Ganjeolgot Cape Beauty
The Jinha area around Ulsan is an area of stark contrasts. First, it is a beautiful beach area that sits next to a huge petrochemical complex. It is also an area that has been updated the slowest out of the beach/tourist areas in Ulsan. So you have a mix of new coffee shops and old seafood shops. However, the Ganjeolgot area is a different story altogether.
If you are not familiar with this area, Ganjeolgot Cape is known for two things now. Most prominently is fact that it is the first place the sun hits on the Western coast. Thus, it draws thousands of people out each years to view the New Years sunrise. It was also another filming location for “May Queen” a Korean drama.
The location is a little difficult to get to if you are coming in from Ulsan or for that matter anywhere because both entry points are single lane highways that can get congested. I usually take the petrochemical route as it is at least quicker thanks to the multi-lane roads built through the complex. Ganjeolgot sits just past Jinha beach on the top of the hillside. The signs are easy to follow and there is plenty of parking once you get there. Given the location, it is interesting to find cafes and museums built on a hill that is so far away from anything.
The most popular site is of course the lighthouse and giant mailbox. However, taking a walk around you will find many great vistas along the coast towards the pier. Finally, you will arrive at the drama house. This is a set that was used for shooting the drama “May Queen” and a couple other show as well, I think. It is now a restaurant and cafe. The funny thing about this area is that most people come to enjoy the sunrise but most of the shops do not open until late morning or even lunchtime.
Much like most places around Ulsan, the drama house opens late (11 am) and the grounds are securely locked. With that in mind, I would leave the drama house until the end of your shot and stick to the lighthouse in the morning. There is plenty to shoot on the other end of the cape anyway.
I am thinking of planning a photowalk there around August 8th with the help of the Ulsan Photo Club and the Busan Lightstalkers. This will be an early sunrise shoot and these days the sun does not rise until around 5 am or so. Thus, it won’t be a photowalk for the lighthearted. However, there is good camping around the Jinha beach area. this means that you can camp out the night before if you are coming in from out of town. There are also affordable motels in the area too. There are buses that run regularly to the beach and up to the cape. I will be posting more information in both groups later this week.