Last week, the west coast of Korea, especially the province of Chungnam received over 10cm of snow for 2 days straight. It covered the land with a beautiful blanket of white snow and while it was amazing, most of it has melted away. Here are some photos from last week in Taean.
Early Saturday morning, the fiancee and I set of for Japan. We were pretty excited since it was our first trip to Japan and also the first time traveling by ferry. I already knew a few days back that a typhoon was on its way to Japan heading towards Kyushu but I still hoped that it sailing conditions were still ideal. Our ferry set sail at 0745 to Fukuoka and after a long painful three hour seasick ride (due to the typhoon approaching) we arrived at Fukuoka. After exiting immigration, we took the bus to our hotel which was around a 10 minute walk away from Hakata Station and dropped off our stuff. The first place we visited was Sumiyoshi-jinja (住吉神社). We spend quite a bit of time admiring the architecture and observing a Japanese wedding take place. From there on, we headed towards Hakata station and set off to Tenjin for some street photography and shopping. While our stay in Japan was short, the finacee and I agreed that we had a pretty good time and we're definitely going to go back and visit again in the near future.
On our second day in Busan, the fiancee and I decided to visit the Gamcheon Cultural Village. We took the taxi nstead of taking the subway to Jalgachi Station and taking the local bus due to the fact that our feet were a bit sore from walking all day yesterday. The fare costed 5800 won (we got on near our hotel near Jungang Station) which wasn't too bad for 2 people. The time it took by taxi was around 15 minutes and the taxi driver was nice enough to drop us off at very top of the hill. From there we made our way into the area. There were two routes suggested by the map; one which was was mostly along the upper half of the village and the other one which went through the lower half. Wanting to see the panoramic view, we took the first route. Aside from the unique architecture in the area, there were also many art installations, including one where "le petite prince" was sitting alongside the road. Being tourists, we lined up and took our photo when it was our turn. The whole area took around an hour to explore and once we reached the bottom of the village, we took a taxi back and got off at Jalgachi station. From there on, we continued exploring Gukje market and then went back to the hotel to pack up for our upcoming trip to Fukuoka, Japan.
At the beginning of the school year, I was informed that I had a four day long weekend in the second week of October. Since the fiancee and I have never been to Japan, we decided to go to Busan first and then take the ferry across the Tsushima strait and visit Fukuoko, Japan. We took the night train from Cheonan station on Wednesday night and arrived in Busan on Thursday at 0430. After checking in our hotel and resting for a bit, The fiancee and I went out to meet up with a friend from university and went out to explore Nampo district, and Gukje market. After a bit of shopping, we walked up Yongdusan and found out that we arrived in time first day of the Jalgachi Market festival. The parade started from the top of Yongdusan and slowly made its way down to Jalgachi market. We then slowly made our way back to the Lotte Deparment store and went up to the rooftop to see the Busan cityscape. What we didn't expect to see was the fireworks that were set off in the inner harbour. It was a shame that I didn't have my tripod to take photos of the fireworks, however we probably had one of the best seats in town to view the show. Once the fireworks ended, we went back to Nampo and had some really delicious pork hocks for dinner.
It's been a while since I revisited Samcheong-dong in Seoul. The first time I actually visited the place was in 2012 when I had a friend from secondary school come to Korea and wanted to visit a particular cafe in there. Ever since, I've sort of forgotten about the place until I had my friend from university who was staying in a hostel near that area and I thought it would be a good chance to not only take him there, but also check it out myself. While Samcheong-dong is also a main area that tourists flock to, the thing I love about it are the small independent shops, art galleries and cafes located in traditional hanoks and old buildings in small streets which makes it an awesome place for street photography. If you want to explore the area, you would have to take the orange line (line 3), get off at Anguk station and head towards exit 2. It takes around a good few hours to explore Samcheong-dong and since its situated in a hilly area. Also, do remember to wear a pair of comfortable shoes.
Autumn is one of the best seasons to head out to the coast since not only is the weather cooler but the days are also getting shorter, which means more spectacular sunsets for Taean. When I go hiking, I tend to head out early in the morning and come back early in the afternoon. However, I wanted to see the sunset at Kkotji, therefore the girlfriend, a friend and I headed took the 13:10 bus from Taean bus terminal to Baeksajang. From there we started our 11.7KM hike towards to Kkotji. 3 hours and 20 minutes later, we arrived at Kkotji with the sun slowly making its way down towards the horizon. Since we missed the last bus leaving from Kkotji to Taean (which left at 17:20), we walked our way towards Anmyeong bus terminal and took the bus back into town.
Palbongsan, which translated into eight peaks mountain, sits at the border of Taean and Seosan. Like the name, the mountain consists of eight peaks, with the 3rd peak being the highest at 362 meters. There are two areas where one can start the hike up; one in the north and one in the south. Today, my girlfriend, my friend Kevin and I took the local bus from downtown Seosan and started our hike from the south side of the mountain. It took us around 20 minutes before our trail turned into a small dirt path. From there we literally had to climb rocks at some places before we reached our first peak which was the 8th peak. We slowly made our way to the 3rd peak and then after a quick rest, we made our way down. I have to say this mountain was one of the harder ones to climb since there was a lot loose dirt along the trail which made it quite slippery.
Taean county, located on the west coast of Chungnam, consists of mainland Taean and the island of Anmyeong. Between those two are the harbours of Baeksajang and Deureuni Harbour. Baeksajang is also known for it's yearly shrimp festival which runs from the end of September to the end of October. Beside the harbour lies the Baejsajang beach, which is also know for its white sandy coast. A pedestrian bridge located next to the harbour allows people to walk across the channel. The bridge itself is a suspension bridge with spiral ramps on both sides. Not only does it provide a birds eye view of the coastline, it is also one of the many places for one to view Taean's stunning sunset.
One of the reason why I love living in Taean is because of its beaches and amazing coastline. Out of the 30 odd beaches along the coast, the one that almost everyone knows is Manripo Beach. It even has direct buses which go to Seoul. Since my girlfriend and I stayed in Taean for Chuseok, we decided to head out to Manripo Beach. We took the local bus which left town at 1735 and arrived around 30 minutes later. The tide was slowly receding so we made our way down to the soft yet spongy sand. The sun was slowly setting and it was view absolutely amazing. Once the sun had set, we went to a local seafood joint and had BBQ shellfish (I forgot to take photos since I was the one doing the barbecuing). After a splendid meal, we took the last bus at 2020 which headed back into town and called it a night. If you do plan to come visit Taean, do come while the pleasant weather lasts!
Seoul is a weird place for street photography. For some reason there is an awkward feeling when I'm wandering around the streets in Seoul. I guess the reason why I find it awkward is because when I started street photography in Hong Kong, it was easy to find interesting things to take photos since everything was tightly packed together. While in Seoul itself is quite a dense city, there seems to areas of "dead space" of concrete towers with little or no "character" in the newly urbanized areas. Nevertheless, the older neighborhoods are still interesting to explore but it does take a bit of time of walking around to find something interesting to photography. While it is a lot more challenging to find an interesting subject, it's still good practice. The photos below were taken around Nambu Bus Terminal and the stretch from Ewha Womans University to Shinchon.
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