Ganghwado Island 江华岛

8 August 2012


I have never heard of this place before I came. 

Seoul is famous of her modernity and advanced development. On the contrary Ganghwado is a traditional scenic spot which is about 1 and a half hour from Incheon and 1 hour from Seoul. As her other name ' roofless museum' suggests, it is a place to see the history and culture of old Korea.

Gwangseongbo Fortress  广城堡

It was one of the twelve Ganghwa military camps in 17th century. It was also one of the battleground of the Korean against United State army in 1871. There are tombs of remembrance of the soldiers who sacrificed in the combat.

This was one of the fortress for the soldiers to watch out for enemy's invasion.

Lunch

Again, language was the biggest barrier. We joined the city tour with some other 20 over Koreans and the tour guide naturally spoke Korean language. Most of the time we had no idea where we were going, what we were doing, what the historical meanings were and what time we should gathered. Headache.

And the signboards are in Korean. Double headache. 

Never mind we still had a good time reading maps and directory.

Then we had no idea that we were heading for lunch until the driver collected 5,000 won (RM15) from each of us.

It was a good lunch and as usual, you can never get rid of kimchi!

The Korean words actually read: han shik bu pae. Make sense?
It means Korean Food Buffet lol.
Direct translation from English.

Nature

One of the biggest attraction of the island is the natural scenery that you couldn't find in central Seoul. (of course!) It's summer now and I imagine it will be extremely picturesque during autumn when all the leaves turn red and the whole place becomes so... romantic.

Notice the shape of the leaves.


Seonwonsa Temple Site 传灯寺

Seonwonsa Temple is located on a mountain slope. It was built by General Choi Wu in 1245 (the 32nd year of King Gojong’s reign during the Goryeo dynasty), which was right after the transfer of the capital to Ganghwado during resistance against the Mongolian invasion. 

The temple was meant to be a spiritual mainstay in fighting against Mongolia. It used to be one of the two largest temples in Korea along with Songgwangsa Temple. 

It's a tourism spot but since it's located up in a slope, the temple remains as a religious site where we saw monks meditating and discussing Dharma with the visitors.

I am a Buddhist and I love the peace in this place. Far from traffic jam, noise, stress... just spiritually you and the nature, and you and your inner self.


It says 解忧所, a place to get rid of your troubles and stress.

Afteword

In fact we went to 6 places during the half day tour but these are my favourites and most significant ones. I love the modernity and vibrance of Seoul as well as cities like Incheon, but this is one of the places that is so rich in history, culture, religion and humanity. Each and everything we saw has a story of its own, either known or not known, a story that is far more interesting than any historian or novelist can describe. 

Not artificial replicas and not the chilly steel that we see in the metropolitan. 

They were real, and are real. 

Source of the pic: here



Utourpia!




Transport:

We joined Incheon City Tour. 10,000 won per person (~RM30 excluding lunch)
The tour starts from 10am until 5pm in front of Incheon Subway Station.

 Alternatively, Incheon Bus Terminal --> Bus 700 --> Ganghwa Bus Terminal


Public transport in the island is relatively not so convenient hence joining the city tour is highly recommended.

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