Sunday, June 30, 2019

Friday, June 21, 2019

Where and What We Ate in Busan

Here's all the good stuff my friend and I ate in the few days we were in Busan. 

Several branches across South Korea

KyoChon Chicken has many branches in Korea. The KyoChon Chicken restaurant we ate at was near Busan Staton, near our guesthouse.

We ordered the KyoChon Original (18,000 krw)—a whole chicken cut into more than 20 pieces, deep fried, and smothered with sauce (garlic and soy flavor). For just two people, it was a huge serving! In Korea, fried chicken is usually paired with alcohol, nothing more. Being Filipinos, we needed rice with our fried chicken. KyoChon does not serve rice, but the server had the brilliant idea of buying from a nearby convenience store and charging us 2,000 krw per serving of rice.

I could not believe what big eaters my friend and I were—we finished all the chicken! And the rice, too!



("Bornga" on Google Maps)
3F Busan Theater, 36 BIFF Gwangjang-ro, Jung-gu, Busan

We discovered 본가 The Born while we were strolling around BIFF. It was the poster advertising their menu that pulled us to the third floor of the same building as BIFF Theater.

My friend ordered 갈비탕 Galbitang (11,000 krw), which is beef rib soup. I ordered 차돌된장찌개 Chadol Doenjang (6,000 krw), which is soy bean paste stew served with bibimbap. This was a very very satisfying dinner.

Galbitang (top left), banchan or side dishes served on small white dishes,
and Chadol Doenjang with bibimbap (bottom)

Several branches across South Korea

Another lucky find was Premium Jjimdak, a restaurant serving jjimdak or braised chicken. We ordered a small Boneless Andong Jjimdak (18,000 krw) topped with cheese (3,000 krw). Their jjimdak is available in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Andong Jjimdak is a variety of jjimdak which originated from the city of Andong. As with all Korean restaurants, they also serve side dishes (salad, and pickled radish and cucumber). I am not crazy over cheese, but this was really good. The cheese was not overwhelming and it went well with the spicy Andong Jjimdak. I long to eat this again when I go back to Korea.

There are many branches of Premium Jjimdak in South Korea. The branch we visited is located near KyungSung University Station in Busan. It is on the second floor, above Etude House.


주전자 Jujeonja
37-9 Bupyeongdong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Busan

On our last day in Busan, my Korean friend asked me what we wanted to eat for lunch, and I suggested samgyupsal. She brought us to Jujeonja in Jung-gu district and ordered samgyupsal and bibimbap. What is unique about their bibimbap is that it is served in a tin lunchbox, and to mix the bibimbap you just have to shake the lunchbox (with its lid on, of course!). One can never go wrong with samgyupsal and bibimbap!
 


Waffle Khan
1-1 Gwangbok-ro 55beon-gil, Changseondong 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Busan

Waffle Khan offers crunchy waffle sandwiches with many different fillings to choose from: apple, strawberry, blueberry, chocolate, cinnamon caramel, cinnamon almond, cream cheese, custard, kaya, mango, Nutella banana, Nutella kiwi, Nutella strawberry, ice cream, granola, etc. I really wanted to try all the flavors, but we had just had lunch, and my stomach only allowed me one waffle. I chose their bestseller: apple. So very yummy! Waffle Khan is the king of waffles!



Paris Baguette—the ubiquitous bakery in South Korea—has so many good breads and pastries. There was never a visit in Korea where I did not go to Paris Baguette to buy something. On my last visit, I was pleasantly surprised to find an ice cream sandwich. It was no ordinary ice cream sandwich, it was a sinfully delicious macaron ice cream sandwich!


Dunkin Donuts

Yes, Dunkin Donuts is everywhere in the world. Yes, we have Dunkin Donuts in Cebu. No, we do not have their oh-so-soft blueberry bagels with real blueberries. This, Dunkin Donuts' blueberry bagel, is one of the things I look forward to eating whenever I am in Korea.



Jeju and Busan, April 2019
Jeju Accommodation: Jeju R Hotel & Guesthouse
Traveling Around Jeju by Bus Plus KakaoMap (2019)
Eats from Jeju City Restaurants I Can't Read the Names Of
Jeju City Lights: Iho Tewoo Beach and Jeju Light Art Festa
Geomun Oreum and Manjanggul Lava Tube
Art and Nature in Seogwipo City
Jeju Olle: Udo Island
Jeju Olle: Gapado Island
Busan Accommodation: One Way Guesthouse
Where and What We Ate in Busan (you're here!)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Busan Accommodation: One Way Guesthouse

For my fourth visit to Busan, I stayed at One Way Guesthouse in Dong-gu (Dong District), near Busan Station. (I have always stayed in Jung-gu (Jung District) in the past.)

12-5 Jungang-daero 196 beon-gil, Dong-gu, 48821 Busan
Telephone Number: +82 (51) 462 2500


Location. One Way Guesthouse is just a few steps from exit 4/6 of Busan Station. There is a convenience store right across the guesthouse and there are many restaurants nearby.

Room. We booked a double room with ensuite toilet and shower. (We would have preferred a twin room with two single beds, but their twin room only had bunk beds.) The room had a TV, air conditioner, small table, mirror, slippers, four power outlets (Type C/F), two hangers, and a towel bar. Shampoo, soap, hair dryer, and towels (hand towel size, which is usual in Korean hostels/guesthouses) were provided. The towel could be exchanged for a fresh one daily at the reception. Room entry is keyless—no keys to worry about, just don't forget your PIN!

Breakfast. We included breakfast when we booked the room. Breakfast—served starting at 8am—was a plate of salad, toast, jam, butter, sunny side up egg, fruit, and cup of tea or coffee. I liked that it had salad and fruit, but it was the same every day.

Price. The double room with ensuite toilet and shower only cost us 120000 krw (Php 5760) for 3 nights. That's Php 960 per person per night, and it already included breakfast.

Common Area. In the basement of One Way Guesthouse is the common area. They have a pool table and darts. There is also a kitchen where you can cook your own food.

Staff. The staff are friendly and can speak English well.

Luggage Storage. Free luggage storage is one of the services I look out for especially if my flight arrives too early for check-in or leaves too late after checkout. One Way Guesthouse allows guests to leave their luggage at the common area.



Heads up!
  • We booked our room through booking.com and the 300 krw tax was not included in the price quoted in the booking confirmation.
  • One Way Guesthouse has no elevator, which can be a problem if you have large/heavy bags and your room is on the 4th floor!
  • The toilet in our room had a certain smell and it wasn't pleasant!


Monday, June 17, 2019

Jeju Olle: Gapado Island

Jeju Olle is a series of trails that goes around Jeju Island plus trails around some surrounding islands—a total of 26 trails. If you hiked all 26 trails, then you would have traveled on foot 425 kilometers! Since I did not have the time (and, surely, not the energy) to do all 26 trails, I just picked two. And these two are trails that are not on Jeju Island but trails that go around two of its nearby islands: Udo Island and Gapado Island.

I picked Gapado Island (Jeju Olle Route 10-1) for two reasons. One, it's a short and very easy hike. The total distance of the trail is just 4.2 kilometers and can be done in an hour or two. Two, because it was the perfect time (April) to see the island's beautiful barley fields.

Getting to Gapado Island. From Jeju City, we took Bus 255 to Moseulpo Harbor (1.5 hours, 1150 krw). Moseulpo Harbor is the stop for Unjinhang Port where we will be taking a ferry to Gapado Island. At the port, we filled out a passenger report form, presented the form and our passports at the ticket counter and bought roundtrip tickets for Gapado Island (13100 krw, roundtrip). The ferry to Gapado Island runs every hour from 9am to 12 noon, then resumes at 2pm, 3pm, and 350pm (last trip). The return tip to Moseulpo Harbor is every hour from 920am to 1220pm, then 220pm, 320pm, and 410pm (last trip). The journey takes just 10 minutes. Heads up! There are two destinations: Gapado and Marado. Make sure you buy a ticket for Gapado.

Bus 255 schedule

Ferry to Gapado Island

Inside the ferry. Unlike the ferry to Udo Island, this one has seats.

Hiking around Gapado Island. There are bikes for rent (5000 krw) when you arrive at the port in Gapado. But it's such a small island that, in my opinion, walking would be the best choice. At the port, there were cafes, restaurants, and a few houses. We walked west following the coastal road as suggested by the trail map on the Jeju Olle website.


The trail is marked by blue and red ribbons, or blue and orange arrows (follow the orange arrows if you are following the trail in the reverse direction), or Ganse, which are horse-shaped trail markers (the head points in the direction of the route).

Trail markers

This Ganse informs the visitor that from this point one can see Marado Island

Marado Island in the distance

It was a sunny spring day with a light sea breeze blowing in, which made the coastal walk a very pleasant one. We saw some people sitting on the rocks by the sea and just enjoying their coffee and each other's company. The houses, I noticed, were small, one-storey buildings...most of them painted in the same color. Low walls made of stones separated the houses.


Hmmm...a slide at the port in Gapado?

Enjoying their coffee by the sea

The dwellings were small one-storey buildings mostly of the same color scheme

After a few minutes of walking along the coast, we could see a windmill and then the turnoff for the trail going inland.


The turnoff led to a vista of beautiful barley fields with the tall windmills (there were two) and blue sky creating a lovely backdrop. Not only that, it was a stunning walk through fields of barley and fields of canola flowers.


Fields of barley



Midway along the trail, we found stone statues and a yurt. I wondered what a yurt was doing in the middle of Gapado Island. It was actually not a dwelling place, for inside was nothing but ribbons with messages written on them by visitors. 


A yurt in Gapado?

So many ribbons with handwritten messages

I had to leave my mark, too.

Canola fields

We took our time walking this section of the trail, breathing in the fresh air and taking in 360 degrees of awesome nature. It was such a beautiful sight! But soon we had walked two-thirds of the trail and reached the east side of the island. The last third of the trail was to follow a concrete a road due south along the rocky coastline.



The trail ended at another port on the south of the island. Jeju Olle 10-1? check!

The port on the south of the island marks the end of Jeju Olle 10-1

But our hike did not end where the hiking trail ended. Of course, we had to go back to our starting point since we had to catch the ferry back to Jeju Island!


Jeju and Busan, April 2019
Jeju Accommodation: Jeju R Hotel & Guesthouse
Traveling Around Jeju by Bus Plus KakaoMap (2019)
Eats from Jeju City Restaurants I Can't Read the Names Of
Jeju City Lights: Iho Tewoo Beach and Jeju Light Art Festa
Geomun Oreum and Manjanggul Lava Tube
Art and Nature in Seogwipo City
Jeju Olle: Udo Island
Jeju Olle: Gapado Island (you're here!)
Busan Accommodation: One Way Guesthouse
Where and What We Ate in Busan

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Jeju Olle: Udo Island

Jeju Olle is a series of trails that goes around Jeju Island plus trails around some surrounding islands—a total of 26 trails. If you hiked all 26 trails, then you would have traveled on foot 425 kilometers! Since I did not have the time (and, surely, not the energy) to do all 26 trails, I just picked two. And these two are trails that are not on Jeju Island but trails that go around two of its nearby islands: Udo Island and Gapado Island.

Udo Island was recommended by Annie, a Chinese girl (I don't know her Chinese name; she just called herself Annie) I met during my first visit to Jeju Island in the spring of 2018. I wasn't really keen on visiting Udo Island, but when I found that there was an Olle trail that goes around Udo, it went straight to my Spring 2019 itinerary.

Spring 2019 came and I was excited to finally be able to hike a Jeju Olle trail. But first we (I was traveling with a friend) had to get to Udo Island.

Approaching Udo Island

Getting to Udo Island. We took Bus 211 from Jeju City to Seongsan Port (1.5 hours, 1150 krw). At Seongsan Port, we bought roundtrip ferry tickets (8500 krw, roundtrip, per person) to Cheonjin Port in Udo Island. The ferry runs every half hour from 730am to 6pm (last trip schedule depends on the month; the last trip could be as early as 5pm in winter) and the journey takes only 15 minutes. (What surprised me about the ferry is that there are no seats. Everyone took off their shoes and found a spot on the floor to sit on. Of course, we followed suit.)

No chairs in the ferry

Getting around Udo Island. Outside Cheonjin Port in Udo Island were rental shops for bicycles, tandem bicycles, three-wheeled scooters, and motorcycles—options to get around the island, aside from walking or taking the shuttle bus.

My friend wanted to rent the cute three-wheeled scooters, but a passport and international motorcycle driver's license were required to rent a scooter or motorcycle. I was actually glad we couldn't rent (neither of us had an international motorcycle driver's license) because my main purpose in visiting Udo Island was to hike!

Cute three-wheeled scooters

You can also rent a bike or a tandem bike to get around Udo

Hiking around Udo. Jeju Olle Route 1-1 is a trail that circumnavigates Udo Island. The trail is 11.3 kilometers long and takes 4 to 5 hours to complete. Difficulty level is classified as medium. The trails are marked by blue and red ribbons, arrows (blue or orange; follow orange arrows if you are going in the reverse direction), and Ganse (horse-shaped trail markers; the head points in the direction of the route).

Blue and red ribbons as trail markers

We followed the trail in the counterclockwise direction. Just a few minutes of walking (and a bit of uphill walking) brought us to Udo-bong (Udo Peak) and Udo Lighthouse. From Udo Peak we could see Seongsan Ilchulbong, a tuff cone (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site), in the distance. In the other direction, the vast sea. I wonder if, on a clear day, we could see Japan?

The wind up at the peak (which wasn't high at all, just 132.5 masl) and the wide open views were refreshing.

On our way to Udo Peak, we saw a horse and this cute little building

Seongsan Ilchulbong (far left in the background) can be seen from Udo-bong (Udo Peak)

Udo Lighthouse



When we descended the peak we passed houses, and so many fields of canola, of rye, and of barley. Most of the time, it was just us hiking. (We only saw a group of three hikers at the beginning of the trail. The rest of the trail, it was just me and my friend.) At one point, we followed overgrown paths between low stone walls that made us doubt if we were on the right path. There was also a time when we crossed fields with nary a soul in sight and we hoped and prayed no one would pop out and shoot us for trespassing.

Canola field

It was a beautiful day for a hike

Is this the right path?

Halfway along the trail, we reached Hagosudong Beach, where we found a bunch of restaurants just across. Just in time for lunch! 

Hagosudong Beach

We ate lunch at 로뎀가든 Rothem Garden. The menu was in Korean, so we just ordered their recommendation: 흑돼지주물럭 Black Pork Stew (30000 krw for 2 persons). It looked like everyone else was having it, so it must be good. And, yes, it was deliciously spicy! After eating, we spied one table having rice with egg and cheese (a little research told me it was 우도한라산볶음밥 Hallasan Fried Rice). It looked pretty good too, but we were too full to try that one.

Black Pork Stew at Rothem Garden, a restaurant facing Hagosudong Beach

After lunch, we jumped right back to hiking. We followed the rest of the trail, passing by more houses and fields. Sometimes the trail was on dirt paths, other times it just followed an asphalt road—rarely a major one since we scarcely saw cars.

We reached Cheonjin Port, the start and end point of the trail, after 4.5 hours of leisurely walk with many stops in between. Since we had time to spare before going back to Jeju Island, we rewarded ourselves with peanut ice cream (5000 krw) at Cafe 콩리.

Peanut ice cream

Would I recommend hiking Udo Island (Olle Route 1-1)? If you have time to spare and enjoy taking long, easy walks on mostly flat land (the only uphill section was going to Udo Peak/Udo Lighthouse), then, yes, go for it! But only on the cooler months. Hiking in summer might not be a good idea since there is no tree cover all throughout the route. (If you insist on hiking in summer, I have a strong feeling you will be able to eat a gallon of peanut ice cream after the hike.)


Jeju and Busan, April 2019
Jeju Accommodation: Jeju R Hotel & Guesthouse
Traveling Around Jeju by Bus Plus KakaoMap (2019)
Eats from Jeju City Restaurants I Can't Read the Names Of
Jeju City Lights: Iho Tewoo Beach and Jeju Light Art Festa
Geomun Oreum and Manjanggul Lava Tube
Art and Nature in Seogwipo City
Jeju Olle: Udo Island (you're here!)
Jeju Olle: Gapado Island
Busan Accommodation: One Way Guesthouse
Where and What We Ate in Busan