Thursday, October 01, 2009

Korea Mainland Climbing and Cruising

I've lived in Jeju for about 3 years now and I've only been to the mainland one time (not including Seoul). Last year, my friends Dan and Troy took a motorcycle cruise around all of Korea for a week and raved about it. At the end of August and the first week of September, I decided to finally see it for myself, I cruised for three days by myself, then I met up with Darren and Christine for a week of rock climbing. I took a ferry from Jeju to Nokdong, travelled around the southeastern corner of Korea. I mostly stayed in Jeollanam-do, but poked my way into the neighboring provinces. I met up with Darren and Christine and we climbed at Yongseo Pokpo, and Seonunsan.

danferry by you.

sushidinner by you.

I took the ferry from Jeju to Nokdong. The ride was about 4 hours and quite comfortable. As you can see, the weather was great, so you can either hang out in the ferry and get some food, drink a beer, or go outside and relax on the deck. I met a nice gentleman on the ferry who kind of took me under his wing. When the trip was over, and arrived, he decided to treat me to this amazing sushi dinner.

windeyroad by you.

My motorcycle is a 125cc motorcycle. If you know anything about motorcycles, that's not much. Most motorcycles in The States start at 400. In fact, its hard to even find even a 250cc on most websites I've seen! I honestly don't have any experience riding a larger sized motorcycle, but riding a 125cc is really all you need to have fun. You can't cruise on the highways, but if you're on a motorcycle on a highway, you need to re-think what you're doing buy a Cadillac (or a Lincoln). When you get off of the main roads and onto the back roads the driving on the motorcycle is spectacular. It had enough power to go 110km/h (the speed limit is never more than 80km/h). It has plenty of power to go up hills, and coasting downhills, its light enough that you don't have to use the brakes much. The roads in Korea are smooth, have lots of turns, and are absolutely gorgeous. I would suggest to anyone to ride a bike through Korea. The backroads are not well marked, so just learn to read a little Korean, get a good map, and you'll be well on your way.

goatherderportrait by you.

lunchwithgoatherder by you.
I was driving through the mountains, and it was beginning to rain, so I stopped by this man. He introduced himself with incredible English and invited me over for lunch. He was a true hermit, living in a shack by the river. He used to teach German at a well known university in Seoul, but was fired after refusing to do his military service. After he divorced his wife, he decided to live the simple life and at 77 years old, he makes his living raising 19 goats. The lunch was simple but delicious, bean sprout soup, and the conversation was excellent. You never know who you might meet when you're travelling alone.

mountains by you.

watchforsquirrels by you.

maisan_edited-1 by you.

When travelling through Korea, you are travelling through the mountains (watch out for squirrels!). They say that Korea is something like 80% mountains. Mostly they remind me of the Appalachian Mountains of the Eastern US. Not big, but very beautiful. I stopped by a an area called Maisan (Horse Ear Mountain). There is a temple here with many huge stone piles, stacked by the monks that have stood for a couple hundred years without falling down. It rained the day before, and my camera lens got moist and gave a cool softening effect on the edges of the picture! Sometimes you just get lucky!

gardeners by you.

Here's a picture for my mom. Do you see those little round cushions that they're sitting on? They're strapped to their butts and when they stand up they look really silly, but they have a nice little seat following them around.

I don't have many pictures from the cruising part of my trip. It's tough to ride a motorcycle and take pictures at the same time. Plus you're cruising and its so fun that you don't want to stop and take could be stopping every 5 minutes! Plus, everything was strapped to the bike and it was a bit of a pain to get the camera out.

darrencrack by you.

christinecrack by you.

DarrenWaterfall by you.

christinedihedral by you.

darrenlook by you.

Next I met up with Darren and Christine for a bit of rock climbing. First we went to Yongseo Pokpo (Yongseo Waterfall). This place was really nice and a good place to go first. The wall is generally vertical with comfortable holds with nice edges. We spent 3 days climbing here.

noraebang by you.

One of the rooms we stayed in had a Karaoke machine! We rocked it all night!

The pictures below are from the second place we went, Seonunsan. The climbing there was absolutely amazing. It's mostly overhanging and boasts some of the hardest routes in Korea. Here's a sampling of pictures, I'll try to find more pictures for more of an overview of the whole area and put them in another post.

darrenface by you.

screaming monk by you.
The Screaming Monk

Darren by you.

zoo by you.

We met a monk from the local temple who was a rock climber and showed us around a little bit. He was very friendly and climbed really hard. When he was at his limit, I've never heard anyone scream so loud....he was known by us as "The Screaming Monk"

bikeintherain by you.
Until next time!


  1. I have a picture of my group in front of a similar ferry when we went from the mainland to Jeju! Thanks for the memories! : )

  2. hey dan, awesome trip! sweet photos as always. and good to see the old bike is still cruisin.

  3. Joshua9:18 AM

    Why are there bolts next to that lovely crack!! Yikes. Looks like a good time though.

  4. Here's a cool video my students made. Enjoy:)

  5. Hi Dan. I came across your site through following "next blogger tool". How lucky for me;) I am a korean american adoptee and had a chance to visit jeju during our honeymoon in 2004. Thank you for bringing us a little glimps of jeju and it's people:) I love to add your site to my bloglist on my homeiswithin & sheltersky photoblog sites. I am looking forward to following your stay there!

  6. I know your site has not been updated recently but wanted to come here and wish you happy holidays!And looking forward to new adventures.