Yeosu City Guide – The Expo

While it has been our humble home and the basecamp for many of our adventures, Yeosu is probably most notable for the Yeosu Expo which was held in 2012. This area of town has enormous buildings that were constructed to host a conference for oceanic sustainability and conservation a few years ago, but still hold a few attractions for visitors today. In a continuing effort to bring more people to our lovely city, we present our four favorite Yeosu Expo attractions as well as an English map we’ve made of the area. If you would like more information about our city guide of Yeosu, click here.

Continue reading

Let’s go to… Geumodo Island!

Geumodo is a fairly large island off of the southern tip of Dolsan in Yeosu, South Korea. With an affinity for island hopping and exploring the numerous (373) islands claimed by our city, we set out to visit this nearby island and do a bit of camping on a beautiful but slightly foggy weekend. Continue reading

Off the beaten path – Gosapo Beach

We are pretty discreet about our love for beaches and camping over here at Hedgers Abroad, but we’ll let you in on a little-known secret: we would rather camp on beaches in Southern South Korea than do just about anything else. I don’t know if it’s the rhythmic crashing of waves along the beach and rocks or if the cool salt air just makes camping a bit more relaxed, but from May until late July you’ll likely find us loading up our car on for some beach. Continue reading

Only in Korea – New Dr. Fish!

One of the most common requests we get is in regard to a post in our first year for Dr. Fish. People seem to be pretty enamored by the idea of this unique shop and, once it closed, our readers have been begging us for an update on possible new locations in Seoul. There’s some good and some bad in this post, but we are here with the answers we’ve been able to gather. Continue reading

Train Travels… Suncheon Bay

Most weekends, we stay pretty busy. There’s really no time to relax whenever there is so much to see and do! However, this past weekend we were feeling drained and found ourselves without any travel plans. We thought we would just have a nice lazy Saturday at home, but right around lunchtime we found ourselves already talking about what we should do for the day. Continue reading

Bukchon Hanok Houses

Let us begin by announcing our Instagram Challenge winner from our recent trip to Bukchon Hanok Village… drum roll please… Ryan! Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for your favorite shot of this beautiful neighborhood. We are planning to have future challenges as well, so stay tuned! As promised, here’s our post and photos from our exploration of the area. Continue reading

Only in Korea – Dr. Fish

Seoul has many unique and wonderful cafes. This statement, as you surely know if you have visited many, is an understatement. We have been to coffee shops that house live sheep for the customers’ petting pleasure, treehouse cafes with high fort-style construction for booths, dog and cat cafes for when you’re missing your animals back home, and a plethora of other themes that will undoubtedly find a way to fill your needs. Continue reading

Bukhansan in Autumn

Bukhansan has long been on our shortlist of mountains to hike in Seoul, but this 835m monster has always been in the back of our minds and the forefront of our to-summit list. Originally, we tried to go to Seoraksan National Park, but the timing was always a bit off. We have oogled over pictures of Korea in autumn and grew quite excited to get out and take some pictures once the temperature began to plummet.


The Hike

With a beautiful day ahead of us, we journeyed to northern Seoul where we entered Bukhansan National Park. The park hosts a small town that reminded us of an ultra-modern Colorado mountain town that had been overrun by thousands of hikers. Like with every trip into Korea’s hills, we joined the throngs of people plodding along together in an ironic pursuit of natural solitude. From the Korean Tourism website: “The park averages 5 million visitors and has received the Honor of being in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the national park with the highest number of visitors per square foot.” Constant company aside, we were blown away by the park’s beauty.

This park has a rich history, temples, old fortress walls, and views that evoke speechlessness. For info on getting to Bukhansan, or to read more than I am willing to plagiarize, click here.

Climbing to the top of Baegundae (the tallest peak) was a workout. Our hiking thus far has not produced the billy goat legs we keep expecting to replace our own, so we struggled, huffed, and puffed our way to the top just before sunset. The colors were incredible once we got about halfway up. The leaves were vivid reds, oranges, and yellows with backdrops of coniferous green. We couldn’t stop to take as many pictures as we wished since the light was fading fast and we had no clue about how much more hiking would be required until we reached the summit. There was also the issue of having too many beautiful things to photograph in every direction. Once you take 40-50 pictures of the same tree, you start to assume that one will probably turn out decent, and no additional trees need to be shot before getting to the top.

With a harrowing path that relentlessly threatened our balance and footing, the last bit acted to set up the reward of a completed mountain hike. Every direction provided a myriad of colors and rock formations with city skylines in the distance to juxtapose the natural beauty of Bukhansan. Massive granite peaks flanked Baegundae on both sides. These peaks were blanketed with rock climbers, and I can only imagine the visual spectacle they enjoyed.

After taking pictures and enjoying our incredible vista, we decided that it was time to descend while there was still light. This decision was prudent, although a bit late, as we found ourselves running down the path in total darkness, using our cell phone lights to guide us out. We eventually made it and caught a free taxi out of the park to a nearby town with metro access. Exhausted, we found some samgyeopsal and naengmyeon at a restaurant and rested our feet before making the trip back to Anyang.


Directions

Click to enlarge

We took the subway line 3 to the 구파발역 station. We had to take a bus up the road to the entrance of the park. There were big signs on the side so we saw it immediately and got off the bus. We had to walk through the small neighborhood at the base of the mountain to get to the trail head. There were a ton of hiking clothing stores and restaurants. The peek we summited was Baegundae and took about 5 hours just to get to the top.

map-800wi

English map of the park


Ryan & Stephanie

Let’s Go To… Namhansanseong!

Hey guys! As you may already know, in the past we had our weekly episodes of A Day in the Life where we showed you a bit of what’s it’s like to be an ESL teacher in Korea. Recently, however, our school has been undergoing some major changes and has been bought out by their corporate headquarters to become a branch. It has been really hectic ever since trying to get everything prepped for this new buyout, and so we have decided to take a hiatus from this segment while things settle down a bit more. Instead we thought we’d like to try a new chapter, called Let’s Go To… where we explore Korea and show you our days off  from teaching. Hope you all enjoy our first installment!



The History

The name literally translates into south (nam) Han (river in Seoul) mountain (san) fortress (seong). Most of the fortress today dates back to the Joseon period in the 17th century. The sixteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Injo, fled to the fortress with his entire court and over 13,000 soldiers during the second invasion of the Manchu (the largest branch of the Tungusic peoples chiefly distributed throughout China). 3,000 monks also helped to defend the king, however the Manchus were able to wait until the food supply ran out and the king was forced to surrender giving his sons as hostages.

In 1954, after years of neglect, the site was made into a national park after many renovations and repairs. The area once had nine temples along with many command posts, but today a single command post, Seojangdae, stands as well as a temple, Changgyeongsa. Seojangdae is where Injo stayed during the Manchu siege. A second story was added to this building in 1751 and was named Mumangnu meaning the “Unforgotten Tower.” This refers to the unforgettable shame of the king’s surrender to the Manchus. There are other more recent temples on the path up to the south gate and fortress walls and the north, south, and east gates have all been restored.


The Hike

It has been the hottest summer recorded in Korea and so we haven’t really wanted to get out and go hiking very much recently. It’s not just the heat, Korea has some pretty awful humidity. We tried to hike Surisan a few weeks ago and ended up stopping halfway up because we were getting sick from the heat. When the humidity is that bad, it feels like you are in the middle of a rain forest. This week however, the heat finally let up a bit and we headed southeast of Seoul for Namhansanseong.

It took us about an hour and a half to get to the park from Anyang. We finally got there around 2:30. We got off the bus at the very bottom of the park entrance, and hiked for quiet some time before stumbling across a road. There we realized that, if we had stayed on the bus a little bit longer, it would have kept going and dropped us off halfway up the mountain!

It was about an hour and a half hike from the bottom to the south gate, but we were also stopping often to take pictures and video. We then hiked along the ridge of the mountain towards Seojangdae, but got a little lost on one of the trails we ventured down. There are so many hiking trails all over the mountain to explore and unfortunately it got too dark to keep going. Needless to say, this park is huge and was way too big for us to see in just one day, so we will definitely be going back again! We hear that it is especially beautiful in the fall when the tress are changing red and yellow.


Directions

NamSubDir

map


Ryan & Stephanie

Gwanakasan Mountain

This weekend we summited the most incredible mountain we have ever hiked! We had seen pictures of Gwanaksan before, but they just don’t do it justice. So far all the mountains we have climbed here we simply see them off in the distance and just start walking towards it. I’m sure there are easier ways to get there, but we enjoy a pre-hike to our actual hike. Continue reading