Visiting Korea's highest mountain... well, kind of!
Hallasan National Park Travel Blog› entry 300 of 658 › view all entries
People who contributed to, and improved my trip:
When i woke up on Monday and went to leave my room, i was confronted by the guy who had rented the room to me and he kept pointing at some washing on the line outside. I kept shaking my head, as i hadn't given him any to do, but in the end i just went over to it, to stop him from speaking to me in Korean. To my shock, all my dirty clothes that i had worn on the ferry ride over from Busan were on the line, freshly washed. I wasn't sure whether to hug him or be annoyed that he had been in my room. I decided to just smile and thank him in Korean, then leave whilst the going was good.
I caught a bus to the main bus station, bought some food from the bakery across the road and then caught another bus out to Hallasan National Park.
I had chosen to walk up the 4.7km Eorimok Trail to the top and take the 3.7km Yeongsil Trail back down again. Sadly this trail no longer runs all the way up to the top of Hallasan, as there has been such bad environmental damage that they have chosen to close the path for at least a decade. Although this is disappointing, i understand and agree with the policy as it will benefit the area in the long term.
For some reason no one asked for an entry fee at the start of the Trail, which was a bonus and i was soon working my way along a gently sloping path.
On the down side there were a hell of a lot of school children on their way down, who had obviously made a much earlier start than me. Some were pleasant enough and said hello, but plenty were giggling away and trying to show off to their friends by been cheeky to the foreigner. I even passed a large group of soldiers on their descent, I'm not sure if they had been training or just fancied a nice day out.
A couple of kilometres into the trail, the terrain leveled out and the going became easier.
A short break for lunch at the 1700m marker and then i began my descent. I passed by the interesting Yeongsilgiam Rocks and even got to spot one of the 1700 Roe Deer that remain in the Park. Fog drifted in sporadically, making for an eerie, yet interesting walk.
At the foot of the hill, the Lousy Planet said it was just a 20 minute walk to the bus stop, so i tried to walk as slowly as possible, as i still had quite some time until my bus left.
15 minutes later a middle aged Korean couple pulled over in their car and motioned for me to get in. I said 'Jeju-Si' and they shook their head, but then said 'bus stop', so i thought it seemed a good idea to get in with them. When we reached the area where i thought the bus stop was, they didn't want to let me get out, and started saying 'big bus stop'. I figured they knew what they were on about, until about 10 minutes later when they pulled a map out, and i realised they were also tourists on the island!
15 minutes later we were nearing the South of the island, which was as far from Jeju-Si as you can get, when they pulled over, showed me a tiny bus stop and pretty much chucked me out.
I entered the nearest shop with a look of desperation and pointed at my map where i wanted to go, then showed the guy the bus stop. He shook his head and chatted with a female colleague, before finally leading me outside and getting into his van. I didn't have much choice, so jumped in alongside him. We ended up driving even further South to a town called Jungmun, where i was dropped at another bus stop. Thankfully this one was the right stop and 10 minutes later the bus turned up.
I went out for some Dinner at a nearby Department Store, which had a range of cafes on the top floor. I settled for a really good pork cutlet with some rice, sauce, soup and yoghurt. It had been a long and tiring day, so after catching up with Julia on the internet, i went home to bed. When i looked in the mirror whilst brushing my teeth, i realised i had got a ludicrous sun burn, covering only the part of my head which hadn't been covered by my beanie. I looked a right fool! Nothing new there i hear you say!