The South Korean city of Ulsan is undoubtedly the industrial center of the country, being the home of the Ulsan Industrial District featuring the world’s largest automobile assembly plant operated by the Hyundai Motor Company, the Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipyard, and the world’s largest Oil Refinery.
Ulsan Metropolitan City as it is officially referred is located in the Southeastern region of South Korea bordered by Busan to the South and Gyeongju to the North. Ulsan is recognized as being the seventh largest Metropolis in the country with a population of 1.1 million people living in a humid subtropical climate influenced by monsoons.
The city is also known for its whaling activities purporting to be for scientific purposes which are strongly objected to by many conservation organizations and the governments of other countries. Ulsan is not recognized as a major tourist center although it provides the gateway to the Yeongnam Alps one of the most attractively visual parklands in South Korea.
Paradoxically then since the city is totally locked into its industrial base, and though these heavy industries are widespread and provide much employment, they do take their toll on the beautiful landscape of Ulsan, but the investment made in the region undoubtedly make Ulsan a better place to live ultimately.
Getting around Ulsan
Ulsan does not cater for international flights and the only way to arrive by air is directly from Seoul (Gimpo) or Jeju-do. However, if you fly from Incheon, this will entail a change of flights at Gimpo Airport, though there are internal flights operated by Asiana airlines and Korean Air from Seoul, which take about 1 hour and cost 6.000 Won.
Train services to and from Ulsan do exist but due to the inconvenient location of the Ulsan rail station you will find it better to travel by bus.
Ulsan is well served from other locations by the intercity bus services available. From Seoul use the Seocho-Gu bus Terminal for a 4 hour journey to Ulsan and there are several options open for traveling by bus from Busan by using the Nopodong Bus Terminal.
For travel around Ulsan city there is an excellent system of public bus network, though plans are underway to build a Light Rapid Transport System. If you plan to stay in the city for any length of time it is wise to purchase a transport discount card which will give you a 50 Won discount on certain bus services.
Taxis are available and charge 2,400 Won for the first 2 kilometers and 100 Won for every subsequent 125 meters, though if you ride a taxi after midnight and up to 4am you can expect to pay an additional 20%, then the minimum fare comes into play again.
Things to see in Ulsan
Like other local city governments in South Korea, the local government has described a list of major tourist attractions in the locality. A few are presented below, but for further details and more sites to visit wait until you arrive in Ulsan.
Mount Gaji. The highest peak in Ulsan’s mountain range plus the bonus of well marked and clearly defined mountain trails.
Ganjeolgot. This is a popular destination for viewing the sun come up on the occasion of the first sunrise to be seen in Northern Asia.
Black Pebble Beach at Gangdong and Jujeon Seashore. Featuring beaches containing black pebbles of various sizes.
Naewonam Valley at Mount Daenum, Visit the Naewonam Temple and stroll through the peaceful pools of water and waterfalls which exist in the Valley.
Ulsan Sports Complex. A great place to visit for the sports oriented, and since most South Korean’s love Soccer then naturally this complex is the home stadium used by one of foremost soccer clubs in the country.