Korea is surrounded by more than 3,000 islands, some of them looking like rocks barely peaking above the surface of the water, some of them full fledged tourist meccas full of beach-goers and hikers alike.  Ulleung-do falls somewhere in between.  Home to just over 10,000 people, but only one major road, it's off the beaten path enough to seem quaint, but serviced enough for thousands of tourists to pass through every year.  Accessible only by ferry, Ulleung-do gets by on fishing, and being close to the disputed islands of Dokdo.  In the last few years the tensions between Korea and Japan surrounding the tiny rocks have escalated, making Dokdo feel like an almost mandatory pilgrimage for Koreans showing their national pride, and the only way to Dokdo is through Ulleung-do.  In many ways the island is ready for all the tourists, tons of busses and hotels, lots of restaurants.  But in many ways, it's not.  The one road is beat up, potholes and torn up concrete.  The dock where the ferry lands is under construction, it feels a bit like the whole island is under construction. 

None of that really matters though.  Ulleung-do is by far the most beautiful place I've been in Korea.  It's a testimony to the depths of nature's ability to create color.  It's a shrine to color.  Blue-green water and deep-green forests, houses painted red and blue and yellow and green, Ulleung-do sits in stark contrast to the gray skies and gray building blocks that much of the rest of Korea suffers through.  So why is my first set of photos black and white?  I took over a thousand photos in two-and-a-half days and I'm overwhelmed by all the color in the other photos.  I'm trying to sort through and find the threads of our vacation and I feel like if I don't post something soon, I may not post anything.  So, here's my introduction to Ulleung-do, the island of color, in black-and-white.  As always, 10 pictures and some foolish comments.
In the background is the under-construction-ferry dock.  When it's finished, it'll be a great first stop in Ulleung-do.  It's still in use, only as you board or disembark you're wandering through a maze of construction.

Shellfish, cuttlefish, and all manner of seafood run this island.  This woman was cleaning a pile of dark purple sea urchins.

Here we go, clams, mussels, I don't know what these wriggling guys are, but people were eating them by the bucket full.

Ulleung-do is famous for its seaside walk, a path carved into the rocks that winds and twists above the water.  Our first night in town we walked a small part of it.

The catch came off the boat and into these buckets and then was distributed around the island.

Our first night in town we ate Nang Myeon, cold noodles, and kimchi.    We got off a ferry at 10, only to discover most of the town was already closed.  We were lucky to get the cold noodles.

Pohang is known for its dried squid, but apparently so is Ulleung-do.  These bad boys were going for $30 a squid.

The dock at Dodong is always a happening place.  Fisherman coming and going, tourists snapping pictures and waiting for busses to ferry them around the island, the dock is the spot.

As part of the renovations to the ferry terminal, a bridge is being built that people will walk across as they get off the boat and come into town.  The bridge is finished, just not yet in use.

Overall our mini-vacation was awesome.  It was a relaxing, eventful way to spend four days, and it was a great chance to see a whole new Korea.  


  1. Love, Love, Love the new look of your blog! It really shows off your photos and of course I love the writing. Makes me want to plan my Korean Getaway!

  2. love the new blog layout and the beautiful pictures! looks great!