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Published: July 14th 2016
14th May: I had taken a late night KTX down to Busan the night before. We stayed at the Busan Inn, a small love motel very close to the station. I didn't spend much time there, but it was a great little place, clean and right next to the train station. After a quick breakfast in one of the many coffee shops near the station, we set off on our journey. First, we took the subway to Hadan Station, which is located on line one and it took about twenty minutes. I don't know if Busan is the best place to get to Geoje from, maybe Tongyeong is better, but this worked well for us. We came out of Hadan Station at exit three. The bus to Geoje comes from the island in the middle. It comes from the island with zero signage for the bus, well I say zero, there is one tiny sign. Don't go to the other side, which has loads of signage for the 2000 bus, as that is where it lets passengers off. Yes, we made that mistake. The bus fare was about 4,200 won I think and it took us over an hour to reach
Geoje-do. We got off at the fire station, crossed the road and hopped on a bus to Jangseungpo, where we were staying. We got either the number 10 or 11 bus and the journey took about 20 minutes. Once we were off the bus, we didn't really have a clue which way we should go as naver maps just pointed up the hill. We wandered aimlessly for a few minutes until we found a taxi. He drove us up the hill, but didn't have a clue where our guesthouse was. He rang them up, chucked us out the car and told us to walk up a steep driveway.
While looking for a place to stay in Geoje-do, I hadn't been too enamoured with the choices. There were lots of expensive hotels and resorts, and cheaper grottier love motels. I couldn't find any hostels. I was about to book a love motel, when I thought I'll have a look on airbnb, what do you know, I found the perfect guesthouse. This place looked brand new, had gorgeous views, and also had dorm beds. While, not the cheapest option, it definitely looked the best fit for us. One of my lovely
co-workers called and booked it for me, and all I had to do was bank transfer the money. It was 30,000 won per person for a dorm bed. The guesthouse, Koo, was beautiful. It was really new, everything was immaculately clean, and there were lots of lovely little touches that really showed that the owners put a lot of effort into the place. We were able to dump our stuff in our room. When we went back downstairs the guesthouse owner booked us on the boat trip to Oedo. He doesn't speak much English, but google translate can always help. We took in the views from the deck and then set off to get some lunch.
The walk down the steep hill wasn't too bad. Along the front there are a few restaurants, we took a look at two or three of them and then, of course, settled on the first one. We ordered two types of bibimbap, I have forgotten the Korean names for them, but I think one was sea squirt. The restaurant was fairly busy, one of the waitstaff wasn't Korean, which surprised me. The food came quickly and it was delicious. We also had lots
of lovely banchan. After our lunch, we took a walk along the street until we came to Cafe Bene. We ordered some gelato and coffees, a perfect dessert.
We got to the ferry terminal around 4 pm, the woman had our reservation so we paid the 16,000 won for the return ferry journey and also the 11,000 won entrance fee to the island. We lined up outside for our ferry. Even though our tickets said 4:50 pm, we were on the ferry by 4:20 pm, as the 4:50 pm time is your arrival time on the island. The boat filled up and we were off. The journey to Oedo takes 30 minutes, and I had read conflicting reports online about how choppy it was. The steward was handing out sick bags, so I took one just in case, but I didn't need it. The captain was a right joker, instructing us to quickly put on our seatbelts, only to find that there were none. The sea was rough, but not too bad, what made it worse was all the drama queens on the boat, seriously people, there is no need to gasp and act so panicked. We drove past
Haegeumgang Rocks, which is a really famous sight. We had taken the cheap boat, so were low in the water, I couldn't really get a good look at them. I wonder if we had paid for the more expensive boat, we would have gotten a better view.
Our ferry arrived at Oedo, and we disembarked. The small port was busy with tourist ships coming and going. We only had an hour and a half on the island, so we set straight off to explore. The island houses Oedo Botania, a botanical garden established in 1969 by Chang-ho Lee and cared for over the years by himself and his wife. The botanical garden is huge and takes over the whole island. The amount of work that must go into maintaining this place is mind boggling. This island has been on a K-drama, I don't know which one, but it looked familiar to my friend. We took our time strolling around the island, it was busy, but didn't feel to crowded. A trend I did notice is that selfie sticks are out and portable tripods are in. It is a pain in the arse to dodgy them as we were walking
around the gardens, especially at major photo points. The gardens were beautifully kept and since we had taken the last trip of the day, the sun was starting to set, making it look even prettier. After taking a stroll around, we headed back to the port. We didn't have to wait too long for our boat. As we were pulling away from the port, we did see some people running to catch us up, but we were off. I did wonder how they would get back to the main island. The boat ride back was just as choppy, but shorter, as we didn't do the detour to the island.
Back at the guesthouse, the grill was on and dinner was being prepared. One of the staff said to come down in about half an hour as it would be ready then. We had a little bit of time to relax in the room, before heading back down to the dining room. We joined the big long table in the restaurant and got chatting to some of the other guests, found out one of them lives close to me, it's a small world. Dinner was soon served. It was delicious!
I really enjoyed it. We got a plate filled with salad, fried chicken, ogyeopsal (pork belly), moksal (a different cut of pork) which had been cooked with rosemary, breaded shrimp, and deep fried crab. We could also help ourselves to rice, kimchi and some other veggies. The guesthouse owner also put some bottles of soju on tables. The guesthouse has a vending machine in the garden that is filled with alcoholic delights, a stroke of genius! After dinner, we retired to our room as I was shattered after the long day with little sleep the night before.
15th May: I slept really well, I don't think the other girls woke me up when they came in, or if they did it was only briefly. I woke up at 6:30 am, when someone started to use the hairdryer in the hallway, a tad early, I think. They could have waited until 7 am, a slightly more civilised hour. After getting ready, we headed down to breakfast. We were given some egg roll omelette and a bowl of spicy fish and beansprout soup, the soup tastes a lot better than it sounds. We could then help ourselves to rice, salad, and
kimchi. Breakfast was really good and I washed it down with lots of coffee. We were able to leave our stuff at the guesthouse, while we went to explore for the day.
We headed down the hill to the bus stop, we were taking the bus from in front of the big posh hotel. We needed the 64 or 64-1, the bus only comes once an hour and we had timed it perfectly, by accident, as it was due in less than ten minutes. We took the bus to Hakdong, which is famous for its pebble beach. The journey took about an hour as the bus wound its way along the roads by the coast. The views were gorgeous and we passed a few nice beaches that I could happily spend some time on. Luckily, the buses are timed really well, and we only had to wait ten minutes for the next bus that would take us to Windy Hill. These buses the 700 series don't run too frequently. The bus to Winy Hill only took about ten minutes, but the road was very windy and bumpy, I was clinging on to stop myself going flying down the bus.
The buss drops you in the village of Dojangpo, we could see the windmill of Windy Hill in the distance. We crossed the road to check the return bus times as we knew it didn't come very frequently, well that was a waste of time, the bus stop had no information, only intercity bus info. I found the times by searching in Korean on naver, but later found that they have times up on the wall of the CU convenience store, the guy in there was really friendly and helpful, too.
We walked up the road and took the path behind the Angel-in-Us cafe to reach Windy Hill, since it wasn't very far it didn't take is too long to walk there. The path was slightly elevated, but not too steep. Windy Hill is famous because it was featured in a K-drama, don't ask me which one. It is just a windmill on top of a hill. It was really busy when we walked over there. We took some photos of the windmill from the viewpoint and then headed down for a closer look. To be honest, it wasn't anything special, I suppose if I had watched the drama
it was one, I might have found it more engaging. We took a walk along the coastal path there, it was only short, but had nice views out over the ocean, so beautiful!
We headed down to the little port at Dojangpo, that was really busy, I think everyone must have been on bus tours. There was a little hot dog stall that was doing brisk business, there was a permanent queue. The reason why it was so popular was it had been featured on the travel show '2 days 1 night'. We decided to try one of their hot dogs, there were three different ones on offer and we plumped for the mixed one. I think it is more of a corn dog as the bread is wrapped around it, and it is on a stick. It was fairly decent. I would eat it again, but it wasn't amazing. We walked past the port, there were lots of nets filled with fish and squid, drying in the sun. It was a steep walk back up the hill. We stopped off in the convenience store for a drink.
Opposite Windy Hill is Sinseondae. We walked down to the
pebble beach and sat there for a while enjoying the lovely views. The beach was quite busy with people relaxing, some were even dipping their toes in the water, I think it would be too cold for me. We took a walk on the big slabs of rock there, too. It is such a pretty area. One really special thing that I enjoyed watching was the hanyeo. Hanyeo are women divers, normally found in Jeju Island. I watched them diving under the water to find their catch. We even got to see their boat come and pick them up. We were feeling a bit peckish, but didn't want a full meal for lunch, so we decided on getting some kimbap, boiled eggs, and crisps from the convenience store. It had plenty of picnic benches so we sat outside enjoying our munch. I needed some caffeine, so headed over to Angel-in-Us for a hit, before heading for the bus.
We didn't have long to wait for the bus and it dropped us back at Hakdong, another ten minute wait and we were back on the bus to Jangseungpo. The return journey seemed even quicker than the one this morning. We
headed back to the guesthouse and grabbed our luggage. We then headed to the other bus stop and took the bus back to Geoje Fire Station. We arrived back in Busan and took the subway from Hadan Station to Busan Station. We had booked a cheap hostel near the station, so walked through the rain to reach it. We dumped our stuff and my friend looked for somewhere for us to eat dinner. We were located near to Galbi Street, so we knew there would be some good restaurants in the area. We found a place online called Eunha that had some good reviews and was just down the street from us. We got there around sevenish and the place was busy. It was filled with locals, which is always a good sign. We were shown to a table and plonked ourselves on the floor. This place only has traditional seating, there are no high tables and chairs. We ordered galbi and were a bit peeved when the man said three servings, there were only two of us, so we asked for two, but he said it was too small and that three was a better order. I don't know
why they don't just increase the portion size and price for one serving, as it left me feeling slightly annoyed. However, the meat was delicious, it was pork cooked in as lovely soy sauce marinade. The meal only came to 25,000 won including a portion of rice. We headed to a cafe on the main street for coffee and desert. I don't really like patbingsu, but my friend loves it, so we had one of those. I actually really enjoyed the one we got. We went to Twosome Place and got the mango cheesecake one: it was comprised of a slice of cheesecake, mango flavoured shaved ice, and huge chunks of mango. A lovely end to a lovely weekend.
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