Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cycling South Korea Jeju 2017: Day 3 - Mount Sanbang & Jeju Hallabong Oranges

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Cycling South Korea Jeju 2017: Day 3 - Mount Sanbang & Jeju Hallabong Oranges
Tour of Jeju & Busan, South Korea : Day 3 - 26th March 2017
Cycling Distance - 57.71 km.     Level: Medium
Cycling Time : 8:35am to 6:30pm
Time Taken :  9hrs 55mins (inclusive of stops at various places of interests, stops to enjoy the sceneries, for lunch & oranges, regroup, rests and many,many photo opps).

This is page 3 of a 9-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.

Route Recommendations :

1. Right is Right!
    South Korea's traffic is left-hand drive. For those coming from right-hand drive countries always do remember to ride on the right-hand side... i.e. Right is right! Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note that traffic is approaching from left! Sounds confusing, it actually isn't, just take while to get use to it.
    Generally, the road conditions of the highways and main roads in South Korea are in excellent conditions with few pot-holes. Most towns have well planned dedicated cycling lanes or shared lanes. But cycling on highways is a no-no.
    Local motorists, especially the taxi-drivers, are an impatient lot and unless a zebra-crossing is signalised, most don't bother to stop to let pedestrians or cyclist pass. In fact at un-signalised crossings we had to slowly edge our way out to stop oncoming traffic in order to cross.
    Do watch out for the delivery motorcycles in the larger towns, most of these are huge bikes and they ride across zebra-crossing and onto pavements, disregarding the safety of pedestrians!

2. Cycling Route
    As Korea's traffic is left-hand drive, we took an anti-clockwise route around Jeju island so as to be on the seaward side for better views.

3. Weather
At Jeju: Day 10°C | Night 6°C (Some rain in the late morning)
Even though it was early spring, the weather was surprisingly quite cold. During colder days we had on wind breakers, inner thermals, face masks and beanie caps. Near the Shingaemu Windmill Park, there was a short stretch of rain.

4. Places of Interest
- Giant windmills of Sinchang-ri (GPS: 33.35849, 126.17463), viewed from Sinchang-ri pier (GPS: 33.34952, 126.17814).
Shingaemu Windmill Park (싱계물공원) (GPS: 33.34349, 126.1739).
Suwolbong Global Geopark (GPS: 33.299, 126.16792), there is a magnificent panoramic view of the coast from a viewing tower here.
- Sinyeong Wet Market (GPS: 33.22061, 126.24779).
Mount Sanbangsan (GPS: 33.24194, 126.31166).
Sanbanggulsa Temple (산방산보문사) (GPS: 33.23667, 126.3128) at the foothills of Mount Sangbangsan.
The Museum of Sex & Health in Jeju (GPS: 33.25534, 126.34485).
Changcheon-ri (삼거리슈퍼) village (GPS: 33.23481, 126.36585).

5. Certification Stations:
These are certification centres for the optional Korea Cycling Passport:
Songaksan (GPS: 33.20668, 126.2895).

6. Food
- Breakfast was at a Geumdeung-ri CU convenience store (GPS: 33.36249, 126.19356).
- Lunch was Korean street food at Sinyeong Wet Market (GPS: 33.22061, 126.24779).
- Dinner was Korean fare at our Motel in Jungmun (GPS: 33.25482, 126.41745).
- Don't miss the Jeju Hallabong Oranges, get these at the orchard stalls along the foothills.

7. Accommodations
 We had two accommodations at Jungmun (due to shortage of room at the motel):
- two rooms at a motel (GPS: 33.25482, 126.41745), this came with a washing machine.
  Telephone: +82-64-738-0996
- a chalet Jungmun Homestay (이어도성) (GPS: 33.25495, 126.41769).
  Address: 2481 Saekdal-dong, Seogwipo, Jeju-do, South Korea.
  Tel: +82 64-738-0452

8. Communicating with Each Other
    When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost.
    At the Busan's Gimhae International Airport pre-paid sim cards can be obtained from a couple of stalls at level 1. It's good to get the sim-cards at the airport stalls as there are staff there to help the unfamiliar (or non-techies) set up the sim cards for one's phones.
   To get pre-paid sim cards at Jeju Airport, there are counters selling them at the airport. Or one can purchase them on line, via this link:
It advise that the cards can be bought on line and be picked up near Gate 5 of the 1st Floor Arrival Hall.
    Sim cards can also be obtained from larger outlets of the 24-hours convenience stores like 7-11, CU and GS25. See this link for more details.
    If not opting to get the data package, at some spots on the islands free open wifi is available, just use your phone to search for these.
    Save up each others local phone numbers once that is done. Create a chat group so that general communications can be broadcast, eg. where and when to meet to start the day.
    Alternatively, pocket wifis can be rented for use by a small group (usually up to five persons), and could end up cheaper. The only dis-advantage of this is that users must stay within 20-30 metres of the device. Pocket wifis can be obtain from Travel Recommends at the KLIA and KLIA2 airports in Malaysia. Pocket wifi can also be obtained in South Korea.

9. Communicating with Locals
    For the uninitiated cycling in foreign lands can be a daunting experience, especially when one can only speak a smattering of the local language or if there is no common language to speak to each other (like English). Most Koreans can hardly speak English, and learning some basic phrases will be helpful. When speaking to Koreans in English, they may initially seem stand-offish but after a while they did warm up to us.
    This could be partly overcome by using translation apps like Google Translate. Do install this app into your phone and before you leave on your tour do some basic translation as it will be saved onto a list of recent translations. We also had a list of destinations, accomodations, etc. with their Korean names just in case we had to show the locals.
    Memory-resident translation apps like Learn Korean by Wingsapp & Korean Flashcards by Bravolol were useful apps we used from Google Play Store are also useful; they give translations of basic terms.
    Look out for the tourist information booths at airports, railway stations or bus stations, the guides manning the booths speak very good English and do give good tips on where to visit, directions, train and bus schedule. It's good too to have these guides write the intended destinations in Korean so that one can show to other locals in order to get our bearings right.

10. Navigation
    Unless he or she is very familiar with the locals routes, the tour leader should carry a GPS units. It will also be good if another member of the team carry another GPS unit should the leader's one go faulty. We had pre-loaded the South Korean Map together with GPS coordinates of our destinations. These units are useful, but do study the proposed route made by the unit as sometimes these are longer loop around; OR sometimes there are parallel narrow lanes that can be used and these lanes can sometimes turn out to be more interesting.
    Alternatively, download the MAPS.ME app together with the relevant country maps. This app can be used offline.
    Surprisingly, in many parts of the country, Google Maps don't seem to work well for cycling or even walking - it seem to only propose routes that goes onto buses or trains! Do let me know if this feature has been upgraded.


Yesterday was our start of our round island journey. The debut ride showed us the beauty of the Jeju, from beautiful flowers to nice seascape; from light-horses to the hardy Haenyeo lady divers. We had started from Jeju City and ended at Geumdeung-ri, from there we viewed the giant windmills from afar. Today we continue on and hit the southern coast of the island.


Cycling route Geumdeung-ri>Sinchang-ri Windmills>Shingaemu Windmill Park>Suwolbong Global Geopark>Sinyeong Wet Market>Sanbanggulsa Temple>Hwasun-ri>Changcheon-ri>Jungmun.
Today's route is reputed to be the toughest of the round island ride, with diffiuclt climbs near Mount Sanbangsan. The newbies were a bit worried - no fear, we shall take it in stride. Worst come to worst just TnT (that's Malay which stands for Turun and Tolak, meaning dismount and PUSH!)

Our day started with a visit to the CU outlet (the one with the China girl), since she was very helpful yesterday we decided to patronise her place for a quickie breakfast. Sin had charged his tummy, saw a charging station for electric cars and thought of charging himself up too - there are tough climbs ahead.
Zzzzzzzz.... okay that's enough charge, too much and it will be like Frankienstein's baby.

It started to drizzle, well better put on those Karrimor Orkney raincoat pants that we got from Sports Direct. These pants are handy and they fold inward into a small, compact bag making them easy to carry around. Other than keeping the rain out, it also kept us warm; there was only one complaint by Lynn. "They make me look like one of those Ajummas (old Korean aunties)!" Well better to look like an Ajumma then being wet. 😏

More giant windmills at the Shingaemu Windmill Park. Although not as scenic as those out in the sea at Sinchang-ri; here we get to see them up close; and could even hear them whooshing as they spin (No, that was the wind. The windmills spun slowly and quietly).

Out in the sea, a giant stainless steel fish leapt out of the water; I wonder what's the significance ot this sculpure being out in the sea instead of on dry land. Is it a beacon that lights up at night?

We plodded on and suddenly were surrounded by marathon runners. At times we overtook them but often at the slopes they overtook us. We called out to them but got not much response, they were too focused on their run and their pain. Okay better let them be.
We reached the half-way point of the marathon, it's where the runners will make a U-turn back. Colourfully dressed ladies where there drumming away a strong melody to inspire the runners. When they saw us, the even beat a different melody which just made me feel like standing on my bike and shake my butt and head ala Indian dance style; but the marshals and runners where impatient and shoo-ed us to move on and out of the way!
Hey! Aren't we suppose to share the roads?

Leaving those runners behind, we were soon onto flat roads that took us through farmlands and fields of yellow rape-seed flowers. Thank goodness for this, their calming effect took our minds away from the impatient marathon runners & marshals.

At Yongsu-ri Harbour (절부암), there were quaint roadside stalls selling interesting marine products; this one selling dried cuttlefish caught Sooi Ying's eyes. It seems that grilled cuttlefish is a favourite in Jeju. I wonder whether they mangle the cuttlefish first before toasting, just like those at Gurney Drive in Penang Island.

Another interesting view, houses with rounded stones lining their roof, making them look like mini pyramids.

More view of the Jeju plains, the blue line marks the cycling lane. But traffic is very light here, so we were cycled almost at the middle of the road, feeling free ala cowboys of the American Wild West ..... Giddy-up.... Yeehah!

At the Suwolbong Global Geopark, while the others plodded on, I decided to make a quick detour up some gentle slopes. This led to a tall viewing tower which I climbed to take this panaromic shot of the coast. The famous Suwolbong layered cliff can be seen at the left roadside.
Photo taken, I hurriedly paced myself to catch up with the rest - the climb up the viewing tower had taken more time than anticipated.
Giddy-up.... giddy-up.... Yeeehah! And soon I was with my buddies.... panting hard though!

Another interesting stop, especially for Sin (who loves to explore back-lanes and markets to experience the local life) - the wet market at Sinyeong... okay, okay... it's not so wet a market - this is the dry section that sells clothes and other wear.

This section sells fruits and vegetables, and it is also dry - so much for my concept of a wet market. This particular stall sell more than just veggies, they sell veggie seedlings that one can plant for super-fresh veggies.

Finally a part of the wet market that's actually wet - one that sells seafood. Like most Korean seafood market, this one has a few odd things on sale. These fishes seems to have their tummies sliced open; looking close and try as I may, I couldn't figure out what's the delicacy there.
Perhaps some kind Korean reader could give me a some pointers.

At the rear of the market were some food stall; time for lunch!
The girls sat with some Korean gentlemen and were soon cheering them with some soju, the talk soon went along Korean Oppa lines; see the girls were hoping to catch the Oppa gentlemen for friends back home. Hahahaha.... 😈😈😈 ... they can be cheeky if they want to.

Songaksan Stamping Station, time to stamp our 4-Rivers Cycling Passport. Lynn went in too, she didn't have a passport, it was just for the fun and the feel.
This station is easy to locate, it's just next to the 7-11 outlet in town.

Far away, jutting out to the sea was Mount Songkasan.

Now came the hard part, the climb upwards at the foothills of Mount Sanbangsan; this stretch is the notorius stretch of the Jeju round island route. Somehow, I managed to ride up while the girls came down to push. Probably it was my interests in temples that drove me on to visit the Sanbanggulsa Temple located at the top of the road; we were running a bit late and the group decided not to stop at the temple. I raced ahead for a quick visit, telling the rest not to wait and to proceed on.

The road immediately after the temple runs just next to Mount Sanbangsan, it's rather narrow and traffic is heavy, so do right with extra care. Further on, it was much better - wider with gentle undulating slopes. Lookinb back, the slopes were not that bad, and it was only a short stretch. AND the area came with a bonus - orchards planted with the renown Jeju Hallabong Oranges!

We stopped at one, went into the orchard for some photo-shops, happily clicking away until the shop lady came out and told us not to touch her oranges as it may spoil them. So into her shop it was, and with her experienced eyes and feel she helped select oranges that were sweet for us.
Hallabong Oranges are easy to recognise, on their stalk ends are nipples (for want of a better word). I am not sure how to tell the sweetness of the orange; perhaps the larger the nipple the sweeter the orange 😆😆😆!

See how juicy the oranges are, and they were really sweet and not that sour.
The Hallabong Oranges is one thing that should not be missed when in Jeju.

We continued on up and down the manageable slopes, until when we reached Hwasun-ro. One look at the steep slopes ahead and immediately we decided to look for other options. Sin led us downhill, hoping to find a route nearer the coast.
Then it started drizzling and it got heavier and heavier making us pedal fast looking for shelter. Lucky us... there was the Hwasun-ri police station nearby and we quickly made a bee-line for it. We made it just in time just before the cats and dogs came pouring down.
The policemen were very hospitable and friendly, or perhaps we were a sorry looking bunch. They even offered us coffee!
Fortunately for us, a couple of the policemen spoke passable English. And in answer to our queries - "No, there is no road along the coast that continued on; that road is a dead end." But no worries, they advised, use the adjacent Hwasunhaean-ro it's a gentler climb and after that there will be no more steep roads.
With many "Gamsahabnida!' accompanied by courteous nods, we thanked the policemen and made our leave.

Hwasunhaean-ro is a fairly wide road, its longer stretch made the slope more gradual. On both sides were cherry trees lining up almost the whole way. The  branches were empty, with no flowers. Sin remarked "just imagine when the trees bloom, this road would be very beautiful". We really imagined that to take our minds off from the cold, chill weather and the slopey climb.

The road led us to Route 1132 (the main highway outer ring road that goes round the island) where we rode a short while. Passed by this interesting place called The Museum of Sex & Health in Jeju; I had imagined a lot of kinky things that would be going inside, but since then have visited their website, IT IS actually a museum, one that has very curious and informative exhibits that traces mankind's (and woman-kind's) appreciation of sex through the ages.

We diverted away from the highway and took a road that ran through the hills around Gamsan-ri. The road ran up and down, with several really steep stretches passing through hilly farmland. Hey! I thought the policemen said no more slopes, it will be flat all the way! Policemen don't lie, do they? No, they did not, we had detoured off from the highway and were heading towards the coast, this rural route although tough had very good sceneries; this a panoramic view from the hills ...

... and along the coast, colourful mosaic walls ...

... then onwards into Changcheon-ri. This is a beautiful village dotted with many small homestays and cozy eateries; we would have loved to stay here, but our day's destination was still ten kilometres away. (see the route map but switch to satellite view to see how this village looks like).

At Jungmun, it was time to search for accomodations. This area is a very touristy area with lots of fine hotels around - fine, beautiful but expensive hotels, ones beyond our budget. Off from the main tourist belt, we managed to find a motel but it had only two rooms and we needed three. Fortunately, Sin managed to find a chalet style accommodation just behind this motel. The operator of the motel had quoted a very high price, so Sin declined and upon which the operator cut the price to a quarter of the initial quote. The point is, always negotiate and if the price is to high just walk away; often the operator will reconsider.
Here I am, with the operator of our motel, a bubbly and very friendly woman. She also run a restaurant at the ground floor, our rooms were up at the fourth floor and there were no stairs! She allowed us to put our bikes at one corner next to the cashier counter. But even before we could go up to freshen ourselves, she said "EAT! Eat!" Hah! So we ate, she's a crafty businesswoman. 

Here's our meal, with an alien looking octopus. It was a good hot pot!

건강한 식욕과 즐거운 밤
(That's "geonganghan sig-yoggwa jeulgeoun bam!" meaning "Healthy appetite and Good Night!" in Korean; I hope Google Translate got it right though.)

This is page 3 of a 9-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.

A video by Sin of our third day's ride - Viewing the magnificent giant windmills of Sinchang-ri and taking on Mount Sanbang while enjoying Jeju's renown Hallabong Oranges.



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