Tag Archive: trees


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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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Shanghai in 8 hours

On my way to India, I had a layover from 12:55pm to 8:30pm–taking the time to get out of the airport and to where my friend wanted to meet plus the time to get back to the airport and the 2 hours to check in….it was really from 2:50pm to 6:30pm, and 3 hours and 40 minutes in Shanghai.

You CAN leave the airport in Shanghai if you are from certain countries if you have a layover that is less than 48/72 hours–if it’s longer I’d imagine you went there on purpose…really after 12 I think you’re there on purpose but on my way back it was 22 hours to make the flights super cheap. You can’t be coming from Hong Kong, stay in Shanghai for 48 hours and then go back to Hong Kong, have to go somewhere else so its really a layover and not a short trip. I don’t understand why the government doesn’t promote this more, since it really is just a great way for the country to make some tourism money. I’m not sure why else it exists.

Anyway, after you leave the airport, you can get on the metro easily and go anywhere! Both airports are on the green line and I went to Jing’an Temple to meet my friend (another English teacher) as she lives near there.  This took about an hour. At the airport stop (at least at mine, Pudong International) there are some weird decorations to let you know you’re in China. They were all in bad lighting, so my flash always popped up.

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Once getting off I could see that China was still all decked out for the Lunar New Year

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We went to lunch at Din Tai Fung which is famous from dumplings so we got the Mushroom ones and the Vegetable ones. My friend is a meat eater and said she liked the Mushroom ones because they were more ‘meat like’. We also got the most popular side dish which was sauteed greens in garlic. So good. There is a reason it’s the most popular. Service was a bit odd as we got everything separate, but it was busy. They have soy sauce and vinegar on the table for you to mix, and deliver very pretty ginger for you to use in your mix as well. You can watch the dumplings being made, but I’m not sure how anyone would know which are theirs.

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After that we walked though new Shanghai which is filled with sky scrapers. There was also a knock off market. I was quite surprised at how people just yelled what they were selling at you. We didn’t buy anything, but we went back on my return layover.

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We ended up at Peoples Square where parents advertise their unmarried ‘old’ children for wed. I put old in quotes because by American/Western standards they are not old, only about 25. The signs will list their age, height, likes and dislikes and other parents will make notes of things to show their children. I don’t think I saw any of the kids actually there. There is a separate area for people who are willing to accept non-Chinese nationalities.

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There is also an amusement park with some really unsafe looking rides…

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And of course Cherry Blossoms!

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Next we decided to walk to the waterfront to see the skyline. While we were walking it started to rain, but hardly enough to need an umbrella, but of course everyone pulled them out. I have a horrible fear of getting hit in the ey by an umbrella.

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When we got to the waterfront I remembered being there when I was 16 and we did a boat cruise. I was hoping my mom could go though those old pictures (not on my computer) and find one of me in Shanghai but she couldn’t. I guess I didn’t take many pictures of myself on the trip and relied on others, but if we had shared them, they would have sent them and we would have saved them, right?

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Realistically, the photos below was the only reminder that I was in fact, in China which is a ‘communist’ country.

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Next was the subway back to the airport, where my friend told me that I had, realistically, seen all of new Shanghai in one day–less than that!

UN Memorial Cemetery

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Behind the Busan Museum is the UN Memorial Cemetery. It is a very solemn place, as to be expected. You are greeted by UN guards who will ask where you are from (the UN keeps track of what countries citizens visit, I guess) and then salute you. There are a lot of things you cannot do in the park, including run:

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The plans (and overall design) are really beautiful.

Busan Museum and UN Memorial Cemetry 103The part that I always find most moving of any war cemetery is the part for the unknown soldiers. There are two parts for them in the UN Memorial Cemetery.

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The Wall of Remembrance is filled with names, and the largest part is for America. This is just the start of it. In the reflection you can see the pool-like area that has a helmet in the middle and a flower at the edge (allegedly, I did not really see either).

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