Winter Vacation: Pohang

I am in the second half of my winter vacation, and it already feels like the whole thing has passed.  It’s been a very cramped past week, but in a good way.  A lot of the other teachers traveled outside of Korea for their winter vacation.  I chose not too for a number of reasons- plans fell through because of winter camp schedules, I’m not comfortable traveling by myself in another country, and I don’t want to be struggling with a second language for now.  Besides, there are many parts of Korea I have yet to see.  Until this past week, I had only seen three other Korean cites besides Daegu.  In fact, I had not left Daegu for two months. It made sense to explore while I had the time.

I began planning my adventure the day before it started.  I’d been waffling about where to do, and how to go about it, for a while.  I’d never traveled by myself before this.  I had no idea how to even book a hotel, or buy an intercity bus ticket.  There was a lot of research and a lot of nerves I had to get through before I actually did something.

For the hotel, I used agoda.com.  I highly recommend it.  All of the hotels and hostels I booked through there had me in there books, and the reviews of each hotel were pretty reliable.  There was a slight hiccup in Daejeon, but that had nothing to do with agoda.  We’ll get to that soon.

Pohang

For anyone planning to travel to Pohang from Daegu, it’s fairly easy.  Go to the North Daegu Intercity Bus Terminal.  It’s about a 90 minute journey.  Either watch the countryside roll past, or put in some ear buds.  It will go by quick.

I had a little difficulty in finding it, so I hope these maps help.  I wound up using my phone to find it, but it could be difficult if you don’t have a smart phone.  You can take bus 708 or 427 to get there.  

NorthBusTerminalMap02

NorthBusTerminalMap01

There isn’t much around the bus stop, but you’ll know you’re in the right area when you cross the river bridge.  There are a lot of Vietnamese and Middle Eastern restaurants around the area.  

Once there, I just went up to the counter and told the clerk “Pohang”.  I wish I had known the proper phrase to tell her, but I don’t.  That’s my fault.  I would have told her, “I want to see Pohang”, or “I want to go to Pohang”; but I think there is a much better phrase for it.  Anyway, this just shows that just saying the name or pointing and grunting at the sign could work if you have absolutely not Korean under your belt.  

Hands of Harmony

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Just a short bus ride from Pohang is the village of Homigot.  It’s mainly a fishing community.  I spent the morning wandering around the crab restaurants, and looking at the sea.  At the very edge of Homigot is the ‘Hands of Harmony’-a pair of statues.  It’s a pair of hands(as the name suggests).  One rises out of the sea, while it’s partner faces it on land.  It’s really very beautiful, but does not take long to visit.

Homigot001

The Korean peninsula is supposedly shaped like a tiger.  Homigot and Pohang are the most eastern section of the land mass.  It’s that stubby little tail at the base.

There’s also a lighthouse museum by the Hands.  It’s a cute place to stop and get out of the wind and cold air.

Bogyeongsa Temple

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The temple is another bus ride away from Pohang-actually two, the way I made the trip.  It takes about 90 minutes from downtown.  It was a bit nerve racking for me, as I really wasn’t sure if I was on the right bus.  The first one dropped me off in the middle of a one horse town, if ever there was such a thing.  It was a long walk from Pohang, and nothing much as far as I could tell.  Fortunately, the second bus came before I could have a panic attack.  And it turned out, the second bus would have taken me all the way from downtown to the temple.  Go figure.

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There was also a long walk from where the bus dropped me off until I got to the temple.  This is the first building you will see at the bus stop.  If you see it, don’t panic!  You’re doing fine.

Bokyongsa007 Bokyongsa008Four of these guardians awaited at the entrance of the temple.  They are very impressive in person, being about eight or nine feet tall in a small room.

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Along with the temple, there is a long hike to reach the seven waterfalls of Bogyeongsa.  Totally worth it, although a little rocky.  Don’t be like me, and fall over small rocks because you’re looking through the lens of your camera.

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