Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chuseok Getaway: Geoje Island Pt.2

I woke up kind of early as the sun was rising, but it was worth it. From the bed I could see the sky change from a dull blue to a warm hue of light yellow. With JH still in the bed I crept out onto the porch and enjoyed the scenery and sounds of the island.
JH woke up and we got ready to go to the dock to take our boat tour. The pension was really cozy and here for you are some interior views.



At the dock we waited to board a ferry boat.
Geological Tour:
I was a little nervous that I would get seasick, but JH reassured me there was nothing to worry about. The boat ride was a little rocky, but inside the cabin things weren't too crowded.

After a short while the captain allowed everyone to be able to go out on the deck where you could get a better view. The sea air in my face felt good and the views were indeed lovely.


The boat was taking us to Oedo Island, but first was making a little trip around the area's geological sites. We were taken around the Haegeumgang area where basically there were large sea-cliffs, rock formations and caves.
As one of the best sights in Geojedo Island, Geoje Haegeumgang is called the Geumgang (Sea Diamond) of the South Sea. As a rock island, Haegeumgang belongs to Hallyeo Marine National Park, which is assigned as an official green area in South Korea. Its original name was Galgotdo, because it is shaped like the spreading roots of arrowroot. These days it is known as Haegeumgang, meaning Mt. Geumgangsan in the sea.



 As a geological enthusiast I was having a great time. The boat's captain told everyone about the sites, but in Korean.

The boat was taken into the caves and you got to feel overpowered by the towering cliffs.
The most stunning scenery of Haegeumgang is the sunset and sunrise and can be best viewed on Ilwollbong Peak or Lion Rock. There is Shipjagul Cave in the center of Haegeumgang, which is 100m long from east to west and 180m long from south to north. It has been called Shipjagul (meaning ‘cross’ in Korean) Cave because it looks like a cross when viewed from the sky. If you go on the tour, you will be fascinated by the height of the rock walls and the inside of the cave.
 Below is an image of one of the cliffs where if you look at the top you can see an old tree. I was told this tree is thousands of years old.
I really liked seeing the weathering on the cliffs.
As the boat made its way past the cliffs and towards an island we were told to go back inside. 
Oedo Island:
The boat arrived at our destination which was a small island with interesting architecture and a lovely botanical garden. Recently, this island was turned into a beautiful destination by a private owner. 

After you get off the boat you pay a small entrance fee and then make your way up a winding path.
Oedo, is an annexed island of Geojedo Island and is now privately owned. Oedo Island is more famous than its main island, Geojedo Island, bringing in more than 10,000 tourists daily. Only 30 years ago, Oedo Island was just a nameless rock island. The "rock island” was purchased by a married couple for 8,000,000 won (approx. $8,586) and with persistent effort and artistic originality, made the present Hallyeohaesang National Park into a precious jewel. To the front of the island lies Hallyeohaesang National Park’s main attraction, Haegeumgang, and on a clear day, you can see Japan’s Daemado Island.

 I think we managed to find the perfect day and time to go. The weather wasn't too hot and had a mild coolness to it. As we walked through the landscaped paths I felt like I was taken out of Korea and plopped down in San Francisco. Certainly was an odd yet enjoyable feeling.

 On one path there were cutesty areas to take your photo but also interesting flora. For example, we found cactus, which I explained to JH could be eaten and is what Tequila is made out of.

Along the path there were many sculptures of various designs and craftsmanship. I liked these pair of doves that had an almost art-deco / 60's feel to them.

As we got to a peak of the island we were greeted with a marble Greek-style architecture.

It offered a great view and photo taking opportunity.


I believe this part of the island is called the "Venus Garden", due to many sculptures throughout.


Nearby was a famous house where a Korean drama was shot and next to that was a funky looking bench.
Across from the bench was this tree that JH remarked looked like a mushroom.
Leaving this area we found ourselves on the path through the island's botanical garden. It was certainly full of beautiful flowers and fresh fragrances.



Once out of the garden we were at another peek where we were able to get a view of the Venus Gardens.
 Hibiscus flower:
After this we went through a shaded path to come out to a vista where you can look out onto the sea.

Around the corner from here was the island's cafe, which we didn't stop in but displayed some nice architecture.

We rested at a nearby little park area and ate some mandarin oranges, that we picked up the night before.
It really did feel like I was on Angel Island in the bay of San Francisco looking out. Of course I had no city to look at or the Golden Gate bridge to admire. However, I enjoyed this slice of Korean landscape and know that it will stick with me.
The path was downhill from there where we made our way past the water fountain and towards the gift shop where I picked up some postcards.



We rested at the bottom of the hill as we waited for the boat to pick everyone up. Although we were hungry and a little tired we both remarked how beautiful it was. Thank you JH for taking me!

*Stay tuned for part 3 of this series as I will wrap it up and show you the rest of our day at Geoje island. 
Ah.... vacation...

4 comments:

  1. Yeah its an amazingly beautiful area. Me and my GF went there for a mini-vacation during late spring of this year. We made the very bad decision to take a KTX from Daegu to Busan and use the ferry to get there because we thought it would be faster. I left the car at home and should of known there wouldn't be much for public transportation at that island.

    She was telling me Oedo was the owners life work. When he passed on this children opened it for public viewing and setup the cafe and gift shop. I wish I could live in that place haha.

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  2. I too started to fall in love with the island, thinking how great it would be to live down there.

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  3. Did you sneak a peek at my post on it? (http://chrisinsouthkorea.blogspot.com/2009/01/destination-geoje-do-oedo-paradise.html) It's a great place - definitely worth going back to at some point in the future.

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  4. It looks like your trip was a lot of fun! You have some really gorgeous photos!

    Oo! And I love the new header!

    -Em

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