Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Cycling South Korea Jeju 2017: Days 7 & 8 - Goodbye Jeju & Hello Busan

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Cycling South Korea Jeju 2017: Days 7 & 8 - Goodbye Jeju & Hello Busan
Tour of Jeju & Busan, South Korea : Days 7 & 8 - 30th & 31st March 2017
Small Group Cycling Tour
b. Around Busan : Dong Yang Motel>Busan Port>Lotte Mall & Back.
Cycling Distance - 4.22km & 7.66.     Level: Easy

This is page 7 of a 9-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to Day 6 Hamdeok       |     Go to Other Days      |    Go to D9 Nakdonggang >

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. Bringing Bikes Onto Planes & Airport Limousine Buses
    Korean Airlines allows 20kg free checked in luggage inclusive of sports equipment (i.e. bicycles too) for domestic flights; anything beyond that is chargeable.
    The fare for the Airport Limousine Bus from Busan's Gimhae Airpot Domestic Terminal down to Busan downtown is 6,000KRW per pax inclusive of bicycles. (Click here for more information on the limousine bus and the route bus stops). The bus hold has limited space, so some of the luggage may have to be carried up into the bus itself.

3. Weather
At Jeju : Day 13°C | Night 11°C (Rain on the 30th March morning)
At Busan : Day 11°C | Night 9°C
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.

4. Places of Interest
- Jeju Dongmun Traditional Market (동문재래시장) (GPS: 33.51247, 126.52691).
- Jungang Underground Shopping Mall (제주 중앙지하상가) (GPS: 33.51315, 126.5247).
Jeju Mokgwana (Former Jeju Government Office) (제주목관아) (GPS: 33.51362, 126.52203).
Jeju Hyanggyo Ancient School (제주향교) (GPS: 33.51098, 126.51569).

5. Food
Day 7 at Jeju:
- Brunch was Korean street food at the Dongmun Street Market (GPS: 33.51247, 126.52691).
- Late lunch was fried chicken at the Mom's Touch outlet near our hotel (GPS: 33.51264, 126.5107)
- Dinner was at Jeju Black Pork at MJ Black Pork Restuarant near our hotel (GPS: 33.51259, 126.51008) at around 4,000 per pax.
Day 8:
At Jeju:
- Breakfast was egg sandwich with cofee/tea provided by Mir Guesthouse.
At Busan:
 Dinner was Chinese fare at the Food Empire Premium Food Court at the Busan Lotte World Tower (GPS: 35.09842, 129.03685).


6. Accommodations
Jeju:
Our accommodations was at the Mir Guesthouse (GPS: 33.51285, 126.51065). 
    The following are their contacts:
    Address: 4 Yongdam-ro 7-gil, Yongdam 2(i)-dong, Cheju, Jeju-do, South Korea.
    Tel: +82 64-900-2561    
    Reservations: http://mirguesthouse.com/.
    Room Rates: 3-bedder at 88,000KRW & 2 beds in a dorm at 26,500 KRW per night.
Busan:
Our accommodations was at Dong Yang Motel (동양모텔) (GPS: 35.11338, 129.04057).
    Address: 1203-6 Choryang-dong, Dong-gu, Busan, South Korea.
    Tel:  +82 51-442-1248
    Email: bsmt8899@daum.net
    Reservations:  www.bsmt.co.kr
    Room Rates: 50,000KRW per night for deluxe rooms (inclusive of 10,000KRW surcharge)

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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

Yesterday was a milestone, we had officially completed the Korean Four Rivers Cycling Trail for Jeju island with the last stamping at the Hamdeok Beach Station. With that, today & tomorrow we would be taking it easy - for today it will be market day with visits to a couple of markets. Tomorrow we head for Busan.
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This is a short route that will take us to a couple of markets and also to two historic buildings - an ancient administrative building and an old Confucian school.


 
Cycling Route Around Busan : Dong Yang Motel>Busan Port>Lotte Mall & Back.
A short ride that takes us from Choryang to the Lotte Mall via the coastal cycling lanes with an interesting pass through a pedestrian tunnel.


We started the day heading for the Dongmun Street Market; staying at this locality does has it's advantage - the places we are going to visit are nearby and will be along the way to the Mir Guesthouse where we will stay the last night in Jeju City. Along the way we saw many shops selling clothes, this one selling Hanboks (traditional Korean lady costume) caught my eye, to bad it was not opened yet.


The Dongmun Traditional Market is a covered street market (most of it is covered anyway), although called a traditional market, it is a bright, clean modern market. It is separated into different sections, some selling dry goods while others sold food stuff. We zoomed in to the larger section selling fresh food; it's in a country's food that we often get to know a country's culture better.


Filleted fish, arranged in a nice lotus pattern for drying.


A large assortment of Kimchi.


Volcanic rock statues, we got some of these souvenirs.


And of course, the part that attracted us most were the food stalls. We had barbecued/boiled food on wooden skewers and the above Korean cakes - these would be our brunch.... hope that will be enough for a big eater like me 😆.


From the market we head to shopping of a different kind - an underground shopping mall! This is the Jungang Underground Shopping Mall that lies below Gwandeong-ro. There are several entrances to the mall, like the one shown above; these are staircase entrances without ramps or lifts, so we had to carry our bikes down.


While we guys sat around (fiddling with our phones), the girls had a field day, hopping from store to store - THIS is their territory!


The mall is not a large one, it's about 500 metres long with a central node. Shops lie on both sides of the wide corridor.


From shopping we head up to view some historical buildings. First is the Jeju Mokgwana, this is an ancient government adminstration complex built during the Joseon Dynasty. The Jeju Mok served as a hub for politics, admistration and culture. It was destroyed during the Japanese colonial rule of Korea but was restored during the 1990's.


A peep through the timber entrance door shows a nice reflecting pond with a small hall behind it.


Beautiful old Korean architecture at the roof eaves.


Next, down the road was the Jeju Hyanggyo Ancient School, this was an old educational center that teaches Confucianism to local people, and holds ancestral ceremonies for the great Confucian scholars.


It was also used as an administration office, and a gathering place for the local Confucians. It has two main halls: Myeongnyundang and Daeseongjeon, which houses ancestral tablets.


It was still too early to check in to the Mir Guesthouse, so we popped into the a Mom's Touch outlet which was just round the corner from Mir to have a late lunch of fried chicken.
Our lovely dinner, a last dig into Jeju Black Pork at MJ Black Pork Restaurant, it's next to the CU convenience store along Yongdam-ro. This one was with a difference, it's barbecued over very hot volcnanic stones instead of modern stainless still grilles. !YummY!


After dinner we took a walk around the loaclity, viewing the many interesting shops. The cold weather that had dropped to single digit was not very encouraging, so it was just a short walk before we retired to our warm and cosy beds.
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Day 8
9:00am - After having the in-house breakfast of bread with scrambled eggs/jam with coffee/tea, we left Mir. It had started raining, and we donned our raincoats and covered our bags. Peter (the owner of Mir) waved us off as we set out, braving the cold, chilly weather, to cycle to the Jeju International Airport.


Our Dimpa bags seen going in to the baggage handling area on the TV screen above the check in counter.
At the airport, we quickly packed our bikes (... packing the Brompton for Air Travel blog) for checking in. The previous evening, we had used Mir's computers to check in on-line but could not print out our boarding passes as there were no printer. But no worries here, at the airport, helpful Korean Air staff were on hand to assist us to print our boarding passes at the airport's check in computer stations.One intersting thing, there are TV screens above the check in counters which shows the bags going into the baggage handling area. Neat, yah?



Time for a bit of bite, this was Big Bulgogi Beef Burgers from the Lotteria airport outlet. I always love these burgers, the patties are tender, juicy and very tasty.
GOODBYE JEJU!


HELLO BUSAN!!
11:55am - After a one-hour flight, we arrive at Busan's Gimhae Airport Domestic Terminal. Travelling by the Busan Metro Train would have been cheaper (1,500KRW as opposed to the bus fare of 6,000KRW) but it would had involved several changes of stations. So we opted to use the Airport Limousine Bus, here's our packed bikes all colourfully lined up for loading onto the bus.



Enroute a beautiful sight welcomed us - cherry blossoms lined the highway running next to the Nakdonggang River. We are in luck, the cherry trees are in full bloom, we will have to come here the following day, it's too stunning a place to be missed.

***The following photo is rated18SX***
Our stay at Busan for three nights was at the Dong Yang Motel, centrally located just next to the Busan Station. On checking in, each guest is given a "Happy Pack"; this consisted of the room keys and the usual toothbrushes, razor AND also some condoms and adult cleanser. See, this place is one of those Korean Love Motels 😈😉😈.



After a quick, innocent rest, it was time to cycle out for dinner. Instead of using the usual route via the Dong-gu and Jung-gu districts to head for our destination; Sin took us on a route that hugs the coastline of the Busan Port. This route uses an underground pedestrian tunnel at Jungang-daero 260Beon-gil to get over the many railway tracks of the Busan Railway Station. In the tunnel, we were surprised to see homeless people in make-shift cardboard shelters taking refuge from the cold night air.


At Busan Port - a view of the Gamcheon Culture village with it's colourful houses sitting on the slopes of the hills overlooking the city.
The Gamcheon Cultural Village is an interesting place, one full of live, colour (definitely!) and with artwork (murals and sculptures) dotting its streets. It's one of the major attractions in Busan and should not be missed while visiting South Korea. It has steep streets and stepped roads, a maze of narrow alleys; and a brightly jigsaw puzzle combo of colourful houses that makes it a very recognisable neighbourhood of Busan.
Gamcheon sitting on a steep foothill was first inhabited in the early 1900's by members of the Taegeukdo religious sect, hence it is also know as Taegeukdo Village. It was a small village with only about 20 houses up to the 1940s. But during the Korean War in the early 1950s, its population swelled as many war refugees fled to Busan to escape the ravages of the war. Busan was the only area in the peninsula that was not affected by the war. The city's population swelled and became rather crowded, and about 4,000 refugees moved from the port area surrounding Jaglachi Fish Market to Gamcheon. They erected about 800 make-shift houses. (... for more on the history of Gamcheon Village click here).




Busan is an artsy place, full of culture and street art; near the port were murals painted onto the walls, most of these depicted life in present day Busan, others showed the culture of ancient Korea.
(.... for more street art of Busan, click here)



Somewhere along the way, a stop for photos with these prettycherry blossoms overhanging the walk-way... the girls are pretty too, aren't they?
This would just be the start of our love affair with the beautiful blossoms, hope we will be lucky the following day when we go hunting for lovely blooms!


Our destination, the Busan Lotte Mall at Gwangbok-ro. At night, it is brilliantly lit up.


We had our dinner at the Food Empire Premium Food Court in the mall. After days of Korean food, for a change we are having Chinese food; the food court does serve a range of international food. Lucky us!
We guys hung around the lingered at the food court while the girls went shopping....AGAIN? Yes, again - women never tire of shopping 😅😅😅.


Another view of Gamcheon, even at night it is colourful bright!
(... see colourful artwork at Gamcheon blog)



Here are the ladies saying:
안녕히 주무세요...
(That's "annyeonghi jumuseyo" meaning "Good Night" in Korean)



Sin's video of our seventh & eighth day ride. After seven days in, it's Goodbye Jeju and Hello Busan!
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