It’s your party, but please learn to hike first.

With about 70% of the Korean peninsula covered with mountains, the hiking culture dominates the the Land of Kimchi. I went for a short hike up Mt. Dobongsan near my home a few weeks ago. I have a ways to go if I want to start calling myself a “hiker”, but here are my thoughts thus far…

Hiking in Korea is reminiscent of attending an epic college party.

It is imperative that you…

pre-game. (Who wants some morning makgeolli?)

The most beautiful temple in …Busan

I’m a little busy these days but promised a coworker pictures of Seokbulsa, which might be the most beautiful temple in Korea.  Yeah, the more I think about this, better I feel about this strong claim.

Having made the claim, I need to back away, at least as far as my photography requires.  I do intend to stitch some more photos together to improve some panoramas and these photos are stacked in a gallery so I can’t describe them properly at this time.  Someday (probably), I will do so.

I do need to say the one of the road is meant to explain the shortest route to the temple.  The guides I found as stated start at Exit 2 of mandeok Subway Station and “head toward the older tunnel”.  Perhaps a better suggestion would be to stick to the left side of the road and just go up.  The older tunnel is named, on the road itself, as ’1 jeh’.

Its a steep hike, but pleasant.

Naengjeong Station to Hadan Station hike


Well, we didn’t start at Naengjeong Station; we took a local bus to Dongseo University and hiked from there.  On the other hand, we passed Hadan station and walked on, then returned to it so perhaps that balances out.

What a great day for a hike.  My companion Patrick and I started in jackets but did most of the hike in T-shirts.

Here is our trip as displayed on Google:


And as displayed on Naver:

Ancient Cities: Tikal

We were woken minutes from Tikal to the screams of ‘Monkey!’. A man, who we later found to be an employable tour guide, was frantically jumping around, wildly gesticulating and shouting excitedly at us from the front of the bus. As we waited for his next animal impression, ahead of us a family of howler monkeys were crossing the road. The five furry mammals were marching in unison with their long black tails tucked in a tight spiral. The driver slowed down so as not to disturb them and we watched in wonder as they disappeared one by one from view into the thick jungle.

We ditched the poor charades player at the first opportunity as he was demanding more than we were willing to pay for his services. Leaving him to entertain the other guests we set off on our own.

Awesome Japan!

I have never been one for giving people advice, mostly because I hate receiving it myself unless I ask for it.  Advice is often given by self-interested people who want you to think and do what they want you to do and really don't want what is best for you.  If people wish to give me advice without me asking for it, I am always wary and on many occasions I suspect their motives.  All that being said, I strongly advise that (if you can afford to do so) you should visit Japan at least once in your life.

ajashi power…….

so…. ajashi? well, i can’t vouch for the English spelling but the word defines an older gentleman of a fatherly status.


Songdo Beach and Amnan Park

The search for Seokbulsa…


Since arriving in Korea and setting my feet on its mountainous land I have always been aware of Seokbulsa (석불사) temple. It is often alluded to in expat blogs and is high on the Lonely Planet’s guide of things to see in Korea. After moving to Busan in June last year it had become an even greater priority on my list of things to do and due to various excuses taken me fully nine months to find the time and opportunity to discover it. For months I have had the detailed directions to find this hidden Buddhist Temple anonymously catching dust on the roof of my fridge, sheepishly desiring my attention amongst forgotten bills and half-finished books.

A month in Gangwondo… and where Surprises is going in 2012


Hi all.  It’s been so long.  In November, I was either busy with nanowrimo or procrastinating about not being busy with it.  In December, I guess I was busy with exams then camp.  In January, I was at camp, then sorta rootless for a while.

I remain sorta rootless now, but do feel I have time to blog.

Exploring Seoul Part 2 – Finding My Own Little Mountain

What really got me attracted to exploring Seoul was my own little, local mountain. Back in 2005 I lived next to Bongwhasan, which means Beacon Mountain. At the time I was living there I would go up there at least two or three times a week, and even during the middle of winter and summer. Before long I had learned my own routes to follow and where, more or less, I would arrive when I took a particular pathway down. As I said before, if I got lost on the mountain, I could just walk down and follow the mountain around and I would find somewhere I recognised sooner or later. To this day when I move somewhere I always look for the nearest mountain. Bongwhasan has much to do with this.

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