Saturday, May 10, 2008

진해의 봄

I attempted to write about my trip to Jinhae (진해, 鎭海) earlier but left it uncompleted because I had too many things to do and too little time to blog in Korea. Since my earlier posting is incomplete, I have decided to delete it and re-write my Jinhae trip all over again. My purpose in visiting Jinhae was to participate in the Gunhang Festival (군항제, 軍港祭). This festival is held annually in conjunction with the cherry blossom blooming period. However, I was one day too early for the festival. The festival started on 1 April but I arrived on 31 March. Though the celebration had yet to start, the street in Jinhae was also relatively less crowded.

My day itinerary in Jinhae started at Mt. Jangbok (장복산, 長福山). After which, I made my way down Jangbok Road (장복로, 長福路) towards the direction of Jinhae city which is about 2km away. In Jinhae city, I turned into Yeojwa Cherry Blossom Road (여좌벚꽃로) and that led me to the scenic Yeojwa stream (여좌천, 余佐川). From the stream, I found my way to Jungwon Rotary (중원로터리), the main venue where all the cultural performances and activities, during the festival, are held. Jungwon Rotary was the end-point of my day itinerary. My lunch was a bowl of ramen or instant noodle at GS25 convenience store. After lunch, I took a taxi ride to Masan Express Bus Terminal where I took an express bus back to Seoul.

Jinhae Mt. Jangbok Sculpture Park (진해 장복산 조각공원, 鎭海長福山雕刻公園) - The starting point of my day itinerary. It was end of March but the morning air in Mt. Jangbok was still chilly. The cherry blossoms had yet to bloom. The yellow forsythia flower still had a few more days before the cherry blossoms took over the Spring.

The winding road leading up to Mt. Jangbok, lined on both sides by cherry blossom trees. It was a Sunday morning but there was no weekend crowd yet.

Since I was in a sculpture park, there were, of course, many sculptures displayed openly around the park. This is a stainless steel sculpture of four books with the titles - Honesty, Justice, Humility and Human Being. I guess what it means is that for someone to be considered human being, he should have at least the virtues of honesty, justice and humility.

Cherry blossom starting to bloom in small numbers as I walked down Mt. Jangbok. It was interesting to see that more and more trees were blooming as I moved towards lower altitude.

In a plum blossom garden. To an uninitiated person like me, it is not easy to differentiate between cherry and plum blossom. However, after a while, I kinda noticed their differences. Cherry blossom tree is much bigger than plum blossom. Cherry blossom also appears in much greater numbers than plum blossom.

I thought Magnolia flowers were all white until I saw these violet-coloured flowers. The morning dew was still visible on the petals though it was already 9 plus.

For a long time, I am curious about the look of maple leaves in Spring. I know that the maple leaves are green in Summer and red in Autumn. Now I know that they are actually green and red during Spring.

The cherry blossom trees in Jinhae city were in full bloom. One can never fully appreciate the sheer beauty of cherry blossom unless you see them for yourselves. In Korea, there is no better place to see them than Jinhae because the whole city is populated with cherry blossom trees.

This is Yeojwa Cherry Blossom Road (여좌벚꽃로). The road definitely lived up to its name. The road is like a covered walkway with the cherry blossom canopy forming the cover. Ahead of this road is the beautiful Yeojwa stream.

The scenic Yeojwa stream (여좌천, 余佐川) with pink cherry blossom above and green rapeseed below.

The bridge at the end is called the "Romance Bridge". It is supposed to be the filming site of the MBC Wednesday, Thursday Drama - Romance (로망스) back in 2002. The bridge appears in episode 15 of the drama which cast Kim Jae-won and Kim Ha-neul. Frankly, I have not even heard of this drama. I got all my information from a board along the wooden walkway.

예쁘죠? Isn't it beautiful. It feel so dreamy and surreal. The stream has night lighting so night viewing of cherry blossom is possible.

This year marks the 46th Gunhang Festival. The festival first started as a memorial service for Admiral Yi Sun-shin following the setting up of his statue in Jinhae city back in April 13, 1952. In 1963, the Gunhang festival becomes an annual event to remember the patriotism of Admiral Yi and to promote local tourism.

This is the Jungwon Rotary. It was the end-point of my day itinerary. It was one day before the start of the 46th Gunhang Festival. Workers were busy setting up the stage on the traffic island. White tents were erected in large numbers for the festival market. More than one million of visitors are expected to visit Jinhae during the two-weeks festival.

The convenience store in Korea is generally big enough to have tables and chairs for people to rest and eat their instant noodles or other foodstuff bought in the store. I had my lunch - "udong" instant noodle inside GS25 convenience store.

So many brands of instant noodles to choose from. It is about 1,000won for one. A very convenient way to satisfy a hungry stomach.

At the Masan Express Bus Terminal. A taxi ride from Jinhae to Masan cost 15,000won (~S$20) and took less than half hour, if I remember correctly. The taxi fare is not as expensive as I thought. A superior-class express bus ticket to Seoul cost 26,200won (~S$37), half the price of a KTX ticket. The express bus has only 3 seats in a row so the seat is quite spacious. Our express bus departed Masan at 14:40

At 16:20, our bus arrived at its half-way stop - Seonsan Rest Area (선산휴게소). The meal-break or toilet-break is about 15 minutes long. The actual time of departure was displayed at the front of the bus and it read 16:40.

Express buses parked at the Seonsan Rest Area. After Seonsan, there was no more stop until the bus reached the Express Bus Terminal in Gangnam, Seoul. It seems like there is an express lane meant only for the express buses. Our bus didn't experience any jam although it was a Sunday evening when many Koreans were supposed to make their way back to Seoul as well. Our bus arrived at the terminal at 19:00. It was a 4 hours and 20 minutes ride. Express bus definitely gives more value for money compared to KTX. Not that slow afterall but way much cheaper. So this is it - the end of my short Jinhae trip.


  1. Thanks for sharing, I always enjoy reading your travel experiences in Korea....and those pictures are beautiful :)

  2. It my pleasure ^^
    I believe there will be more in future but meanwhile you may have to settle for something less interesting :)

  3. I'm planning to go see the cherry blossoms this year at Jinhae and the information is really useful. Thanks! :)