Taeha, Ulleung-do

If you're looking for the anti-Korea Korea, Ulleung-do might be the place for you.  Nowhere to be seen are the chain coffee shops or the blindingly harsh, blindingly white lights of the ubiquitous phone stores.  I don't remember a smoke stack or a factory blighting the skyline, and holy shit, you are not going to believe this, there are public trash cans on the street.  Don't worry, there are still little piles of trash in lots of places, but if chucking your plastic bottle into the sea isn't your thing, at least there's a place to put your trash if you can hang onto it for a couple hundred feet.  

So what of Korea lives here, thrives here, makes Ulleung-do so great?  How about the food.  Seafood so fresh it's served out of a bucket pulled in that morning, still in the shell.  Yakso bulgogi, beef from cows specially raised on the island, cows served a special mix of herbs and vegetables that leave the beef tender and delicious.  And awesome kimchi.

How about the people?  10,000 people over 75 square kilometers makes for a relatively sparsely populated place.  Drive away from Dodong Harbor, the tourist heart, or Jodong Harbor, the local heart, and the houses and shops fall away and are replaced with lighthouses and green fields and mountains that jump straight up from the shoreline.  It's Korea as it once was.  As it is now in some places.  It's a beautiful Korea, an old Korea, a Korea worth buying a backpack and jumping on a plane for. 

The first real town up the coast is a place that barely registers as a town.  A church, a temple, a school, a couple of restaurants.  And a twisting metal staircase bolted, hammered, concreted into the rock, rising above the water, creaking and swaying under foot.  Ride the monorail straight up the cliff, walk up a winding forest path and come to a viewing area that rivals any I've seen.  Left and right, the coastline of Ulleung-do, the jagged lava rocks, the quiet rocky beaches, and the sea, running forever.  Taeha's a place to spend some time, drink some pumpkin juice, and enjoy the beauty that Korea can give.  As always, here's 10 pictures and some foolish comments.

There are statues all over this little island, but I think this might be my favorite.  A giant squid coming out of the ground.
The monorail goes basically straight up.  You can walk the trail underneath if you like, but why, when you can ride this rickety old bucket to the top of the mountain.

I think this might be the old old monorail.  A seat that a truly brave person could ride down the mountain.  It wasn't running while we were there, but maybe you'll get lucky.

Taeha's coast is beautiful.  But I'm disappointed because I have a panorama of 50 pictures stitched together of this scene, however Google won't let me upload a file of that size.  In fact, I can't find anywhere that will let me host a 100mb pictures, so if you know of anywhere, please let me know.
You can kind of see it here, but there's a private beach down there that looks to be only accessible by boat.  Next time, that's where I'm headed.

The spiral walkway.  At the bottom enjoy a jug of pumpkin makkeoli and then stagger your way up to the top.

For some reason they were moving these giant things while we were there.  On the right you can see the walkway built into the wall.  Walking on it makes you realize you're happy you can swim.

Just up the coast from Taeha, a sunset shot.  

I have one more post from Ulleung-do, something that should cover all the spots I've missed, and then it's back to mainland Korea.  Sara and I headed out to Anapji Pond in Gyeongju and I'm excited about the pictures.

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