To get into the forest of Ulsan, you must first start at a university, wander around the campus, and climb a hill to get to a giant satellite dish.
Once you enter the forest, if you can read Korean, you may also learn about how hiking can benefit your feet.
A few miles on, up one of the less major peaks, you may see some slopes and bare trees.
Along with rock formations that glisten under the sun’s rays.
Finally, upon ascent to the highest peak, you can emjoy fine a view of the whole city, onto the shipyards and East Sea.
Further down from the peak, you can enter the grounds of a lovely temple complex.
I went to one beach in the city of Ulsan, called Ilsan beach, the first weekend I came to Korea, back in October. It was still more or less beach weather at that time. Ilsan beach is not in the main drag of Ulsan, which is more full of lights, department stores and places to eat or drink, but accessible via a bus route that takes you past a huge, industrial stretch of Hyundai factories and warehouses.
This beach is found downhill, and has a number of school children hanging out on Saturdays, and a bunch of families on folding chairs, set up to fish, on Sundays. Off in the water, you can see the huge, boxy industrial ships either getting ready to dock, or off to send their manufactured goods elsewhere. The only people really going into the water are little kids.
Even more interesting is the park next to the beach. You must walk up about a hundred concrete stairs to ascend to it. Once there, it is completely carved with paths and benches. They even set up wired megaphones attached to trees that play music while you are walking around. The best way to enjoy this park is to hike throughout, and then find a comfortable spot to admire the rock formations and sea.
This last weekend, I made it to Bugku,which is a northern coastal outskirt region of Ulsan. This time, I ventured there on the back of a scooter. This trek to this destination involved more freedom and access to viewing scenery of green hills and flat farmlands, but as it is December, it was also full of strong winds and numb limbs.
Upon arrival, this coastal part of Bukgu was a pleasant, simple little beach spot. The beach it self was full of round stones, so it is best to navigate using hiking boots. The crowd there was mostly families in wind-resistant jackets who drove down to check out the water, shiver, walk back to their cars, kick the sand off their shoes, hop in and drive away to a warmer place.
There was one specified wall of rock formations, plus a plaque of geological explanation that I fail to recall.
Bugku also featured also one lone fisher standing straight on an empty spot of the beach, trying to make his catch of the day in the icy, salty air and endless blue horizon.