Ulsan is a seaside city on the southeast coast located directly north of Busan with a population of about 1.2 million people, most famous for its plethora of heavy industry and the massive presence of one of Korea’s largest conglomerates, Hyundai. What was a small city reliant on fishing and whaling began a rapid transformation into an industrial powerhouse in the 1960’s, and has since become Korea’s richest city, with the highest GDP per capita of any city in the country. It’s home to the world’s largest shipyard and automobile plant, both run by Hyundai, as well as one of the world’s largest oil refineries, owned by SK Energy, and many conglomerates, such as Samsung, LG, and Lotte, have important sectors of their companies located in Ulsan. The industrial zones in Ulsan, especially the oil refineries, may be a blight on the overall landscape of the city, but Hyundai’s massive shipyards are a sight to behold; the sheer size of the ships under construction and the facilities that build them are a clear demonstration of what man can accomplish.
With such a huge amount of economic activity, it’s no wonder the city also has a highly developed downtown area, with hyper-modern office towers and high-rise apartments dominating much of the cityscape. Ulsan’s Jung-gu District is home to the traditional Jungang Market, packed with butchers, greengrocers, and tons of restaurants, and the host of the Big Kid Night Market, which runs every Friday and Saturday from Spring to Fall. Across the way from Jungang Market is Ulsan’s main shopping district, Youth Street, filled with various name brand clothing stores and shops selling anything from phone cases to fashion accessories.
Despite the large presence of heavy industry in the city, Ulsan still has many natural wonders, including Daewangam, a beautiful seaside park with a large forest making way to a series of cliffs jutting over the ocean, and Gajisan Mountain, Ulsan’s largest mountain and the gateway to the beautiful Yeongnam Alps mountain range. Gajisan Mountain is also home to Seongnamsa Temple, a Buddhist temple built in the 10th-century that’s home to a large nunnery and numerous national cultural properties. A bit off the beaten track of Gajisan Mountain is Paraeso Falls, a gorgeous 15-meter high waterfall that brings a cool respite to hikers in the summer. And of course, Ulsan also has quite a few beaches, such as Jinha Beach, Ilsan Beach, and Jeongja Beach.
Since Ulsan sits right next to the sea it obviously has plenty of seafood restaurants, but one dish that’s unique to Ulsan is whale meat. There are a couple traditional restaurants that serve whale meat, whether raw, slice and boiled (suyuk), or served in a stew, carrying on Ulsan’s whaling past. A village in the far west Ulsan district of Eulju-gun called Eonyang is famous for its bulgogi, a special style known as Eonyang Bulgogi which is a large pancake of bulgogi grilled over charcoal.
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News & Events
COEX Food Week
Starfield COEX Mall
November 20th - 23rd Where: COEX Mall Foodies get your utensils ready becuase Coex Food Week is coming up! One of the most anticipated international exhibitions in Seoul, this event showcases cultivated food products, prepared food products, food and beverages, food processing, baking, kitchen utensils and much more! Not only can you go eat lots of international foods but you can also learn about the food industry and how food is prepared all over the world. Both tasty and educational this event is a must for all food lovers!
Busan Fireworks Festival (부산 불꽃축제)
Busan Firework Festival
The Busan Fireworks Festival takes place every fall season along Gwangalli Beach. The festival’s diverse programs of cultural events, high-tech laser light shows, and myriad of unique and colorful fireworks make this one of Busan's most popular festivals, drawing crowds of over 1 million visitors each year. Although people flock to the beach for a closer view of the festivities, nearby Hwangnyeongsan Mountain, Dongbaekseom Island, and Igidae Coastal Park also offer great views of the fireworks. Cost: Free (Separate fees may apply to some activities) Transportation: Geumnyeonsan Station (Busan Subway Line 2), Exit 1 & 3. Gwangan Station (Busan Subway Line 2), Exit 3 or 5.
Light Festival at The Garden of Morning Calm
Garden of Morning Calm
Light Festival at The Garden of Morning Calm Date: Annually Dec-March Lighting Time: Sunset~9 pm Come see the light festival at The Garden of Morning Calm, one of Korea's largest botanical gardens! At night the garden is illuminated by nearly 30,000 lights in all different colors and shapes. Be illuminated as you are transported into a fantasy land filled with nostalgic thematic installments and sculptures such as gingerbread houses, pumpkin carriages, dancing dolphins, and more! This is one of the biggest winter season events and a great activity to get in the Christmas spirit.