Weekend Trip to Ulsan with Hyundai Hotel

Monday, 3 April 2017

Headed to Ulsan over the weekend of March 18th and was graciously hosted by Hyundai Hotel Ulsan. The place was great, not too difficult to find, just a bus ride from the terminal to the east side of Ulsan. The great thing about Hyundai Hotel is that it is located far away from the rest of the hotels, to hit a different niche. If you're going to Ulsan, you're definitely not going there for the city life, or to shop in their malls, because you can do all of that in Seoul, or even Busan for that matter. If you're heading to Ulsan, you're definitely looking for some nature, or in Korean words, healing (힐링).

Hyundai Hotel

Left Seoul early in the morning, but since it took such a long time to get there, we arrived slightly past 4pm. Checked-in, and decided to take a rest before we headed for dinner. Got a little tour of the hotel, and of the suites available before we headed down to the Topaz Buffet Restaurant. I was initially a little skeptical since many buffets in Korea do not serve a wide variety of western food, but mostly asian cuisine. I was appalled by the size of the restaurant. It was extremely large and it had a huuuuuuge range of dishes, from Korean (obviously), to Western and even fresh crabs and a sushi bar where the chef prepares them on demand.

Okay so I was pretty impressed. In buffets, rather than quantity, I like trying many different types of food, especially if they looked interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the food there, and the place lives up to its name. Topaz Restaurant is a place that many people (even those outside of Ulsan) frequent. They're well known for their dinner buffet and are usually fully booked. They had a well stocked dessert bar as well that have some of their cakes that are being sold in their bakery. 

After dinner, we headed on to the Ulsan Bridge Observatory Tour (chartered bus provided by the hotel). Headed up to the top floor and proceeded to get blown by the very chilly strong winds. The view was amazing though. If only the area was a little more cleaned up and a little less industrialized... Nevertheless, the lights were breathtaking. We headed down to the cafe to hide from the cold and to grab a cuppa before heading back via the bus. 

We got a cake from their bakery, aptly named The Shop, what we thought would be a slice, turned out to be an entire cake from the coupon the marketing team provided me. The cake was great, not too moist and not too spongey. Couldn't finish it so we left it to the next day. Headed down to the bar for some drinks, snacks, cheese (I'm so cultured), and a live piano performance. The atmosphere and vibe was great for chatting and it was just a nice place to relax after a long day.

Went to bed slightly past 12 since we had to go for a long hike the next morning. Got up, had some breakfast and headed back to the room to back before we got a cab to the beach. We initially decided to visit Ulsan Grand Park since it was one of the main highlights of Ulsan, since it has a bamboo grove, a zoo and a lot of different things to do all packed in one location. However, the marketing department hooked us up with this location called the Daewangam Park, which is situated behind the beach. 

On the cab ride there, the driver told us that this place isn't usually frequented by foreigners, because it's not really made well known to them. I felt a little more excited that we didn't decide to go to the Grand Park instead. Ilsan beach was really clean, and not at all crowded (but maybe it's because it was still technically winter). The water was clean and clear though, compared to the many other beaches that I've been to in Korea. 

Towards the right, there was a huge stairway that stretched far into the woods. Just in front of the stairway, a sign showed us just how big the Daewangam Park is. We walked through the woods and came to this clearing where there were so many cars parked with restaurants, cafes and the likes. Decided to take on Course A and return back with Course B since the main attraction were the cliffs of Daewangam and the pebble beach located at the end of Course A.

We walked through the forest for what felt like 20 minutes and then we finally made it to a clearing. The sky was beautiful and we had a great view of the sea. There were many dents and crevices in the cliffs but that was what made it so special. I was really hoping we were able to hike down to the little caves located below because the water was so crystal blue. 

Having travelled around Korea for almost 3 years, there are many things that look really similar that do not astonish me much anymore. However, the cliffs and the rocks here really dazzled me. Apparently they look like they used to be lava in the past but there are no volcanoes here. The difference in colour came from the years and years of waves splashing up against it and causing discolouration on the rocks below because the ones located near the top were pale. 

Climbed down a steep crevice in the rocks to see this rock formation that looked like a man who was waiting for something. I remember reading something along the way about this rock but didn't manage to snap a photo. The view here was magnificent and I was really blown away by the colours because they worked so well together. The green of the trees, together with the brown cliffs and azure waters, it was just a sight to behold. 

The Waiting Man

After that, it was just rocks upon rocks upon rocks along the cliffs but they were all just so spectacular that I had to take a photo of every one of them. (And I wanted to play with my wide angle lens of course). After another 20 minutes or so we reached a clearing where people were cooking and selling live seafood. You could climb down and sit by the sea and have some fresh clams or sashimi. 

Finally reached the end of Course A, where it connected to Course B, C and D. If we had more time I would've cleared all the 4 different courses. The connecting area was beautiful. A metal bridge sat across a little rocky isle which looked beautiful however the wind was blowing so much I was freezing. Turned around to the other side and found the pebble beach. The waters were clearer here and it was just so breathtaking. Definitely a place I would recommend if you want to get away from the city, visit some nature, and just enjoy yourself.

Many thanks to Hyundai Hotel Ulsan for hosting me, allowing me a visit to Ulsan (though I haven't seen much). Definitely will be looking forward to coming back for another trip, hopefully longer than 2 days seeing that a bus ride down took me 5 hours! Overall, an enjoyable weekend trip! 


  1. Wow, it's amazing! Great photos and nice weather with good people!

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