The Spine of the Dragon

Trip Start Nov 27, 2010
Trip End Feb 12, 2011

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Flag of Korea Rep.  , North Jeolla,
Friday, November 18, 2011

I jumped onto the local train (not the KTX) down to Joungeup @ 18,000W which was cheaper than the $25,000W I spent to do my laundry which I think was actually dry cleaning...LOL. So been the cleanest backpacker on the planet I stopped at Joungeup for the night then the next day onto a bus to Naejansa National Park which was about 30 mins out of town (1,300W). Got into Naejangsa town and grabbed a hotel next to the blasting outdoor Karoake, which totally destroyed the beauty of the place. This whole town was infested with them. The next day I moved into another cheaper hotel, basically at the entrance to the park.

Naejangsa is a beautiful national park and I spent 2 days just stomping all over the awesome tracks. Entry was 3,000W per day. First walk was the temple cruise. 3 temples over a pretty mellow walk. 2nd day in and walked up Janggun-bong (bong meaning mountain) @ 696 Meters and followed the spines of the dragon deeper into the national park. Crazy fun! Incredible views and only just made it down before nightfall. Food was the best I've had in Korea and I tried 2 variations of Bibimbap with the Jeoungju and Dolsot BBB, Dolsot been my favorite. Second night ate at the same place and the owner gave me a free beef noodle soup. I think the Korean's look at me as a challenge, because they definitely love feeding the mountain man.

The weekends were busy down the valley walks, but the mountain tracks were relatively empty. However, I could still hear the blaring karoake from the street shops. Weirdos! They shut up on Monday so must just be a weekend thing. Next stop Mokpo @ 10,000W on the KTX. Uber comfy.

Korean Trains

There are three different level of trains in Korea. The first is the KTX, which is the fastest and most expensive. Saemaul, which is a step down from the KTX, but still comfortable and cheaper. The bottom is the Mugunghwa-ho, which was relatively uncomfortable but only been on it for 1-2 hours is fine. KTX to Jeouneup was about 40,000W + and using the Saemaul and Mugunghwa was half the price. So considering the relatively small size of Korea, the cheaper trains are fine.
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