Hello intrepid explorers! Chris and I have been living on Ulleung-do for a little over a month, and we are settling in nicely to the slower pace of island life. As English travel information about the island is so scarce online, we have decided to put together a travel guide, including all the must-see sites, best restaurants, and general touristy information like that! Today I will tell you all about the Taeha Monorail.
Taeha is a small seaside town on the North-West of Ulleung-do. This part of the island feels different from Dodong and the bigger areas, and you can find yourself taking tons of pictures while exploring the main street which boasts a lively mix of murals, from Alice in Wonderland, to owls basking in money, it really is worth a visit. There is also a museum in Taeha, which boasts an impressive recreation of a merchant boat which you can climb up into and explore. As always in Korea, selfie opportunities abound.
But the real beauty of Taeha is found by taking the monorail. The ride takes about 5 minutes, and it is an exciting yet smooth ride up a very steep cliff, with near 360 degree view depending on how many people you share your monorail car with.
Once up at the station, you have a few choices for where to walk. You can take a walk along to Hyangmok Lighthouse (항목 등대), something Chris and I still have on our to do list, which is apparently around 500 metres away from the station. However, I would really recommend finding your way to what is arguably the best viewpoint on Ulleung-do, something we found purely by luck! When we visited the monorail, we found ourselves surrounded by a super friendly Korean tour group, and since they looked like they knew where they were going, we followed them for a while. After a few minutes, we found ourselves walking across someone’s farm, and we decided that perhaps the tour group was just a group of really enthusiastic agricultural professionals, not the photo happy tourists they seemed to be. We managed to turn around and walk for all of 10 metres before the tour guide cornered us, informed us that he was in fact a tour guide, that he knew exactly where he was going, and that we absolutely had to follow him. I am so glad that we did.
Another few minutes on from the farm, on a really not well marked path at all, we came out on the side of a cliff and the views were spectacular. So many photos were taken! This is one of my favorite spots on the island, and if you can go on a clear day, you can see into the gorgeous turquoise water that surrounds the island, and get a sense for just how far out in the middle of the ocean you are. It is wonderful and you should not miss it!
How to get there
The monorail is situated in Taeha, and if you take the bus from Dodong or Chonbu, you will get off when the bus does a u-turn next to a pretty church. It is the only u-turn on the route so you cannot miss it! Walk down to the beach and turn right, walk along the promenade until you see the monorail building just before the entrance to the seaside walk that is still currently under construction. Tickets cost 4000 per person, and make sure you knock on the window of the ticket office, because sometimes it looks closed when it isn’t. Also check when the monorail will return, as times vary according to demand. To get to the viewpoint, walk along the trail towards the lighthouse (to the left as you get off the monorail), and instead of following the large brown signpost up to the lighthouse, you will see a trail up to the right that seems to lead onto a farm. Walk across the farm, yes it is a trail, and go through some bushes/trees. Then follow the trail to the left and you will find the viewpoint. Happy trekking!