Monday, April 10, 2017

Cycling South Korea Jeju 2017: Day 2 - Windmills of Sinchang-ri

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Cycling South Korea Jeju 2017: Day 2 - Windmills of Sinchang-ri
Tour of Jeju & Busanm, South Korea : Day 2 - 25th March 2017
Cycling Distance - 47.22 km.     Level: Medium
Cycling Time : 8:50am to 6:30pm
Time Taken :  9hrs 40mins (inclusive of stops at various places of interests, stops to enjoy the sceneries, for lunch, regroup, rests and many,many photo opps).

This is page 2 of a 9-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
< Go to Day 1 Jeju City      |         Go to Other Days   |   Go to Day 3 Mt. Sanbang >

Route Recommendations :


1. Right is Right!
    South Korea's traffic is left-hand drive. For those coming from right-hand drive countries always do remember to ride on the right-hand side... i.e. Right is right! Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note that traffic is approaching from left! Sounds confusing, it actually isn't, just take while to get use to it.
    Generally, the road conditions of the highways and main roads in South Korea are in excellent conditions with few pot-holes. Most towns have well planned dedicated cycling lanes or shared lanes. But cycling on highways is a no-no.
    Local motorists, especially the taxi-drivers, are an impatient lot and unless a zebra-crossing is signalised, most don't bother to stop to let pedestrians or cyclist pass. In fact at un-signalised crossings we had to slowly edge our way out to stop oncoming traffic in order to cross.
    Do watch out for the delivery motorcycles in the larger towns, most of these are huge bikes and they ride across zebra-crossing and onto pavements, disregarding the safety of pedestrians!

2. Cycling Route
    As Korea's traffic is left-hand drive, we took an anti-clockwise route around Jeju island so as to be on the seaward side for better views.

3. Weather
At Jeju    : Day 11°C | Night 8°C (Some rain)
Even though it was early spring, the weather was surprisingly quite cold. During colder days we had on wind breakers, inner thermals, face masks and beanie caps. At Aewol-eup, there was a short stretch of rain.

4. Places of Interest
- Lighthorses (Lighthouses built to look like horses) at Iho-Tewoo Beach (이호테우해변) (GPS:33.50396, 126.45338).
Gwakji Gwamul Rocky Beach Trail (애월 곽지과물해변) (GPS: 33.46003, 126.31058).
- Unique Open Air Public Bath at Gwakji Gwamul Beach (애월 곽지과물해변) (GPS: 33.45002, 126.30345).
Haenyeo Lady Divers at Hansupul Haenyeo School (GPS: 33.4439, 126.27989).
Geumdeung-ri Park (GPS: 33.37135, 126.20614), it's from here that one can view the giant windmills of Singchang-ri (GPS: 33.35843, 126.17471).

5. Certification Stations:
These are certification centres for the optional Korea Cycling Passport:
- Darak Shelter (GPS: 33.468, 126.33936).

6. Food
- Lunch was contemporary fusion Korean food at Romance Hong Restaurant in Sikdang, a cute little place that serves big helpings. Bonus: eat with a good view of the sea. (GPS: 33.46711, 126.33694).
- Dinner was steam-boat at Chinese restaurant of the Mega Resort in Geumdeung-ri (GPS: 33.36504, 126.19935).

7. Accommodations
 Our accommodations at Geumdeung-ri was at the Mega Resort (GPS: 33.36504, 126.19935). It was a 2-bedroom apartment with a large living area and small kitchen at 170,000KRW per night.
     The following are their contacts:
    Address: 6 Panpo 1-gil, Hangyeong-myeon, Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea.
    Tel: +82 10-8954-2499.

8. Communicating with Each Other
    When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost.
    At the Busan's Gimhae International Airport pre-paid sim cards can be obtained from a couple of stalls at level 1. It's good to get the sim-cards at the airport stalls as there are staff there to help the unfamiliar (or non-techies) set up the sim cards for one's phones.
    Sim cards can also be obtained from larger outlets of the 24-hours convenience stores like 7-11, CU and GS25. See this link for more details.
    If not opting to get the data package, at some spots on the islands free open wifi is available, just use your phone to search for these.
    Save up each others local phone numbers once that is done. Create a chat group so that general communications can be broadcast, eg. where and when to meet to start the day.
    Alternatively, pocket wifis can be rented for use by a small group (usually up to five persons), and could end up cheaper. The only dis-advantage of this is that users must stay within 20-30 metres of the device. Pocket wifis can be obtain from Travel Recommends at the KLIA and KLIA2 airports in Malaysia. Pocket wifi can also be obtained in South Korea.

9. Communicating with Locals
    For the uninitiated cycling in foreign lands can be a daunting experience, especially when one can only speak a smattering of the local language or if there is no common language to speak to each other (like English). Most Koreans can hardly speak English, and learning some basic phrases will be helpful. When speaking to Koreans in English, they may initially seem stand-offish but after a while they did warm up to us.
    This could be partly overcome by using translation apps like Google Translate. Do install this app into your phone and before you leave on your tour do some basic translation as it will be saved onto a list of recent translations. We also had a list of destinations, accomodations, etc. with their Korean names just in case we had to show the locals.
    Memory-resident translation apps like Learn Korean by Wingsapp & Korean Flashcards by Bravolol were useful apps we used from Google Play Store are also useful; they give translations of basic terms.
    Look out for the tourist information booths at airports, railway stations or bus stations, the guides manning the booths speak very good English and do give good tips on where to visit, directions, train and bus schedule. It's good too to have these guides write the intended destinations in Korean so that one can show to other locals in order to get our bearings right.

10. Navigation
    Unless he or she is very familiar with the locals routes, the tour leader should carry a GPS units. It will also be good if another member of the team carry another GPS unit should the leader's one go faulty. We had pre-loaded the South Korean Map together with GPS coordinates of our destinations. These units are useful, but do study the proposed route made by the unit as sometimes these are longer loop around; OR sometimes there are parallel narrow lanes that can be used and these lanes can sometimes turn out to be more interesting.
    Alternatively, download the MAPS.ME app together with the relevant country maps. This app can be used offline.
    Surprisingly, in many parts of the country, Google Maps don't seem to work well for cycling or even walking - it seem to only propose routes that goes onto buses or trains! Do let me know if this feature has been upgraded.
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PRELUDE

The previous day we had flown in to Jeju Island from Kuala Lumpur via Busan. We had a short but sweet ride from the airport and around Jeju City, saw a couple of nice places too. Today we start our real adventure, cycling round Jeju Island!
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THE RIDE

Cycling Route Mir Guesthouse at Jeju City>Light-horses @ Iho-Tewoo Beach>Gwakji Gwamul Rocky Beach Trail>Public Bath at Gwakji Gwamul Beach>Hansupul Haenyeo School>Geumdeung-ri.
This was slow ride, starting from Jeju City in an anti-clockwise direction along the coast of the island, we saw the Haenyeo Lady Divers of Jeju and the majestic giant windmills at Sinchang-ri. There was an interesting stretch at Gwakji Gwamul Rocky Beach Trail.
Oh yah.... we saw light-horses at Iho-Tewoo Beach. Light-horses?? what are they? Read on to find out .....

We started with a flag-off (waved off, actually) as Peter of Mir Guesthouse waved us good bye. The weather was a bit chilly with dark clouds, a bit worrying but we were prepared with our inner thermals and raincoats.
So it's GO MIR! GO CYCLISTS! GO... GO...
GO!

We met some local cyclists, who offered to lead us along the way but shortly we decide to break off form them and took a detour! Lucky for us it let to .... a GOLDEN DISCOVERY!
Fields of yellow rapeseed flowers stretched out before us, too tempting not to stop - and take photos in different poses. These flowers reminded me of scenes of Kashmir in Indian movies, so here we are a couple doing Indian dance poses. 😵😍😘!
Just a note: these flowers are healthy food and are used to make canola oil.

Just further on, we hit the coast and at a viewing platform... more photos. This is our first true day time view of the coast and the sea. Jeju's coast is peppered with many rocky outcrops, remnants of historical volcanic eruptions of Mount Hallasan.

Large rocky cairns ... not sure what they symbolised but they are symmetrical, nicely stacked rocks which were eyecatching. The looked sort of like inverted giant bells.

Jeju's coast have a good cycling trails, most are well constructed with low/high walls to prevent cyclists from accidently veering off onto the rocky coast.

At Dodu-bong a blooming find, a full bloom cherry tree. We were all so happy and excited to find this - it's our first blossoming cherry tree. We broke our cherry here, so to say 😆😈😎.
It was really a lucky find, as later on we saw only very few flowering trees and all were not in full bloom. Seems like because of a pro-longed cold weather the blooms are coming out later.

A close up of the blooms, beautiful aren't they.
Must say we were lucky to catch the beginning of the blooming season, the flowers only bloom for a two week period. So this is the start and hopefully we should be able to see more later on.
(Sin had double checked and this is a site that forecast the Korean cheerry blossoms flowering dates:
http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AKR/FU_EN_15.jsp?cid=2372271.

It is suppose to hit Jeju at 20th March, but we just saw this one tree in full bloom. Needless to say blooming prediction is not an easy or accurate science)

No fears, other colourful flowers sprinkled our route; like these flowering beds along the cycle path .....


... beautiful purple blooms below a neo-classic sculpture at the junction of Dori-ro and Route 1132.

On the seaward side; seagulls and cormorants take a break from the cold on a small rocky islet; some with their heads tucked below their wings.

One smart fellow "harvesting" fish that were trapped in pools of water as the tide went out. Felt like going to get some from him, but then we were on the go.

At Iho-Tewoo Beach, the lighthouses were shaped like horses, hence the term light-horse... Yeeeeha!
They are two of them and in the norm Korean nautical standard, the port (left) one is painted white while the starboard (right) one is red. Heh.... heh... this AhPek is also an old-salt of the sea.

The unique UFO Cafe. We did not stop there for coffee. It's a landmark which means the Korea Cycling Trail Darak Shelter stamping station is not too far ahead.


No, this is not the Darak Shelter. Its a camouflaged hut either for bird watching or a strategic reconnaissance outpost. Darak Shelter Stamping Station is just ahead, it's housed in a phone booth that looks like a typical British Red Phone Booth. The Darak Shelter is a man-constructed sea shelter, a safe haven for boats, hence the name.

Some statues of Korean dieties can be seen along the way. These are called Dol hareubang, and are carved from volcanic rock. They are considered to be gods offering both protection and fertility and were placed  for protection against demons travelling between realities.

Seen more often are statues of the Haenyeo lady divers, these dot the coastline periodically. Here I am in a vain attempt to emulate their pose .....

The ladies make a more striking pose, don't they?

Lunch was at a restaurant called Romance Hong at a small town called Sikdang. We made our orders downstairs and ate at the first floor which is a cosy place colourfully done up with interesting cartoon Uni (sea urchins) painted onto the floor.

Lunch with a fantastic view of the sea. Their serving here is quite large, good enough to feed too. Eat slowly and appreciate the view and later have soms Strawberry Hoegaarden Beer to chill off!
As we rode off it started to rain... and it gets very cold when it rains here, so we popped into a nearby cafe to wait it off.

A short detour took us along the Gwakji Gwamul Rocky Beach Trail, a nice one that wends up and down the rocky beach. At some stretches it was steep and wet, to play it safe the girls came down to push.

There is only a short sandy beach here, but it was good for a Happy Jump shot... Yipeee!


This is the Public Bath at Gwakji Gwamul Beach. There are two separate section, one for men and the other for women. Each will lead to separate rectangular pools built into the sea. We saw no one bathing there, still too cold. These pools are probably favourites during summer.

We did see this tray of freshly collected seaweeds left there by a local. He's probably somewhere harvesting some more. Along our journey here, often we see the locals at the shallows harvesting these leafy seaweed and also some thin hairy types. To the locals, wading in the water getting these is just like taking a walk in the forest to collect mushrooms. After harvesting, these are washed then hung up or laid out on pavements to dry.

At ?, Sin's sharp eyes caught glimses of orange in the sea and he quickly led us on a detour in to a long pier that stuck out into the sea. In the water were several Haenyeo (Korean lady divers) dressed in bright orange diving suits. Alternatingly, they dived into the water, a round orange float at the surface marked their positions. These orange floats also secures a netted basket; up they come and into the basket they put their harvest.


A Haenyeo carrying her load of harvested shellfish, she's hunch as it's a heavy load.
These Haenyeos are old ladies, many into their sixties and seventies, they are of a diminutive size but are hardy to stand the cold of the water and carry the heavy weight of their harvest. On close up, we saw that they were collecting large snail-like shellfish with muddy brown rough conical shells. At the landward end of the pier is the Hansupul School of Haenyeo. With most of the divers getting old, this district has started a school to avoid this trade from becoming a dying tradition.

Back on our way, the sea walls are getting taller, almost to shoulder height. Most have been painted with wall murals, this one has a few cheeky nude young boys.

One last stop before we look for accommodations. At the Geumdeung-ri Park, we look out to the sea, far away the majestic windmills of Sinchang-ri stand tall above the sea. In the setting sun they create an alien looking panorama.

The windmills are really huge! This photo of other windmills we saw on the following day shows how tall they are!

We couldn't find any place to stay, most were closed. Getting hungry, we stopped at a CU convenience outlet for a quick bite. We were fortunate, the lady manning the place was from China and in a passable Mandarin Jo manage to find out from her that a kilometre back, a large resort is opened, it's the Mega Resort run by a mainland Chinese company.
Thanking her, we rode back got an apartment with two bedrooms and a living room for 170,000KRW per night. Tired, we decided to eat at the resort's restaurant before retiring. The warm steamboat dinner was just what we needed after a long day's cold ride.


A satellite view of the Windmills of Sinchang-ri, Jeju Island.


좋은 밤과 달콤한 꿈
(That's "oh-eun bamgwa dalkomhan kkum" meaning "Goodnight and sweet dreams" in Korean)

 
A video by Sin of our first & second days' ride - Around Jeju City and onwards to the towering windmills of Sinchang-ri.

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2 comments:

  1. Nice photos and very detailed day by day.
    Me and my mates going to do Jeju this Aug.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Colin,

      Thank you. Just blogged up to our second day.
      Have been busy been work since coming back.

      Do check the weather for Aug. But whatever the case is Jeju's weather is sometimes unprecitable and it rains (drizzle) often.

      Have a good trip and enjoy yourselves.
      And thank you for your support.

      Regards,

      The AhPek Biker

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