Category Archives: Travel

A Map for Non-Korean Bundang Residents

I started this map in early 2013. Many in the Bundang and Yongin area have contributed to it. It’s publicly editable so please feel free to add locations.

It’s also not limited to Bundang, so if you know good locations anywhere in Korea, please add them.

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Russia

Our trip is finished!

Irkutsk & Lake Baikal
Trans-Mongolian Railway
Moscow & St. Petersburg

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Laos

Leaving Laos today… Excited to meet Daniel in Vietnam! Laos was an awesome country though, very remote and beautiful. I especially enjoyed Luang Prabang and Kuang Si Falls!

Sengtawan Riverside Hotel/Vientiane
Buddha Park
Luang Prabang
Kuang Si Falls
Pak Ou Caves
Thongbay Guesthouse

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Super-Badass Train Will Connect Seoul to Busan in 90 Minutes

From the Korea Times, a new train is being tested with a top speed of 430km/hour (267miles/hour)(!!!).  For my North Carolina readers, of which there are at least two, that’s Asheville to Raleigh in one hour.  Fuck. Yes.

HEMU-400X

The super-badass looking HEMU-400X is coming to Korea if it passes government testing.

The story says government testing will be thorough due to unforeseen problems with Korea’s current high-speed train, the KTX.  From the article:

In particular, the latest “KTX-Sancheon,’’ which was built through the country’s own technologies, suffered various mishaps including derailment and stoppages although there were no casualties.

The KTX currently tops out at 300km/hour (186m/hour). That’s not too shabby on its own, though I’d sure hate to be on one of those derailments!

Speaking of derailments, the high-fallutin’ US plan to introduce high-speed trains appears to have fallen off the tracks without ever moving forward.  Guess I might have to sign up for a car-share program if I don’t want to blow my savings when I get back from Korea.

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Sin Bundang Line Opens Today

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After a few last-minute delays, Sin Bundang express subway line opened today, connecting Jeongja to Gangnam in 16 minutes. Anyone worried that Seoul was too far away from Bundang will now have a speedy option to complement the extensive bus coverage already available to Bundang residents.

Daniel Daugherty

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Ulsanbawi Rock

Thought I’d throw up some photos taken during our trip to Seoraksan with Adventure Korea.  Jen already gave it a full write-up so I’ll just keep the details specific to Ulsanbawi Rock.

The hike wasn’t strenuous as much as it was long and slow.  Koreans love hiking and when the weather’s good, the mountains are packed.

Ajummahs on the march

Ajummahs on the march at Seoraksan

The crowds made everything take longer. We finally got to the top of the tree line and were confronted with Ulsanbawi and a line long enough to rival the Star Wars ride at Disney World.

The line to scale Ulanbawi Rock

The crowd bottlenecked up the steps into a single-file line. This is only the visible portion of the stairs.

When I first saw the line of people waiting to reach the top, I decided I wasn’t going. After some arguing and being called “pussy” by a female traveling companion, I gave in and trudged up to the steps.

We stood nearly still for the better part of an hour. As we went higher up the stairs, the winds whipped up into the funnel-shaped crevasse. I stood helplessly, feeling like and idiot for not wearing a jacket, holding onto the rails and wishing people would hurry it up.

The top of Ulanbawi Rock

The top was packed!

We finally made it to the top, a bald outcrop of rock completely open to the wind. There wasn’t much of a guard rail to prevent gravity-induced accidents so the crowd at the top looked like penguins on an iceberg, shoving everyone to the edge to test the waters. I really thought some unlucky penguin would get pushed or blown off.

Maybe it’s desperate economic circumstances, maybe it’s cultural, maybe it’s in the blood. If there’s one thing I admire about Koreans, it’s this: They’re hustlers. If someone has something to sell, he’ll carve out a space somewhere and try to cut you a deal. Not even hundreds of steps up a vertical incline can stop some people.

Sure enough, two or three guys were at the top with a radio, a bullhorn and a small stand full of medals, pins and trinkets. They also had hot tea.

I’m still baffled. How’d they get that hot water up the mountain? How’d they keep it hot all day long? Do they really make enough money to make it a worthwhile venture?

Vendors at the top of Ulanbawi

How they get all that stuff up here?

After a few minutes at the top, I decided I’d had enough of the wind and began the long descent to the bottom. This part was what made the trip so difficult. After all the time spent slowly walking in a crowd, then standing still on the stairs, my legs were worn out.

Going back down all those stairs took most of what they had left. I hiked down slowly and carefully, fearing my ankles didn’t have the strength to grip the rocks and loose sand. When I finally reached the bottom and got on the Adventure Korea bus, I was really glad to find out there was a jimjibang (Korean-style sauna) next to our hotel.

-Daniel Daugherty

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Daniel’s pictures from Japan

Kyoto temple w/ moped driver in foreground

Check out Daniel's awesome juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern!

Japan was pretty cool.  It was similar to Korea with two key differences for naive observers like myself:  1) The locals smile without provocation; and 2) No garbage all over the sidewalks.  Sadly, I wasn’t there long enough to have a more informed opinion of the place — I’m sure their cultural idiosyncracies are equally frustrating to Westerners.

As for what we saw and did there, I’d like to say I don’t need to visit another Shinto shrine for the rest of my life, but I never took the opportunity to drop in a few yen and summon the spirits.  I’ll have to go to at least one more time — I could really use some of that bibbed-fox-statue magic.

For me, the most thrilling part of Japan was riding the train to Kyoto from the airport and finding out that it looks exactly like the pixelated backgrounds in “River City Ransom,” a beloved video game from my childhood.  (I looked everywhere, but I couldn’t find a book called “Dragon Feet.”)

Anyway, you didn’t come to hear my nostalgic quips about a Nintendo game.  Click through for my photo album.

Please leave photo comments and questions here on the blog and I’ll try to get back at you.  I’d post them all here as a slideshow but Google doesn’t currently support embedding into WordPress blogs without a ton of extra file management — I’m lazy enough about blogging as it is.

-Daniel Daugherty

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