Ulleung-do packing guide

Most Department of Education trips to Ulleung-do and the nearby islands seem to be held in the summer. Across the board this summer has been rather awful no matter where you live. Also there are plans in the future (2021) for an airport to be built on the island which will make arriving in Ulleung-do easier. Please keep this all in mind when you go through my suggested packing guide.

  • Clothing for three days and two nights.
    • These should be summer wear. The island was hotter than mainland when we went and thus absolutely miserable. The clothing you pack should also be easy for you to move in since you’ll do a lot of walking up steep paths and possibly taking a lot of stairs.
  • Comfortable walking shoes like tennis shoes or sneakers.
    • Again the island is steep and rocky since it’s a volcanic island. You will also have to take shoes off at the traditional restaurants.
  • 배멀미약 or 배멀미 패치
    • These are motion sickness medications. The first is for either pills or liquid. These last for about 5 hours that you should take a half hour before you board either the bus or boat (whatever may make you nauseous). The second one is patches. Talk to a pharmacist. I took a friend and when I mentioned where I was going the pharmacist’s face screwed up like he’d eaten a lemon and quickly gathered enough for three days. The ocean is not your friend. Note: our trip gave us liquid versions to take before most of our boat trips, but it’s best to be prepared yourself. I bought the pills. Two came in a packet and I took three packets with me. Everyone else complained about the taste of the liquid version.
I think if I get much paler I’ll just become invisible…but the alternative is a burnt tomato.
  • sun protection
    • hats, parasol/sunbrellas, sunblock, sunglasses. If you made it to the island most likely it’s sunny and clear skies. Be prepared to cook and prepare yourself to prevent it. As a super pale person who the sun hates (I burn easily might as well be a vampire) I accidentally packed three different sunblocks. I also managed to not burn, pretty proud of that. I didn’t use my parasol much, relying mostly on my hat and sunglasses, but people without any were absolutely miserable.
  • fans (선풍기)
    • It was hot. Ridiculously hot. Even dressed for the heat we were all constantly dripping. I took my electric rechargeable fan (a popular thing in Korea at the moment) and a paper fan. I relied mostly on my electric fan, prioritizing it charging every night over my phone charging. (Which I think goes to show how hot it was).
  • toiletries
    • Where we stayed was called a resort. Because of this my roommate assumed it’d be nice like a hotel. I assumed because it was Korea that it’d have nothing. Assume the latter. They had towels and we were given two tiny bars of soap. That was it. Our resort also wasn’t near anything, so we couldn’t exactly get to our room see it didn’t have shampoo and then run into town to get something. There was however a tiny convenience store in the main building of the resort, but it closed early. Pack anything and everything you use or may need. Our room did have a mystery liquid soap in the shower but it wasn’t a place where I trusted that.
  • Snacks
    • If you have any allergies to seafood, pork, or spicy food. (Or just really don’t like any of those) I highly suggest you pack yourself some snacks. On the bus ride to the port there were 0 snacks and very little time spent at rest stops because we were already running late and could not miss our ferry. I did pack something from Paris Baguette for breakfast since breakfast wasn’t listed on our itinerary and I’m unsure what I would’ve done without it. I’m also a person who is very fond of breakfast foods and struggles to eat something non-breakfast-y first thing in the morning. Our resort did offer breakfast but it was Korean style (aka not breakfast-y at all) despite nearly 70 foreigners staying there (we all assumed there’d be at least eggs or toast).
  • Coffee
    • If you also rely on coffee or some sort of caffeine first thing in the morning, I suggest bringing it. There is nothing except water available with the included breakfast. However, there is, a cafe in the lobby but that can get expensive or too busy since there was only one lady working.
  • Tissues and hand sanitizer
    • Ulleung-do is a small island and depending on where you end up needing to use the bathroom there’s a decent chance it’s going to be a squatter without soap or toilet paper, so just to be safe pack your own.
  • A hoodie or blanket
    • You might be like, what on Earth? You’ve just been complaining about how hot it was. Because it’s so hot the big tour buses across the main land were absolutely freezing and the boats got a little cold as well.
  • bug spray
    • While I was thankfully left alone by mosquitoes on this trip the people I went with were not. Several people ended up with welts on them from just a couple mosquito bites and were miserable.
  • a first aid kit
    • Again, thankfully I didn’t really run into much need with my first aid kit, but I did find myself hiking up the hill to get it for other people. There was a first aid kit brought with our group that the staff had with them, however by the second day band-aids were out of stock. And I packed anti-itch medication for mosquito and bug bites that came in handy quite often for some of my cohorts. It’s better safe than sorry to be prepared, especially on an island where the place your staying isn’t near downtown or a pharmacy.
  • a deck of cards or small game
    • This trip was a great way to make new friends or hang out with people you didn’t know were also going. While there wasn’t a ton of free time during the day, we had at least one night where pretty much everyone broke up into drinking groups to hang out and play games. Also there was one boat ride that was pretty empty but had tables for playing card games. I did not take any games and really wished I had, but instead spent a lot of time just talking to people and getting to know them. Whatever works for you.
  • ARC or passport
    • This is needed for every boat you board and you’ll need at least some of the information on it at the end of the trip to fill out some paperwork.
  • Camera/chargers/phone
    • Unless you don’t like taking pictures I suggest bringing something to do so.
  • umbrella/rain coat
    • While it didn’t rain during our trip Ulleung-do is in the middle of the ocean and it gets hit or affected by typhoon’s often.


Should I take a swim suit? It is an island after all!!!!

Uhhhhh…. a lot of people brought swim suits with them. Our resort did have a pool after all, however it was drained and our guides/the staff highly discouraged us going swimming. There also wasn’t much time to get in the water or really any easy access point. There aren’t any sandy beaches on Ulleung-do because it’s volcanic, instead there are a couple rocky beaches. Our second night was a bit freer and I think some people did head down to the beach and went for a swim at night, but I stayed in and played drinking games with some new friends and the staff. Be safe with whatever you choose to do, drunken swimming in the ocean at night without a lifeguard isn’t safe.

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