Ulleungdo [Day 1]

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

So I joined a program hosted by the KNUCN, where they help promote and protect nature, or in this case, the sanctity and pride of Korea, which is the Dokdo Islands. Since Dokdo is currently inhabited, we travelled first to Ulleungdo, which is famous for their squids, which is said to taste really differently from the ones in South Korea. If you have heard of Dokdo, you would know that it is in the midst of a tug-o-war situation between South Korea and Japan, where both are claiming the land is theirs, and like any other fights, neither would give it up. 

Anyway, I was really interested to see what the fuss was about, and an excuse to be able to travel around Korea to see more things than just Seoul. As such, I applied for it, and was one of the 100 people who were given a chance to go there! It was a 3D2N trip, however the day started at an ungodly hour of 4:30am where we had to gather outside a building near Seoul Station. As I was still residing in Incheon, I took the liberty of going to Seoul the night before, where I spent a night in a really overpriced Jjimjilbang (Sauna) where the facilities were mediocre.

Anyhow, I arrived there at 4:30am without any sleep since I spent the entire night there looking for a charging point, and ended up playing games till morning since it was so late already. I was able to catch some shuteye on the bus there because it was a whopping 3.5 hour trip to Mukho Ferry Terminal. Thereafter another 3 hour journey via Ferry to Ulleungdo. Before our arrival at the ferry terminal I was really sleepy and wasn't looking to making friends yet because all I wanted to do was to sit down and fall asleep so I didn't really take a good look at anyone there.

After we arrived at the terminal, we were to meet up together with our group, and group leader, where we were handed our tickets for the ferry. As I walked around, planning to snap photos of everyone around there, I met a few familiar faces... Apparently, not many people, even locals go to Ulleungdo, let alone Dokdo, because of the sheer cost of it. It costs even more than travelling to Jeju by plane that people almost never take it into consideration unless they are really patriotic about the land.


God knows how much I miss this guy man.  

Waqas from Wow Korea ^.^ 

Linh too! And apparently, Cristina (the one beside her) was from Wow Korea last year.

A new friend I made, Jordan, who is from Vermont, USA. 

The whole gang from Sunmoon apparently came together!  

Got on the ferry, knocked out and before I knew it, I was almost there. Got off the ferry, headed onto a bus that took us all the way to the hotel. Wasn't able to catch any sleep because the roads were simply too rocky. At least I felt awake to look around and take in this new place that I was going to be at for the next few days.

Then BAM, reached the hotel and the first thing on the itinerary was one thing that was music to the ears of my famished body: LUNCH! The food was, as all Korean food are, vege-like. Though, since we were on an island, I expected seafood and true enough, fish! It was really simple Asian fare, and I can't say that I disliked it, because it really reminded me of food back in Singapore. Well-fed and on an experience, what more can I say?

After lunch, we all headed out and the first place we were alighted at was the Turtle Rock (거북바위) and though I do not see the resemblance, I guess to some extent, it looks like the shell of a tortoise. Anyway, everyone was really excited to finally be walking around since all we did was sit and eat the whole morning. I met a lot of new people, including the ones I knew, and also people from Yonsei University, all seniors, considering the fact that I am a freshman.



We only have 3 guys in the entire group of 13... so that means 10 girls. (Not a bad thing, actually) 

After which, just went around taking more photos of people climbing up rocks, posing for selcas, and just having fun being with the people they know. Though, I'm pretty glad I wasn't the only one who came alone, or else it would be really hard to make new friends. Spent roughly around 40 minutes here, with everyone climbing up and down, and the organizers warning everyone about safety.

The waves were rough and they were crashing in like crazy, some people even got wet. I steered clear of standing near the edge for fear of my camera getting splashed. I guess that would be one of the minus points of carrying a camera, you don't actually get to go in and really have fun because you're lugging some device with you. At the same time, I'm okay with not doing that... since I seem to be really prone to accidents -_-

After that, we moved on to another area where there were shops. A few things Ulleungdo was famous for: Squid... and Pumpkins! So they used pumpkins to make many different things here... candy, yeot, honey, some kind of jam. It was all too pumpkinish for me... so I didn't buy anything D: Though I guess I needed to buy souvenirs back for friends haha.

Such breathtaking scenery D: 

And with breathtaking background, comes photographs 

There were many samples to try, so I did what any Singaporean would do: try all. (hahaha) 

Our group's beauties 

Imagine if there was a nice safety net below, I wouldn't mind rolling down 

 Harsh and his LG G3

If I remember correctly, the rock you see here is the lion rock (사자바위) 

So we continued on the journey to another pier, where you would see... more rocks. They have names for all the different rocks, and for some you'd actually be able to see the resemblance, but most of the time, I don't really get it anyway hahaha. Anyway, there was this point where one person shouted "photo!" and everyone just ran and gathered, and thus we have a group photo.

The brown things you see on the floor are actually dried out vegetables that they eat 

Smokers united 

Next up we moved on to this place where they sold perfume made from the plant you see below. Before we went into the shop, we were asked to just "grab" the plants and smell our hands. The fragrance was so strong and minty. I was pretty surprised. Though after a long while of smelling it, it just got really weird. Anyway, everything in the entire shop was made with the essence of this plant, from hand sanitizers, to perfumes, even tea, to soaps.

The last place we went to for the day was Nari Basin (나리분지), which, from its name, I expected some big ass crater in the middle of no where. Though it basically just is the lowest platform on the entire island of Ulleungdo. There is a house made out of stone that villagers built a long long time ago in the 1880's. Other than that, there were farms everywhere. I guess it's because it's the lowest flattest point, that water seeps downwards, maybe?

After a long tiring day of walking, travelling and talking, we finally headed back to the hotel, where I scrambled to have dinner, headed back upstairs, took a shower and told Ashraf that I'd "take a nap" and he assured me that I wouldn't be waking up till the next morning. I slept around 7pm... and then woke up around 10:30pm to brush my teeth, play a little bit of games, and then knocked out till the next morning 7am.. Wished I had gone to see the sunrise though, like some of the others because they said it was really beautiful. But that being said, day 1 done. Stay tuned for the next 2 days~

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