Once in Jinhae

Asking some Japanese where to see the sakura, they might say Ueno Park.

But if you ask some Korean, they’d definitely say ‘Jinhae’.

Jinhae is one small city in the southern park of Korea. You can travel by bus from Busan within only one hour. There is direct bus from Seoul to Jinhae also if you are more comfortable in that way. In my case, my friends and I traveled from Daejeon to Busan by train. We spent one night in Busan and took bus in the morning to Jinhae.

Since this festival is super popular, especially among Korean themselves, it’s my first time seeing this much Korean in only one place. (Over)estimating by my (biased) eyes, maybe exceed one millions. (Haaa) We needed to queue up for everything and we were about to miss the train back to Daejeon because we queued for the bus.

Even though it’s super rush and furious trip, I realized that somehow the meaning of traveling is not where we go but with whom we go with.

The one that can even make our trip more memorable than the destination itself.:)

I wouldn’t talk that much on this entry but I’ll let my cherry blossom show you how nice it was.

PS. Sorry that I broke my promise to update about snow trip but I came up with this cherry blossom as an apology. XD

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Cloudy day in Tongyeong

Done with our trip in Geoje, our last day of the trip was in Tongyeong. We took bus only 30 minutes to Tongyeong Bus Terminal. After putting all of our stuffs in the locker, we are more than ready to visit Tongyeong.

We took bus at the bus stop right in front of bus terminal. Our first destination of the day was Mireuksan, one of the 100 best mountains in Korea. From what I saw on the internet while preparing myself for this trip, the scenery is breathtaking until I couldn’t wait to see the real one.

Getting down from the bus, we followed one Korean guy until we reached the Hallyeosudo Viewing Ropeway station. From this ground station, we can take cable car to the summit station, directly to the summit of Mireuksan without doing hiking by outselves at all.

Due to our limit of time (and yes, our bodies), we decided to take cable car to the summit station for round trip. We got to take cable car with one Korean family. They are quite nice and really well manner. I just enjoyed the scenery and took some photos all along the way. Within only around 15 minutes, we reached the summit of Mireuksan.

Up there, the facilities are more than enough. They got the resting point for you to sit and enjoy the scenery (that day it was occupied by all of Korean Ahjummas and Ahjusshis). Together with some coffee shop and snack bars, you can just sip your coffee in the sky lounge or outside while enjoying the panorama view of Hallyeohaesang National Marine Park.

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I dare say this point is just a starter. We followed the guide signs to see the real summit of Mireuksan. Luckily, that day it was quite crowded since it’s Sunday. All we need to do was just following other people.

Walking along the way itself is quite pleasant walk already. But at the moment we reached the top, it’s the moment when all of your energy to travel this far paid off. Mireuksan is one of the destinations during this trip that I expected quite a lot and he didn’t let my down at all.

It took us a long time there because we really cannot take ourselves out of this place. This magnificent view is too charming. It’s the first time I feel like no matter how I snapped my shutter, the photo would come out nicely. Hahaa

After that, at first we planned to stop by art gallery nearby and Yi Sun-Sin park yet unfortunately the weather was not so nice by that time. We changed our plan and went straight to Tongyeong Jung-ang Market and the Geobukseon warships instead.

The reason why we put Jung-ang market in our travel plan is because of me. Other than general food that’s sold in this market, they got two famous dishes so far which are Chungmu Kimbap and Kkulbbang (Honey bread). It’s one of my personal checkpoint that I really want to accomplish during this trip. weeheeee XD

Stepping in the market area, it really got that local feeling. At first, I thought Jagalchi Market is the most familiar place to local market back in my country already. But Tongyeong Jung-ang is even more familiar. I feel like going back home for some reason. It’s super lively and you can really get to see the way Southern part of Korean’s life.

We walked pass by a lot of honey bread shops. Every shops got you some testers which makes it even harder to me to decide where to stop. In the end, my travel partner just randomly chose one of Ahjumma’s shop named 꿀봉이 and tried the tester there. (I can see that he didn’t really get to excited with it until he tried. haha Pad myself for good sense of food.)

Kkulbbang is fried bread and inside got different flavor such as red bean, sweet potatoes and so on. Outside it’s coated by sweet honey and topped by white sesame. Such a perfect combination. Typing about its taste still can make my mouth watering. And well, instead of one box, we ended up buying two big boxes of honey bread back to Daejeon. hehe

Right after getting my beloved honey bread, we stopped at one Chungmu Kimbap shop called 명가충무김밥. Only one menu inside this restaurant is Chungmu Kimbap. First impression is just plain rice rolled with seaweed. Being served separately with spicy squid and radish. Personally, I don’t really like eating kimbap since it’s cold food.

But the spiciness of squid made some different. The taste is quite strong and it’s just nice with plain kimbap that’s served together. We finished it in no time. For me, I feel like this dish is comfort food that the local would just have. You can get that feeling when it was in your mouth.

One of my professors once told me in anthropology class that if we want to get to know the others, their food can tell us about the cultural background in some way.

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After meal, we walked along the bay and sightseeing the local life. Around this place, it got the atmosphere of real life. Watching the fisherman doing his work, or trying to feed seagull for my travel partner to get the video he missed the day before by honey bread (but failed).

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Last destination of this trip was Geobukseon Joseon warships. This exhibition is just around 5 minute walk from Jung-ang Market. This is the model of Geobukseon, famous Korean battle ship of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin used in Korea’s Imjin war against Japan by that time.

The exhibition itself will get you the feeling of normal exhibition. But the highlight point for us was Hanbok experience in marine army style. Also the rooftop is not bad. Nice spot for chilling and taking photos.

Then it came to the end of this trip. We sat at the bench nearby, eating some honey bread, talking and looking at the local people around. It’s right decision to end our trip at Tongyeong. Thank you for this warm welcome.

Until we meet again. : )

*****

This trip is under the KOREA Tourism UP grade project. Sponsored by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Korea Tourism Organization. It’s the program containing 10 theme tour. Mine is under the theme island and wind.

Another special thank goes to my travel partner, kkulbbang oppa (Your name will always change according to the thing we eat.), for standing my panic and this full of laughing trip. Southern sea of Korea got magic somehow. HAHA.

Deep ocean with blue sky in Geoje

Right after Busan, we arrived Geoje in next early morning. Geoje greeted us with sunny and bright day. The atmosphere of small town is totally different than Busan. I felt a bit excited to see what this small town got for me.

Leaving our luggage in hotel which is not so far from the bus terminal, (Geoje or Gohyeon Bus Terminal is super small. Smallest one as I saw in Korea so far hahaa) we headed straight to our first destination in Geoje, Historic Park of Geojedo P.O.W. Camp.

To be honest, at first I didn’t pay that much attention to P.O.W. Personally, I’m easily getting afraid of this kind of figures. Maybe my imagination is too good, especially when it looks so real.

But since my friend said so that it’s a must in Geoje, I decided to put it in our plan and just followed. Well, in the end, I felt relieved that I didn’t cut it out. It’s quite interesting place. Especially for the one who is interested in Korean history, focusing on Korean war period.

P.O.W. brought us back to travel in the past. This camp was built during Korean war in order to accommodate the invaders from North side. It’s one of the place you can see how it used to be during the period of national division and how ideological conflicts affected during the cold war era.

With their story telling way that is simple but easy to understand, I was able to catch up with the things that happened easily. The detail is not too much or too boring. The technique of story telling is quite interesting also. They separated the exhibitions into the small ones. Each got only one theme to focus about. This 6.25 or Hall of the Korean War History is quite touching for me. We can see the damages from the war to citizens’ live. Only imagine about the family being departed by the others is quite hard already.

Not only one style of storytelling, they got some more with model which is interesting also. Walking through all of this park, you might get the feeling of people who used to live here back in that time. I know it might sound a bit creepy but you can get to learn something from the history in some way. Though we cannot travel back in time to fix it, we still can learn from our lesson in the past and know how to make it better.

One thing I’m impressed about Korea is that they are quite strong nation. Not in term of military, or power, I valued their hardworking and their attitude to get through their hardship. By the time Korean war ended, the situation would definitely be so hard for them. They struggled so hard and within only short period of time, they came so far.

May the peace would always be with this peninsula.

Our lunch was a bit rush because of my misunderstanding on ferry time to Oedo. (If my travel partner gets to read this entry, I bet he’s rolling his eyes now : P) I got a chance to try Meongge Bibimbap. The restaurant is right in front of P.O.W. camp. So we had no need to travel too far.

Meongge bibimbap is rice mixed with fresh oyster. I had it with seaweed soup and other eight side dishes. The side dishes I saw in this Southern part of Korea are different from Seoul or Daejeon also. The ingredients can tell you already that this area is coastal area. Well, some said we can study people’s way of life by the food they eat.

If you like fresh oyster, this bibimbap is for you. Mixing with crispy seaweed, local taste kimchi and hot rice, it’s new flavor for my tongue. Not that bad, even though I don’t really like raw stuff. It’s the dish that can get you the feeling of the sea.

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Well, due to my misunderstanding, we arrived the Jangseungpo ferry terminal 30 minute early. Luckily, around that area it’s just nice to hang around and chill out. Here are some shots I snapped from the ferry terminal.

Our ferry route was Geoje Haegeumgang Island – Oedo Island. It took us about 3 hours for the whole trip. Though it’s just a short trip, they got the emergency instruction lecture for us during the time we departed from the port.

After departing for awhile, the captain allowed us to go to rooftop. I dare saying that this part of the trip made my day that day. On the rooftop, wherever you turn, all you can see is just to horizon where the sky meets the ocean. That skyline with that ocean line. When two greatest nature meet each other. I guess there are not enough words that can describe that big feeling.

Plus with these seagulls, this ferry trip is just completely perfect already.

After feeding the seagulls for awhile, we stopped by Haeguemgang. Our captain told us the story about this place. Unfortunately, all is in Korean. It’s a bit hard because of my broken Korean. Yet as I know, it’s one part of Hallyeo Marine National Park. Nice place to hang around for sunrise and sunset. The scenery of natural cave and cliff is quite stunning.

Last stop for today is Oedo – Oedo Botania. We got free time on Oedo for 1 hour and half. Oedo is not so big but because there are so many things to sightseeing around. I warned you to watch your time. If not, you might miss your ferry back to Geoje because of this charming place.

Oedo Botania is the perfect combination of art and nature. The architecture did a great job with the landscape. Stair garden with this breathtaking ocean view is just right.

Here the weather is warmer than Northern part of Korea. It’s quite hard to leave this place. Make sure you got nice camera with you when you get to visit Oedo. You wouldn’t get enough of it.

Back to Geoje, we ended up our day walking around downtown area. As I mentioned before, Geoje is small town. You can get the feeling of some old school K-drama such as Reply within this town. Not so dynamic as Busan, it got its charm in its own way.

And one of the things I proudly present from this trip is this dish, Haemul-jjim. Super, duper yummy and nicest meal so far for this 3 days 2 nights trip. At first we planned to have Daegu-tang, one of specialties in this region. Searching for almost every shop, we realized that it’s not available. We ended up with this restaurant. It’s super new one and the reason we chose this restaurant was just because the auntie looked so kind.

 Luckily, my sense of eating is always correct. Though the price might be a bit expensive, the taste, the quality of ingredient and the texture of this dish is just perfect. Bit spicy but so tasty. Plus with super fresh and high quality seafood. We have done our day in Geoje in complete way.

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*****

This trip is under the KOREA Tourism UP grade project. Sponsored by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Korea Tourism Organization. It’s the program containing 10 theme tour. Mine is under the theme island and wind.

Windy, one fine day in Busan

Not so sure about other countries, but in my country, they said whenever you feel down, sea is the right place for you to go.

I didn’t feel down, sad, depressed or whatsoever. But last week, I caught the train to Busan with one of my friends. (Hmmm, not to follow the Korean movie though, haha)

Our compact three days two nights trip in three cities in Southern part of Korea and yes, all are nearby the sea.

I can say it’s our Korean Southern sea discovery trip. We started our trip with Busan, the second biggest city in South Korea.

And more special thing for this trip, we went to Busan by KTX! Even though it’s not my first time, I’m still fascinated with this high-speed train.

Here we come, Busan.

After arriving Busan, we headed straight to Gamcheon Cultural Village nearby Jagalchi Station. There I got to see how great Busan tourism support system is. One kind Ahjumma (‘Auntie’ in Korean word) walked straight to us and helped us with both, our luggage storage and the direction to bus stop where we can take bus to Gamchoen Village.

First 10 point to Busan! (Well, I’m Harry Potter Fan and still get so involved with Fantastic Beast and Where to find Them. Don’t mind me, please haha)

And this is our first destination of this trip, Gamcheon Cultural Village.

This village was built in unique stairs-shape. It was called as “Machu Picchu of Busan”. Inside this tight community, the villagers still maintain their own way of close community culture. The close tight among villagers help this village to still alive. Plus with mural and sculpture arts around the village, I felt like this charming village is the place where close, tight and warm-heart feeling can meet art in harmonious way somehow.

Done with Gamcheon Village, it’s about the time of our lunch time and since the fish market is so nearby, we decided to have lunch in one restaurant there.

We ended up reading our menu and waiting with our watering mouth in 충무횟집 restaurant. Great location of Busan that’s nearby the sea together with home-cooking style of the restaurant is like our guarantee that our Saengseon-gui (Grilled Fish) and Haemul Pajeon (Korean-style Seafood Pancake) would taste great.

When the food came, it’s almost gone with in only one wink because of our hunger. (Well, or maybe only my own hunger according to my travel partner :-p)

After lunch, we walked around the Jagalchi Market and found out that from that point it’s super easy and so near to one of our stops, Yeongdodaegyo Bridge. We got to see the local way of living which is totally different from Seoulites’ lifestyle. I reminded me the real feeling of market back in my home country somehow. They got their own way to follow. But the social bond is still so closed and I still can feel it in Busan air though Busan got to be one of big cities in Korea also. Moreover, the pathway to go is so nice to be true under this kind and nice weather.

No need that much words to describe. I’ll let my camera show you the moments I captured along the way to the bridge.

Yeongdodaegyo Bridge is waiting under Busan clear, blue sky. It’s the only one single-leaf bascule bridge in Korea so far. But the most interesting than that, the bridge would lift up on one side everyday on 2pm to 2.15pm to let the big ships or vessels pass by.

Unfortunately, we saw it lifted up from far away yet when we reached there, it’s already closed. (LOL)

Anyway, the atmosphere around the bridge area was so nice and great for chilling out, sitting and letting the wind blow your face. Feel the fresh air from the sea. Highly recommended, especially for sunny day.

Next stopping point was BIFF Square, well-known and super famous youth place in Busan. It’s also known as the ‘Star Street’ for Busan Film festival. Tracking back to its history, BIFF square came so far from the place that got only some several cinemas to this point.

Though it’s energetic place with tons of teenagers but I still can see the local way of living as one combination within the same area. And well, my main reason to come here is for this famous Hotteok, Korean style pancake.

Unlike normal hotteok from other places, hotteok from BIFF Square famous stall, 씨앗호떡, they put various kind of seeds with red sugar. Having this hot hotteok in this cold weather (it’s beginning of winter here in Korea) is kinda like a small happiness.

Hanging around this place for awhile, we headed to our hotel to check in and come back for our Busan Night Bus Tour. It’s one of the activities we chose for this trip. I was a bit thrilled to see what Busan would get for us during the night time.

The bus is super huge and comfortable. They got 2 levels for you to choose. I recommended you to book in advance for anyone who wants to get the seat in the rooftop. It would be clearer and you can get the nicer scenery up there. But if it’s too cold or too windy for you, you can choose to sit on the first level also.

(Plus, the driver is super duper friendly. Even though he misunderstood that I’m Taiwanese and kept talking to me in Chinese. I guess it’s because the word ‘Thailand’ can sound familiar to ‘Taiwan’ somehow. Haha)

Since Busan is nearby the sea and we need to pass by a lot of bridges. Those bridges with the light is highlight of Busan in the night time.

For now, let me show you what Busan got for us during the night time.

Our last destination of today was Night Market for our late supper (which might not good with our calories calculator and belly but nice for our heart and stomach. :P) Unluckily, the market is closed despite they said in front of the market that they’re closed at 12am. Better just check the time with tourist information.

Since BIFF Square is nearby, we walked back and let our stomach problem solved by local Ahjumma Pochangmaja, street food tent. You might see this kind of shop a lot in Korean dramas. I can tell you that it’s a great experience to follow the local. When in Korea, do as Korean do. Just enjoy eating :-p

Ended up our night in Hotel O Happy. It’s a bit far from Busan downtown yet only one station from bus terminal that we had to take the day after that. Anyway, with this cozy and super comfy bed, I dare say Busan is too good to be true.

: )

*****

This trip is under the KOREA Tourism UP grade project. Sponsored by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Korea Tourism Organization. It’s the program containing 10 theme tour. Mine is under the theme island and wind.

Look into the sky.

Whenever I feel so down or depressed, one of the things I always do is looking up to see the sky.

I love every shade of sky color. Bright baby blue in the morning when the sun rises. Clear, cheerful blue during the daytime. Pastel pink and soft orange when the sun sets. Dark but full of the warm bright stars and yellow moon. Or even, when the color changed to be so grey by the raining cloud.

I just love the sky color in any condition.

I always wonder about the sky since I was so young. Starting with imagination about those white, fluffy and floating clouds. Moving to the bright, warm (sometimes too hot) sun on the sky. Trying to figure out if there is any rabbit on the moon as the bed time story. Or even wondering more about the mystery of those bright stars that always come with some interesting stories, fairy tales or even god and goddess’ legends.

On this lovely sky, everything is possible.

Maybe that’s another reason why I’m so in love with the sky.

My interest towards the sky still sticks with me until the moment I’m typing down this word. And it also let me travel more to see the places wherever they said the sky there is nice.

On the high mountain, I got to see the sea of the star. It’s been almost 10 years but that’s wonderful moment still in my memory. It’s too beautiful to let it go.

On the airplane, up there, I got to see the cloud ocean which is super fluffy and looks so dreamy in the same time.

On the ship, where the sky and the sea got no horizon between each other, I could feel some tense feeling inside when two greatest natural creations got to meet each other.

So here comes the time that I walk up on the little hill in order to see the sky garden. Yes, I’m talking about Haneul Park in Seoul.

I went on Seoul trip again with my friends and we got one free afternoon. We could get to go anywhere by ourselves. Since the weather was so nice, I decided not to go to gallery with Hermes exhibition in Itaewon and caught subway to World Cup Stadium instead.

After walking with super slow speed due to my injured leg (my sneaker bit me!) and getting lost for awhile, I found out the way to Haneul Park. Actually, it’s not that complicated. Only my mistake to read the GPS.

And here is the way this park welcomed me.

I slowly climbed up to the resting area. From the point, we can see all around the park. With the limited time and limit of my body that time, I intent not to walk too much. (In the end, my plan A always doesn’t work.)

It’s quite hard to describe this place so I will let my photo describing the places by itself.

The sun, the sky, the palet field and the weather made all of these scenes by itself. Not so crowded as the real Seoul. This peaceful moment allowed me to walk around and enjoy myself doing nothing, just indulge myself with the sky.

Ah… last thing I realized when I was about to leave this fantastic place. Word ‘Haneul’ in Korean means ‘the sky’. At first, I thought it’s just a nice name and since this place is on top of one hill, they just gave the name.

But after I visited the place, I did realized that the origin of this name is because in this place, wherever you are, the thing that you can see is the sky.

Yes, that charming sky.;)

*****

Yeosu vibes

I supposed to update this blog since the middle of this month.

But, due to my always busy schedule, TOPIK Exam plus with my Seoul trip, I really couldn’t make it until now.

And here is another one-day exhausting but nice journey I got through, Yeosu.

They said, whenever you got the gloomy feeling, the place that can help releasing your stress and all of your heavy thoughts is the sea.

After one semester long of Korean language study, (well it’s in between the final exam and TOPIK exam though), I spent one whole Saturday with SEM Club and went out to see the sea. Even though we spent almost 6 hours on the bus to get there.

We started our day with rail bike along the sea side. Thanks to this nice weather and super bright blue sky, biking, though hard for our rarely work-out legs, is still such a nice activity to warm up ourselves before lunch time.

After lunch time, our seonsengnim asked us for whoever wants to take the cable car in order to cross the island instead of bus. I need to limit my budget but anyway, I wouldn’t get a chance to come here everyday. I decided to spend my money in order to gain more memories and explore more on Yeosu.

And my curiosity has never let me down as always.

We met our group who came by bus in front of Odongdo. There we got to walk until the cliff. I’m afraid of height so it’s quite scary for me. But in the end, I managed to sit on the cliff and enjoyed the ocean.

This ocean scenery helped blowing all of my stress and worried away.

We ended up our day at Yeosu aquarium. Back in Bangkok, I went to the aquarium many times so at first I didn’t really get excited by this idea.

End up, I felt so fascinated with the living things I only heard about their names or read their names from the book. Well, bias cannot help when you get to travel though.

This trip, I got a chance to travel with another group of friends. When you don’t really know about something, you would just get worried about it. But I realized in the end that I got to know more about these new friends and it’s nice spending time with them.

Thanks for your warm welcome, Yeosu.

Autumn Getaways

There would always be once in a while that we suddenly want to be alone, spend time with ourselves, and talk with our own mind about hundred little things happening in our life.

I got that feeling for several weeks. After waiting for quite a long time, the chance to travel alone came up.

At first, I would like to do hiking in Daedun-San, one of the most famous mountains nearby Daejeon. By the day before traveling, my teacher told me that the way to go by public transportation is a bit hard. Plus, I haven’t gone hiking for almost three years. I’m not so confident go hiking alone at such a high mountain. So, I ended up choosing Changdae-San with the idea of practicing with small one and getting ready for higher one later.

I started my solo journey a bit early but not that much since it’s Saturday :P. Fortunately, I did that because I took bus to wrong direction and wasted my time to catch the bus to go to right way. Then the second bus also took me 1 hour to wait at the empty bus stop.

No matter how stressful and anxious because I was a bit afraid of getting lost, Changdae-San’s first impression can help blowing all of my stress away.

I walked around trying to find the observatory. But the history always repeats itself, I was about to get lost again. (hahaa) Luckily, my GPS saved me from climbing other mountain.

After following Korean ahjumma group for a while, the observatory appeared in front of my eyes with its stunning scenery.

I spent my whole day walking around this nice place, taking photos, writing postcards, talking with myself by writing diary. Although they said human is social animal, sometimes you just need some quality time with yourself. The time that you can talk honestly, think honestly, revise your real feeling, reorganize your complicated thought and calm your anxious mind. That’s why sometimes we need to escape from our daily life and get some adventure.:)

This fresh air might come with super cold weather. Yet it does help me clarify my mind and help me recharging my battery for next chapter of my life which seems to get harder and harder. Not only the weather but also the nature itself. No wonder why in the end human needs to get back to the nature anyway.

Before coming back, I walked pass picnic area. I saw some locals lying down on the bench, looking up to the top of the pine trees. As you are in Korea, do what Koreans do. I just followed them. I sang a song while lying down. I don’t know why but I could feel that by the end of that song, something in myself has already settled somehow.

Or maybe, myself inside is telling me to go out and experience the miracle and mystery of the world.:)

By the way, hello the real autumn!