South Korea Travelogue 3: Hallasan on Jeju Island

Let me give you a brief introduction about Hallasan, so you can see where I am coming from later. Hallasan is the highest mountain in South Korea and a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. It is a massive shield volcano and forms the bulk of Jeju Island. The peak of the mountain is at an elevation of 1,950m (6,400ft).

hallasan map

(Source: http://www.hallasan.go.kr/hallasan/map/english.html)

There are seven trails up the mountain, but only two to the summit: Seongpanak Trail (9.6km) and Gwaneumsa Trail (8.7km). The time to the summit for the two are pretty similar since Gwaneumsa is shorter but steeper. The trails are opened in the daytime and entrances are closed by a certain time so that hikers are able to climb down the mountain before sunset.

DSC03719DSC03721

We woke up when it was pitch-black, at about 4.30am, so that we could start the climb early. Daylight started to appear as we pulled into the carpark to Seongpanak Trail.

DSC03726

Do not believe the trail grading of ‘easy’, ‘normal’ and ‘difficult’. It should have been ‘difficult’, ‘more difficult’ and ‘most difficult’!

Continue reading

South Korea Travelogue 2: Jusangjeolli Cliff and Museums in Jeju

We woke up bright and early, so early that nothing was opened! Hence, we decided to walk around the area and take some pictures while waiting for breakfast places to open.

DSC03436DSC03438DSC03432DSC03456

We went to Starbucks at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum for breakfast. I decided to have a Croque Monsieur and Chocolate Banana Ice Blended for 9,800Won (SGD$11.70). Did you know that they have really interesting flavours here in Korea like Avocado Yoghurt Frappuccino, Lemon Meringue Frappuccino Light and Cranberry Fizzio with Grapefruit Foam?

After breakfast, we headed to Jusangjeolli Cliff (entrance fee 2,000Won), a cultural monument of Jeju, for some sightseeing. The rugged cliff formation was formed when lava from Hallasan Mountain erupted into the sea. The hexagon rock pillars reminded me of the Giant Causeway!

DSC03462DSC03474DSC03485DSC03496DSC03521

I got myself a Peanut Butter and Peach Ice Cream J Cone (3,000Won = SGD$3.60) from a store at the entrance/ exit of Jusangjeolli Cliff. Initially I was worried that the cone would no longer be crisp as it was just hanging there, but it was still good. The ice cream was more icy than creamy, therefore it melted really quickly and caused quite a mess.

Continue reading

South Korea Travelogue 1: Our First Day at Jeju

We took a night flight on board Cathay Pacific and after a short stopover at Hong Kong, we flew to Incheon International Airport, Seoul. From there, we had to take the subway for about five stops to Gimpo International Airport where we would take a domestic flight via Korean Air to Jeju.

However, we had a lot of time to kill before our domestic flight, so we used the time to run some errands and of course, eat.

DSC03293DSC03294

The first thing we did after clearing the customs was to collect our Samsung Galaxy Note 5s from SK Telecom, located between Exits 10 and 11 at Incheon International Airport. We participated in the 10th event of Enjoy Mobile Korea Programme by the Korean Tourism Organisation, Samsung Electronics and SK Telecom, where 250 winners are selected each week for a free rental of the latest smartphone. This means FREE VOICE AND DATA services for five whole days! This weekly programme will continue till the end of the year!

DSC03305DSC03301DSC03306

Following that, we grabbed some breakfast from Bonjuk & Bibimbab Cafe, which specialises in congee/ porridge and bibimbab. I ordered the Beef Vegetable Porridge (8,500Won = SGD$10.20) and while I found the porridge healthy, it was lacking in taste.

Continue reading