There’s no doubt South Korea is a fascinating place to visit, with millions of tourists coming in every year.
But the bulk of these tourists goes to cities such as Seoul and Busan and smaller cities often don’t receive many visitors. Ulsan is one such city, one that is definitely worth visiting.
Make sure you include Ulsan in your list of places to visit when you come to South Korea!
So, what can you do in Ulsan?
In a nutshell, there’s a lot you can do in this amazing city!
You can take a walk in Daewangam Park, explore Ilsan Beach, visit the Jangsaengpo Whale Culture Village, book an exciting whale-watching cruise, hike in the Yeongnam Alps, and tour the massive Hyundai Motors plant.
Read on to find out more about the places you can visit and explore in Ulsan. Have fun and happy reading!
What to do in Ulsan
Here, we picked some of the best destinations and experiences that should be on the top of your visit list if you come to Ulsan.
Enjoy reading and learning about these parks, museums, and many other exciting places!
Visit the Daewangam Park
One of the best ways to get started on a tour of Ulsan is by visiting Daewangam Park. It is a natural park that is situated at a headland on the East Sea coast.
The park is covered with numerous pine trees, and rocky outcrops, and also has a lighthouse!
Korean legend holds that Daewangam Island is actually the wife of a king who vanished at sea in the 7th century and returned as a dragon to protect the sea.
This is because the island bears resemblance to a dragon rising up from the water.
Explore Ilsan Beach
If you want to take a walk on a beach, Ulsan’s Ilsan Beach is where you should go. The beach is a great one, with golden sand and the water a beautiful shade of blue.
To the south is the Daewangam headland which protects the beach and makes it perfect for swimming.
Ilsan Beach also has a summer festival in July each year, with fireworks, music, volleyball tournaments, and much more.
There’s also an amusement park, along with many restaurants and coffee shops.
If you’re in the mood for a walk, the beach is very close to Daewangam Park and you can walk to the beach from there.
Jangsaengpo Whale Culture Village
Jangsaengpo was the biggest whaling port in the whole of the Korean peninsula in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
It was home to a large fleet of whaling ships as well as thousands of residents.
The Whale Culture Village in Jangsaengpo was established to record the history of the whaling era from its peak to the ban on whaling in 1986.
Besides learning about the history of the whaling era and whales themselves in the Whale Culture Village.
Plus, you can view interesting historic whaling artifacts in the Whale Museum such as harpoons, oil buckets, and skeletal models of whales.
Check out the Ulsan Museum
The Ulsan Museum is another place that should be on your visit list when you’re in Ulsan.
The futuristic building has an impressive, modern design that looks like an amalgamation of 3D geometric shapes.
Complementing its unique design are a number of pools along the museum’s walls.
The museum is just as impressive from the inside as it is from the outside, with vivid exhibits showcasing Ulsan’s history.
Here, you’ll learn a lot about Ulsan’s history as a whaling port and more recently, as an important industrial center.
You’ll also find many items displayed in the modern section that was produced by the Ulsan Industrial Complex such as Hyundai’s first mass-produced car in the country.
If visiting the Jangsaengpo Whale Culture Village has somehow made you eager to get up close to whales and see them in their natural habitat.
Also, you can book a whale-watching cruise at the very same Whale Culture Village.
Whale-watching cruises usually take place from April to October and are typically three hours long or about an hour and a half for shorter ones.
Cruises depart the port many times a day during the peak season and venture out into the East Sea.
During the cruise, you can spot minke whales, gray whales as well as lots of dolphins.
In case you didn’t know, makgeolli is a popular Korean alcoholic beverage, an off-white, milky rice wine.
One of the best places to try this beverage is in the Yeongnam Alps, in a winery called Boksoondoga.
The Yeongnam Alps are located over 12 miles to the west of Ulsan and the peaks there has an average elevation of just over a 1-hour walk.
These Alps have lots of hiking trails and are the perfect means of exploring the beautiful countryside outside Ulsan.
The Yeongnam Alps are also special because they are nestled in between some of the biggest industrial hubs in the country.
Ulsan Bridge Observatory
Perhaps the best way to see a city in all its glory is to view it from above, from an observatory.
So if you want some breathtaking views of Ulsan, head over to the Ulsan Bridge Observatory and you won’t be disappointed.
The observatory is over 650 feet above sea level, so you’ll get great views of the city, the sea, the beach, and the industrial area.
At night, the views are even more enchanting as the shining lights of the city contrast beautifully with the blackness of the sea.
Hyundai Motors Plant
The Hyundai Motors plant in Ulsan is perhaps the biggest single automobile plant, spread out over an area of 1200 acres.
And what’s more, you can even take a guided tour of it.
You can book the tour in advance via Hyundai’s website and then you’ll be able to visit the many areas of this gigantic plant with a tour guide.
To give you some quick facts, the plant comprises five factories, produces an average of 5,700 vehicles each day, and employs over 30,000 workers.
The plant also has a dock nearby that can handle multiple enormous container ships.
Taehwagang River Grand Park
Once you visit Ulsan, you’ll realize the city has no shortage of parks and natural gardens.
The Taehwagang River Grand Park is a huge park that is situated along the bank of the river Taehwagang.
The park contains lots of cafes, exercise areas, walking paths, and drinking fountains. The park is also an excellent spot for taking great pictures.
Where To Stay in Ulsan
Ulsan offers plenty of accommodation options for tourists. So, whether you’re on a tight budget or not, you’ll have lots of options for staying at hotels or hostels.
These hotels and hostels are neat, clean, and offer lots of amenities.
Here are our choices for the best hotels and hostels in Ulsan.
Check out some of the best Ulsan hotels you can stay in below.
Shilla Stay Ulsan. The Shilla Stay hotel in Ulsan is one of the best hotels you can stay in.
It is situated at the center of the city and is just a few minutes’ drive away from the Ulsan Museum, the Taehwa River Grand Park, and the Hyundai Motors plant.
A standard room for two costs about $54.78, or 71,152 Korean won per night.
Lotte City Hotel Ulsan. Another highly rated hotel is the Lotte City Hotel. Slightly pricier than the Shilla Stay hotel, a room costs about $61.59 or 80,000 Korean won.
The hotel has all the modern facilities you might expect and additionally has free Wi-fi and free parking.
Staz Hotel Ulsan. The Staz Hotel is the perfect option for those who don’t want to spend a lot on accommodation but also want to enjoy the facilities of a modern hotel in Ulsan.
It costs about $44.62 or 57,956 Korean won to rent a single room for one night.
This hotel is also located in the city center and is close to the Ulsan Grand Park and the Dongchun Gymnasium.
Mercure Ambassador Ulsan. If you have a bigger budget and are looking for a clean, comfortable hotel near the beach, then the Mercure Ambassador might be a good option for you.
With rooms starting from $85.39 or 110,909 Korean won, this hotel offers free parking and an excellent buffet breakfast.
If you want to cut down on your accommodation expenses while you’re in Ulsan, check out these hostels below that provide excellent value for the money.
Remnant Guesthouse. This hostel is located in Ulsan’s Nam-Gu district and is quite near Ulsan Grand Park, as well as the Ulsan Museum.
It is clean, and comfortable and offers free parking and free Wi-fi. The average cost of a room for two is $26, or 33,771 Korean won.
Illuso Guesthouse Hostel. The Illuso Guesthouse is another great option to consider if you want to stay in a cozy, comfortable hostel.
It is located in the Seosaeng-myeon district of Ulsan and offers double rooms and shared dormitories.
Ulsan Guesthouse by Sleeping Pong. This hostel is another great option if you want to save money on accommodation.
It is located near the center of the city and is close to Ilsan Beach, the Hyundai Motors plant, and the Seuldo Lighthouse.
You have the option of staying in standard rooms, rooms with bunk beds, as well as a shared dormitory for women.
What is Ulsan known for?
Industrial Heart of South Korea
Here are a few facts about Ulsan. It is home to over a million people and is the seventh-largest metropolitan city, as well as the eighth-largest city overall in South Korea.
Ulsan is famously known as the industrial heart of South Korea since it has many huge industrial plants.
These include the Hyundai Motors plant, one of the largest automobile plants in the world, a huge shipyard, and an oil refinery.
Ulsan also has some of South Korea’s best tourist attractions, including the Jangsaengpo Whale Culture Village and the Yeongnam Alps.
It also has many beautiful parks, and Ulsan Grand Park is one of the best in the whole country.
Jangsaengpo Whale Culture Village
As we previously mentioned, Ulsan was an important whaling center in the late 18th and 19th centuries and had a large fleet of whaling ships operating out of the port.
The Jangsaengpo Whale Culture Village in Ulsan is one of the best places to learn more about the role the city played in the whaling era and its transition into a giant industrial hub over the decades.
Other important landmarks of the city include the Munsu Stadium and the Ulsan Airport, which provides domestic air travel services.
To sum it up, Ulsan is a very promising and exciting tourism destination, one that should be on your travel bucket list.
It has plenty of great tourist attractions, including impressive natural history museums, beautiful parks, whale-watching cruises, and of course, the largest single automobile plant in the world that you can tour.
When it comes to accommodation, Ulsan offers several options for tourists with all kinds of budgets.
Whether you want a bit of luxury with affordable prices, or you want to strictly cut down on your living expenses, you’ll always find a reasonable option within your budget.
In this guide, we’ve explored many of Ulsan’s tourist attractions in detail and have also mentioned some of the best hotels and hostels you can stay in.
Visit Ulsan next time you’re in South Korea!