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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Rainy Day Guide to Ulsan

As the prospect of yet another rainy weekend looms before us, I thought I’d run through the options of what you can do to entertain yourself in the Ulsan area, without getting too wet.

There are always places like the department stores, the covered street in Shinae, and cafes to wile away the hours on a rainy day, and Korea offers a few other things to do in the form of the various “bang”s (방), such as Nouraybang (song room) PC bang (internet cafe) DVD bang (rent a movie, watch it in a private room with a big screen tv, while reclining on a couchy/bed type thing) or Board Game bang (chose a game from the menu, and play with your friends).

Inside a DVD bang

If you’re in the mood to explore further afield than your own neighbourhood, try the Amethyst Cave in Eonyang, with it’s accompanying exhibit hall, which displays not only various amethysts paraphernalia, but also information on Dokdo – those tiny, rocky islands that play such a pivotal role in Korean/Japanese relations. (At Eonyang, take Hwy 35 south toward Tongdosa. Turn right on the road that heads towards Jakgwaecheon. There should be plenty of signs for the Amethyst Cave)

A few years ago, that might have been the extent of your options, but after a recent museum-building spree, you can also spend rainy days getting all cultured up. Most of these have been mentioned in separate articles, so check those out for more detail.

Ulsan Museum – next to Gonguptap Rotary and Ulsan Grand Park. This museum is so new, it doesn’t appear on the tourism maps of Ulsan, yet. It’s dedicated to the history of the Ulsan area, and has a great interactive section for kids. Take one of any number of buses that stop at Gonguptap, and walk past the Grand Park main gates. The museum is on your right, about 200 m up the road. The main exhibit is free, but special exhibits cost 5000 won.

Daegok Museum

Daegok Museum – Dudong area of Ulju district. Located next to the Daegok dam, this museum focuses on the excavated cultural heritage of the area. It also explains about the damn. Most of the displays had only Korean explanations when I was there, but it was still interesting to walk around. And due to it’s somewhat remote location, it was quiet and almost empty, which is something rare in this country. Take buses 1703, 1713 or 1723 to Eonyang and transfer. Buses 308 or 313 stop at Bangudaeipgu, or 318 stops at Daegok Museum. These are not frequent buses, so plan ahead! If you’re driving, take Highway 24 to Eonyang, then Highway 35 towards Gyeongju, and turn right at the Bangudae junction. For a more picturesque drive, turn off Highway 24 at the Beomseo exit, turn right, and follow the signs.  Entry is free.

Ulsan Petroglyph Museum – Dudong area of Ulju district. Near the site where the Bangudae petroglyphs lie submerged beneath the river, whose water has risen due to the Daegok dam, the Petroglyph museum offers a chance for you to see what the rock carvings look like, and explore the culture of the pre-historic people who left their mark behind. The museum is built in the shape of a whale, but this is hard to see unless you fly to it. It’s just up the road from the Daegok Museum, and is accessed from the same bus stop. Entrance is free. Museum is open from 9:00 – 18:00.

Inside the Bangudae Petroglyph Museum

Jangsaengpo Whale Museum – Jangsaengpo industrial area. In case you haven’t noticed, Ulsan likes its whales. They’re kind of a big deal here. The area has a history of whaling dating back to the Neolithic age, and while the only whales caught these days fall under that “scientific catch” clause in the international whaling agreements, whale meat is still a specialty of the area. So why not spend a rainy day wandering through the belly of a whale, learning all about these magnificent creatures and how to catch them? Buses 246 or 256 stop at the Museum. There is an entry fee to this museum.

Whale Ecology Experience Aquarium – next to Jangsaenpo Whale Museum. The name kind of says it all – it’s an aquarium, and there are dolpins to be seen, if not actual whales in any of their tanks.

Oegosan Pottery Village – on Hwy 14 just outside of Onyang (not to be confused with Eonyang). The Onggi pot is a very important pot in Korean culture. It is not just used for making kimchi, but for storing many of the fermented foods that Koreans eat. Oegosan is big, traditional pottery making village. You can see the uphill kilns used for baking the pots, and see more pottery than you ever thought possible. For 7000 won, you can join in and take a pottery making class. Buses 225, 405, 507, 715 or 1705 go to Gosanmaeul, the stop closest to the village. If you’re driving, take Hwy 14 south. You’ll see the signs.

For those traveling from outside of Ulsan, hotels in Ulsan and hotels in Busan are a click away.

Diorama of Pottery Kiln