CONTRIBUTED BY QUENTIN RICHARDSON
During the long weekend, I really wanted to venture out to a more peaceful, less crowded area. Since I already saw most of the sights in Busan, I wanted to try something else in the area not too far away from the city. Running some quick searches, I quickly narrowed down to a day-trip to Ulsan from the Nopo Terminal.
Ulsan is about 1 hour away on the intercity bus or 45 minutes on the light rail station. I woke up early and caught the intercity bus at Nopo Station (Busan Metro Line 1). The bus takes you through central Ulsan and allows you to get off a few stops before the Ulsan Bus Terminal. With the help of printed directions from Naver, I was able to show the taxi driver where I wanted to go. The alternative was to take a bus up Route 31, which puts you near the edge of the park and about 1 or 2 km from where I wanted to start.
The taxi driver understood that I wanted to start near the pedestrian bridge, so he guided me to a busy crosswalk where I would be only a few steps away from the bridge. Since the park is very large and situated on large river, it is pretty easy to find (like the Han River in Seoul). The park (if approached from the south) is across the river and can be easily reached by several bridges, but the pedestrian bridge is the best and put me right where I wanted to be. At this point, I really wished I had a bike.
The first reason that influenced the trip here was the Taehwagang simnidaebat bamboo forests. The bamboo here was used to prevent frequent flooding, now its used as a peaceful forest walk with trails and benches inside. The forest trails are VERY LONG and thick enough to block the scenery of the river from the field. There are several smaller patches of forests around the large set on both sides of the river, even around the riverside observatory.
Another beautiful setting (just in case the bamboo isn’t enough) I encountered is the extremely extensive flower field filled with over 60 million flowers of different colors and species (60 million!) It stretches from the edge of the park to the edge of the bamboo forest and makes for some awesome photos. If you space out or daydream too long, you might end of catching a nap, I caught a few locals in the flowers catching Z’s. A few volunteers tend to the massive garden.
The residents of Ulsan are extremely friendly and love to offer food and friendly conversation (in English), so please be kind and oblige them. Also, DO NOT PICK THE FLOWERS OR TRY TO TAKE A SOUVENIR BAMBOO SHOOT. Not admitting that I did, but it’s kinda a big deal not to mutilate the natural scenery since someone took a lot of time and effort to make it look nice. There are plenty of place to walk through or into the flower beds for photos or by using established photo zones.
If you are like me and look around seeing something in the nearby mountains, and just HAVE TO see how to get up there, well you’re in luck. My curiosity found an entrance to hiking trails that lead to two observatories overlooking the park. Just follow the edge of the river until you see the dolphins (yes, dolphins). The entrance to the massive city-wide hiking network is just behind the apartments (about 600 meters from the pedestrian bridge). The city-wide hiking network is more than 17 km, maybe next time…
Okay, so getting to “Ulsan” or “Taehwagang” Grand Park is very simple. Again, I used the intercity bus from Nopo Station in Busan, then a taxi (to avoid the early morning traffic). But you can Google “Taehwhagang” and find many websites that list which buses to take (there are a lot).
If you show a Korean driver the Hangul description they will know what you mean, it is what I did.
Sinjeong1-dong, Nam-gu, Ulsan-si
울산 남구 신정1동