Korea 2014: Hallasan 한라산, Jeju

I’m terribly busy now BUT… just because I don’t, ever, want to forget this beautiful moment at Hallasan, here’s a short pictorial.

Azaleas at full bloom

 Hallabong 한라봉, this orange grown in Jeju is not very acidic

Hiking Hallasan is definitely not a walk in the park. NOT recommended for kids, or as a family activity. Steps and a ropeway makes it a fairly safe climb (assuming you don’t get wet weather) but you still need to be quite fit.

Things I will do differently next time: take a taxi all the way to the starting point of the trail, not at the gantry where you have to pay a fee. We were so tired by the time we walked up to the trail head. |  start very early in the summer; the heat gets quite punishing. Also, they don’t allow people to go up beyond a certain time. |  force the friends to exercise a lot before the trip because it takes a fair bit of stamina, at least for the beginning bit of the Yeongshil trail (the red line in the photo above indicates that the beginning of the trail is the hardest) | Don’t be fooled by the ahjummas and ahjussis hiking along the same trail; they are so fit!

Just in case you are wondering, we didn’t make it to the top (stopped at the halfway mark). I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. But we were pretty exhausted then, and I’m glad I made the executive decision to head down because we ended up having more time to explore the city. Anyway, I’ll definitely be heading back to finish where I left off~

Most people hire a cab to bring them around Jeju but the friends and I weren’t too comfortable with this arrangement. We didn’t want to be pressured into visiting a million tourist attractions in a day just to make our money’s worth. We got around by cab, and even sat the bus. Fortunately, their buses accept the T-money card used in Seoul (this also worked in Busan) so we were spared from any communication issues. Our wifi egg also worked- though the counter staff will stress that it might not have reception in Jeju- even at Udo, much to our amazement, and this helped us to navigate around the island easily.

We rested our feet at the Cheonjiyeon Falls ( 천지연 폭포; a very touristy place) before cabbing to the nearby Seogwipo Olle Market (서귀포 올레시장). Everything looked so enticing there so we settled for a dinner of kimchi soup. We bought firm tofu that was freshly made, lots of kimchi, and veg. The tofu was still steaming so we couldn’t resist taking bites before we returned to Yeha Guesthouse for our cook-out. Oh, we also got those walnut shaped cakes filled with red bean paste (Hodogwaja 호두과자 ) from a stand outside the market. Delicious stuff!

You might hear occasional blasts in the market. Puffed rice is a sort of street food in Korea, and they can be found readily in most markets.