Tongyeong (Part II)

End of the Luge Course as seen from the Cable Car, Photo by Crystal Hagen

The next day in Tongyeong we decided to go to what I call the adventure part of the city. At the bus stop near the market at the bay with the turtle boats, we waited for the 100 bus that would take us where we needed to go.
It was a bit of a wait as the city is so dispersed among the hills and islands that there are a large number of bus routes to service the area and it may take a while to get the correct bus.

We were headed to a part of the city that had more physical attractions for your more adventurous traveler. (Again, the bus ride took a while due to the nature of the shoreline and the layout of the city.)

The bus dropped us off right near the heart of these adventure sites. It was about a five or ten minute walk from the bus stop.

Here there are numerous options for your more active and adventurous traveler. There is a large rope jungle gym that contains numerous rope obstacles you can negotiate.

These include cargo nets, rope ladders and bridges, and the like. Safety personnel are ever present so there is no real risk. Close by is what they call a luge run. Unlike the Olympic event where you slide down a mountain with your back on a small sled, this is more like a gravity powered go-cart.

A ski area type chair lift takes you to the top of the mountain. You are then fitted out with safety equipment and put in your four wheel steerable go-cart. You then roll down the hill on a nice safe paved course. It is safe, fun, and costs about 11,000 won ($10) per run. Since out time was limited took a third option and took a cable car that went almost to the top of Mount Mireuk.

The cable car also costs 11,000 won ($10) for a round trip. It was a great ride to see the city of Tongyeong and all the coastal islands, luge course and the surrounding country side. At the top of the cable car are a snack bar, restrooms, and large viewing platform.

Getting on the Cable Car to Miruksan

The cable car run ends about 100 meters (elevation wise) from the summit. The summit of Mount Mireuk was an old signal (smoke) station for the Joseon Navy and if you go to the top you can see why. From the upper cable car terminal there are steps and trails that take you to the summit. Along these trails are rock sculptures that are interesting to look at. There are a lot of steps but it is worth the climb. Once at the top the view is tremendous.

At the viewing stations at the top of the mountain are many historical markers that tell you what island is which (the signs are all in Korean, but the maps and pictures are self -explanatory) and why they are significant.

During the summer of 1592, Admiral Lee Sun-shin defeated the Japanese in the battles of Hansando and Dangpo. From the top of Mount Mireuk you can see the islands in the distance and look at maps, pictures, and historical markers that clearly explain the events.

The cool thing is that for most naval battles, going to the site you have just water to look at. Here you can see the entire battlefield and using the many islands trace the movement of the fleets. It is a must see for those interested in the Imjin War (1592-1598).

At the summit of Mirueksan Mountain

The scenery is also superb from the mountain top; however, again be warned it is a bit of a climb and going down to the cable car terminal is more difficult that the accent. After all the site seeing and climbing, the cable car ride back down the mountain is anti-climactic but still pleasant (don’t lose your return ticket).

Back down in the valley we had one more thing we wanted to do. Go to the underwater tunnel. In the early 1930’s, Japanese fishermen (Korea as occupied by Japan from 1910-1945) were having trouble going from their homes on one side of the bay to where their fishing boats were moored.

Entrance to the Under Ocean Tunnel, Crystal Hagen

The solution was the first under ocean tunnel built in Asia. When build you could drive through it, now it is only for pedestrians. At its deepest point it is 13 meters below the ocean. The tunnel has pictures showing the construction and early use.

So from the cable car we took a quick taxi ride to one end of the tunnel. It only took 15 minutes to leisurely transit the tunnel and then it was only a short bus ride to our hotel. We had another nice dinner around the bay, and then checked out the next morning.

After checking out we took a local bus to the inter-city bus terminal. It was easy to get a ticket back home via the Daejeon bus terminal. It was a really fun trip and very easy to do. I highly recommend it.

By William Harlow/ Media1

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