Archive for June, 2013


Jeju Overview

I went to Jeju Island (Jejudo) this past weekend (June 22-23 2013) to hike Hallasan, see the sunrise from Seongsan, go to the lava caves (all 3 are UNESCO sites) and go to Love Land. There were a few other things we were able to do along the way.

Before I get into those smaller things, here’s a few tips or facts about Jeju in June/Summer:

  • Humid to the point where it is sticky
  • Many many many bugs
  • A few options for jimjilbangs to sleep at, which you can find via Google or the TripAdvisor chat boards
  • There is a great guide to get from the airport that is green and tells you about all the attractions on the island (not in any real order, mind you, just schedules as to what they think you should do as a foreigner, couple, family, or solo)
  • There is also a great bus information sheet you can get at the airport too. While it does not have times, it tells you which bus to take to get where, how long it takes and how much it is. I have posted some of the timings on the Hallasan and Seongsan posts.
  • Taxi drivers might be a bit pushy, but push back and don’t let them try to take you to town when you just want to go to the bus stop
  • A lot of the land is dedicated to growing Jeju Oranges and raising horses, cows and goats

There is a maze near the lava cave, about 500 meters away. Kimnyoung Maze Park. It is meant for kids but they won’t stop adults and they will hold your backpack for you. There is a beautiful garden here, and you get to ring a bell when you finish the maze. Just keep in mind that the green part on the map is not the hedges…It costs 3,200 to get in but you get a 500 won discount if you say that you walked there instead of taking a taxi.

Jeju 330 Jeju 348

Not much to say about Love Land for those who know what it is…if you don’t it’s other name is Penis Park because of all the penis statues, boob statues, and statues of people having sex. It costs 9,000 to get in, but children and older people get a discount. That’s right.

Jeju 414

After this we stopped by the Jeju Museum of Art as it is right next to Love Land and was seemingly free…The ticket booth only had signs for the special exhibit and that cost so we thought we just wouldn’t go though it. Little did we know we would be pushed though it, you were supposed to pay 1,000 won to enter anyway and there was no one to check tickets.

Jeju 589

Advertisements

From Seongsan (Ilchulbong) you can take the Ilju Road East Direction (Road No. 1132) but going in the west direction (the Ilju Road West Direction goes West from Terminal). It will take 40 minutes and cost 1,000 won. A few buses go by the Seongsan Office stop so make sure to ask the bus driver if the bus goes to Man-jang-gul. If you’re going from Terminal, get on the same bus but it will take 50 minutes and cost 2,000 won.

From the bus stop you can walk 2.5 kilometers or take a taxi. We walked there and took the taxi back and the walk was quite nice. There was no sidewalk for more than half of it. Just before the caves there is a maze (500 meters before the cave).

You need to pay 2,000 won to go into the cave and it is 1,000 meters long (well, 1,000 meters that you can access). The second you walk down you will feel a change in the temperature and humidity which was a VERY welcome break. There is a sign saying to not speak loudly, take photos, or take creatures out of the cave. Since it’s Korea you can’t expect people to not be loud–it’s not the subway–and I assume they meant no flash. I, sadly, saw no creatures to steal. This was specified by a later sign with pictures of bats but I still didn’t see them.

There were a lot of informational signs inside, however many people seemed to just blow past them to get to the end. None were very extensive and I found them interesting.

Some overview: Manjanggul cave is a 7.4 km-long lava tube locally with a multi-level structure. It is one of the largest lava tubes in the world having a main passage with a width of up to 18 meters and a height of up to 23 meters. Numerous lava tubes are found worldwide, but Manjanggul Lava Tube is an outstanding example because it has well-preserved passage shapes and internal micro-topographic features in spite of its very old age. Thus the cave possesses significant scientific and conservation values. Three entrances to the cave developed due to a collapse of the ceiling, with the Second Entrance being the one used by tourists. A variety of lava formations and decorations, such as lava stalactites, lava stalagmites, flow lines, lava benches and lava rafts are present. The 7.6 meter high lava column is known to be the largest lava column in the world.

Jeju 270

Lava flow lines: When lava flows in a tube, the level of the flow is often recorded on the walls. These features are called lava flow lines. Numerous flow lines are found in Manjanggul Lava Tube, indicating that the level of lava flows was falling continuously inside the active tube.

Jeju 280 Jeju 281

Rock falls: Abundant rock fragments that fell from the ceiling are found on the floor of lava tubes. They fall from the ceiling either during or after the lava-tube formation. The fallen rocks rest on the floor of lava tubes when the lava stopped to flow and is solidified. Otherwise, fallen rocks are either carried away down stream by active lava flows or melted down.

Lava Raft: A lava raft is formed when rock fragments from the ceiling or sidewall fall during lava flow and then are carried away by lava before settling and solidifying at a certain location. In some cases, fallen rocks are completely coated by lava to form mound-like or ball-like lava rafts, which are called lava balls. The one photoed here is called Turtle Raft and resembles Jeju Island and is a symbol of Manjanggul Lava Tube.

Jeju 297

Quartzite fragments: Most rockfall debris in Manjanggul consists of basaltic rocks but also comprises light-colored rocks, called quartzite, that are distinguished from basalt. These rock fragments, ranging between 1 and 5 centimeters in size, are interpreted to have been derived from the metamorphic basement rocks and then incorporated into the lava flow.

Jeju 291

Lava shelves: Lava shelves form when the liquid lava, only partially filling the tube, is accreted and hardened on the cooler walls. Lava shelves are further divided into lava balconies and lava benches by their shapes. (I feel like the people naming things just got lazy here and looked outside).

Lava toe: Lava toes formed when the lava flowing though the upper-level tube poured down though a  floor opening into the lava tube below. The poured-down lava flowed in a series of elongated and entangled lava lobes, each of which is reminiscent of an elephant toe, giving it its name. (I don’t see it)

Jeju 306

Lava flow stones: Lava flow stones form as the heat of lava melts the ceiling and walls inside a lava tube. The melted lava flows down the walls and take on varying sizes and shapes depending on the temperature and amount of lava. The lava flow stones also form when liquid lava inside the wall seeps out though small holes.

Jeju 309

Lava Column: A lava column forms when lava pours down from the ceiling to the floor and congeals. Lava columns are found in many lava tubes elsewhere around the world. However, the 7.6 meter-high lava column in Manjanggul Lava Tube is the largest lava gest known. The lava poured down from the ceiling spread across the floor of the lower passage and made well-developed lava toes.

Jeju 312

Here’s some photos I just likedJeju 272 Jeju 293 Jeju 301 Jeju 307

Outside, there is a Lava Column Cascade which is a fancy name for a cascade, like above, that has been turned into a water fountain. There is also a convenience store, bathrooms, water fountains and a restaurant.

Jeju 320

While we were on Jejudo (Jeju Island) it was cloudy nearly the whole time, and that included the morning of Sunday, when we wanted to go to Seongsan Ilchulbong, or the sunrise peak. At times you could not even see the mountain, and I wasn’t too upset because all the pictures that you see of it are with beautiful skies so this gives a different perspective.

You can take the bus that says Ilju Road East Direction (Road Number 1132) to ‘Seongsan (Ilchulbong)’ as it says on the map or ‘Seongsan Office’ as it says over the bus speakers and at the bus stop. This will take 90 minutes from Terminal and cost 3,000 won.

Jeju 370

The bus goes along the coast so I was able to take some nice pictures there as well.

Jeju 177 Jeju 186

Once arriving at Seongsan Office we were a bit concerned as it might have been better to get off at the next stop–Seongsan Entrance–so we walked there and then left to the ‘beach’. There is great view of Seongsan from here, and it is where people who want to go scuba diving can leave from.

Jeju 195

From there we walked toward Seongsan and to Dongamsa Temple, which is right in front. At this time I thought it would be great to get a picture with the sign and mountain in the background but went to the bathroom first…to come back to no mountain! The clouds had come in in those 5 minutes and the mountain was hidden. We waited 10 minutes and it came out again though.

Jeju 203 Jeju 217 Jeju 218 Jeju 220

Walking further past Seongsan you get to the entrance where you have to pay 2,000 won to go in. We didn’t want to go up because our legs hurt from hiking Hallasan the day before, there were a million people and it was beyond humid to the point where you just felt sticky. Plus with all the clouds you would not be able to see out. However the sign said it would take 50 minutes return to go to the top and back. There is another observatory to the left of the mountain that allows for great pictures of both the mountains and famous female divers. They are ‘grandmas’ who dive to the bottom without masks to get shellfish for the local restaurants. They put on shows at 1:30pm and 3:00pm.

Jeju 232 Jeju 235 Jeju 241

From there we took the bus to the Lava Caves, bus stop Manjanggul (ManJang Cave) which takes 40 minutes and costs 1,000 won.

This weekend I went to Jejudo (Jeju Island)! It’s a special part of Korea that has 7 UNESCO sites and is considered a honeymoon spot as well as an adventure area.

Hallasan is the highest mountain in Korea (and one of the sites). It is easier to climb than the 2nd and 3rd highest peaks because it is a volcano, and thus not as steep. Only two paths go up to the top: Seongpanak (the way we went up) and Gwaneumsa (the way we went down). You have to get to certain points by certain times, depending on the sunlight. For Seongpanak, you have to get to Jindalrae Office by 12pm in November-February, 12:30pm in March, April, September, October, and 1pm from May though August. This Office takes 3 hours to get to from the start, according to maps. For Gwaneumsa, you have to get to Samgakbong Shelter by the same times as Jindalrea Office on the Seongpanak trail, but I’m not sure how long that takes to go up–I believe it is longer as I read that it was harder.

From the Airport, you can take the 100 bus to Terminal for 1,000 won, then the 5.16 Road bus to Seong-panak for 1,500 won. The Jeju book says that you can take a bus to Gwaneumsa, but at the Airport they said you could not. Also there was none when we came down and we took a taxi to town for 15,000 won (should be about 20,000 won to the airport, or from the airport if you want to start on this hike). See below for the bus times from terminal.

Jeju 371

We arrived at the start of the park at 10:30 (should get there at 10:00 to start) to a ticket lady who was telling us we had to rush…but she kept talking and talking…anyway, you will go past Sara shelter, a detour (which takes 40 minutes return that we did not have) called SaraOreum Observatory, and then Jindalrae Shelter. We made it though! with 6 minutes to spare before 1:00! Myself and everyone who had just gotten there before us or arrived after were very excited but when I gave a thumbs up to the guy in the box with the loudspeaker he just seemed bored…so be warned of him!

Jeju 030 Jeju 058

From Jindalrea Shelter it should take 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to the top of the volcano/mountain. It is mostly wooden stairs. The view on the way up isn’t amazing…compared to whats on the other side!

Jeju 066 Jeju 072 Jeju 078Jeju 086 Jeju 090 Jeju 095

You ‘have’ to leave the top by 2:30 to be sure to make it to the bottom before dark but I didn’t see anyone enforcing that rule (again, a guy in a box with a loudspeaker).

The walk down via Gwaneumsa was beautiful. There were more places to stop and a bridge that looked a lot like the one we went over for the Jagged Ridge Hike. There was also a warning for falling rocks so be careful! Also some cooled lava to walk over, and an old cave for storing ice. The last 1 hour and 30 minutes of this trail is a nature walk, so there are a lot of information signs about wildlife and vegetation which was pretty interesting. Jeju 121 Jeju 134 Jeju 138Jeju 158 Jeju 162

From here, as stated above, we took a taxi to town for dinner, as the only restaurant at the bottom was closed.

Natural Dyeing

This month, the event at the Buddhist temple that I went to twice before.

The handout they gave us had this written on it:

Origins of Natural Dye

Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants, invertebrates, or minerals. The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources – roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood – and organic sources such as fungi and lichens.

Archaeologists have found evidence of textile dyeing dating back to the Neolithic period. In China, dyeing with plants, barks and insects have been traced back more than 5,000 years. The essential process of dyeing changed little over time. Typically, the dye material is put in a pot of water and then the textiles to be dyed are added to the pot, which is heated and stirred until the color is transferred. Textile fiber may be dyed before spinning (dyed in the wool), but most textiles are yarn-dyed or piece-dyed after weaving. Many natural dyes require the use of chemicals called mordants to bind the dye to the textile fibers; tannin from oak galls, salt, natural alum, vinegar, and ammonia from stale urine were used by early dyers. Many mordants, and some dyes themselves, produce strong odors, and large-scale dyeworks were often isolated in their own districts.

A variety of plants produce red dyes, including a number of lichens, henna, alkanet or dyer’s bugloss, asafoetida and madder. Madder and related plants of the Rubia family are native to many temperate zones around the world, and have been used as a source of good red dye since prehistory.

Process of Natural Dye

The essential process of dyeing requires soaking the material containing the dye (the dyestuff) in water, adding the textile to be dyed to the resulting solution (the dyebath), and bringing the solution to a simmer for an extended period, often measured in days or even weeks, stirring occasionally until the color has evenly transferred to the textiles.

Some dyestuffs, such as indigo and lichens, will give good color when used alone; these dyes are called direct dyes or substantive dyes. The majority of plant dyes, however, also require the use of a mordant, a chemical used to “fix” the color in the textile fibers. These days are called adjective dyes. By using different mordants, dyers can often obtain a variety of colors and shares from the same dye. Fibers or cloth may be pretreated with mordants, or the mordant may be incorporated in the dyebath. In traditional dyeing, the common mordants are vinegar, tannin from oak bark, sumac, or oak galls, ammonia from stale urine, and wood-ash liquor or potash (potassium carbonate) made by leaching wood ashes and evaporating the solution. (Above is from Wikipedia.)

 

I was a bit disappointed to see ‘taken from Wikipedia’ but still.

They gave us an explanation as well, saying that the green dye had plants (mud something…it looked like seaweed) and the red dye had flowers. I can’t remember what the brown dye had in it. I guess another time they had bright blue and yellow as well.

We started with a pot of dye that we had to bring to a near boil and throw all of our rags in.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 217We had to push the handkerchiefs/bandannas around in the dye, wearing two pairs of gloves. The little kids did most of this part.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 229It was then transferred to another bowl and the dye master helped us!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 233It was then put back into the pot to boil, and the second bowl had water and a binding powder added to it. It was rinsed back and forth between the dye and the binding water. After it was rinsed in cold water.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 242The final product!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 241 Baseball and Natural Dyeing 262

My first baseball game!

I went to my first Korean baseball game on Saturday! Of course I went to go see the Lotte Giants.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 006

Baseball in Korea (and Japan) is very different from baseball in the US–everyone is chanting nearly the whole time, you can bring food and drinks inside and even those inside are not expensive, and the games go a lot faster than in the US. Also, there are no assigned seats, and the prices go from 7,000 won to 25,000 won! So cheap! I could never get Red Sox tickets at that price. Here’s a layout of the seating area. There aren’t that many colors in the seats, but I guess this is more price breakdown. There are blue, orange and green. Green have trays and less fun (so I’m told).

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 007

The stadium is between Sports Complex and Sajik and Korea was playing Hanwha which we knew would be an interesting game, due to racist comments one of their players made against the African-American player for Busan. Everyone boo’d  Kim Tae-kyun (the Korean who made racist comments) whenever he went up to bat which was really moving. He was stuck-out on Friday by Shane Youman (the African-American player), but on Saturday he got some hits and helped others score. Oh well. Busan lost in the end.

As per standard Korea, there were Soju mascots. These are not team mascots, Busans mascot is the Seagull.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 004

There is a cheer-master who helps out with the crowd at the start of the game. He also goes to the Fireworks show. This is the same stage that the cheerleaders go on as well.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 010

Here’s Busan scoring!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 026And Busan getting an out.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 067Two twins battling!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 071A hit by the other team!

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 102Oh, and Busan fans put trash bags on their heads at the end to show support. Either a balloon like thing or Minny Mouse ears like mine.

Baseball and Natural Dyeing 155

Jagged Ridge Hike

Busan Haps posted an article about the Jagged Ridge Hike, making it sound much easier to get there than it actually is.

You can take a bus from Sasang to Goseong or Tongyeong and catch a boat from there. I’m not sure the times so you will need to have a Korean speaker call the port you want to go to. They leave more often from Goseong than Tongyeong and Goseong is quicker. From either bus station you will need to take a taxi to the port. If you have a large group, like we did, you can hire a bus to take you direct to the port. It was 350,000 won and split with 16 people it worked out cheaper than buses and taxis (we think, including convenience).

The boat from Goseong has a cute whale on the side! At least some of them do, our return one didn’t.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 202From the boat ride, we saw a lot of fishermen. They set up the buoys with ropes on them to grow clams and the bigger fish come by to try to eat them so fishermen set up shop around the buoys trying to catch them.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 221

Below is our route. We had our bus come over on the boat with us and it drove us along the pink route and we hiked the orange route.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 227aBelow are photos of the hike with some descriptions under them.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 234

Rice fields a plenty here

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 235

Too many hikers!Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 243

Lots of rock formations. Mostly in prayer towers, but there were some cute house like things built.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 245 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 248

So steep to climb up! We felt like mountain goats.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 262

Another shot of what we climbed up. If you go to the right you can go around it.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 283

Hope I don’t fall! So steep here we can’t climb up but there are lots of places to sitFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 284

Poor tree!Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 285

We went around this little village.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 291

Lots of ups and downs.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 298

This guy sold us makgeolli and did a little show with his drum and symbol.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 311 Don’t lean on the bridge, but you can set fire to it. Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 325

Traffic jam! This and the bridge are new which has lead to a lot more people doing the hike. Many people seemed to be scared to use the steps!Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 328

The new bridge! They had to use the ropes to pull it up.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 329

A bit bouncy.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 336The final view of the town, from the other side that we started from.

We finished just after the boat we were supposed to catch and were able to get one two hours later. In our extra time we had our bus go to the ‘beach’ which isn’t great but there were lots of seafood restaurants there as well. It is at another boat port and people RAN to get on it.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 352 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 363

Fringe, Sandcastles, and Planes

A busy weekend in Haeundae!

Fringe Festival

A arts festival with music, water fights (not sure how that’s artistic) and a parade. Something’s up with my camera so I couldn’t get video of any of the music. And I missed most of watching rugby later at night.

The water fight was interesting because there were two sides but people just seemed to be shooting anyone, including one person who was standing outside the barrier shooting in–cheating! There were sprinklers attached to trees as well and they were spraying outside as well!

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 004Later, after the air show, I saw a parade from the Lovin Hut “vegan” restaurant–they sell steak and my pasta had ham in it but maybe it was fake–so it was a great view as it was on the second floor.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 179

Doko signs held by kids dressed to the tops in their Tae-Kwan-Do finest. Above was my favorite sign because it seemed to show a transformers battle.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 183 Superheros Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 188

A bandFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 190

Not sure what this is other than intense costumes. The theme was Hollywood (for this and the sandcastles) so that explains some of the costumes….Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 192

…but not the triple head ones–why do they have two heads on top of their heads???Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 194

Fancy dressesFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 196

Chinese DragonFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 199And zombies. Because why not?

Sandcastle Festival

Westerners wouldn’t really call these sandcastles, as the professional ones are more carving than anything else. The theme was Hollywood so they were all film based, other than on of Psy, of course. I wondered why he was there other than being a Korean hero. I can’t stand him anymore.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 009

PSY, Superman, Spiderman, Batman and the Hulk. These were all a bit too kiddie and animated for me (when did Superman wear braces?) for me, but they were the only ones in color.Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 014

King Kong, Star Wars, and more SupermanFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 016

CarsFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 018

Titanic and James Bond….don’t think they were going for this look

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 021

Charlie Chaplin

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 025

Marilyn MonroeFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 031

and Shrek

The non professional ones were more like sandcastles, not all though. There were some really good ones! People were going around and watering them as well to make sure they didn’t fall apart, which seems like a huge time commitment. It was set up for kids but it was all parents doing it.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 033

a pretty good houseFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 039

snakeFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 041

The flying penguin who I never remember the name ofFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 044

Hello KittyFringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 045

Lobster

Air Show

Not much to say here, other than they are new to doing shows in Busan and called the Blue Eagles. They made a heart and the middle of the Korean flag.

Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 056 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 057 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 058 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 072 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 106 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 137 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 150 Fringe Festival, Sandcaste Festival, Blue Eagles, Sarado Hike 170

This past weekend I went to Seoraksan National Park via Sokcho with the Busan Daytrippers–from the name you can tell it’s not normally a weekend thing.

There didn’t seem to be much in Sokcho, but it is a port village so I’m sure the seafood is great. We saw a boat come in with the morning catch.

Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park 001

You can take a taxi to the park entrance for less than 15,000 won, or take a bus for 1,000 but the buses didn’t come on schedule so we decided to take the taxi and got a mini tour while doing it as the driver pointed out various mountain names and such. Entrance is 3,500 won. The park is beautiful.

Here’s a map of the hike we did (but starting from the National Park Office):

Hike Route

The first part (before the big turn) is called Dinosaur Ridge, then we stayed at Suryeomdong Shelter and went to the highest peak there, Daecheongbong, for sunrise at 5am. This is also the 3rd highest peak in South Korea.

Around the information shelter there is a giant Buddha.

Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park 021

Before hitting Dinosaur Ridge there is a river just begging to be jumped in.

Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park 083There were a couple temples along the way (labeled in English as caves as they have to be inside one), but after going up you have to go back the same way, so just keep that in mind. There was a lady working in there and we all wondered how she was sitting there not at all sweaty–but she must have gotten there ages before us and has time to cool off as it was almost cold inside.

Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park 112Here’s a good view of Dinosaur Ridge and shows you how it got it’s name. There were so many different types of trees along this part of the trail (and the park as a whole) I was amazed.

Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park 136We also saw a double rainbow! And the top one was a circle around the sun! I’m still confused by this because there hadn’t been rain for days!

Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park 150

From the temple (not marked on my map) to the shelter it is mostly downhill. We started the hike around 9am and ended up at the shelter around 6pm and went for a little swim in the river there to try and clean off the sweat.

From the shelter to the peak it is mostly uphill–as you can tell from the fact that one of the signs says part of the route is 1.1 kilometers but will take 1 hour to go up. We left the shelter at midnight and got to the peak for sunrise at 5am. Look at those clouds rolling in over the ocean!

Sokcho and Seoraksan National Park 195From there it was mostly downhill and covered by a forest.

Near the place we ended there are hot springs, but we decided to head on back instead of going in them, as most were headed to Seoul and wanted to go to the jimjjilbang (spa) there. From this exit you can take buses in may directions: Seoul, Sokcho, Hwacheon…To get to the bus stop and the ticket place you going straight out the exit and walk about 10 minutes to a shack to buy the tickets and across the street is the bus stop for Hwacheon and Seoul and on the same side is Sokcho. The ticket lady helped me flag the bus down, because you need to wave at it to make it stop.