Even though Ulsan is a coastal city, we’d managed to spend six months here without visiting any of its beaches; this is pretty much due to the fact that it is super fast and cheap to get to Busan, way faster than trying to catch buses out to any of Ulsan’s beaches. We finally decided it was due time we visited Ulsan’s most popular beach, Ilsan Beach, even if it meant sitting on a bus for over an hour…
We caught the 104 bus from Ulsan University to Ilsan Beach; it’s pretty easy to miss the stop for the beach, because you can’t really see the sand or sea from the road. We ended up passing it by a few stops and had to get off the bus and walk back.
The first thing we noticed about Ilsan Beach was the serious lack of people; even in the midst of summer, the place was pretty much deserted. We quickly found out why…
ATTACK OF THE MONSTER JELLYFISH! (See Eoin’s foot for the size comparison.)
Seriously, these things were EVERYWHERE. The length of the shoreline was covered in trash bags full of jellyfish.
And the Korean anti-jellyfish swat team was out in full force, motorboats, nets, camo-print and all.
These guys must’ve been jellyfish scoopin’ for HOURS; they looked like they’d been working for a while before we arrived, and they kept on working just up until we left, after at least 4 hours.
We lay on the beach for an hour, but it was just too freakin’ hot, so we decided to head up into Ilsan’s main attraction, Daewangam Songnim, a coastal pine forest.
The change in temperature between the beach and the entrance to the pine forest was AMAZING, so refreshing. It was quite a hike to get to the top, so it wouldn’t have needed to be any hotter!
View of the beach…and Hyundai’s heavy machinery in the background…
Loads of ajummas (mature Korean women) selling SUPER fresh seafood.
The pine forest was actually much busier than the beach; every time we took a step, we came across people plopped on the ground having picnics. People seemed to enjoy using the forest as a giant picnic / drinking ground, rather than a hiking trail.
The views along the trails were absolutely beautiful, and so refreshing with all the cool sea air blowing past.
There were ajummas and fishermen all over the rocks; Koreans luuuurve their seafood.
This guy was crawling along the rocks with a huge knife in his hand, collecting mollusks. Sooo scary!
You can actually see the massive gelatinous jellyfish blobs floating just under the water in this photo…so nasty.
The most impressive part of the trail was an outcrop of rocks linked by a pretty narrow bridge.
This rocky outcrop is more than just an impressive spot for scenic photos: it’s supposedly where a queen of the ancient Silla Kingdom transformed herself into a guardian dragon, and is why no seaweed grows on the rocks.
This was our favorite hiking spot in Korea so far; the views were literally breathtaking, and it was just so refreshing to be this close to the sea; it was definitely a much-needed getaway from the smog of central Ulsan.