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South Korea

S. Korea: A Financial Account (Week 2)

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.

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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).

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The shop
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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)

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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.

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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.

https://klimbingkoreanmountains.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/sobaeksan-national-park-%EC%86%8C%EB%B0%B1%EC%82%B0/

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.

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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.

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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:
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

DSC00080.jpg 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.

Posted by seaskimmer 20:56 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

S. Korea: A Financial Account (Week 1)

Total cost for 2 weeks: SGD$1.2k

Route: Singapore, KL, Muuido myeon, Seoul, Jeungdo myeon, Jeju, Busan, Danyang, Seoul, KL, Singapore
Flight tickets: SGD$340 round trip from KLIA2 to Incheon
Accommodation: KRW 150,000, not including an overnight ferry from Jeju to Busan, and one night in airport

D0 Wed, KL
Night bus to KL (19 sgd), arrived in KL Sentral about 2am. Waited in McDonald's til 3am, boarded bus at Puduraya (short walk in dark near homeless people) to KLIA 2 (12 myr)

D1 Thu, Incheon/Muuido island
Morning flight with airasia (round trip 340 sgd) to Incheon.

[from here on all Korean Won excludes the thousand. Ie. 1,000 krw will be written as 1 won]

Buy sim cards with data from convenience store (1gb 34.9w, lasts max 2 weeks). Comes in 2 sizes, the small sim and the micro sim, but they also sell adaptors cheap. Also comes in 500mb.

Also buy t-money card for 2w, top up with 10w

Took bus to Jamjinnaru ferry terminal, take ferry (3w), take local bus to hanagae beach, pay entrance fee (2w). Rent beach Hut (30w per night, with 10w deposit fee on top of that).

Bus taking is very uncertain, make sure you pronounce the name correctly when you ask the nearest random waiting person and the bus driver.

Beach hut does not include shower facilities (probably have to pay for that, it was locked) but there are sinks and toilets. Lovely because the area was very empty (off-season), but slightly cold. Huts fit max 4 people with 4 blankets/floor coverings, heated floors but the thermostat is quite wonky. 1 charging point (another taken by the heater).

One or two grocery stores nearby but go early before they close. Restaurants sell affordable food (ramyun) but if you want to splurge and try something out-there then go with the seafood hot pot (40w for 3 to be pretty full). (Be wary if you're not used to seafood, especially large moving snails. This was a tough meal to swallow)

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D2 Fri, Seoul

Went the same way back to the airport and took an express train direct to hongik university station. Stayed at whitetail backpacker and hostel, a long but pretty and green walk in. Breakfast is good, bread with spreads, cereal, fried egg, sausages. Cheap too, 6 bed dorm for 15w.

Went to Gyeongbok Palace (3w). Worth going just for some cultural activity.

At night we went to the playground at hongik uni, where we were lucky enough to watch a dance battle between numerous groups of young Korean dancers. Interesting that many dancers were in multiple numbers! They weren't fantastic but it was very fun to be part of it.

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D3 Sat, Seoul

Lots of shopping this day. First was far away flea market (unless you like searching through junk, don't bother), then hongdae area (good).

We climbed Ansan (from yonsei uni then out by ehwa). Took us about 1h to go up, and 45min down because we detoured. Totally worth it, the view is amazing and free! You get photos of namsan tower too, if you want it.

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Had the famous bingsu which was pretty yummy (about 7 each)

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Shopped at ehwa then (good too) and finally beer and chicken (and soju) at the moon and stars brand. We travelled for it, then realised there was an outlet near our hostel. Chicken was yummy. 33w for 1 portion of chicken (sharing), 2 bottles of beer, 1 bottle soju.

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D4 Sun, Seoul

There was a once-a-month flea market on the street right outside the hostel! It was so much fun and lots of things to buy.

Myeongdong then to buy makeup and stuff. Gogung lunch (28w for 2 portions) and some pork rib stew with potato for 25w (sharing portion).

Went to Han river to watch the fountain and lights from the bridge.

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D5 Mon, Jeungdo Myeon

21.9w for bus to jido in the morning (bought the night before) from Seoul express bus terminal (take exit 8 from the subway station, go up the stairs at big shinsegae sign on the left, look for the 3 big ball statues and enter from there)

1.5w for bus directly to jeungdo myeon (over the bridge).

Had no accom planned, met a old Korean woman on the bus, she indicated (with some Korean phrases on our part) that her daughter owns a minbak. We got a place for 50w.

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Took a cab (7w) to the salt farm, didn't pay for the tour but explored on our own, had a lot of fun for free. Bought some salted ice cream, comes in 'flavours' which are really just flavoured sprinkles on top of the standard ice cream. Really yummy. 2w.

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Very difficult to get around the island honestly. There's no written bus schedule anywhere, we had to ask the semi-english speaking receptionists at the salt farm for help. Recommended to find accom near the salt farm.

The minbak people lent us their bikes, so two of us cycled to the mud flats near the famous bridge (any mud flats are fine though) and went in to play. You'll sink to your ankles or mid shins, and will probably get a few cuts from crabs or shell fish in the mud (we disagreed on which it was but hey, we saw crabs around, and why would there be shell fish in mud). But it was SO MUCH FUN waddling around in it. Highly recommended. Of course you're likely destroying homes.... But whatever right.

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Ramyun for dinner because we were poor. Mosquitoes there are vicious and numerous so watch out, especially after dark.

D6 Tue, Jeju

Got a free ride from jeungdo myeon to jido. And a free energy drink.

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7.1w for bus to Mokpo from Jido. Taxi from Jido bus terminal to ferry terminal (6.4w by meter). Ferry to jeju 3.7w.

Cab to seogwipo 30w (supposedly by meter it wouldve been 33, and bus ticket per person is 10w)

Stayed at jeju hiking Inn, cheapest hostel there (15w, private rooms only). Gross kitchen available. Good access. Walkable to 2 waterfalls.

D7 Wed, Jeju

3.3w for bus to Seongsan, go to past bus station and ask for Seongsan. 1w for entry. Nice view, lots of people, lots of stairs.

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Then to jeongbang waterfall, the only waterfall in Asia that empties into the sea! Free admission. Beware the masses of sea roaches on the rocks below though. Walked back to hostel. Nice walk, about half an hour.

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Ate black pork. Lots of reviews on the net, we chose this one cos it was near our place, but there were a few others just opposite and they're probably similar.

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http://chasing320.com/2014/04/13/korea-jeju-black-pork/

D8 Thu, Jeju

31.4w cab to jeju ferry terminal (by meter).

Booked an overnight ferry to Busan (47w for lowest class). They might tell you it's too early to book (supposedly opens an hour before boarding), but you can do so at the office, the door on the right of the stairs on 1st level. Go in and then it's probably the 3rd door or something, ask for the company name from the information counter.

Large storage in the station costs 2w, only accepts 500-value coins.

Went to see llama light houses at Iho-dong. We took a bus to the stop from the terminal then walked all the way through the small town/village to the beach. Then went the opposite way back.

The ferry was nicer than expected. I thought we'd be sleeping on some big open floor, jostling for sleeping space with a bunch of fellow hobos. But no, it was very humane, there were little open rooms and sleeping mats, blankets and pillows. Like traditional Koreans must have slept. Hygiene doubtful but whatever. There's a charging station on the 5th floor near the exits.

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Posted by seaskimmer 11:27 Archived in South Korea Comments (0)

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