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The 2020 Pandemic Chronicles - North America Chapter

The 2020 Pandemic Chronicles - North America Chapter

Old Dec 25, 20, 4:21 pm
  #1  
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The 2020 Pandemic Chronicles - North America Chapter (AA/AC/AS/CX/KA J, CX/KA/OZ Y)

Introduction
Skip the Introduction if One Dislikes “OMNI-PR” Content


Just when I thought 2019 couldn't be any lousier in Hong Kong
Guess Again

Triad Attack on Civilian? We got those.
*Link to RTHK's Hong Kong Connection Episode (721 Yuen Long Nightmare)

and
*Link to RTHK's Hong Kong Connection Episode (721 Who Owns the Truth)

Licensed Somebody, Oh we got those too...
*Link to RTHK's Hong Kong Connection Episodes (Minimal Force)

By the order of Minister of Entertainment on Mar 2, 2021, all episodes over 12 months will be permanently deleted and purged
<Refer to Post #205 of this TR for news linkage>

New Year Tear Gas @ 0:08am, well we couldn't go without those either right ;(
https://www.yahoo.com/now/police-fir...185115989.html

Of Course, that's just from a perspective of over 60% HKers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_H...ocal_elections

But hey, Don't Remind Big Brother
Sorry I mean Winnie the Pooh!
https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-40627855


Onto to the 2020 New Year
Oddly enough, I had a really good line right at 0:00am
“There was Nothing Worth Celebrating this Year”
Oh Boy was I dead on and in ways more unimaginable than 2019

And with those dark leaked news of “a Mysterious Virus from Wuhan” around New Year, a Pandora Box was Opened and a Disaster descended upon the World.

Now Hong Kong might have been a City the World knew or learned in 2019
Stand Aside HK, Wuhan is Coming into Town!

Pre-February 11, Wuhan Flu Virus, Flu-Like Virus, SARS-like coronavirus
*Reference for Wuhan Flu Virus in Media Pre 2/11
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-c...-idUSKBN1ZN096

*Reference for SARS-like Coronavirus in Media Pre 2/11
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-c...-idUSKBN1ZN2J8

After February 11 – A Whitewashed name of “COVID-19”

My Sincerest Apologies for being Xenophobic to those who've had Spanish Flu, German Measles, Japanese Encephalitis, Ebola, West Nile, Lyme, Colorado Tick Fever or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) just to name a few
Or if you're a Pig, African Swine Flu
Just kidding, me no likey Crassness is all

That said, Life must go on
or Lives must Move On, RIP even during a Worldwide Pandemic


With the Introduction/Pretext, this is how this Giant Report will develop.
This TR mainly comprised of the following 5 themes + sparkling of other its and bits.

1. A Family/Personal Trip to Jeju Island and Kansai Region on KA/OZ/CX Y <PRE-VIRUS>
2. Bailing back to Vancouver on KA/CX J
3. Central America Trip To Guatemala and Honduras (Country #113 and #114) on AA/AS F
4. Western Canada Road Trip to Alberta and Saskatchewan
5. Transcontinental Pod Trip to Southern Ontario on AC J

Route Map




Flights (16 Flights, 25449 Miles)
All Flights Flown
Cathay Dragon 326 – Hong Kong to Jeju (Economy Class)
Asiana Airlines 8970 – Jeju to Seoul Gimpo (Economy Class)
Asiana Airlines 112 – Seoul Incheon to Osaka Kansai (Economy Class)
Cathay Pacific Airways 503 – Osaka Kansai to Hong Kong (Economy Class)
Cathay Dragon 104 – Hong Kong to Kathmandu (Business Class)
Cathay Dragon 103 – Kathmandu to Hong Kong (Business Class)
Cathay Pacific Airways 888 – Hong Kong to Vancouver (Business Class)
American Airlines 6023 – Vancouver to Los Angeles (Business Class)
American Airlines 2254 – Los Angeles to Dallas Ft. Worth (First Class)
American Airlines 1013 – Dallas Ft. Worth to Guatemala City (Business Class)
American Airlines 983 – Guatemala City to Miami Int'l (Business Class)
American Airlines 2341 – Miami Int'l to Las Vegas (First Class)
Alaska Airlines 142 – Las Vegas to Seattle Tacoma (First Class)
Alaska Airlines 2341 – Seattle Tacoma to Vancouver (First Class)
Air Canada 106 – Vancouver to Toronto Pearson (Business Class)
Air Canada 123 – Toronto Pearson to Vancouver (Business Class)



Trip Parts
Part 1 – Business Seat, Economy Prices, Cathay Dragon Airbus 320-200 Economy HKG-CJU
Part 2 – Seongsan Ilchulbong “Sunrise Peak”
Part 3 – Everything Else that can Occupy Time at Jeju Island
Part 4 – Easiest Hike at Hallasan National Park
Part 5 – Anything to Kill Time before the flight, Jeju City
Part 6 – Business Seat, Economy Prices 2.0, Asiana Airlines Airbus 330-300 Economy CJU-GMP
Part 7 – Due to Be Retired 1, Asiana Airlines Boeing 767-300 Economy ICN-KIX
Part 8 – Cram Time in Kansai Region
Part 9 – Time to Head Home, Cathay Pacific Airbus 330-300 Economy KIX-HKG
>>> Part 9.5 – Virus News Intermission
Part 10 – Off to Hunt for Mask, Cathay Dragon Airbus 330-300 Business HKG-KTM
Part 11 – RIP Dragonair, Cathay Dragon Airbus 330-300 Business KTM-HKG
Part 12 – Mo Money, No Class, Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER Business HKG-YVR
>>> Part 12.1 - Virus News Intermission (Two)
>>> Part 12.2 - Virus News Intermission (Three)
>>> Part 12.3 - Virus News Intermission (Four)
Part 13 – Get me Out of the Rain, American Eagle Embraer 175 Business YVR-LAX
Part 14 – Fooling Around with CFC, American Airlines Airbus 321-200 First LAX-DFW
Part 15 – Yes Really, AA is Going for Great, American Airlines Boeing 737-800 First DFW-GUA
Part 16 – Highland Relief in the Tropics, Country #113, Guatemala City, Guatemala
Part 17 – Old Guatemala, Antigua, Guatemala
Part 18 – Climbing the Lava Erupting Volcαn Pacaya
Part 19 – Cross Another One off the List, Country #114, Copαn Ruinas, Honduras
Part 20 – The Ancient Mayan Ruins of Copαn
Part 21 – An Oasis It is Not, American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Oasis Business GUA-MIA
Part 22 – Due to Be Retired 2, American Airlines Boeing 757-200 First MIA-LAS
Part 23 – We're so Not off to Disneyland, Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-900 First LAS-SEA
Part 24 – Last Flight then You're Grounded! Alaska Airlines Embraer 175 First SEA-YVR
Part 25 – The Virus-Abandoned Village of Whistler
Part 26 – The Lamest Birthday Possible
Part 27 – Driving to the Okanagan, just because...
Part 28 – Early Pandemic Days of Vancouver
Part 29 – BC Restarting
Part 30 – Off on a 15 Day Canadian Rockies/Prairies Roadtrip
Part 31 – Yoho National Park Part 1, Wapwa Falls - Kicking Horse River
Part 32 – No Tour Groups/Tour Bus Allowed in Banff
Part 33 – Valley Hiking in Banff National Park
Part 34 – The Serene, Priceless Experience at the Chateau Lake Louise
Part 35 – Double Hikes at the Icefield Parkway, Jasper National Park
Part 36 – A Lazy SHF Day at Jasper
Part 37 – No PST in Edmonton means Shopping!
Part 38 – Hide and Seek at Elk Island National Park
Part 39 – Largest City in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon
Part 40 – The Canadian Badlands, Grassland National Park (East Block)
Part 41 – Mixed-Grass Prairie, Grassland National Park (West Block)
Part 42 – The Yin and the Yang with Mountain and Water, Waterton National Park
Part 43 – Biking up to Red Rock Canyon, Waterton National Park
Part 44 – As Green as the Stone, Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park Part 2
Part 45 – In the Cowtown, Calgary, Alberta
Part 46 – 2 Mini-Hikes in Kootenay National Park on the Way Out
Part 47 – Heart of the Okanagan and Wine Country, Kelowna
Part 48 – Birthplace of British Columbia, Fort Langley
Part 49 – Sea-to-Sky Country in a Semi-Regular times
Part 50 – A Quick Swing into the Interior Pre-Canada Day
Part 51 – Finally back in the Air after a 4 Month Hiatus, Air Canada Boeing 787-8 Business YVR-YYZ
Part 52 – The Southernmost Point of Canada, Point Peele National Park
Part 53 – Bringing the Tropical Waters to Canada, Bruce Peninsula National Park
Part 54 – The Chilly Waters of Fathom Five National Marine Park
Part 55 – The Only Way to fly Transcon in Canada, Air Canada Boeing 787-8 Business YYZ-YVR
Part 56 – Challenging the Vancouver Stairmaster, Grouse Grind
Part 57 – The Canadian Beach Retreat, Sidney Spit, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Part 58 – One Last Daytrip before heading back to the Iron Curtain, Tunnel Bluffs, Sea-to-Sky Country


Trip Report Statistics
Parts Written – 39/58
Parts Imaged/Posted – 22/58

Images Hosted in Report - 1908 as of Part 22
*Data accurate as of May 24, 2021


Links to Other Written Trip Reports
Click Here for Other Trip Reports


Disclaimer
Gonna put this Out Again, Anybody that knows me on FT...
My Trip Reports take Ages….. to Finish
Watching Paint Dry is Faster
So just Check back Every Once in awhile, You have been Forewarned



And Most Importantly
Stay Safe, Protect Yourself and Others!
We'll get through this with Determination and Perseverance


Reason – Why the Title is Named North American Chapter
If this TR goes smoothly, there can be a 2nd Portion, aka.. Hong Kong Chapter.


In the Meanwhile, Say No to Hidden Agendas
No More Extra Taxes on Frequent Fliers!

https://www.theguardian.com/business...PcVNHJLHZm9dYY

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/car...plan-1.5837709

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-55186570
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Last edited by Short hair Francis; May 24, 21 at 5:11 pm Reason: Part 22 Completed
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Old Dec 25, 20, 4:25 pm
  #2  
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Part 1 – Business Seat, Economy Prices, Cathay Dragon Airbus 320-200 Economy HKG - CJU


Virus News Pre-Travel
Jan 9, 2020 - "WHO does not recommend any specific measures for travellers. WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on China based on the current information available"
Reference - https://www.who.int/china/news/detai...in-wuhan-china

Jan 11, 2020 - "I have spoken yesterday to my brother in China, Minister of Health Ma Xiaowei. I appreciate his commitment and work and the Chinese's Governments leadership in global public health by sharing information on the Novel Coronavirus in a Timely Manner"
Reference -


Oh really? Thanks Comrade 同志 Tedros for your opinion


Part 1 – 9 was a Sad Reminder of the Normalcy that everyone enjoyed Pre-Pandemic.
Normalcy we all took for granted

With these parts, the TR covers 3 full days spent on Jeju Island, 36 hrs swing in Seoul then a 48 hrs in Kansai region catching up with a buddy on his way to Australia.


When BA announced they were raising Partner Redemptions rates after May 30, 2019, I decided to burn some of the existing miles we had on hand.
For Band 2 (651-1150 Miles) flights, the cost went from 7,500 Avios to 9,000 Avios for Partner Y burns, so we ended up parking a HKG-CJU ticket way out in the future.

How to get Home? We can figure it out later

The end result was I was going to KIX after the Korea trip to catch up with an Old University buddy and his Mrs. in Kyoto.
Those two were on their way to Australia for their 1 Year Working Holiday.
Meanwhile MamaSHF and PapaSHF were taking Air Seoul non-stop ICN-HKG home.



Jan 15, 2020 – Wednesday
KA 326 HKG – CJU 8:20am – 12:20pm (320/Y)


Morning Flight, so my usual routine.
Stay Up the Entire Night and catch a Night Bus to HKG.

Since HKG-CJU sells as a Single Class flight, I timed myself getting to the airport as early as possible.
OW Emeralds can get the J seats unblocked at the airport on day of departure so here I was at HKG at 6am.

In the meanwhile MamaSHF and PapaSHF were riding one bus behind getting a little extra sleep in.

Cathay Pacific First Class Check-In


There was no wait for an agent, and 10 mins the Better Seats were secured.
With the seat change secured (10A/10C/10H) for the entire fam, I headed to the CX Pier First at Gate 63.


HKG Cathay Pacific “The Pier” First Class Lounge


Lounge














Bar






Pantry



Firstly a shower to freshen up the morning with the lack of sleep

Then I joined the Fam in the canteen, I mean lounge restaurant

The Pier Breakfast Menu


The Pre-Trip Bibimap



*Odd I ate so little, hey photos don't lie but I guess needed sleep more than food at 7am
Really unsure why I don't have photos of the other items


Now you might ask, why go all the way to the Pier when flying Dragonair?
Especially since chances are the flight would depart from the North Satellite.
In fact it did, flight was departing from Gate 505.

It's because the Pier is simply quieter, less traffic, cosier experience and lastly some walking exercise prior to the flight.

We ended up leaving the Pier at 720am and crossing over to the North Satellite Concourse at 745am.

HKG Skybridge in Construction







Finally over at the North Satellite

*If there is one good news about the Skybridge, at least you can timed yourself vs. the old shuttle buses.
God forbid you get held up by a 380 pushing back and missed your flight


Part 1 Continues Below
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Last edited by Short hair Francis; Dec 30, 20 at 2:06 pm
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Old Dec 25, 20, 4:29 pm
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At the gate right at 750am




Cathay Dragon Airbus 320-200





*1st flight of the Trip, 1086 Miles Flown
Cathay Dragon 326
Hong Kong to Jeju
Scheduled - 8:20am – 12:20pm, 3 hr flight
On-Time Departure – 8:19am
On-Time Arrival – 12:16pm
Economy Class, Seat 10A
Food – Breakfast
Equipment – Airbus 320-200 (8J/156Y) Configuration “B-HSM”



Cathay Dragon Airbus 320-200 Business Class Cabin


Cathay Dragon Airbus 320-200 Business Class Seat








No Seatback TV on the Dragonair Airbus 320






With no one else qualifying for an unblocked J seat, we had the entire Business Class Cabin to ourselves.
I moved to 11A, while MamaSHF stayed at 10A and PapaSHF had 10H.
Not a Bad Way to Fly

Today's flight time to Jeju will be 2 Hrs 40 Mins

The Emerald Drink


The Ever Crazy Hong Kong




A Hazy Hong Kong Winter Morning



Door were closed at 815am and pushback at 819am

A similar Cathay Dragon Airbus 320-200








Runway 7R like usual this morning, after a slow taxi





Part 1 Continues Below
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Last edited by Short hair Francis; Dec 25, 20 at 5:30 pm
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Old Dec 25, 20, 4:32 pm
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See ya HKG, Takeoff at 839am
































































In contrast to Cathay Pacific, I find Dragonair serves their meals quicker in sequence.

This morning's Economy pickings were Chinese Dim Sum or Omelette with Beef Sausage
Or if you're like me, hell pick a special meals since there won't be Op-Ups on a 1 Class flight anyway and I would've had breakfast in the lounge anyway.

I find Moslem meals usually have something with Meaty hence that's typically my choice; except that one time ex-LIS ions ago...
No Halal Butcher = You're Now Vegetarian, OUCH!!!



Dragonair Moslem Meal







Part 1 Continues Below
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Last edited by Short hair Francis; Dec 25, 20 at 5:15 pm
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Old Dec 25, 20, 4:34 pm
  #5  
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Main Course, Lentil Chicken with Polenta


Usual CX Fruit Cup


Now is this meal better than the normal meal? Oddly enough it is especially if you've seen the CX Dim Sum more times than you can count in a lifetime.

After the meal, I quickly passed out for 1 hr 30 min and waking up just south of Jeju Island


Descent into Jeju Island








Hallasan, which I would be doing the easiest hike there in Part 3















Breaking through the Cloud cover




Final Approach









Part 1 Continues Below
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Old Dec 25, 20, 4:38 pm
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Touch down at Jeju Island, right on time at 12:14pm

















The Last Gate right at the end of the Terminal




Avoid Like the Plague


Ontime Arrival at Jeju, on Chock at 12:16pm
The best part for getting Business Seats unblocked, first one off the plane

After walking through temperature checks and health form collection, there were 2 Immigration Agents to welcome you into the Republic of Korea.
No checked bags and we were landside within 15 mins.
I like this procedure WAY more than Incheon already

And for those that like passport stamps, Jeju was still stamping entry unlike Incheon


Cathay Dragon Airbus 320-200 Business Class Quick Review
Check-In – How many times do you have to wait at CX HKG for an agent?
I say 1/15 times and that's being generous.
Getting Seats unblocked takes 5-10 mins, but no pain, no gain

Security – Never been an Issue for as long as I can remember, can always go through in 15 mins or less

Boarding – No First Class/CX Diamond/OW Emerald line at the North Satellite, so instead of being #1 on the plane, I think I was #3 in the Regular Business Line LOL

Cabin Ambiance – New Bins do make the Airbus 320 feel Roomier

Seat – CX Regional Business Seat gets a lot of argument as a Crappy J Seat.
For 2-3 Hr non-Redeye situation however, it's fine on a 320.
And Doubly Fine in my shoes!

Food – Hasn't been a Strong Suit in Years and it shows...
Ex-HKG catering must have horrible cost structure or something.
The Only good catering I can count on ex-HKG is ME3 + SQ.

Entertainment – If this was Real Business Class, KA would hand out a Ipad loaded with entertainment.
However since this is technically a One Class flight, that means go download the app before hand.

Crew – Great Recognition of Status, water bottle, first picking of meals, pillow, blanket were all done.

Overall Impression – In My Shoes, Value for the Buck which is what I want


Next Part
Part 2 – Seongsan Ilchulbong “Sunrise Peak”
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Last edited by Short hair Francis; Jan 30, 21 at 9:44 pm
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Old Dec 25, 20, 5:48 pm
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A Christmas present that will keep giving into 2021!
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Old Dec 26, 20, 8:50 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by lamphs View Post
A Christmas present that will keep giving into 2021!
Thanks lamphs, hopefully this is the only good surprise in 2021
Last thing we need is the virus branching to a Hundred different strains

Next Part should be ready by tomorrow afternoon EST
Praying no spacing/coding problems that haunted Part 1

Open Question, Are the photos loading properly for Everyone?
Lagging/No Lagging?
I was worried about photo size/quality...
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Old Dec 27, 20, 9:21 am
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Smile

Originally Posted by Short hair Francis View Post
Open Question, Are the photos loading properly for Everyone?
Lagging/No Lagging?
I was worried about photo size/quality...
Takes a bit longer than usual to load.
In my opinion, a few too many pictures of the same view.
For example, 5-10 shots of the same engine with only slightly varying backgrounds...
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Old Dec 27, 20, 10:00 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by IluvSQ View Post
Takes a bit longer than usual to load.
In my opinion, a few too many pictures of the same view.
For example, 5-10 shots of the same engine with only slightly varying backgrounds...
We actually see the engine over 30 times on the last flight! Great trip report but I would agree that these could be cut back a bit!

Can't wait for the next segment!
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Old Dec 27, 20, 10:47 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by IluvSQ View Post
Takes a bit longer than usual to load.
In my opinion, a few too many pictures of the same view.
For example, 5-10 shots of the same engine with only slightly varying backgrounds...

Thanks for the feedback IluvSQ, i'll reduce the size in the Next Part
See if it makes a difference on loading time

Originally Posted by rstruthe View Post
We actually see the engine over 30 times on the last flight! Great trip report but I would agree that these could be cut back a bit!

Can't wait for the next segment!
LOL
I went a bit overboard with the HK engine photos
Sadly I think this part is the only part in the TR with a ex-HKG daytime takeoff photos

Will cut back on some of the winglet photos down the line, next couple of parts are all destinations

Next Part will go up shortly
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Old Dec 27, 20, 11:09 am
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Part 2 – Seongsan Ilchulbong “Sunrise Peak”


After entering into South Korea, I proceeded to the rental car shuttle pickup point at the airport.
15 Mins later, we were at the Sixt location for a Hyundai Avante.

The Drive from the airport to small town of Seongsan took around 80 mins.
Sadly this drive isn't such a great drive for the sleep deprived
Loads of Traffic camera, traffic lights and continuous changes on Speed Limits
Zzz...

For the last 2-3 mins before getting into town, you'll be greeted with this view.

Seongsan Ilchulbong “Sunrise Peak” (182m/597ft), UNESCO World Heritage Site



We arrived at the Co-OP Cityhotel Seongsan by 3:15pm

Co-OP Cityhotel Seongsan


Hotel Lobby


Hmm, never seen a 7-Eleven closed midday before



Your typical hotel hallway


Deluxe Twin Room with Mountain View





Decent View from the Room



Average Room, feels more like an Ibis then anything.
A small Covered Parkade is also built in on the 2nd Level which works great for crappy weather.
The heat had to be turn down once we were inside, Korean love cranking the Heat indoors.
Heat was original set at 27C/81F

The true reason for picking this hotel however, was the Rooftop Balcony facing Seongsan Ilchulbong.

After settling in the room, MamaSHF and I quickly repacked a day bag for the Mini-Hike.
Soon after we drove 5 mins over to the Seongsan Ilchulbong parking lot.

Welcome Area


How it should look Aerially


Free vs. Paid Area



Seongsan Ilchulbong “Sunrise Peak”
Temperature - +4C/38F, Overcast, Winds E 10km/h

Elevation Climb – 172m/563ft
Distance Total – 1.0 Miles/1.6km

Starting Point – Seongsan Ilchulbong Visitor Center (10m/34ft)
Final Destination – Seongsan Ilchulbong Crater (182m/597ft)



We were on the trail by 4:10pm, and perfect timing with a sunset time of 5:47pm.

Temperature of +4C and no rain made for an relatively easy hike in my opinion.
Plus coming up from the Leeward side of the hill meant no wind issues on a cool day.

The little town of Seongsan from the trailhead


Just some of the ~500 step of stairs to go up to the Crater


Weird Geological stuff you'll see on the way up




Part 2 Continues Below
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Old Dec 27, 20, 11:12 am
  #13  
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Starting to be a little higher in elevation




Can easy zoom in and See the Hotel from the trail


Higher and Higher you go



25 Minutes Later, we made it to the top.


Seongsan Ilchulbong Crater





*Oddly enough the hike was decent, nice and short but I found the crater itself to be meh...

Look of the Surrounding Area




*The surrounding area however was the better view in my opinion

After spending 20 minutes at the top, we made our way back down.

Good News about this Trail, it's a One-Way trail.
One-Way Up, One Way Down.

Bad News?
There's a lot of stairs for those with Bad Knees



Udo Island


15 Minutes Later, made it to the backside of the Mountain near the water

Backside of Seongsan Ilchulbong



Part 2 Continues Below
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Old Dec 27, 20, 11:15 am
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And finally made it back to the Parking Lot by 5:30pm


5 min drive to pick up PapaSHF from the room and we were off for some Beef Bulgogi dinner.

Back in the room, quickly answered a couple work emails then promptly passed out until 7am the next morning.

With the Sunrise at 7:37am, I made my way up to the Rooftop Balcony hoping for the Sunrise Shot.


Unfortunately this is not meant to be...
No Sunshine

Last Look at Seongsan Ilhulbong before heading to Seogwipo



Virus News
Jan 15, 2020 -
“We have reached the latest understanding that the risk of sustained human-to-human transmission is low,” Li Qun, the head of the China CDC’s emergency center on Chinese State Television.
Reference - https://apnews.com/article/68a9e1b91...acd6012d82c2f9

Jan 15, 2020 - “According to the latest information we have, there is no clear evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission and there are no infections reported among health care workers.”
Reference -



Next Part
Part 3 – Everything Else that can Occupy Time at Jeju Island
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Last edited by Short hair Francis; Dec 30, 20 at 2:05 pm
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Old Dec 27, 20, 9:45 pm
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Glad to see this finally getting documented!
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