale

ganjeolgot

Most people know of Ganjeolgot for the giant mailbox and being the place that pretty much everyone in the area goes to on New Year’s Day to catch the first rays of sunlight to hit this side of Korea. However, there is much more to the area than that.

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Ganjeolgot Cape has seen a bit of improvement over the years taking it from your basic 90’s era tourist trap to a place that is actually nice to visit on a summer day. With a few cafes and seafood restaurants scattered around, it has potential to be a great destination for a date or an evening out with the family.

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While getting up before dawn to catch the sunrise may not be for everyone, it certainly is something to see and the park is designed to make your viewing experience a little more comfortable with benches along the cliffs. While the traffic and crowds are crazy during New Year’s, it is pretty quiet during the rest of the year.

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For those who like to sleep a bit more, there is still tons of stuff to see in the area. I would start at the Lighthouse and work my way towards the drama house area. The lighthouse offers a great view of the area as well as the famous mailbox. Getting a clear shot of the mailbox might be tricky as there always seems to be groups of people standing in front of it. However, patience will pay off if you really want to take a picture of yourself in front of a giant mailbox.

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Heading further down the shoreline there are great views of the ocean and a windmill. The significance of the windmill is yet to be determined but it there and if you already have a shot of the giant mailbox, you might as well get a shot of the windmill too! The beauty of this area is that there is also a field of green grass. A site uncommon for Ulsan.

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Head down and check out the other lighthouse and pier. Ulsan’s lighthouses are unique as most are quite different from the others. Jeongja has whales, Jujeon has a pagoda and here we have heart-shaped windows. However, the downside here is that the local fisherman leave their garbage in piles along the walk. Piles of empty ramyon cups, soju bottles, and old nets are not that great to look at.

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Finally, check out the mansion that was used for the drama “May Queen” It is an interesting building and now has a cafe and restaurant in it. While the prices for the restaurant are not cheap, it might just be a fun way to spend an evening. However, I am not sure if the quality is there or not. At any rate, it also does not open until 11 am which means coffee after the sunrise is also out of the question.

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While heading back to Jinha, there is also Soljeong park just down from Ganjeolgot that is worth taking a look at. It is a great little park for a picnic and some sun. It overlooks the cape and is relatively hidden thus giving a break from the crowds.

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To get to Ganjeolgot you can either drive up from Jinha or take the 715 bus. As stated earlier, there are places to eat but they are the older-style fancy places offering expensive dishes for questionable quality. If you are looking for something quick to eat, the chain cafes are popping up and offer potbingsu for a cool treat on a hot day.

Jason Teale is the Editor of Ulsan Online. He has also been a resident of Ulsan for almost 13 years. His photos can be found at www.jasonteale.com and they have been featured in National Geographic, Travel + Leisure Asia and Seoul Magazine.

 

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