Jeju-do: The Long Weekend (part 1)
I seem to have forgotten to update about my trip to Jeju-do, Korea! I've been focusing on studying Korean that I forgot to write about my trip - I only have a one tracked mind.
So, at the start of June, David and I had a long weekend so we decided to fly to Jeju-do, a small island in the South. Although it's classified as a small island, it isn't really that small! You need a car to be able to see it all. Sadly, they were all out of cars when we arrived, I assume that will be the case all the time, so book ahead or bring your own via the ferry.
The flight from Seoul is only an hour long. So, by the time the plane reaches it's highest, it's time to start flying back down again. We arrived at the airport 3 hours early due to the time table of the airport bus. Gimpo airport is a bit rubbish, there's absolutely nothing there. Luckily, near the airport there's a Lotte Department store; it was HUGE!
Once in Jeju, we got a taxi ride to the hotel (Ramada Hamdeok). For a 4 star hotel, it was rubbish. As we were checking in, their ceiling started to leak. They also wouldn't allow walk ins to their restaurant, which is so weird considering we were guests at the hotel. The room was nice, with two comfy single beds. I was disappointed with the hotel, due to the lack of services. There was a recently married bride who had to carry her own luggage and find her own luggage cart in her wedding dress.
On the Sunday, David and I decided to hike up Hallasan 한라산. Hallasan is the highest mountain in Korea, so we knew it would be a tough, long hike. It was one of the easiest hikes I have ever done though. There are two routes you can take, Seongpanak (easier) and Gwaneumsa (harder). Most blogs recommend that you to go up the hard trail first and down the easy one, but I don't. I don't know why they tell you to do this, because the hard trail is brutal.
We started pretty early (5.30am) at Seongpanak, which was a nice smooth trail and it felt like walking through a giant forest. The paths were well paved up to a point.
Then, the real climbing kicks in, but even then, it wasn't too bad. There is a shelter which you have to reach before 1pm. The shelter sold things like ramen, water and chocolate bars. The bathrooms are stinky, as they don't have running water up there. It's just a toilet with a huge hole, with a million flies.
There were a series of uphill rocks to climb, and then you reach stairs. Stairs are good. Stairs don't hurt your toes. However, there were so many stairs. So, so, many...
Some guy was carrying his 2 year old on his front, I have no idea how he managed to do it.
There are stairs leading right up to the peak, and you end up reaching a flat surface, hooray!!
Then voila. After the awful stairs, you can rest and relax for a bit before having to hike back down.
Korean people are so nice, one family gave us a whole bag of cucumbers, tomatoes and chocolate.
There is a huge crater at the top but it was dry, due to the lack of rainfall or something. It was pretty neat to see.
Also, you have to reach the summit before 2pm, or they will tell you to turn back.
We went down the hard trail and hiked past others climbing up the way. They looked terrible. The terrain was super steep, even going down was tough. My toes took a killing.
On the way down, there are two shelters but they don't have stores to buy any food. That's why it's a better option to hike the easier trail first. Or bring your own food.
I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I reached the bottom. The whole hike took us 8hrs 20 which I think it pretty impressive. I did have a huge backpack full of snacks to eat. I made sure I had food and all sorts to boost my energy. I probably only complained once, because my toes were hurting near the end of the trail.
Mount Hallasan accomplished!