Sunday, January 15, 2012

Busan, South Korea

I spent the first full week of 2012 in southern South Korea and had time over the weekend to tour around the cities of Busan and Sacheon.  Although I have visited this area in the past, this is the fist chance I had to be a tourist, I decided to go to Beomeosa Temple, a famous temple in Busan.

To get here, I had to take a bus from the city of Sacheon (where I was staying), a subway and another bus to the temple entrance. The temple is on the side of a mountain, it's really convenient to take the bus to the entrance.  I did not do much planning and did not know what to expect when I got to the temple, but it turned out to be a nice place, very relaxing.
Monks everywhere, these monks are famous for Ando martial arts, they are fighting monks.
Below is not the Beomeosa Temple, but I could not read what the name of the temple is because nothing was in English...
Another temple near Beomeosa.
Because of my lack of planning, I did not know Beomeosa was a trailhead to other places higher up on the mountain, for example, the North Gate at 1.6km away.  Thought to myself, "wow, North Gate, got to check that out!"
The trail up the mountain is all rocks, kind of difficult to walk.
Someone in Korea is bad at math.  The sign above is at the base of Beomeosa and says 1.6km to north gate.  The sign below is half way up the trail and says 1.4km to Beomeosa and 1.1 km to north gate (the note inside the parenthesis on the right side marker), so crap, now this path is 2.5km long.
More rock path, towards the top of the mountain ice started to from on the rocks.  So you have to walk carefully.
After 1.6km or 2.5km, here is the north gate (seemed more like 2.5km). The North Gate is one of four entrances to the Geumjeong Fortress.  The Geumjeong Fortress is huge and I did not get a chance to really see the rest of the fortress, but I did find a sign to the summit of Geumjeongsan Mountain. The summit was another 1.1km away.
I decided to give it a go, this is a view from near the summit looking North over Busan.
I made it! The summit of  Geumjeongsan Mountain is at 801.5 meters (2630ft), the trailhead starts at 310 meters and I have no idea the trail distance to get here. I was not really planning on hiking something like this but was happy that I was able to make it. first ever Korean haircut, only $8.
I wanted to take a different trail back to the subway, but not sure where any of these trails lead too, so I decided to just go back he same way I came here (Buk Mun).
 This is another view from near the summit, you can see the North Gate towards the right of the photo.
 It's like a mini great wall of china.

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