The Great Korean Road Trip – Day 8 – Ulleungdo Squid Festival

Distance Traveled Today: 12km

Distance Traveled Total: 1062km

Today started a lot earlier than I am used to. In order to catch a ferry to Ulleungdo from Gangneung, you have to be ready to sail out at 8:20. I really hate rushing, so I always try to show up early. It paid off since the parking situation was just ridiculous and I was a full 30 minutes early. I managed to get the very last ticket available andoff I was to Ulleungdo.

I learned a few things within an hour of being there. First off, Ulleungdo has scuba diving and legit sea life around the islands. Unfortunately, they were booked for the next few days. However, it was next to the rocky beach of Naesujeon so I decided to not make my trip in vein and went for a swim. Naesujeon lacks sand of any sort, so even calling it a beach is a bit of a stretch. However, what it lacks in sand, it makes up in water clarity and a view. It is definitely not the ideal swimming hole for most, but if you just want a quiet spot, its worth a visit. I remember visiting the same spot 5 years ago and having the same exactly same thought.

Naesujeon Ulleunggun
During the summer, they set up a kids pool next to it. Oh, and that is Jukdo in the background.

After getting back, taking a much needed shower, and checking out the docks, I saw the annual squid festival I noticed earlier was about to start. It was at one of these booths that I learned about the scuba in the first place. Ulleungdo is known for its delicious squid and has held this festival since 2001. They served about 10 squid dishes, all for free.

Ulleungdo Squid Buffet

This may sound weird, but to me, the highlight is always in the squid boats. To me, it feels like these boats encompass the true spirit of Ulleungdo. It is what makes the island known and what drives the economy, besides tourism of course. Every day, I make sure to take at least one walk around the docks and every night, I look out into the ocean as the boats light up their powerful lamps to attract squid by the thousands. Out of everything in Ulleungdo, this is probably what I enjoy the most.

Squid Boat
The boats lay dormant during the day. You can usually see the crew preparing squid near their boats in the afternoons.

 

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Julio Moreno

Julio is a California native who has lived abroad since 2009 as an expat in South Korea and New Zealand. He is especially passionate about experiencing other cultures and visiting as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible.
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