Soooo.. Didn't publish my last posts.. But anyways here are pictures ^^ I will publish the posts when I am satisfied with them, lol.
At 5 in the morning we woke up and got ready to go to Gyeongju. We took the KTX, a fast train, from Seoul to Gyeongju (roughly £25, probably the most expensive thing in this trip) at 6:30 in the morning. It is a very comfortable train and at this time of the day, with the morning light, the view out of the windows was really beautiful (I don't have good pictures, cause the windows kept reflecting :/ ) It took about 3 hours to get to Gyeongju. Once we arrived we took a bus (line 50 or 51, £0.75) to the guest house we are currently staying at. This place, nahbi guesthouse, is pretty nice, mainly for backpackers, but cheap and the staff is friendly! It is really close the town centre (it probably is in the town centre) and convenient for getting to restaurants and catching busses. Gyeongju is surrounded with old temples and historic villages, which is what Julie and I came to see. To get to these different sites you really need a bus, there are also taxis- but they are more expensive. From town centre it takes about 30-45 minutes to each site and each bus ride costs only £0.75 per person :). Yesterday we went to 3 different sites. All of them were old Bhuddist temples. I will mainly let the pictures speak for themselves, with just a brief description here.
The first temple we went to is called 불국사 (Bulguksa) (entry £2). There were very many people there, mainly families with kids and schools, and surprisingly not many tourists... Julie and I must have really stood out *o*. The second temple we visited is called 석굴암 Seokguram (same entry fee). This is a Temple in a Grotto, they have a statue of Buddha carved out of the granite in the cave (they did not allow us to take pictures of the statues). The temple isn't really in a "grotto". Its more a temple sticking out of a grotto. The altar is inside the cave, but the rest is outside. (Julie was a expecting more of a spelunking adventure- lol, that did not happen). The third temple was probably not a touristic temple *o* we realised as we got there. There were very few people about (including the monks). But this is a really beautiful and quiet area. It is set in a hillside, so you have to climb a little to get to the temple. When you get to the top there is a Bhudda carved into a rockface, which you can climb up to, to see better There are also benches on which you can take a rest and have a moment of quiet... Or if you are like Julie and myself, you can chat :P.
It took about 30min to get to the different temples, so we were only able to go to three. But we started at about 12, so I am sure it is possible to do more in a day. I was also very jetlagged :/ 8 hours difference- when it is afternoon here, it is early morning at home.. So today morning we slept in and had a late day.
Today we went to see a historic village. Being a fan of historic dramas, I really enjoyed this. Although this is historic site, people live there and you get a mixture of both the modern technology (cars and satellite dishes) and the old architecture. We did not see many people around, apart from visitors (who were mainly Korean, although we did run into a Swiss couple).
In the evening we went mountain climbing on mount nam. We were actually running late (since we woke up so late) so we had about 2 hours till sun down. We made it up and down in those two hours \^_^/ it is only about 2.5 kilometres one way, but a very nice hike. There are statues of Buddha along the hike and the area is gorgeous. It is actually quite similar to hiking in India :) when you get to the top of the mountain you get a very nice view of the countryside below, and we got to see this at sunset, which was particularly beautiful, although the pictures did not really capture this. We got back to the bottom just as it got dark and took the bus back.
It is really cheap to eat here. Yesterday we went to a cold noodle (냉면) restaurant an I got to try that for the first time (£2 for the biggest portion ever). It is really interesting; noodles in an icy soup. Tastes good, but neither Julie nor I could finish our portions in the evening we had a bibimbap (rice with vegetables, fried eggs meat and chilli sauce... Tastes better than the description) and bulgogi (Korean beef ... Amazing :P) (with a complimentary been paste soup :) This together cost £6.5.... Which is roughly the price for half of one of these dishes in London -.- Today we went to something like a Korean fast food restaurant. You order at a counter then when your number gets called out you go to collect your food. Together we had mandus (Korean dumplings) bibimbap and ramyun (noodle soup). I am really proud that I ate all the ramyun :D I am getting used to spicy again! Anyways all these together cost only about £6, an they were really good!
Tomorrow morning we we are going to Busan. I will try update dayafter tomorrow :)
Title credit- Tara XD
"How long are you planning to stay here?".
"Hm?.. Oh! Five hours, I think".
Yeah, that's how long I thought I would stay in Hong Kong, considering I had only a 10 hour transit.
I arrived in HK at about 7 in the morning. Getting out of the airport and into Honk Kong is quite simple. There is a train that takes about 25 minutes and costs roughly £15. The ride to HK is very beautiful. You get to see both the sea and the mountains. It was one of the first times I ever appreciated mountains and really found them breath taking (take it from someone brought up in Switzerland and the mountains in India :P) It was really warm in HK so I decided to walk around. Only problem was that it was early morning. By early morning I mean 8. Nothing is happening at that time. Not many people are around and most shops only open by 10:30 or 11. So there was not much to do other than walk around. I saw a little of HK, went to the harbour, saw some of the city (tall buildings) and the cute trams (will try link picture) they are soo cute ^_^. Then, because of jetlag, I was really tired so I went back to the airport and slept there... Like a hobo XD.
Anyways it turns out I only stayed there for 3 hours. It would probably have been easier if I had known someone who could show me around the place. But I still managed to see a bit (it's beautiful :)
After HK I had a 5 hour flight to Seoul- I slept through most of it. It was really exciting getting into Seoul. All of a sudden EVERYthing is in Korean, and not many people speak English. I am definitely going to have a lot of practice :) (I am sure my reading has already improved!)
From the airport I took bus to Seoul Station, where I would meet Julie and Wansoo (bus 50, about 15,000 won, roughly 7 pounds). At first I was not sure how everything worked, but the info counters here are really helpful and I was given full instructions on what I had to do to get to the station. And if that was not enough, there was a man outside who, even though he didn't speak any English (I am still too shy to speak Korean :S), helped me find the bus stand, called the bus over when it arrived and carried my luggage in the bus. Untill now the people here have been really kind and helpful :)
When I got to the station, I gave my luggage to Wansoo (who had agreed to keep it till we get back to Seoul, thank you :) and stayed overnight with Julie at a Jimjilbang, a Korean bath house. It was the cheapest accommodation we could find and was very close to the station. We planned to leave to Gyeongju early the next day, so the proximity to the station was very convenient.
I have always wanted to go to a Jimjilbang, so I was really excited :D There are saunas, tubs with different temperature water and you get to walk around in Jimjilbang clothes (hahaha, I think they are really cute :P). So after making use of the facilities we went to the sleeping area, which is pretty much a dorm. There is one for ladies, one for men, one for rest (does that mean you can't sleep in there? O.o) and one for snorers (<- I love this, sooo convenient :D). The beds are quite comfy, even Julie says so... This is saying something :P So at about 00:30 we went to bed... For 4 hours- we had an early day the next day- we were going to Gyeongju.... (read about that in my next post :P)
Title courtesy of Love :D (Matreya and Tara yours will also be used.. Will keep changing :D)