ULJIN COUNTY, North Gyeongsang Province ― Roughly a four-hour drive from the bustling city center of Seoul lies the peaceful, coastal county of Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province.
Known to locals as the snow crab capital of the peninsula, the area has a well-established reputation of having some of the freshest and most affordable raw fish restaurants in the country. However, aside from its delectable sashimi selection, Uljin is also an ideal blend of coast side splendor and vast mountain ranges ― making it a travel-worthy destination for adventure fanatics looking to spend the summer roughing it in the great outdoors.
Whether you fancy scuba diving, yachting or brisk nature walks in the most pristine of highland settings, sporting activities are aplenty for those looking to take advantage of the natural splendors.
A hiker climbs up the rocky trails of the Wangpicheon Valley in Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province. (Julie Jackson/The Korea Herald)
Along with its abundance of seafood euphoria to satisfy the standards of even the pickiest of foodies, Uljin has no shortage of mild trekking trails. Some of the region’s most popular and scenic trails include Wangpicheon and Shinsungyegok valleys. The rocky trails are nestled between Baekam Mountain ranges and will have trailblazers cutting through rocky paths alongside calm, cathartic streams and the occasional cascading waterfall.
Uljin first-timers should note that relying solely on public transportation for travel in the region will be highly limiting. Although it is not a requirement, an SUV or any sort of off-road vehicle is highly recommended for hard-to-reach mountain trail courses.
With its expansive coastline off the East Sea, water sports are needless to say one of the other highlight activities of Uljin. The UMI Ocean Leports Center offers expert training classes for novice divers or first-timers looking to cross scuba off their bucket list. Visitors can opt to practice diving in the center’s indoor pool area, or select the option to take a boat out to sea. It should be noted that those who choose the sea package are still required to take the center’s indoor pool training session prior to heading out.
A scuba diving instructor from the UMI Ocean Leports Center takes a class of students out to sea. (UMI Ocean Leports Center)
The notion of scuba diving often evokes images of being able to view breathtaking ocean life similar to the images one gets when thinking of the Great Barrier Reef. However, divers should be keep in mind that in Uljin, the undersea view will in no way be the neon blue crisp ocean paradise dive with spectacles of rainbow-colored schools of fish and coral.
While the peninsula’s scuba diving scene appeal has none of the warm and heavenly tropical waters off the coasts of the Philippines or Thailand, taking a stab at diving off the Uljin coast is nonetheless worthwhile when the weather conditions are in your favor.
Despite the scorching summer temperatures on land, the water is still bone-chillingly cold in the early months of summer, making the months of June and July not the most ideal times to dive, as visibility will also be nearly nonexistent.
For more information on the water sports programs offered at the UMI Ocean Leports Center, visit www.uljinleports.co.kr.
By Julie Jackson (email@example.com)