A Travellerspoint blog

May 2018

Leaving Jeju: From paradise to fireworks

Yesterday, I checked out of the hostel in Jeju. Jeju was called Korea's Hawaii, and paradise, but the weather was cold, rainy and/or windy for the most part and it was tough to get around.

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I took a one hour flight across the sea to Busan, the 2nd largest city in South Korea. I really wanted to take the ferry, which takes about 12 hours overnight, but the ferry only runs 3 days per week, so I flew, (it was only about $15 more to fly).

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It is nice to be back in the big city. It was about an hour from the airport to the hostel, with a small light rail journey to the metro-the metro made about 20 stops it seems. The instructions from www.hostelworld.com we're to use exit 7 from the metro station. Exit 7 was under construction, so I was thouroughly confused. It did say on the website the nearest landmark is the Haeudae Grand Hotel. I found someone on the street-asked them, and they found the hotel. I then asked someone at another hotel around the corner from that hotel where the hostel was, and they we're able to direct me.

After checking in to the hostel, I talk a walk because i was hungry, out to a pedestrian mall near the hostel. I found a cafeteria style restaurant serving all sorts of fish cakes, fish patties, octopus balls, and other sea food-it was pretty good. Then I walked towards the nearby beach. I found a large festival going on-the Haeudae Sand Festival. The festival included many giant sand sculptures, including a woman and child, pyramids of Egypt, and a sand Indiana Jones.

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A little past the 10 or so sand sculptures was a large crowd watching something. When I walked over, I saw they we're watching a juggler, juggling 2, 3, or 4 balls to instruments of songs like Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke and some Italian sounding songs. I noticed people of all ages tended to watch.

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Then a bit off in the distance, as it was getting dark, was a large stage with about a few hundred folding chairs. I decided to sit down to rest my feet and read some of the maps and travel literature I had. After about 1/2 an hour-the surrounding seats began to fill up, and a quartet of jugglers got on stage, who juggled to a dance beat-it was mildly entertaining.

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Then a set of drummers got on state, and drummed to a real fast beat-it was wild and the crowd went wild.

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A singer sang a few songs, and a Kenny G like saxophonist got up and did a few songs, in Korean I guess because I couldn't understand the words and never heard the songs.

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After Kenny G, which the crowd loved, and was really entertaining-we we're directed to look towards the ocean. A Laser light show went off from some barge parked off sea, which was cool, and then a fabulous fireworks show.

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It was a good day, then I went back to the hostel and went to sleep.

Posted by DavidPearlman 06:03 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Jeju Buses Cuckoo David

During my time on Jeju Island, I took the busses often. This is unavoidable to see the sights, unless you have the money, time and inclination for a rental car, taxi, and/or private driver.

Less than a year ago, the bus schedule was re-arranged, and bus routes we're redone (from what I was told), so the bus system could be more efficient and less confusing. The only issue is that since a lot of folks don't speak English, I have been relying on Google to find correct information on the busses, and a lot of that information is obsolete. So I have spent time waiting for busses that didn't arrive, and we're never going to, and talked to a lot of well-intentioned folks sending me to the wrong place.

The busses themselves are like most city busses I have taken-pretty stinky.

(1) They stink literally-for the most part, there is a strange stench.
(2) Uncomfortable, sort of hard seats
(3) A TV screen appears behind the driver, which shows different things:
(A) Stops (including unusual ones, and there we're always lots of stops to get where I was going).
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(B) An endless loop of videos (without sound), namely:
(1) An "I love Jeju" video, which went on for about 3 minutes-with 5 singers dancing around the splendor of the island
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(2) A public service announcement, I guess, about teaching kids to read, and showing the elderly woman drivers tutoring little girls. (again, I'm not sure, the language is Korean and there is no sound.

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(3) An animation short instructing kids to stay off the road, in case the bus in coming
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(4) Probably the most annoying-another video of a well-dressed man who is so excited to take the bus he is dancing and showing his excitment for the bus
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Over and over again, for the week I was here-while making sure I didn't miss my stop.

Posted by DavidPearlman 15:20 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Volcano part 2

Yesterday was my last day in Jeju island, and I wasn't sure what to do. I don't have patience for long and confusing bus rides, where you have to change buses, so I just settled for a long one. I decided to return to the volcano called Seongsan Ilchulbong, which I visited my second day here, and hope for better views.

So I got on the bus for the 1 1/2 hour bus ride.

First the bus arrived at a field of flowers, which there we're lots of cars parked, since some Korean soap opera was filmed here at one point. Across the street is a beach used for horseback riding. I wanted to stop here before, but this time I got off the bus.

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Next the bus reached the volcano, and once again, walked to the entrance, bought a ticket, and walked up all the stairs to the top, which took about 45 minutes to the hour.

It was a nicer day-not to be confused with a nice day. it was a cloudy, very windy 60 degrees, and I had a great view. I could see the surrounding mountains, as well at the crater of the volcano, which now was filled with lush vegetation. There was a commanding view of the sea and towns around. I was glad to be able to catch the view this time.

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After standing there for a while, I went back to the base of the volcano, and decided to view the diving show again with the elderly ladies. Now, however, the show was cancelled, because the seas we're too rough. I then had lunch at a seafood restaurant. it was good, but by now it was only about 3:00-and I wasn't sure what to do with the rest of the day. It was now cold, windy, and raining-so I decided to go to a indoor market near by where I went previously. i walked around looking at the various vendors, and eating some snacks. I then walked down the hill to the hostel, and took a nap for a few hours. Then I took a walk at night-this time bundled up with a sweater and regular shoes, and saw the waterfall and bridge at night.

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Posted by DavidPearlman 14:47 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Jeju Island S Korea-Forget you Bus 720

Yesterday. I left the hostel early to look for a bus to Sangumberi mountain, which is supposedly an alternative volcanic peak I can climb-it is only the supposed to be 3 miles long or so, and isn't as crowded as the first volcano i climbed. (and supposedly, the weather would be better). it wasn't nice out-it was cold and windy. (about 60 degrees but felt much colder). According to Google, the bus to take was 720, and it left from the nearly bus station, called the Segawipo intercity bus station-only about a 20 minute walk from the hostel. While the ride was supposed to be an 1 1/2 hours-I would be ok because I have spent a lot of time on busses.

When I got to the Segawipo Intercity Bus Station-I learned I was at the wrong bus station. Although the manager at the hostel and the map given to me at the hostel pointed this out to be the right place, this was actually the OLD Segawipo intercity bus station. I had to take another bus first to the new one-about 10 minutes out of town. So a kid at the station who spoke a little English told me to wait across the street for a bus to the new one. I waited about 5 minutes so not so bad.

When the bus arrived at the New Segawipo Bus Station, I tried to find a sign for bus 720. I couldn't find it. I asked a lady inside. She spoke little English, and she called a friend, who I spoke to-and he knew nothing-nor where I was going. I Googled it once again, and this time It appears I would have had to take bus 102 1 1/2 hours-walk across an intersection and find another bus stop, and then take bus 720 for an additional 1 hour 40 minutes-a total trip of around 3 hours-I am not sure if that was correct. But since it was already 11:00-that would be arriving after 2. By now I was frustrated. So I just decided to walk to a place called Jungman, which I was saving for my last day. Jungman is a resort type area with lots of museums, attractions, etc. I started walking-it was nice to be in the fresh air, although it was cold and windy. Although Jungman was about 5 1/2 miles away, I made the walk. I passed by gardens, old stores, hills that overlooked the sea, citrus groves, and stone "Grandfathers", and other statues. Once in a while i stopped to rest.
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I got to a sign for the Jungman resort, and headed down a hill. Once there, I didn't see much except big hotels blocking the sea view, and a big castle. I walked towards the castle, and saw it was the African musuem, and had animal statues out front. I wasn't interested, but another sign pointing towards the sea towards Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff. I paid $2.00 and walked to an overlook with massive lava sized cliffs that looked like containers, and the view was breathtaking.
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After standing there for a while, I walked along a path along the water, which was nice. I tried to get back to the main road-All I could see we're hotels that we're blocking my view. I walked through a ginourmous hotel, which was rather plain, looking for the exit, but I had issues-I took the elevator and escalators up and down but couldn't find it.
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Eventually, I found the exit, and walked up to what would be the direction of a waterfall, which was supposed to be spectacular (although I saw waterfalls the day before). I walked up a hill, and found a giant staircase headed up another hill with signs in Korean. I walked up that long, and tiring staircase. Then I took a turn and walked up some more. I came to a viewpoint of the harbor which was nice. Then I walked down the hill a little bit in a different direction-I found a Buddhist temple. I have seen many Buddhist temples in my travels, but unlike the others there we're no crowds-just peace, and two other people wandering around. I saw a monk working on something. There was soft meditation music playing. a62f5f80-5bb9-11e8-b240-274d0810a1f1.JPGIMG_3648.JPG

After spending a few minutes there-I met someone else hiking up a hill-I asked him for directions to the waterfall (I took a screenshot of the name in Korean-in case I couldn't find anyone who spoke English). He took a long time looking at his phone. I figured that would mean I was far away. After this long time-he told me "just go up the road-and the parking lot is on your left". I figured that couldn't be true-it has to be more complicated. But it was true-I was there, and came across three waterfalls, and a huge bridge over one of them. I spent time. First of all, I was in the mood for a snack-a healthy one. There are sellers of tangerines all over the place-but a bag is about $10.00-I wasn't having that. But I learned I can get a bottle of tangerine wine for $5.00-it tasted like a wine cooler-but it was interesting and made the waterfalls even more appealing. It was getting dark as I was at the last one. Here I met a photographer taking photos of the falls, and we we're showing each other pictures, and I was drinking my tangerine wine.

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It was then dark, and i took a bus back downtown, had soup for dinner and went back to the hostel.

Posted by DavidPearlman 14:57 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

Jeju Island, S Korea-Don't go Chasin Waterfalls (for lunch)

Yesterday, I woke up and it was another cloudy, rainy day. I left the hostel and walked about 20 minutes from the hostel to the entrance of the waterfall, and then another 15 minutes to the
Cheonjiyeon Falls waterfall. It was a nice walk, and I walked along a path of stone grandfathers, or Harubangs, which are the statues placed in front of houses to offer protection, and fertility. The waterfall was nice, with of course the usual crowds with selfie sticks taking pics in front as well. It was a pretty scene, even with weather that wasn't great.
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i then walked for about an hour along the waterfront (taking a break to rest)-to find another waterfall. This one is called the Jeonbang Waterfall, which is thought to be the old waterfall in Asia that goes directly into the ocean. The waterfall is reached by a downward path about 10 minutes from the ticket widow. Along the path, there are many steep rocks to grapple with, so I had to climb up and over rocks, but finally I reached the waterfall, and this was beautiful. Once again, there we're of course lots of folks with selfie sticks.

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After a few minutes watching the falls and the people. I climbed over more rocks to find folks gathered together under a tent-it looked like a picnic. I learned it wasn't a picnic-it was more of a restaurant. Two ladies we're cracking open fresh sea food, and serving it together on a plate. I am not sure what types of shellfish this was-but one was called abalone I believe. Anyway, it was expensive-$30 for a plate of what ever they caught, but unfortunately, I had that much in my wallet, and I have never had food caught straight from the ocean. (I normally don't eat shellfish, but I like to eat foods endemic to a culture).

I took the plate, and tried to pick up the gooey, wormlike morsels on my plate with my chopsticks, but I gave up after a few tries and just ate with my hands. The man sitting on rocks next to me was laughing at me. Then I ate it-the food was so fresh-it was literally disgusting. I think I developed a shellfish allergy right there. The food tasted like worms mixed with salt water. I couldn't finish the plate. The good news is the weather started to clear up a little.

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After lunch, I went up to the ticket booth, and inquired about the way to the Jeju Stone Park. I wanted to see more of the haubangs, and other lava statues. I found a bus left from a station about a 1/2 hour walk away. It took a while for the bus to came. I was talking to a lady flight attendant from Hong Kong, whose bus came before mine-when I realized that i got so busy talking I missed the bus-so I waited around another 1/2 hour for the next bus it seems. The ride took about an hour or so {everything takes a long distance here on the island).

I got off at the Stone Park, where first I went to a museum which was kind of boring. it taught about how the earth was developed, how volcanoes came to being, and how lava burned on the inside even when a rock was solid on the outside. I then went outside on the trail to look at the different types of statues. There are stone grandfathers, but also other types, such as child-like statutes that stand in front of noble homes. It was actually interesting, and peaceful walking along the forested path. I learned there was a myth of a woman who had 500 kids-and they we're going hungry. The woman jumped into a cauldron of soup to feed her family, and one son discovered bone in the soup and was horrified. The others we're turned into stone.I was chased out of the park at closing time, around when i went to wait for the bus back to town. it was then I saw the rocks of 500 generals in the sunlight (there wasn't much of it). I took pictures. A bus came-I decided to wait for the next bus so I could take more pictures-which took almost an hour. It was getting dark, there was not much traffic, (and no stores or any other commerce along the road) and i was worried another bus wouldn't come. But it came-i got on-and made it back to the hostel after around 10:00 pm.

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Posted by DavidPearlman 16:07 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

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