September 30, 2011


Blair, Pete, and I hiked up to Gatbawi this past weekend. There are a couple beautiful temples on the way, and Gatbawi is a famous Buddha statue in the region.

The one downside is that this is a very crowded trail; here's a shot of the beginning of the trail. I'd tried it before and given up, partly due to a hang over. Now, spending my weekends sober and going to bed early, it was an easy afternoon.

After 1.2 km, you will reach this temple. There are two trails to Gatbawi from this point, on the right it is mostly rocks with some steps, and is 1km longer. The one on the left is very steep and is almost entirely steps. We took the less steep one up, and it was less crowded, an enjoyable hike. The way down, we took the steps. It wasn't terrible, but the trail was crowded.

This is 갓바위 (Gatbawi). Gat means hat and bawi means rock, so the name is quite fitting. Its a single slab of granite, and is 4m tall.

Directions take the 401 to the last stop. Chances are you will be standing the entire way on the bus, as it is always crowded. Also, when you're leaving Gatbawi, there will be a long line of hikers trying to get on the bus. If you are going to a few different tourist locations, though, you can take the Daegu City Tour, which leaves from Dongdaegu Korail Station (go out to the cab turn around, you'll see a tourist information stand and can buy a day pass there).

September 28, 2011

Herb Hillz

Last weekend Pete, Laura, Blair, and I went to Herb Hillz! This is a "natural theme park" in Daegu, which is known for its ropes course. There is a lot to do there - tons of cheesy photo ops and typical kids camp stuff like horseback riding around a circle, arts and crafts, etc.

Eco Adventure is the name of the rope course, and they have several to choose from. We did the King Kong course, because it is the longest and seemed to have the most ziplines.

Getting there was fairly easy. We took the Rapid 2 (the red bus) from Jungangno (the stop is across from Quizno's). You should get off at the stop before Spa Land.

When you get there, go sign up for your training session right away. They have training every few hours (we went at 1 pm, there was another at 3), then you can wander around the park until your turn. It costs 4,000 Won to get into the park, and another 15,000 to go on any of the rope courses.

They also have a petting zoo!

It featured a box of puppies, which was fantastic.

There is a section of fair style rides, and most are aimed at children. This is probably also designed for kids, but they let us go in it! It's 4,000 Won for a few minutes in a giant inflatable ball in a shallow pool. You mostly float around, run, try to stand up, and do somersaults.

September 26, 2011

A quick trip to Apsan

Last weekend Blair, Mina (my old co-worker from St. Louis!), and I went to hike up Apsan. The plan was to hike up, watch the sunset, then hike down. The problem was that Saturday was hot, and when Blair and I left Sunday, it was warm.. by the time we went to go hike, it was freezing! It was raining intermittently and very windy. We decided to take the cable car, get a view of the city, and hurry home.

It was slightly disappointing not to actually take the trail, but the cable car is great because it is open all year. You can get an awesome view of Daegu even when the weather isn't conducive for hiking.

Getting to Apsan is easy. Take the 401 Bus, it's the last stop. There is an information center on the path, and you'll pass a little museum on the way. The cable car is 8,000 Won for a round trip ticket.

September 24, 2011

Namsan in Gyeongju

Last weekend Blair and I decided to go to Namsan to go hiking. Gyeongju is a tourist-friendly city that I have always found easy to get around. We assumed Namsan, which is a mountain in Gyeongju, would be similar, but several failed bus attempts later, we realized we were wrong. The tourist information center at the train station along with the maps they gave out said that bus 11 went there, but it turns out that it does not. Here are some pictures to help you navigate your way there.

To hike in this area, take one of these buses (500, 505, 506, 507, 508). If you are standing at the bus terminal and looking at the main road that dead-ends into the bus terminal, you need to be on the left-hand side of that street.

Get off at Samnueng. From there, walk to the right. You will see a bathroom and an unmarked tourist information center. They were extremely helpful and even gave out trail maps and postcards! You'll cross the street and enter the trail.

The trail is surrounded by these awesome, twisty trees. Most of the trail was large rocks to climb over or in the shape of steps. It took a while, maybe 2.5 hours round trip, but mostly because there was so much to see on the way. The region is famous because there are over 100 Buddhist statues around the mountain. The biggest ones have signs posted on the trail - the statue's name and the distance from the path.

Carved pictures in the rock, I increased the contrast in the one below to make it more clear.

This giant Buddha is one of the coolest ones I've seen in Korea.

This is a "great view from a big rock."

This is the view from the summit. Literally, the entire top was surrounded by trees. I suggest stopping when the path runs around (on both sides) an oval of grass in front of a set of stairs. It's a steep walk to the top without much gratification.

After dinner, we went to Anapji Pond. You may remember this from my previous trips to Gyeongju. However, it is beautifully lit up at night, and I had only seen it during the day previously. This has been on my list for a long time, and I was thrilled to be able to finally see it.

We walked by the lotus ponds, too. Most blossoms already had burst and petals had fallen away... except for a few, just beginning to bloom.

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For those of you into hiking, this site is fantastic: 100 Noted Mountains in Korea (and it is all sorted by region).