South Korea Day 3, Jeju – Seongsan Ilchulbong, Seopjikoji, Kasan Tobang, Sanbangsan, Songaksan

Breakfast was at a shop next to the hotel. The abalone porridge was tasty, but note that it takes at least 30min preparation time. It came with two baby abalones, as compared to others which usually only gives one. The abalones were soft and tender, as opposed to those I had eaten from bottled cans during Chinese New Year. In my haste to finish breakfast and move on, I forgot to take photos of it… ūüė¶

First stop was a UNESCO site, Seongsan Ilchulbong. My initial plan was to stop by another UNESCO site, Manjanggul Cave, along the way, but it only opened at 9:30am. To catch sunrise at Seongsan Ilchulbong, which was what it was famous for, I would have to wake up at 4:30am. Debilitating that sleep was more important to me, I decided to forgo the sunrise. Upon reaching Seongsan Ilchulbong, it was a 20-40min hike up. This place is a tourist hot spot, and the carpark can be seen packed with tour coaches. On my fateful visit, I happened to run into at least 5 busloads of Chinese tourists. Knowing them to be a loud and shoving bunch, I decided to give them a head-start, by visiting the temple at the base of the eruption. Actually the younger generation of Chinese are not that bad, having spent 2 years in Beijing, I can attest to that, but not for these older folks.

Seongsan Ilchulbong from a distance
Seongsan Ilchulbong from a distance
Temple at foot of crater
Temple at foot of eruption.
Path up Seongsan Ilchulbong
Path up Seongsan Ilchulbong. As you can see, it’s quite a touristy spot, packed with tourists, even on a weekday.
Rock formation
Rock formation. There are numerous such rock formation along the way, providing picturesque resting spots.
Seongsan Ilchulbong
Seongsan Ilchulbong. Sadly, upon reaching the peak, my camera battery died, and the spare is in the car. So the remaining photos of Seongsan Ilchulbong are taken using my iphone.
Seongsan Ilchulbong
Seongsan Ilchulbong. Some people feel that its just a patch of grass. But, I think one has to be there, to really feel the awe of the place. Seongsan Ilchulbong is formed from a volcanic eruption under the sea.
View of Jeju
View of Jeju
Seongsan Ilchulbong Panorama.
A helicopter view taken from a poster
A helicopter view taken from a poster

Next up, is a further 10min drive south to Seopjikoji, which is a scenic plateau. The wind was very strong, so girls, keep your hair tied up, less you want hair flying all over your face during photo-taking. Along the way to¬†Seopjikoji, you will drive past a beach, where you can pull up along the road to take more scenic pictures.¬†Seopjikoji have a few point of interests, namely the cathedral where the series “All-in” is filmed (not that I watched it), a smoke mound, a lonely rock cropping and a lighthouse. Again, this is a¬†favourite¬†tourist destination with hordes of tour bus and tourists. Be sure to get there early, or you will have no where to park your car.

Scenic beach spot
Scenic beach spot
My Rental Car
My rental car, a 1600cc hyundai avante on LPG.
All-in Cathedral
All-in Cathedral. You have to pay to enter it.
A Lonely Rock
A Lonely Rock
Smoke Mound
Smoke Mound
Path to Lighthouse
Path to Lighthouse

After Seopjikoji, it was lunch time! I drove westward, towards Seogwipo. The drive was a whooping 2 hr journey. Halfway through, I was feeling sleepy, and decided to take a detour, off the coastal path, and into a region abundant with tangerine farms! Somewhere at the end of the farms, was this really pretty looking place, hence I decided to check it out. Turned out, it was a hotel, Kasan Tobang! Their rooms were traditional Korean huts, and were so beautiful. This will be where I am going to stay during my next Jeju visit. I ordered a fish stew here, and must say that the broth was really good. I also like their kimchi. Desert was complimentary, and was a sweet refreshing drink made from fermented rice. Another surprise during this detour was that the receptionist in this hotel used to work in Singapore! Her husband is still working in Singapore. How nice to meet someone familiar with my country.

Kasan Tobang Reception
Kasan Tobang Reception. Where else can you find such a nice hotel reception area.
Path leading to the restaurant
Path leading to the restaurant
The restaurant interior
The restaurant interior
Fish Stew
Fish Stew
Traditional Korean Styled Hotel Huts
Traditional Korean Styled Hotel Huts

After the invigorating lunch, I continued towards Mt. Sanbangsan & Sanbanggulsa Grotto. This is a temple set on the wall of Mt. Sanbangsan. If there was only one temple that you could visit in Jeju, I strongly suggest this, as at the peak, is Sanbanggulsa Grotto. Within it seats a Buddha shrine, and mountain water from Mt. Sanbangsan trickle down from the cave roof into a catchment area. It’s exceptionally refreshing.

At the base of Mt. Sanbangsan
At the base of Mt. Sanbangsan
Buddha of laughter
Buddha of laughter
Goddess of Mercy
I really liked this shot of Goddess of Mercy against the backdrop of Mt. Sanbangsan
Buddha
Buddha
Sanbanggulsa Grotto
Here it is, at the top of the climb, Sanbanggulsa Grotto.
Mt. Sanbangsan
By the time I made my way down, the sun is setting, and I quickly captured this pretty view.

My last stop for the day was Mt. Songaksan. Sadly, even my spare battery died, and I needed my Iphone for navigation purposes, so there were no pictures of¬†Mt. Songaksan. ūüė¶ While driving back to the hotel, I stopped by a brightly lit store for their famous Black Pork. Sadly, this location cannot be found using google map, and the restaurant name is in Korean. ¬†The black pork is served with a condiments of various types of kimchi, steamed egg, steam peanut sauce, bean curd, and three types of vegetable leaves for you to wrap it up and eat. It is not my favourite, but definitely an experience.

Horse
Horse grazing at the foot of Mt. Songaksan
Sunset
Sunset
Black Pork
Black Pork Dinner

Nov 2012

South Korea Day 2, Jeju South Korea Day 4, Busan
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s