Sadong (사동) is the first Ulleungdo town you pass through on your way to Cheonbu from Dodong. Tongumi (통구미) is a little further along the coast. These 2 towns may not come up on your tour radar of Ulleungdo but both have some little gems that are worth stopping for.
What to see in Sadong and Tongumi:
Ulleungdo Botanical Gardens (울릉자생식물원)
In Sadong you will find the Ulleungdo Botanical Gardens, just off the main road and above the harbour. The interesting thing about this botanical gardens is that it has all the plants that are unique to Ulleungdo. Unfortunately their common names are all in Korean but their scientific names are given in English.
The park also has a small, grass amphitheatre where you can sit and enjoy a great view over the ocean. There are swings that are fun to play on even as an adult and a workout area nearby if you want to get in a quick session!
The gardens do not appear to be incredibly well looked after but very few tourists find their way there so it is a quiet and beautiful spot for a picnic.
As you pass the Sadong ferry terminal you will see a road that forks off the main road with a sign to ‘울릉자생식물원’. It is an official bus stop if you are taking the bus. Head up the road and you will find the botanical gardens at the top and on your left. There is also a stairway that leads to the gardens. The stairway is hidden behind a large, grey apartment building and may be more difficult to find if you don’t know where to look.
Tucked well away from the road you will find the Sadong pool. It is next to where the sea walkway used to connect Dodong to Sadong. The term ‘pool’ is a little generous, it is an area of ocean that has been walled off to some extent.
Like most beaches in Ulleungdo, this beach is very rocky but the water gets deep quickly so it is great for a swim. There is not much around there in terms of cafes or restaurants so if swimming is your goal then read this post on the best snorkeling spots across the island.
Sadong Ferry Terminal
Sadong, like Jeodong and Dodong, has a ferry terminal. None of the ferries from Pohang arrive at Sadong so, from my personal recommendations, you never arrive at this terminal. If you have arrived here, there is a bus that you can catch to Dodong or around the island to Cheonbu
You can also get a ferry to Dokdo from Sadong. Dokdo is a kind of pilgrimage for many Koreans because of the island’s history and Japan’s competing claim to the land. You will thoroughly impress any local Korean if you go to visit but it is a long trip by boat so it is only if you’re up for taking nearly a whole day to visit.
Tongumi is most well known for its Turtle Rock. Ulleungdo is not short on beautiful rock formations and Turtle Rock is one of these. You will often see fishermen fishing from this point and it is a great place to view the sun’s last rays of the day even if you can’t see the actual sunset.
I have to be honest, I have been to this rock numerous times and I still cannot see exactly how it is meant to resemble a turtle. If you ever visit and wish to illuminate it for me, please comment below.
You will also find a memorial to the Dokdo Sea Lions next to Turtle Rock. Unfortunately this breed of sea lion was hunted to extinction by Japanese fishermen (according to Korean documents). The breed was unique to Dokdo and this is why you will often see sea lion pictures and soft toys associated with Dokdo.
Tongumi beach is one of the only sand beaches on Ulleungdo. Unfortunately it is not the nicest beach to just set up an umbrella on and chill but the swimming there is good. The water is protected by Turtle Rock and another cliff so the sea is usually quite calm. You know the ocean is rough when you see big waves at Tongumi beach!
It is one of my top places to go snorkeling on the island and you can spend many hours finding local fish and squid swimming amongst the rocks. There is also a scuba centre right next to the beach, so if you’re feeling a little adventurous make sure to pay it a visit.
Restaurants around Sadong
There are several places around Sadong and Tongumi that you could find if you are feeling adventurous but neither towns are places that I would say you should definitely go for dinner. That being said, there are two restaurants around Sadong that you may be interested in visiting if you are in the area.
Sinbiseom is a famous fish restaurant on Ulleungdo. If you visit you will see the walls covered in pictures of various celebrities who have visited over the years. What apparently makes this restaurant so famous is that it serves live fish. That is not something that appeals to us but they also have very fresh Hwe that you can order.
Chicken and Coffee
If you feel like some great fried chicken with a fantastic view, then you should consider visiting Chicken and Coffee by the La Perouse hotel. It is not within walking distance of the main road and you will need a car or taxi to get there as no bus goes that way. If you are staying at La Perouse then have at least one dinner here.
Accommodation Around Sadong and Tongumi
There are several pensions and hostels around this area. Unfortunately none of them are listed on Airbnb or booking.com and you will need to speak Korean to book over the phone. It is also not the most convenient place for catching buses to start off your day trips. I would suggest looking for accommodation in either Dodong or Jeodong and book in advance as places fill up fast.
If you have access to a car on the island then consider the following hotel:
Driving through Sadong you will see numerous signs to this hotel. It is situated at the top of a very steep hill and 10 minute drive from the main road. The hotel looks out over Sadong and has an amazing view over the ocean. You can just catch the rising sun from your balcony and you can still get a great view of the day’s dying light over the East Sea.
The hotel is good but in true Korean fashion there are no beds in the regular rooms, only floor mats. It is rather pricey but if you stay with several friends it makes for a reasonable price. The rooms come with a fridge and kettle and are well looked after.
To find out more click on the booking.com link below for La Perouse and other hotels on Ulleungdo. This is an affiliate link so we get a small commission if you use this link but it will not affect your cost at all!
If you want to have a look through Airbnb, use the link below. If you are new to Airbnb you will get a $40 discount on your first booking and we also get a small discount!
Final thoughts on Sadong and Tongumi
If you are on a tour you will pass through these towns quite quickly and if you are rushed for time you may not want to spend too much time here. But if you have time then enjoy the views of these tiny island towns.
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
- The best snorkeling on Ulleungdo
- Taeha Monrail
Happy travels and blue skies!
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