19 Dec Korea: Climbing Mt Hallasan
On the 3rd day of our trip, I suggested we should climb Mt Hallasan (South Korea’s highest mountain) because they say if you’ve never climbed Mt Hallasan, you’ve never been to Jeju. And so we did and our plan was to go up Via Yeongsil and back down via Eorimok trail. Reaching at 8.30am in the morning, we started hiking using the Yeongsil trail (the shortest trail) which was supposed to be a 2.5hr climb, we took a total of 3.5hrs. No shit 2.5hrs is not for beginners.
For us, most of the time we stopped to rest and of course, take loads of pictures. 3.5hrs unfortunately wouldn’t take us to the peak where the crater is. Which is ‘Baengnokdam’ in the above map. Even if we had the physical, we wouldn’t be able to because it was off limits during the time of our visit. Could be due to the unpredictable rainfalls. The max we could go up to was where the rest stop is, ‘Witseoreum Shelter’.
Generally, the trail was fairly easy. But of course, there were still areas with uneven rocks and steep steps.
Considering that I’m still kinda young, I huffed and puffed worst than the elderly that pass by me. 1 Korean uncle stopped to have a conversation with me and shaked his head saying that there’s still a long way ahead. If I could bury my face already. BUT, the climb was definitely well worthy. The view was amazeballs.
And that mountain behind, would be where the crater is. To get there, use the Seongpanak and Gwaneumsa trail instead which is about 8-9km.
Hallasan National Park, A UNESCO World Heritage
The portable water area which indicated that we were almost near the shelter. We would have missed the portable water area if it wasn’t for the kids. They were lining up for the water. I wanted to exclaim how fresh it was but hmm.. I taste the metal tap. Still, no complains.
We finally reached the shelter right about lunch time. Bought a Shin cup ramen and a choco pie to share and after a good 30mins of rest, we headed back down via the Eorimok trail which took us another 2hrs. The first hour heading back down was easy breezy with yet another great view. But the last hour was the killer of the whole journey. It was torture after torture! Without proper trekking experience, appropriate shoes or perhaps the way I walk etc my feet was stinging pain. Everytime I land my feet, it felt like I was stepping on a bed of nails. Dafug, weak much.
Note: Visitors wll have to bring along their lunch leftovers with them to dispose.
Finally! 6 hours later...
We took a total of 6 hours for the entire hike. At some point, I regretted suggesting but everytime I’m reminded of the view, I couldn’t deny that it was a good idea we did. My plan for the second half of the day was to go pick up the motorcycle I actually rented online 2 weeks before we flew. But the taxi driver uncle was so adamant about how dangerous the highway in Jeju were. Thank god for the short Korean lessons and all the dramas, variety shows I’ve watched, I managed to have decent conversations throughout the trip.
Since the bike shop was nearer to the airport, again it will take an hour from the highway over. The driver started telling us the shortest route back to our accommodation in Seogwipo would be highway 516. He was going on about the highway full of winding roads and fast cars and he said the roads are not like the ones we have in Singapore. And if we were to take the longer road around the coast, it will take us about 3 hours. DANG! Both of us started to feel uneasy about riding the bike after what he said, we gave up the idea and ask him to drive us to Jeongbang Falls instead.
On the way to Jeongbang falls, we drove pass the horse range. The kind taxi driver stopped the cab meter and ask us to alight and take some pictures with the horses. Naise or what?
We stopped nearby for lunch and omg, they don’t seem to have small portions of food, I don’t know why. It was too much of a waste since both of us couldn’t finish the pot of seafood. The food looked delicious but to be honest it didn’t even match 1/3 of the one we had on our first dinner.
Jeongbang Fall was most definitely more majestic compared to Cheonjiyeon waterfall.
I would assume from what I’ve seen on variety shows that in the day these ahjummas1, female divers of Jeju island would go out to sea and sell their catch at touristy areas to earn a living.
We were really curious about those “heart” looking seafood. Which I later found out that it’s called the Hoya, sea squirt or sea pineapple. I didn’t try it because I fear it would be another sea urchin episode. And thank goodnes we didn’t! Because wikipedia says, “…and their peculiar taste, described as “…something like ‘iodine’ and ‘rubber dipped in ammonia’.” Taste like the smell of urine??! Shit yo! WHY!
Tiny people, big world.
Slushie made from the fruit that Jeju is famous for, oranges.
Lee Jong Seop Street
We were using the GPS to find our way back to our accommodation and we found this place called the Lee Jong Seop street, an outdoor art gallery space along a really steep slope. After Mt Hallasan, the last thing you want to do is climb slopes. But with such surprise finds, it will be too good to give it a miss. Along the street, there were handicraft stores, local designer souvenir shops and some hippie looking cafes. Quite a nice area I must say.
If you visit Jeju, you’ll most likely step into Olleh market at least once. This crepe as she calls it, more like prata loaded with mayo and chilli with sausages were really yummy. Too fearful of having another huge seafood pot, we opted for snacks as our dinner bought from the market.
One of the things I wanted to try was the spicy fried chicken. The bucket was in my opinion too much for us so I asked for half the cup but pay in full which was 5,000 KRW. However, I guess he felt bad for accepting the full amount, so he gave us 1,000 KRW discount. lol.
Another irresistable looking mini hareubang snacks. Filled with cream-like texture made with oranges.
ahjumma1 = a respectful Korean word for a married, or marriage aged woman. Although it is sometimes translated “aunt,” it does not actually refer to a family relationship.
To be continued with Jusangjeolli Cliff and Oedolgae Rock.