EPIK (Gyeongbuk) offers a vacation/trip to Ulleung-do once a year in the Spring. Only about 40 EPIK teachers are accepted. I applied last year but didn’t make it; I made it this year though!
You could choose where you wanted to meet: in Pohang (where the ferry departs) at 8:30am or Daegu (the biggest city in the province) at 7am. I opted for Daegu because it’s only an hour away (versus 2). Most of us that went to Daegu spent the night there in order to be on time.
On the bus from Daegu to Pohang, I met up with the married American couple and a South African girl in Sangju that I had only met once along with some others. [One person (who arrived in Daegu the previous night) didn’t wake up in time to meet the bus(!). Yeah…his school is NOT going to be happy since we were given 2 days off of work.] We took the bus ride to Pohang where we were greeted with a McDonald’s breakfast—yum! Then we boarded the ferry for a 2.5 ride to the island called Ulleung-do…most of the people on the ferry slept. When I went to the bathroom, I thought it was the strangest thing to see so many people sleeping on the floor during the ferry ride.
Once we got to the island, we went to a restaurant to drop off our luggage for a few hours and to eat a rushed meal of mussel and rice dish. Then we headed to a Dok-do museum and observatory (a 15-20 walk up a very steep hill).
On a clear day, supposedly you can see the island Korea calls Dokdo, but it’s a rare day to see the island (only 70 days a year are precipitation free…and there is a lot of fog on other days).
Evening marked going back to the restaurant and eating dinner. Dinner was pretty disappointing: it was just soup and side dishes; no main dish. We picked up our luggage, got on some small buses, and then headed to the resort. We only had bout 30 minutes to wait in line to check-in, get to our room (a 10-15 min. Trek uphill with escalators and a steep walk) and freshen up before we had to meet for a lecture about Korea’s position on the ownership of Dokdo. They cut the lecture a little shorter than projected because everyone was just so exhausted and ready to go their rooms. We had to get an early start (I woke up at 6:45 am!) for day 2!
A few things about the rooms. Almost of the rooms didn’t include a traditional western bed (only married couples in another building were on a bed) and we were given a floor mat and some blankets. No one had a bath tub, but we all had a sectioned off standing shower. For the majority of us, we were on the floor mat with a Korean pillow: basically some kind of crunchy stuffing versus cotton. I don’t know about other rooms, but my roommate and I were not pleased with the cleanliness. The first impression wasn’t bad; however, the curtain over the bathroom window had some mold on it and all of our pillows had some kind of hair on it…eye brow hairs or men’s hair—not sure. Needless to say, we slept with a heavily-bleached towel over our pillows.
Feel free to check out my Ulleungdo Album on Flickr. ^_^