Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Korea (Seoul & Jeju) 2013 14-28 Oct (Day 11)

We woke up pretty early and it was about an hour's drive from our hotel to Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak), where we were to catch sunrise.

The drive was smooth as only insane people like us would wake up so early on a chilly morning to catch sunrise. But hey, we're on a holiday, we're allowed to do insane things right???

As a word of advise, please do check the timing of sunrise from your friendly hotel receptionist, work backwards to take into account the driving duration, the half hour climb up to the top, plus a little bit extra for unexpected delays.

As typical "kiasu" Singaporeans, we factored in "wee" bit too much extra time and arrived pretty early. The car park at Seongsan Ilchulbong was pitch dark and there were only like 2 other cars when we arrived. We bravely decided to venture out and upon opening the car door, we we greeted by strong gusty winds. It was so cold and the icy wind really pierced through our wind proof jackets. We were hesitating to get off or stay in the car, and decided to venture out and see what was around.

A few other cars arrived and you could see everyone shivering and running for cover to the cafe that has just opened. The cafe was nice and warm and everyone was queueing to get a hot drink.

All the frozen people seeking refuge from the wind in the cafe

After getting our hot drinks and buying our tickets, we started on our trek up to the peak. It was really dark and we had to tread carefully as we couldn't see much of our path up. However, after some way up, the pretty lights of Jeju came into view.

This pic below is the same view as the one above.

Upon reaching the top, we were surprised to see a nicely built seating gallery. We thought we were the few crazy people to wake up at such an unearthly hour and braving the chilly winds to catch sunrise, but lo and behold, there were many more already ahead of us and patiently waiting for Mr Sun to arrive.

Sadly, it was pretty cloudy and we couldn't catch the "egg yolk" rise above the horizon :(

Sadly, we made our way down. So this was what we missed when we climbed up in the dark.

Upon reaching the foot, we went to another side of the formation for a view of the coast. The views were as usual spectacular.

So this is what it looked like, didn't realise we walked this route up in the dark.

Next stop, Seopjikoji. It was about a 10-15 minutes drive away.

It was pretty deserted when we arrived at the car park. Great, as I could get nice pictures without people in the background.

It was a pretty place, with nice cliffs and we saw a lighthouse and church in the distant.

We spent a little time enjoying the sights.

As we went nearer the church, we discovered it was not a real church, but a filming site for a Korean drama. 

We decided to come here tomorrow morning to catch sunrise instead. Don't think it'll be as cold as Seongsan Ilchulbong. Plus there won't be so many people around.

Next stop, Bijarim Forest.

Nothing much here but a nice forest walk.

Next stop, Manjanggul Caves.

It's actually a lava tube that was formed when molten lava burst through the earth's crust. It is the largest in the world and is named a UNESCO world heritage site.

You take a steep descent via wooden staircase down and walk through the cave. The part that is opened to the general public is a very small part of the entire lava tube system. Inside, you will see lava flow formations, stalactites, stalagmites and a lava column. It is very cool inside and it's advisable to wear a sweater.

Today has been a long day. Woke up early to catch sunrise at Seongsan Ilchulbong, went to Seopjikoji, walked through Bijarim Forest and explored Manjanggul Caves and its surroundings. I think we can reward ourselves with a big dinner after all the calories that have been burnt throughout the day.

Yum yum. After a big meal and a long day, time to zzzz

Korea (Seoul & Jeju) 2013 14-28 Oct (Day 10)

Today, we drive to O'sulloc Tea Museum.

I thought it was going to be a typical museum all about the history of tea, boy was I wrong. It was actually more like a tea plantation, with a very pretty cafe, shop selling tea products and even a cosmetics section selling skin care products made from tea.

As the weather was quite cool, we enjoyed the warm sun in the pretty gardens.

It was time for lunch by the time we were finished at O'Sulloc. We decided to head to the vicinity of Songaksan (Mt Songak), an extinct volcano, for lunch. It's actually down the road from Sambangsan, where we were yesterday. The drive along the stretch of road is very pretty, as we were driving along the beautiful coastline.

There were several restaurants offering fresh seafood and we just randomly chose 1. As it was the season for abalones, we decided to order a few to try.

We had the seafood stew, where we could eat the abalone sashimi style or cooked in the stew. The cooked version was definitely nicer as the abalone was more tender.

Live abalone
Seafood stew. Abalone added in later

The stew set also came with 2 fishes and side dish.

After our yummy lunch, time to take in the beautiful surroundings.

Next stop, Songaksan proper. We parked nearby and walked away the calories up the gentle gradient. 

The views... see for yourself. That's where we had our abalones.

After a tiring walk, we decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel to rest.

Tomorrow we will be trying to catch sunrise at Seongsan Ilchulbong, we had better have an early night. We decided to have a simple dinner, which was nothing to shout about, hence, no food pictures to drool over.

Night night.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Korea (Seoul & Jeju) 2013 14-28 Oct (Day 9)

Took a drive to Jungmun Saekdal Beach. Beautiful beach, waves were a little choppy but views were awesome nevertheless.

Jungmun Saekdal Beach

Spent some time walking around taking in the sights of the area before driving to Yakchunsa Temple. Quite a new temple and pretty too.

After the temple, we drove around and stopped by a typical Korean restaurant.

Turns out that the food was yummy. Set menu of the day was beef bulgogi with side dishes. Absolutely divine.

After a hearty lunch, we head off to Sambangsan or Mt Sambang.

Mt Sambang
There's a trail that leads to Yongmeori Coast. As Jeju is an island, you get to see beautiful beaches and coastline.

Yongmeori Coast
Yongmeori Coast
We then headed off to Cheonjeyeon Falls (different from Cheonjiyeon Falls). Its quite a big place as its made up of 3 waterfalls with their pools of water. You just follow the different trails to each waterfall and you're afforded with nice views.

1st pool.

2nd pool & waterfall

3rd pool & waterfall
Here's their landmark bridge:

The bridge leads to a temple in the vicinity. You can climb to the top and enjoy the nice views. It was windy and was just apt as we were perspiring from all the walking.

View from the top of the temple

We next went to Ripley's Believe It Or Not for a short stroll and after sunset, we decided to try more yummy food at the restaurant where we went for lunch.

Open concept kitchen

Saba fish that was grilled just nice

After dinner, back to the hotel.