Surrounded by inviting stretches of sandy beach and natural hot springs, Uljin boasts a picturesque setting overlooking the Sea of Japan. A traditional farming and fishing region, it’s also home to impressive cultural sites, ancient temples and sacred caves.
Things to do
A highlight of Uljin is the limestone cave of Seongnyu-gul, which means “the cave where the holy Buddha stayed” and is where a sacred Buddha statue was hidden during the Japanese invasions of Korea. Follow the juniper tree-lined walking trail to the entrance of the cave, then admire the unique formations illuminated by a rainbow of coloured lights.
Embark on a scenic drive along the coastal road from Uljin to Bonghwa, travelling through the magnificent Bukyeong Valley. It’s home to the 7th-century Buddha Shadow Temple, one of the region’s most photogenic locations due to a shadow resembling Buddha that is cast on the adjacent lake.
Continue north to Deokgu Valley for a soak in the open-air waters of the Deokgu Hot Spring. Another atmospheric spot to relax is the nearby Baekam Hot Spring whose 43-degrees-Celsius sulphur-rich waters were discovered by a monk during the ancient Silla period.
Make a day trip south from Uljin to the small farming community of Pyeonghae where the 14th-century Wolsong-jeong temple offers fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. Also nearby is the colourful pavilion of Mangyang-jeong, which is surrounded by pine trees overlooking Mangyang Beach.
Uljin is three hours’ drive north of Pohang Airport, with flight connections to Seoul and Busan. Buses are the main means of getting around the town and accessing the surrounding sights.