Want to get out of Cheongju for a bit? Get some sun and enjoy the beauty of nature? In about an hour the bus headed for Hwayang-Dong brings you to Songnisan National Park. Get off at the stop for Hwayang Valley and hike along the river for about 20 minutes. You’ll get to sandy beaches and smooth rocks where you can sunbake or go for a swim in the river. Continue reading
[just found this unpublished post] … or Sangdang Mountain Fortress is a stone wall high up on a hill just outside Cheongju. It’s girth is about 4 km and it took us just little more than one hour to walk around it. Take bus number 862 or a cab – but make sure you know how to call it when you want to get back down. The easiest way is to call your hotel and let them do the talking. If you’re really keen you can walk back to town which probably takes another hour or so, haven’t done it myself though. Hint: if you choose to walk anti-clockwise you’ll have to ascend some steeper hills but the good thing about it is that almost all Koreans decide to walk the other way so you don’t feel like a herd animal – and on a sunny day it can get really crowded up there!
As mentioned earlier we eventually moved to the Ramada Hotel which offers the comfort of large rooms, gym, pool and sauna and a great breakfast buffet. The helpful staff is very friendly and generally speaks some English, too. Located at the northern end of town it’s a
20 40 minute walk downtown or a taxi ride of less than 5 minutes. If you don’t wanna go that far then there’s a supermarket right below the hotel, a cinema in the same building and a few Korean restaurants nearby. Apparently there’s even a bouldering close but I haven’t been able to find it – yet. And if you want to go bouldering, there’s a gym just a block away.
Sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought anyway when I found this alleged gem while browsing a map of Cheongju the other day. Paolo and I took a cab to the other side of town to pay the garden a visit and not even the ignorance of the usually omniscient Ramada staff could hold us back. When the taxi driver dropped us off we realized why no-one knew about this place: Instead of a garden we entered a shady shed where hundreds of tiny and even tinier plants were grown – at least they were really carnivorous. So I wouldn’t call it a highlight but they’re still pretty to look at.
Originally the whole team stayed at Grand Hotel in Chungju. But then a few incidents concerning the sanitary facilities were reported … for example, this one toilet that stopped working – and got “fixed” in the wrong room which from then on had problmes with leakage. Continue reading