Moving to Ulsan? A few facts before you go

Ulsan - the south-eastern tip of the Korean peninsula that is famed for its arresting rocky cliffs and long stretches of sandy beaches. It is home to the world’s largest automobile manufacturing plant, for whale watching and, more notoriously, for whaling. 

Ulsan has grown to be South Korea’s most important industrial hub, powered in recent years by Hyundai, the country's largest automobile manufacturer. The total number of foreigners residing in Ulsan makes up about 2.2% of the total population, which is slightly over one million people currently residing in the city.

Korea’s culture is as esoteric as it is enthralling, no more so than in Ulsan, which is less cosmopolitan than Seoul. The language and cultural barriers are often easily overcome; Ulsan’s locals are generally warm, friendly and inclusive. Coupled with a strong local expat community, living in this city is an enriching, rewarding experience.


What is special or unique about Ulsan?

Once you learn the basics of the language and gain an understanding of the history and culture, people tend to become quite fascinated by Ulsan. It's an amazing story of how the people of Korea came together after the Korean War (1950-1953) to rebuild the nation. Most newcomers are usually in awe of the incredible industries found in Ulsan: automobiles, shipyards and oil refineries.



The local language is Korean or Hangeul. It's getting easier without knowing Korean as Koreans' English-speaking capabilities continue to improve, and more and more Koreans are gaining international experiences through studying, working and traveling overseas. There will be times when language will become a barrier. It will help tremendously to learn the basics to get around town, direct a taxi driver or order food in a local restaurant. The Korean alphabet is actually very easy to learn and very phonetical.



Ulsan has a monsoon-influenced humid subtropical climate, with somewhat cold but dry winters, and hot, humid summers. Monthly means range from 2.0 °C (35.6 °F) in January to 25.9 °C (78.6 °F) in August. 

The warmest days being in August and averaging near 30 °C (86 °F). Precipitation is relatively low in the winter months, but is made up for by the high rainfall from April to September.


Getting around

It is not absolutely necessary to own a vehicle and drive in Ulsan, although many expats do drive. Taxis and buses are plentiful and relatively cheap. You can buy stored-value passes, called T-Money Card, for multiple trips or single-value card each time you travel. The T-Money fare card system can be used for both bus and taxi. T-Money can be purchased at vendor kiosks selling bus tickets near most city bus stops or at most convenient stores.

If you are planning to stay in Korea more than one year, it is recommended that you apply for a Korean driver's license, which is valid for nine years, click here for more information. 


Koreans work very hard, like to drink, eat very spicy food and are very determined to finish what they start. Korea is not the easiest country to live in as an expat, but with an open mind, a good sense of humor and a good bit of patience, people can and do have wonderful experiences living and working here. If you would like to find out more about Ulsan, click here to view our destination guides.