21.05.2015 - 05.06.2015
D9 Fri, Danyang
Take the subway to the bus station.
19w for bus from Busan to Yeongju. 4.5w bus to Danyang.
From the bus station we went to a hostel we'd searched on the Internet. Cross the road and turn left to go up the hill, turn right at the 2nd or 3rd small road. Apparently it's usually 30 for 2 beds, but it happened to be the first day of the annual azalea festival so it was jacked up to 50. Just a place to sleep, no kitchen but comes with private toilet.
Went to gosu caves, that was a lot of fun. A very wet drippy cave with some squeezy pathways. You can pay slightly more for a round trip but it's fine to just do one route, it's probably similar, and it's not inconvenient to go out halfway.
After that we went paragliding! Later we found out that the shop was along the riverside. But we got the person from the tourist information center near the bridge to book for us. 90w for 20min plus gopro video. (apparently 10w discount cos the guy called for us).
View from the bridge
They picked us up from the tourist info center and drove up to the astronomical center thing at the top of the mountain. The jump was a lot easier than I thought (hyperventilating when I got strapped in) because it wasn't really a jump; the parachute lifted me up first. Amazing view, and they did this downward spiral thing that was super fun. Landed near the river and the shop where we paid and they transferred the video for us (make sure you have a phone or memory card of some sort)
Then we got invited for dinner! Yay! The paragliding people have dinner together and that day the girls cooked and the guys washed up. We had Korean porridge and soup. Yayy. And then one of the girls (she was actually just visiting) brought us around the festival booths! So nice. There was a concert too with 2 famous Korean stars amid random ones.
D10 Sat, Danyang
The next day we went up to Seobaeksan. Wanted to do it like these people but realised they started their trek in yeongju and A didn't really want to back track.
We missed the bus to cheongdong caves so we shared a cab with an old couple (total 8.2w). Took about 3h to hike up, it was quite terrible because we were in sneakers and Nike running shoes but the trail was really uneven and rocky and steep.
Also, it happened to be the only 17 degree rainy day in a week of 31 degree sunny weather. Close to the top it got very cold, rainy, foggy and very very windy. I was dying in my goretex jacket and shorts, and A wasn't much better in her running tights and cotton hoodie. At the top we tried to go to down a different way but we got bad directions, and were so miserable we just decided to go down the way we'd come up. Just wanted to get off the mountain.
Halfway down it got sunny and clear. We were so mad because it felt like a wasted trip. Up there it was so foggy, maybe 10m visibility so there had been no reward! And out weak knees were hurting on the way down and I weakly sprained my ankle too. Blegh.
Remember to bring sufficient food and water up. There are water points along the way but food... That cold day there were people eating hot ramen up there. So jealous. We had cold bread and kimbap.
Took a local bus back to Danyang. Rested that evening.
Here is the bus schedule in case it's useful:
Cheongdong caves is the information sign on the top left, with the 6.8km route. We wanted to return by the parallel route on the right (4.6km) but instead retraced our steps. (The map look so shitty because it was in my pocket the entire trek, and it was so rainy and windy)
D11 Sun, Seoul
The next day we took a bus to Seoul (forgot price), settled into the cheapest hostel in Seoul (10w/night) Nomad House Itaewon, and struck out to buy souvenirs for friends and family. Went to Ihwa Mural Village to take photos. Splurged on expensive ginseng chicken soup + rice dinner (15w/person) at Tosokchon. No queue, lucky, but inside was quite full.
The hostel was slightly inaccessible because it's in a really hilly place and you need to huff and puff up those slopes to get back (or out). Nonetheless the owner speaks perfect English (and good Spanish too) and is really nice and helpful, and flexible about arrangements. And it's cheap and relatively clean. Good place. There's also a beautiful lookout point near the hostel, at a temple. Sunsets great from there.
D12 Mon, Seoul
3.9w for a bulgogi burger set meal at KFC, special price. Went to the express bus terminal again to shop. Lotte World for food to bring back (found a 20 pack of seaweed for 5w, bought some sweet local biscuits for 2w each). Gwangjang for dinner. 8w for tanghoon and bibimbap (not really enough for 3 people but we were broke).
D13 Tue, Seoul
We pretty much spent the whole day in the hostel, packing and watching TV shows on our phones. I went out to the convenience store on a breakfast run (1w for kimbap), but we had ramen for lunch.
We then got up all our stuff and headed over to the hongdae jimjilban. I think exit 9 from hongik uni, walk straight down about 300m. It's housed in marigold hotel, the small door on the left of the main one.
Entrance plus overnight stay on a week night costs 10w. The lady graciously let us leave our huge bags at the counter, but obviously showed they were unwelcome.
Walked outside in hongdae, got some street food, souvenirs. Dinner at reggae chicken, 28w for 2 portions of chicken, we were really full and had to take away some for supper.
Back to the jimjilban. In the baths you can get a massage and/or a scrub. Back scrub costs 10w with cheaper options. Massages range from 35w to 85w.
In the sleeping section there is some kind of food shop but we didn't check the price. Note that it's really warm in the sleeping area! Not like you can do much about it. I slept on the floor (eschewing the mat) and put a cold water bottle on my tummy, but that's just me. (my friends were mostly okay)
Water coolers available, both hot and cold water. Both bath and sleeping levels.
D14 Wed, Seoul
We got kicked out at 1030am when we were still lazing around the sleeping area. Paid our 1w fine each (for staying more than 12h) and promised again to return for our bags.
Eventually had lunch at a bbq place, paid 18.7w for three portions of pork belly and a bowl of rice (1w as usual). Yummy.
For some reason our bbq always catches fire, even the one at Jeju.
Wasted time in various cafés with aircon and wifi and charging points. Finally it was 5pm and we got our bags and took the express train to incheon airport. Supposedly it cost 4.45w but I think it took less than that out of the card.
Found a comfortable place to sleep and charge phones. Bought some stuff with the remaining money. Slept.
D15 Thu, KL
Morning flight by airasia to KL. Bought Laneige creams for friends at duty free, a few bucks cheaper.
The very initial idea was to hang around KL a few days and eat, but that had dwindled to just a single meal by the middle of the trip. By Thursday everyone just wanted to be home, so we booked a direct bus to SG from the airport (KLIA2). 60myr. 2h frequency with star mart. Hung around and charged phones.
Spent RM3+ on kaya bread (6 pieces as per usual) and about RM8 each on burgers (no meal) and a single pack of fries. We had RM0.15 left. Yup. Not even enough to go to the toilet on the way back lol. The guy was a slow driver so although we left at 5.45pm, we only got back at 12.