Tag Archive: beautiful


Hoi An

Took the “8:30” train from Nah Trang but it was quite late. We had a person who was there to help yell if people were still in our room but we didn’t need to use her, sadly as we all wanted to see it happen.

Jill saw a mouse but I didn’t, again sadly because I wanted to see how big they were. Sit always calls them Mickey Mouse and one of the girls sings ‘Hey Mickey’. Woke pretty early because others were talking saying it must be soon but it wasn’t for another hour and a half. Got good pics of sunrise though.

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Arrived in DaNang and took a bus for 40 minutes to Hoi An.

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We couldn’t check in so we went to breakfast at Banana Leaf where I got a great omelet and crunchy baguette for 35,000. Next others went to the tailors but I didn’t want to buy anything so I just came back and did laundry and showered. Then I saw some of the boys who said they were going to the pool so I went there. It was fun especially because they didn’t pull me under, as they joked they would.

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Around 1:30 I went with Jill to explore the town. I didn’t realize that inside the ‘town’ there were no bikes or cars, making it seem even touristier. People are quite pushy to sell which I dislike. Walked to what I thought was the Japanese Bridge looking at the G Adventures wrong map again. Then to Central Market which was smelly and dirty and filled with sleeping people who were very very pushy to sell their food when they woke up—why would I buy food to cook? Next we wandered and I found a painting for mom for 100,000 dong. She asked 7USD, I said 5USD, which she then said was 120,000 dong. Nope. (She’s correct really but no one gets that rate.) Then back to the hotel for a little break before the cooking class.

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When we were fishing the cooking class everyone else showed up for Pete’s birthday dinner. Then we went upstairs and had some drinks and Sit brought in a huge cake with a dragon. We couldn’t eat it all and left the dragon head with the restaurant. Really good for an Asian cake. Lots of frosting 🙂 Then Sit took us to the Japanese bridge (not the one I saw earlier) which was beautiful at night and showed us a good ice cream shop.

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We then went to Hong Phuc 2 for drinks which were buy one get one for cocktail sand buy two get one for beer. The cocktails were quite strong. We got to control the music which was nice again and some people put lanterns in the water. Earlier we were told people do have jobs to pick up the lanterns. They closed at around 12:30 so we went home and as a massive rat.

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Ready at 9 for the bike ride which ended up being fantastic.

Myself and 2 others got ice cream from Enjoy, the place Sit showed us, which was 600,000 for 1 kg of ice cream. I ended up paying 70,000 which was still expensive but it was very nice. The milk is imported from France. Then we went back to Hong Phuc 2 because we needed more food. I got a sandwich for 32,000 which was warm and very nice because of the crunchy bread. Sit then took us to look for funny shirts but I didn’t have any money so I came back to the pool to be joined shortly by most of the group.

Left to go to the post office and paid 15,000 dong for the Americas and 13,000 dong for Asia and Europe. Found some people from the group right away and did a bit of shopping. 2 shirts for $10—one Vietnamese telecom and 1 ‘same same but different’. A friend paid $7.50 for one so I got a deal. Wandered a bit trying to find others and went to a buy one get one bar for 2 drinks. Found some but they had to go home and when we saw them again they didn’t want to eat anymore. Went to Hong Phuc 2 for dinner (same as lunch) and got 3 beers (1 free) and vegetables and rice for $10.50. I then got really tired and went home.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

Buddha’s Birthday in Seoul

Along the Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul there were tons of lanterns for Buddhas birthday, which was May 17th. The lanterns went up way before and were taken down 100% on the 19th, with some being taken down before.

I can’t say what was going on in the lanterns, as they were all written about in Korean. Some were in trees next to the road, but most were in the stream itself.

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Agra

Agra didn’t seem like a nice town. Everywhere seems devoted to tourists; even outside my window were people hanging laundry–not other hotels like there had been in other areas. I guess it wasn’t too different form parts of Dublin or Korea.

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I went to Agra Fort and Taj Mahal.

 

Sunset in Pushkar

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