Hyeonpo (현포), like Taeha and Hakpo, can be quite easy to breeze past while travelling around Ulleungdo, but there are several sights that you may want to to add to your island itinerary.
Hyeonpo is 10 minutes from Cheonbu by bus, and is about 50 minutes from Dodong. For more information on how to use the buses on Ulleungdo, make sure you read our post on Ulleungdo Travel Hacks, it has some essential advice on making your trip to the island as smooth as possible.
Here’s what not to miss around Hyeonpo:
Most tour guides and maps of Ulleungdo include the Elephant rock. This rock formation is just outside Hyeonpo and you will spot it as you wind your way down the hill leading into town. Often rocks require a lot of imagination to see the given shape (read about the Turtle rock at Tongumi) but this really does look like an elephant. And not only that, I have had several conversations on at least 2 different ways that you can see an elephant in the rock.
It is a beautiful natural sight and it is worth a stop for a photo on your way through Hyeonpo. There is also coffee available at this viewing point to keep you going!
The Sculpture Garden (예림원)
The sculpture garden is well hidden and apart from a very brief mention that I finally found on a tourist map, I have seen nothing written about this place. What possibly makes it so secret is where it has been built. It is stuck about 500m outside of Hyeonpo without any real signposts, you may only catch a glimpse of a sign as you go past in your bus.
Where the main road splits for two lanes of traffic you will see a very steep road going up away from the ocean. Follow this road to find the sculpture garden.
You will not regret visiting this place; the gardens are huge and include water features and waterfalls. There are weird and wonderful sculptures scattered around the garden as well as a massive collection of bonsai. It also has a great view over Elephant rock.
Black Pebble Beach
The black pebble beach is near Hyeonpo and is one of my top snorkeling beaches on Ulleungdo. Heading out of Hyeonpo towards Dodong you will see a road fork to your right as the main road winds up the hill. Take the fork to your right and follow this road for about 20 minutes on foot. You will find a large ocean research building that stands over a beach with tiny grey pebbles, this is black pebble beach.
It is quite out of the way so not many people go there and you will possibly have the whole beach to yourself. It is a large beach so even if there are people you will be able to find a spot to yourself. Like most beaches on Ulleungdo the water gets deep very quickly so it is great for a swim. There are also lots of fish around there and you can have tons of fun snorkeling around.
From Hyeonpo’s black pebble beach you can see back up to the viewing points that you can reach from the Taeha Monorail. It is beautiful and calm around this beach and if you want some time to relax, definitely spend some time here. Take an umbrella if you go in Summer, because there’s not really any shaded seating.
On your way towards the black pebble beach you will see signs to the Ancient Tombs in Hyeonpo (동고분군). These tombs are scattered over the surrounding hills and they were excavated in 1957 and 1963 by the Korean National Museum. The area is mostly farmland now but if you take take to wander the paths on the slope you will find small, man-made caves. There is nothing left in the tomb but it is fascinating if history is your thing! From the relics it is presumed that the tombs were built in the Unified Silla period (668-935 CE).
Food and drink around Hyeonpo
Hyeonpo Bancheom (현포 반점)
If you find yourself in Hyeonpo around meal time make sure you visit the Hyeonpo Bancheom. This place makes the best Jjajang sauce on the island and their Jjajangmyeon is fantastic! If you don’t know much about Korean food then check out this comprehensive guide to Korean cuisine.
If you are a fan of Korean TV you may have seen this restaurant on the local show 시골경찰, a show about rural police in Korea. We ended up on this show acting as English tourists visiting Ulleungdo. It was a rather funny story leading up to us being involved and how it all turned out in the end, you can read all about in our Korean TV debut.
Ulleungdo Coffee Van
If you stop by the elephant rock viewing point in Hyeonpo you can pick up a coffee from the Ulleungdo Coffee Van. The van is run by a local couple and they make a variety of delicious coffees and teas to drink while you take in the view.
The lady, Kim, who runs the van also has an Airbnb in Hakpo that I would highly recommend. Not only is it in a beautiful location right by Hakpo Beach, but Kim can also provide transport to and from the ferries and is fluent in English.
Final thoughts on Hyeonpo
Hyeonpo may not have quite as much to offer as the other Ulleungdo towns but the few gems it has are worth a visit. Because of their obscurity you will often have places to yourself, so if you are a more off the beaten path traveller, Hyeonpo is for you!
If you’re looking for accommodation around Ulleungdo make sure to try Airbnb and booking.com. If you use the Airbnb link below to sign up you will receive a $40 discount on your first booking and we also receive a small discount on our next booking, so it’s a win-win.
Click on the booking.com link below to find hotels around Ulleungdo. This is an affiliate link for us so we do get a small commission from any booking through this link. It doesn’t affect your cost at all and it helps us keep the blog running!
For a complete overview of Ulleungdo, what to see and what to do, make sure to read the most comprehensive English guide to Ulleungdo Island online, with a free, downloadable pdf guide. For more specific information check out the links below:
- Ulleungdo Travel Hacks
- Taeha and Hakpo
- Sadong and Tongumi
- The best snorkeling on Ulleungdo
- Taeha Monrail
Happy travels and blue skies!
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