May people dream of watching whales at sea, and this is now possible at the southeastern port of Jangsaeng in Ulsan. Designated as the nation's first zone to promote understanding of how whales live, the port has been operating boat trips to see the marine animal in its natural habitat since 2009.
Starting from this year, visitors also can ride a 550-ton cruise ship to see them at sea, as well as take in the beautiful coastal area near the port. Once aboard, travelers are first introduced to the history and ecology of whales in the area.
As the boat arrives at a site where they are frequently spotted, the tour guide explains how whales are mammals that breathe using their lungs rather than gills.
This provides opportunities for passengers to see them in full as they must come to the surface to breathe. Travelers have a 30 percent chance of spotting whales on average, according to local guides.
For the less fortunate, free tickets to a local whale museum and discount tickets to an aquarium are offered. Immediately next to the wharf, the aquarium houses four dolphins.
Dolphins freely move around in an undersea tunnel on the first ground, while a special show featuring them is staged on the second floor.
There is also an exhibition explaining about whale fishing and 85 species of whale, including the blue whale, the largest animal on earth. Those who want to know more are encouraged to visit the museum next to the aquarium.
Visitors can also head to the neighboring city of Busan to enjoy the nation's largest aquarium, which has over 5,000 deep-sea fish of more than 280 species in 99 tanks.
At the 3,500-ton main aquarium, visitors can watch a 3-m-long shark swim right in front of their eyes. Busan Aquarium is located on Haeundae Beach, one of busiest beaches in Korea's southern coastal area.
In the adjacent city of Jinhae in South Gyeongsang Province, visitors can see 120 kinds of fish, stuffed sharks and over 130 kinds of arthropods and mollusks at its marine-themed park. This includes a tropical aquarium with 50 different species including dogfish.
Visitors can also listen to the sounds that dolphins make to communicate with each other underwater, and see special exhibitions of stuffed crocodiles and sea turtles.