Ibike Korea People-to-People Program

 

   

Photo essay: Jejusi to Seongsan

   

(39mi, 63km)
Points of Interest: Manjanggul lava tunnel, Maze Park, shore road, wind farm

  Bike lane, highway 12, Jeju Island, South Korea A major feature of Jeju Island is almost continuous bicycle lanes on highway 12, which circumnavigates the island.  Generally there are bike lanes on both sides of the roads.  The facilities tend to be the best where they are least likely to be used.  [For more discussions of non-motorized facilities on Jeju see www.ibike.org/engineering/kr-nmt/index.htm#Jeju
  This Buddhist temple was distinctly different than any I saw on the mainland -- much more Indian in character..
  water towers were decorated with murals A signature feature of Jeju is its painted water tanks.  The subject of the murals tends to reflect a special character or activity of the specific section of the island.
  Buses fill parking lot Even at 9 a.m. the parking lot at the volcano crater is already starting to fill up with tour buses.  Most of the buses are filled with school children, though there are groups of adults as well, and some visitors come as a family in private cars.  At least all the vehicles have high occupancy rates, but Jeju's popular destinations still generate so much traffic that they are unpleasant to get to by bicycle.
  School girls horseback riding School girls on an outing to Jeju Island stop for horseback riding.  The ride consisted of three loops around a track which took less than two minutes.  School groups from all over South Korea come to Jeju to visit the natural history and cultural sites -- as well as have some fun.
  free range cattle The only free range cattle I saw in all of South Korea were on Jeju.  I saw a few isolated cows staked on the mainland, but the vast majority of South Korean cows seem to spend their entire lives in barns.
  agriculture in sandy Jeju soil Jeju is said to have wind, rocks and women.  Here the rocks are used to block the wind so that crops can be grown in the sandy soil.  Presumably women do the farming -- although Jeju culture is distinguished for its equalitarianism and equality between the sexes.
  wind farm More evidence of good winds are the wind farms (wind powered turbines) at the east and west end of the island.  This project had about a dozen towers which were rate at 600 kW and 750 kW.  It is an interesting juxtaposition with the turbine and a woman laying out seaweed to dry (right).
  Hwanhae Great Wall, Jeju Hwanhae Great Wall is a stone wall covering around 120 km of the shore of Jeju Island.  The Goryeo Court ordered Yeongam Vice-envoy Kim Soo and Gen. Goh Teorim to build the walls in order to prevent the Sambyeolcho Army from entering Tamna.   The Sambyeolcho Army went to Jindo Island, where the Yongjang Fortress was built in protest against Goryeo's humiliating reconciliation with Yuan, but the fortress was besieged by the Goryeo and Mongol armies.  The wall defended against attacks by Japanese pirates at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty and Joseon Dynasty, and foreign warships, such as England's, in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  narrow road in village, Jeju One of the nicest part of Jeju Island is the "shore road".  Currently, the "shore road" still goes through the narrow streets of many seaside villages.  This "road diet" keeping the buses off much of the route and slowing cars down so that they choose to take highway 12 instead.  There is currently a project to connect many of the isolated sections of shore road by building big roads through and on the coastal side many of these villages, bisecting them or cutting them off from the shore.  Unfortunately they are destroy some of the islands reserves of tranquility and opportunities to promote strong high quality ecotourism.  Both of which are lost opportunities that will probably be deeply regretted in twenty years.
  abrupt end of bike lane, Jeju Here the bike lane on the shore road abruptly ends.  Presumably you are suppose to wait for a helicopter to take you to the next section or turn back.  If you turn back, you will find that there is a bike lane on only one side of the road.  In the off season traffic volumes are pretty low so it is not a problem to ride in the road.  Many people seem to feel like they should ride the wrong way in the narrow bike lane, which when they meet an on-coming cyclists and on coming traffic together, creates a potential very dangerous situation.
  Statue of Jeju's famous women divers Jeju's famous women diversJeju is famous for its women divers.  They are honored with art pieces at numerous places around the island.  They work cooperatively in small groups. Depending upon the weather and the tides, they can still be seen at work at several locations on the island. 
  Jeju's famous women divers Jeju's famous women diversNow-a-days the women divers wear wet suits while they work. The mostly collect shell fish (i.e. abalone, urchins, oysters).  You can spot them in the water by their traditional white floats (right).  Other changes in the diver community are their numbers are dwindling, and, as a group, they are aging -- there are easier and more lucrative occupations available for young people to aspire to these days.
  liter on the beach, Jeju Unfortunately, one of the details that seems to be being neglected in the landscape of South Korea is liter in the ocean and subsequently on the beaches.  Upland area are much better policed for liter than the coast.
  Squid fishing boats Squid boats light the horizon at nightA fleet of squid boat Seongsan (left).  Like on the East Sea (east coast) these boat go out at night and light-up the horizon (right).  But different from the east coast, the boats are generally smaller and there is rarely squid drying on lines in the villages.  They must processes the squid in a totally different way.
  Sunrise Peak from Seongsan, Jeju Island Sunrise Peak from Seongsan (left) and Seongsan from Sunrise Peak (right).
  "minbak" in Seongsan

"minbak" in Seongsan

Here is our "minbak" in Seongsan. Hotel rooms in South Korea are "western" or "traditional" (ondol).  Traditional rooms have no bed and a heated floor (ondol).  The bedding is folded in the corner and the guest lays out the pad, comforter and pillows.  Minbaks are usual "ondol", the bathroom is exterior and shared with other guest and they usually don't have any appliances.  In hotels, motels and yeogwans (small hotels) a typical room has a full bathrooms, hairdryer, television, mini-refrigerator and telephone.  To the extent that television is an insight into a culture, Korean television has a plethora of shopping channels, historical and contemporary domestic relationship dramas, the requisite sports channels (baseball, golf, fishing, etc.) and actions movies and network television.  But more interest were dedicated channels to lectures on math (i.e. calculus and algebra), hard science, and "Go" (a board game where players use black and white stones to capture territory, that is very popular in China, Japan and Korea).

Jejusi Daejeong

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