Amazing Maisan {Cath}


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Asia » South Korea » Jeollabuk-do » Jinan » Maisan Provincial Park
August 23rd 2007
Published: September 3rd 2007
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Jeonju - coming back from Wido Island



Of all the things I love, I think waking up on the beach of an exquisite island has got to be one of my favourites. Ooh and then having coffee on the same beach… then going for a swim in the still and perfectly clear ocean water… I think if everyone woke up like that, there would be no war!
We packed up the tent and all our other goodies and decided to walk back to the pier to get the ferry back to Gyeokpo. The walk back was amazing! Really, really hot and humid, but amazing. This time, at least, we had big straw hats to protect us from the sun. Unfortunately, Darrell gave in to the peer pressure and left his hat by the bus stop, so he made do with my T-shirt draped over his head and neck. After one quick stop into a café for juice and, let’s be honest, the aircon… we were back at the pier waiting for our ferry. (Typical of Korean custom, the lady at the small store by the ticket office had seen Darrell’s hat and gave it back to him as soon as
All aboard!All aboard!All aboard!

Just to make sure you know where you're going!
we returned!)

The ride back on the ferry was fantastic.

We wondered through Gyeokpo heading back to the bus stop. Well, my mum and I wondered through Gyeokpo, blindly following Darrell who in perfect Darrell style, found the station first time! How he does that in a town we’ve never been in will always impress me!

We decided that because Darrell needed to head back to English Village in the afternoon, we would all head back to Jeonju and my mum and I would decide where we wanted to go after he left.

After introducing my mum to bibimbap for lunch (a winner!), we saw Darrell off and pulled out the map to weigh up the different options for the rest of our trip. We decided that we would explore the Maisan Provincial Park. The park is east of Jeonju and is famous for two great big conglomerate mountains that look like horses ears. The bus from Jeonju took us up to the small town of Jinan, where we were our Lonely Planet told us that we could catch a bus up to the park. Unfortunately, being relatively late in the afternoon, most of the busses
Bibimbap for lunchBibimbap for lunchBibimbap for lunch

"Great, but placed third after Galbi and Kimbap" Susan/Mummy
had already completed their last routes for the day and the lady in the ticket office said we should ask a taxi to take us there.

Not quite sure on what we were doing or where we should be going, we jumped into the first taxi we saw. The driver kept trying to ask us which entrance we wanted to go to, apparently there were two entrances! Just to end the fluster, we agreed with everything he said and resolved to make the best of it no matter what happened. Well, 5 min into the trip (the lonely Planet said that it was only a five minute bus trip) with the mountains still in the distance, 2 “oh no” realizations dawned on us. The first was that in out haste, we’d jumped into a deluxe “black taxi” with a hyper-active timer. The second was that we were heading to the opposite side of the mountains! 😊 Our $10 lesson for the day

After arriving and looking at the map of the mountain range and our part of the park we decided that where we were was the best place to be after all.

One of the locals
Tea's ready!Tea's ready!Tea's ready!

Tea and biscuits for breakfast
showed us where we could pitch our tent, and after taking a quick look around a few of the shops and restaurants around us, we crawled into the tent for an early night’s sleep.



A-maze-in Maisan



We’d planned to wake up really early so that we could start walking before it got too hot, but after spending half the night chatting, (as only two girls confined to a tent can do) our early night did not turn out quite as planned. All the same, after a quick breakfast of coffee, tea and biscuits, we were ready to get walking by 09.30.

The walk was really stunning with the sound of Korean ‘weed-eater’ insects keeping us company all the way up the peaks. I’m really proud of my mum! Darrell and I have subjected her to Seoul, jjimjilbangs, camping, walking over entire islands, getting badly sun burnt scrambling over rocks, eating almost exclusively Korean food, all after traveling from SA, and now I was dragging her up a mountain and she was smiling all the way!! I’d almost go as far as to call her an Ajjuma!

The hike was really beautiful, although really steep at
Starting outStarting outStarting out

Enjoy the hike
parts. That, combined with the humidity ensured that we were both dripping 5 minutes into the hike! Eventually, we came out of the densely treed climb at a great big conglomerate rock with a long stairway heading up to a pagoda on the top. My mum named it ‘The Big Up’ to what we were sure was the ear of the horse 😊. Not so. You can’t be standing on one of the ears and looking at both of them in the distance at the same time! The view was amazing none the less and in no time we were on our way again to the real “Big Up”

We zig zagged all over the peaks! We tried out a few paths here and there that turned out not really being paths at all, we popped out at unexpected but stunning views, chatting all the way, until we came to a sign saying that the trail we wanted to follow between the ‘ears’ had been closed for some or other reason. Oh well. We headed down the mountain again and came out at the Tapsa Temple.

This temple is famous for these really big piles of stones surrounding
The Big UpThe Big UpThe Big Up

The top of the ear?
the buildings, which despite not being cemented together, have never fallen down. The temple was not unlike the others we’ve seen, really impressive structures with beautiful paintings, but utterly dwarfed by its surroundings. The massive conglomerate walls of the mountains on either side of the temple and the view down the valley were breath taking!

We walked back towards the park we’d camped in and on our way down we passed a really beautiful lake… with a lady selling ice creams next to it! We each got an ice cream and enjoyed the break from our hike on a bench next to the lake, eating ice cream!

When we got back to the park we found out that the bus (the one the Lonely Planet must have been talking about!) would be going back to Jeonju at 5pm… for only W1800 (roughly 20%!o(MISSING)f the taxi fare for about 10X the distance!)

We left our bags with the lady at the entrance gate and went out to find lunch. 😊 We ordered 2 Korean pancakes, a kimchi one, and a potato one. Both were egg based pancakes mixed with the above ingredients, and fried in oil. They
Horses ears in the distanceHorses ears in the distanceHorses ears in the distance

The Big Up that wasn't
were really delicious but half way through both pancakes we had to admit defeat! We spent the rest of our wait for the bus at the lake we found on the way down from the temple.

We arrived back in Jeonju and started walking back in the direction of what we though was the bus terminal, but after about 45 minutes of walking, we gave up, waved down a taxi (making sure it wasn’t a black one!) and asked the driver to take us to the nearest Jjimjilbang!



Additional photos below
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Tapsa TempleTapsa Temple
Tapsa Temple

Surrounded by piles of stones that won't fall down
Calm after the hikeCalm after the hike
Calm after the hike

A lake in Maisan Provincial Park
The hikersThe hikers
The hikers

The big sweat at the top of the Big Up
Ice creamIce cream
Ice cream

A good way to relax after a hike
Pancakes for lunchPancakes for lunch
Pancakes for lunch

Korean style


3rd September 2007

what awesome ladies
amazing ... so that's where Cathy gets her "go anywhere try anything" genes!
3rd September 2007

Big words!
Ooh! say "conglomerate" again!! hehe :) yay... Im loving your verbosity-ness!! Sounds like you had a fantastic hike! Love you more than life my big sister! Mwa lots! :)

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