Palgongsan hiking, Saturday 14th May 2011.

At the weekend Jen and I visited Palgongsan Provincial Park. We were going to watch Jeonbuk play away at Pohang Steelers on the Sunday and thought that if we took the train south on the Friday night after work, we’d be able to get a day’s hiking in on the Saturday.

It all went very well. The 8.30pm KTX from Seoul got us into Daegu just over an hour and a half later and we then got a taxi for the twenty kilometre drive to Palgongsan. We had been planning on staying in the Hot Springs Spa but they had no rooms for the Saturday night. Instead we ended up in the Ivvy Motel just around the corner. That’s right, Ivvy with two vees.

We got a very large room for 50,000 won per night. All of the Love Motels in Korea are designed to help guests retain their anonymity by not requiring you to give any registration details, but this one took it to another level. If you have a car, you drive into your individual garage where you can lower the door behind you to avoid your car being seen. Then you climb the stairs to your room where you access it by feeding banknotes into a machine in the wall. There wasn’t even a key because I don’t think anyone is expected to leave the room until they check out. It was well equipped with two bathrooms, two large screen tellies and mirrors over the bed. There was even a beer in the fridge. Oddly though, there wasn’t a door on the toilet.

Next day we had breakfast at a table outside of a GS25 convenience store and then made our way up the trail.

I'm told it's what proper mountaineers eat.

There were a variety of routes and we decided to head for the 1,167m Dongbong peak. The trail was relatively quiet by Korean standards and a couple of hours later we were at the top. There were some decent views to what I think was the North.

Those people were having their lunch.

To the West there was the bizarre sight of a golf course set into the hillside. It really did seem such an odd place to build it. I’ve not played much golf, but random courses where you least expect them is something that might just inspire me to take it up.

Palgongsan Golf Course.

We didn’t really have much of a plan for where to go next and set off towards Gatbawi. There are a couple of quite famous Buddha statues there and so it seemed as good a place as any. The route was quite hard work though with lots of sections where you had to lower yourself down on a rope or by using the railings.

After a while we decided to head for Donghwasa Temple instead. One Buddha statue is as good as another as far as I’m concerned and the route looked to involve a bit less clambering about. We got lost part of the way down as we were using a trail that wasn’t marked on the maps, but after stumbling across a different temple we managed to find our way to Donghwasa.

Buddha statue at Donghwasa Temple.

Duck and pheasant seem to be the local speciality and we ended up having dinner that evening at a duck restaurant which hadn’t been open long. We were the only customers and were given a present of a toothbrush set each.

Next morning it was easy enough to flag a taxi down and get ourselves to the bus terminal for the journey to Pohang. We’ll probably look to stay in Palgongsan again when the World Athletics Championships take place in Daegu in September and combine another of the peaks with a trip to see Usain Bolt.

One Response to “Palgongsan hiking, Saturday 14th May 2011.”

  1. Cogstar Says:

    did you figure who got buried there? Next to the hugest right leg in the world!

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