Fiji Islands Beautiful Flora and Plants

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Fiji is located in the South Pacific, so it has a very tropical climate. Hot and sunny, but also plenty of rain in some spots (like Tavenui Island) to produce lush vegetation and bright, colorful flowers. These flowers just inspired me to want to turn them into watercolor and pastel paintings.

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Pineapples don’t grow on trees. They grow in bushes. And these are tiny, but sweet local pineapple.

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Fiji Viti Levu- Mainland fun

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My last four days on Fiji was spent on the “mainland” island of Viti Levu. There were a lot of things I wanted to see and do on Viti Levu, but it is a large island, and it is not as easy to just base yourself in one area to see many different sites.

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I decided to stay on the southwestern side of Viti Levu at the Intercontinental Fiji Resort. Or I should say my travel agent recommended it, and since it sounded suitably extravagant, I figured why not? It is a very beautiful resort, though a bit more geared toward families and golfers, rather than single travelers.

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Due to a number of circumstances, I ended up not doing much of what I wanted to do while on Viti Levu (which just gives me an excuse to return). For the most part I relaxed by the pool, slept in, and some spa stuff (including an absolutely heavenly, decadent, four hand massage).

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And of course, I enjoyed a variety of beautiful sunsets (a theme of this trip). My favorite sunset was the one pictured in the title picture. That was also the night the resort hosted a fire ceremony on the beach, which was a beautiful backdrop to see the fire jugglers while the colorful sun dropped below the horizon.

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As per usual, the other sunsets were not AS spectacular, but still colorful and beautiful nonetheless.

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My last full day on Viti Levu, I had wanted to do a day long adventure on the Navala River. Unfortunately, the tour operator I hoped to use had lost the access rights to the upper Navala River, due to a land dispute with the owner. Then to compound my disappointment, my last day happened to be election day in Fiji. It was actually a pretty big deal, because this was the first democratic election in Fiji since the military coup in 2006. An interesting quirk about Fijian elections was that all eligible adults were required to vote or receive a fine. So since voting was mandatory, most tour operators were not offering any tours that day.

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However, one of them was. I decided to do a zipline/waterfall hike out in a nature reserve north of the capital city of Nadi. It was pretty fun. There were about eight ziplines, most of them on the shorter end of the runs I’ve done in the past, but they were set in a very lush forest.

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After ziplining and lunch, we headed out on a hike to a couple of waterfalls. Along the way, we passed some very beautiful rope-like tree roots, and also some small pineapple bushes.

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The waterfalls were small, but the pools were cool and refreshing and you were able to swim in them. I hadn’t realized this particular part of the trip, so I had not brought a swimsuit, but it was so warm and sunny, that my clothes dried quickly.

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All in all, I didn’t get to see as much of Viti Levu as I wished. There is a lot to see and do on the island, and when I get back to Fiji, I will definitely take more time to explore it all.

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Fiji Nacula Island- Hiking Trails

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Even though it was tempting to just lay by the beach in a hammock or cool off by snorkeling, I did take advantage of my time on Nacula Island to do some hiking. This island (and I think most of the smaller islands) didn’t really have much in the way of roads, so there were no cars to worry about. People got around by boat or by walking. I decided to check out two different parts of the island by hiking to them.

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The first hike I did was a basically flat hike out to the south eastern part of the island. This hike only took me about a leisurely 30 minutes (maybe more) to get to my final destination of the beach by Nabua Lodge. This hike wasn’t marked with specific trail signs, but I did have a map from the Blue Lagoon Resort that showed me the basic way from the resort to the mud flats on the southern coast. Navigating was basically following the largest trail and hoping I was right (I was). Even though the trail was flat, it was definitely muddy in parts, but there were large branches to help me traverse the deeper muddier area.

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The trail emerges onto the mud flats, and with the tide out, the beach was huge with some local natives hunting for shellfish in the mud. After that the “trail” was basically just walking along the shoreline. There were some very beautiful reddish-purplish rocks on the beach, rocks that I had never seen before.

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Since it was rather hot and sunny on the day I went hiking, I didn’t start off until the later afternoon, hoping it would cool off a bit. So, I was mindful of both the incoming tide and the setting sun, because I did not want to get caught out on the island at night. Sure it wasn’t dangerous or anything, but I didn’t have a flashlight with me, nor are any of the trails lit up. Fumbling around in the dark is not my idea of a good time.

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Once I rounded the beach point, I came upon a relatively wide sandy beach. It certainly wasn’t as wide, or as nice as the beach fronting the Blue Lagoon Resort, but it is home to a couple other more budget lodges. It is also home to the Traveller’s Tea House. I had read about that place in my guidebook, and one of the other reasons I timed my hike when I did was to hit the tea house when it was open (only 3-5 pm in the afternoon) so I could indulge in some local cake. The cake that day was a very tasty chocolate coconut cake made right on site, and it was delicious. So thick, so rich. It just melted in my mouth as I enjoyed the beach view.

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After the cake, I walked a bit farther down the beach to Tadrai Point, which was an open rock sea arch. There really wasn’t much more of note on the other beach around the point, and the sun was getting low on the horizon, so I headed back.

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Before heading inland back to resort, I made a quick stop at a mangrove forest right in the mud flats on the beach.

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My second hike was to the one of the highest points on the island, where it afforded me a 360 degree view of the entire island. Since this hike would afford me no shade, and I needed enough time to get there, enjoy the view, and get back before I passed out from heat exhaustion, or at least exposed me to a sunburn, I decided to do this hike early in the morning. Not so early that I would miss breakfast (which would be stupid, because it was free and it was a plentiful breakfast buffet), but I started right after, around 0800.

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This was another one of those hikes that didn’t have clearly marked signs, but I looked at the map at the resort beforehand, and basically knew where I needed to go. The most confusing part was right after leaving the lodge and guessing which trail I needed to take. Since I knew I needed to head up the hill, I followed the trail that ascended. The trail ascended very quickly, and even though it was early in the morning, and the sun wasn’t fully overhead, I had to stop multiple times to take a breather, drink some water, and look at the view.

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Once the trail hit the ridgeline, it was simply a matter of walking along it to the highest point. There were times when I was sure I was at the highest point, only to see the trail keep heading higher. Eventually though, I did hit the highest point and could enjoy the tremendous views looking down on the island around me. The view of the eastern side of the island was highly lit with the rising sun.

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The western side allowed me to look down at the extensive coral reefs and the differing colors of the water, views you simply can’t see when you are at sea level.

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After enjoying the views, I headed back down, and not surprisingly, the trip down was much quicker and easier than walking up. All told, this hike took me less than two hours, and that included the number of stops I made to look at the views. It is a moderately easy hike. The hardest part is at the beginning when the trail sharply ascends to the ridgeline. But basically anyone with moderate fitness and wearing some good shoes can do this hike. I would just recommend you do it in the morning before it gets too hot and sunny, and make sure to bring some water with you. You will need it.

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Fiji Nacula Island- Isolated Beauty

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My second stop on my Fijian extravaganza was Nacula Island. I wanted to experience as wide of a variety the country had to offer as possible. So that meant I wanted to visit one of the islands in either the Mamanuca or Yasawa island groups. This one took some research and hard choices to make, because there is such a wealth of opportunities among these small islands. The Mamanuca Islands are much closer to the mainland of Viti Levu, and many of them can actually be visited on a day trip (and many people do). The Yasawa Islands are much more remote, and really can’t be visited on a day trip, at least not one that can make for a full day.

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After careful consideration, I chose to stay on Nacula Island. Nacula Island is actually fairly far northwest of Viti Levu. There are islands that are farther north, but don’t offer the wealth of possibilities. Nacula Island is pretty big, with a wide variety of beaches, hikes, and small villages to occupy your time. There are some nice resorts on the island, particularly the one I chose, the Blue Lagoon Resort. This resort has a wider variety of expense options, from the cheaper dorm beds, all the way up to your own beachside bure which fronts Long Beach, a long stretch of sugar white, super soft sand with easy swimming and snorkeling in warm water. In addition to what was offered on-island, the Blue Lagoon Resort also has regular trips up to Sawa-i-Lau Cave, which is this weird and beautiful limestone cave where you can swim in the sea. I really wanted to go there, so which resorts offered that trip played a great deal into my final decision on where to stay.

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There are two ways to get up to Nacula Island: sea plane or boat. I took a sea plane out to the island, but to save money I took a boat back. Knowing what I know now, I would just cough up the additional funds for a sea plane back to the mainland.

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A boat trip out or back takes about half a day (at least) at around five hours minimum. At first, the boat trip was interesting as we stopped at different islands. But after a while, the trip just became repetitive because the islands looked the same from the boat, the sea got rougher, and the boat got more crowded. I was over it by the time we rolled into Viti Levu and was kicking myself for being too cheap to get a sea plane back. A sea plane trip is only about 30 minutes as opposed to five hours and it took me right to Nacula Island and offers a beautiful view over the islands.

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I was out on Nacula Island for about five days, and that is plenty of time to relax and see a wide variety of stuff. One of those mornings was the trip out to Sawa-i-Lau Cave, which was delightful, and thankfully we were the first group to the cave, so it wasn’t that crowded. I also did some hiking (subject to the next blog post), snorkeling and just plain relaxing on the beach. I also took a group trip to one of the local villages, Nacula. It was a small village but it was interesting to see.

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We saw the island-wide school all the different villages sent their children to, that also housed a solar panel electricity set funded by the European Union.

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For a small village, there were a couple of churches: both the older Catholic Church and the newer Protestant Church.

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Nacula Island is a good place to kick back and relax and enjoy “Fiji Time.” I spent many hours doing that. My bure opened right onto the beach, and I had my own beachside chairs to relax. The beach itself was very beautiful with soft sand. The snorkeling off the beach was pretty good as well. There was a small coral reef that house a wide variety of colorful fish. It was so easy to just wade into the water at high tide and paddle around a bit looking at the fish. I also took another snorkeling trip through the resort out to another island. This part of Fiji is amazing for snorkeling. The water was warm (not hot like the Caribbean), though winter was just ending so it probably gets warmer in the summer. The water is clear and the colorful fish are plentiful. The seas up in this area are pretty calm, so it is easy to snorkel and you don’t have to fight the ocean currents. Seriously, Nacula Island looks just like you imagine a tropical paradise island could look like.

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This island is also a good place to view the sunset since the resort faces to the west. Not every night had a beautiful sunset, of course. In fact, every night looked a bit different depending on the quality of the light and the clouds. My favorite sunset was the one in the title picture. This was my second or third night on the island, since the sunsets had been pretty gray and nearly non-existent up to this point. But this night was amazing. The colors were a mixture of orange, pink and magenta, and they just got brighter as the sun dropped toward the horizon. But the best part was when the sun did drop below the horizon and the whole sky lit up for a couple minutes. It’s like the clouds had a major color explosion and filled the whole sky. It was rather awe-inspiring to behold.

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Subsequent sunsets were never quite as spectacular as that one, but they were definitely lovely to look at, with most sunsets taking on a golden yellow tone contrasted beautifully with blue sky and sea.

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Nacula Island was definitely worth my time, and I would absolutely come back on a second trip. I would just suck it up and pay for a sea plane both ways to save time. Sometimes it is worth it to spend some extra money to maximize your travel time.

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The Astounding Beauty of Fiji- Tavenui Island

Tavenui Island-20Last year as I was getting ready to move from Korea, I knew I had to take one final vacation somewhere in Asia. My first choice was originally Thailand, because it has been on my list for years. However, just as I was getting ready to make some travel arrangements, the military coup happened, and travel was restricted. So I quickly cast around for a “consolation prize” (if you will, but not really) and latched onto Fiji. I knew I wanted to visit the South Pacific at some point, and in fact had looked into going to Fiji one New Years weekend, just for the pleasure of being one of the first to experience the new year. That didn’t happen, but I relooked into going there. What cemented it for me was the travel time. I had envisioned something like 24 hours worth of travel with at least one stop. But much to my delight, I learned that Korean Air flies directly to Fiji from Seoul, and it was only a 10 hour flight (less time than it took me to get to New Zealand).

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So I started researching in earnest. and decided to book everything through my favorite Asian travel agency, Asia Transpacific Journeys. I had great success with them several years ago when they put together my vacation for Vietnam and Cambodia, and figured it would be good to use them again. This time, I decided to go a bit more high end. Usually I stay in hostels or budget hotels, because I travel alone and just need a place to stay, but nothing fancy. But I figured that if I was going to fly to Fiji, I wanted to do it up special. So that opened up a world of possibilities to me that would have not been AS COMFORTABLE with a budget trip.

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After careful research, I decided to confine my trip to three places: Tavenui Island, Nacula Island and Viti Levu. I figured this would give me a good cross section on what Fiji has to offer. I decided to start my trip with Tavenui Island since it was a bit more out of the way, and is really only easily accessible from the “mainland” (i.e. the island of Viti Levu) by plane. Tavenui reminded me like a less developed Kauai Island in Hawaii. It is very green and lush, and not heavily populated. As a result, only part of the main road is actually paved. From the airport to past the main town is paved, and it is paved around the housing complex that houses foreign visitors (of course), but the rest of the road is dirt. So, distances that don’t seem so great on paper actually can lead to fairly long journeys.

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My travel agency booked me at Paradise Tavenui, which was mentioned in my travel book, but didn’t go into great detail. This resort is on the southwestern side of Tavenui, not that far from the town of Vula. I have to say, staying at this place was LUX. It pretty much had everything I want in a high end tropical resort. I had my own bure (or thatched cabin) with a very comfortable bed and nightly turn down service, and a nice bathroom, including my favorite tropical “indulgence”, an outdoor shower. I love showering outside at night in the warm air with the tropical breezes blowing by. This resort also has its own spa section, and there are few things more deliciously decadent than getting a massage right by the ocean.

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This resort is sort of all inclusive, or can easily be. My package gave me so many meals, and all the soft drinks I could consume (booze was extra, and who doesn’t want to enjoy a tropical paradise with tropical liquor?) Every meal was outside, and the dinners in particular were very nice. One of the nights I was there we had a traditional Fijian lovo, sort of like a Fijian barbecue or luau, where all the meat was wrapped in local banana leaves and cooked over an open fire. It was interesting to see them prepare the meat and starches and then get to indulge in it afterward.

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I went on a couple of excursions from the resort. One of them was an all day trip to do the Lavena Coastal Walk (subject of the next blog post) and some snorkeling. Fiji is considered one of the top dive sites in the world, with Tavenui hosting some of the best Fijian diving. I didn’t have my diving certification at the time, so I was just going to do some snorkeling. Most dive trips will take snorkelers, so it was pretty easy, and this excursion was done directly through the resort’s dive shop and not another tour company. The particular trip I did was out to the Great White Wall, which is really  more of interest to divers, though there was plenty to see for snorkelers as well. I saw a wide variety of colorful fish, including some turtles, and beautiful coral and underwater plants. It was a really great trip, with a couple different snorkel (and dive) sites, and a stop for lunch on a nearby beach. The interesting thing is that because I went in September, it was the tail end of winter, soon to be spring. So it was a bit cooler than it can get, and that included the water. I personally didn’t need a wetsuit just for snorkeling, but I did need snorkel fins (I avoid wearing them, unless the ocean currents pretty much mandate them).

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While I was there, I decided to take advantage of the Discover Scuba program, just because I always wanted to see what SCUBA diving was like. So for an afternoon, I got lessons on the proper way to SCUBA and use the equipment. The lesson was capped off with a beginning dive just off the pier by the resort. My dive instructor Mark was very professional and taught me a lot. In fact, I left Fiji resolved to get my dive certification (I haven’t yet, but I still want to), because when I go back to Fiji (and I know I will go back, unless I die an untimely death), I want to be able to experience the majesty that is diving in Fiji.

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About half the time I was on Tavenui, it was sunny and beautiful, and half the time it was cloudy. On the days it was sunny, the sunsets were absolutely gorgeous. The resort faced west, so we got full view of sunsets. It was a wonderful and relaxing to end the day by the seaside pool with a drink in hand, taking in all the beautiful colors of the sunset. What was amazing is how the sunset colors differed by day. Some days the sky exploded into a sea of bright pink and orange, and other days, it was more orange and blue (at least the water), and others gave off a more of a silver and blue cast.

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Normally I am go, go, go on my vacations, but I made a conscious effort to just relax more on Fiji. It helped that I didn’t have a car in Tavenui, and the resort is not really within easy walking distance of anything. So it forced me just to slow down, do an excursion per day, nap in the afternoon, and just take in the beautiful scenery. All told, I was on Tavenui for almost a week, and it was a wonderful start to a delightful Fijian vacation.

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A Creepy Afternoon Alone in an Abandoned Hospital- Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital

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I LOVE creepy and scary places. I love horror movies, suspense thrillers, anything that has a dark undertone to it. And since I travel a lot, I like to fit in some visits to creepy places if  I am anywhere near them. Granted, most creepy places seem to be off the beaten track and are not that easy to get to. But when the opportunity presents itself, I have a hard time saying no. I first learned about Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital last year when my photography instructor alerted our class and wanted to organize a group trip down there to practice photography. I of course jumped on that, figuring it would be easier to get to in a group, plus there is the whole safety in numbers concept. Alas the group trip fell through, but I vowed that I would visit Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital before I left Korea last year.

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After some hemming and hawing (not because I was scared, but more because it is a bit more of a pain to get to on your own without a car), I finally committed myself one weekend to going. It helped that I told an acquaintance I was going, so I wanted a story to tell on Monday. While Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital is pretty easy to get to in a car, being only a 40 minute drive south of Seoul, it is a bit more complicated to get via public transportation. But it can be done as I demonstrated.

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Most people I know don’t do a whole lot of traveling on their own, and I know none of them who would go visit an abandoned psychiatric hospital on their own, particularly one that often makes the list as one of the creepiest places on Earth. But hey, it’s one of those things where I knew if I waited for someone to go with me, I would never go. So I resolved to go on my own.

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I researched the hell out of this trip before I went alone. I read nearly every newspaper article and blog post about it (there aren’t THAT many) to fully understand how to get there. Because the hospital is located in a residential area (though a reasonably isolated one), and the hospital has such a creepy reputation, I read that the locals aren’t that forthcoming with the directions. Luckily for me, I found one blog that gave pretty good directions to the hospital (as good as you can give), along with the most helpful thing- the Google navigation coordinates and those would prove immensely helpful for me when I was actually navigating there.

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There are a couple of ways to get to Gonjiam, and getting to the town itself is not that difficult. I chose to take Bus 1113-1 from Gangbyeon Station, Exit #1. The ride itself will take around an hour, maybe more depending on traffic. This humid, overcast August Sunday was fairly sparse for traffic, so it didn’t take too long. The hardest part was to know which stop to get off. None of the directions gave a specific bus stop, just started their directions from the center of town. So I sort of miscalculated where to get off, and ended up getting off at a bus stop on the way out of town. This is when the Google coordinates saved my trip, because I honestly never would have found the hospital without them. I can’t give really good directions only because I didn’t follow a straightforward path.

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Because I was basically cold navigating off Google Maps, it took a bit more time to feel my way there, but soon I saw the directions in the blog posts I researched and knew I was on the right track. And then- BAM! There it was off to my right, the entrance to the hospital road. It is completed gated off with concertina, CCTV cameras and signs in Hangul and English warning trespassers off. However, I knew from my research that it’s not like there were security guards on site to enforce this.

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Now here is where I SHOULD have rechecked the blog posts for specific directions on how to get into the hospital, but I foolishly thought I remembered everything so I set out walking. I had the basic idea right, but remembered the specifics wrong. I knew I had to walk past the gate and then turn up and walk around. However for some reason, I thought I had to walk farther than I really did, so I ended up wasting at least 30 minutes wandering around in the woods looking for an entrance before giving up and deciding to go back to the gate. Now of course I decided to recheck the blog posts, because I knew I must have missed something. Thankfully Korea is well covered in 4G network for me to access the Internet.

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So I read just how to get past the gate and felt like an idiot, because it was literally 20-30 meters up the road. Per that trip saving blog post, once at the gate, “continue down the road past the fence for about 20 to 30 meters, you’ll come to a light-coloured building on the roadside. Walk around this building and into its backyard area, following the concrete structure uphill into the woods where a trail will appear. Keep along the trail and, just like the movies tell you not to, you can easily walk through the gaps in the fence.” It is literally that easy and I didn’t run into anyone to stop me.

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Once you walk through the gap in the fence, you are on the hospital road behind the gate and it is simply a matter of walking a few minutes up the hill to the hospital. It is amazing how the hospital really does look like what you would imagine a creepy, abandoned hospital in a horror movie. You just needed some spooky music to complete the tableau. And since I was out there alone, I kept imagining I was in a horror movie, only on my own rather than with a group of clueless friends who are about to get themselves killed.

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I arrived at the hospital and then spent some time walking around outside the hospital to find the way in, and getting a clue into how nature has started to reclaim the hospital. It has been abandoned since 1995, and while urban legend will have it attributed to being haunted from ghosts, other killjoy sites will say it was abandoned for more mundane reasons, such as a problem with the sewer system or it was a financial failure. But since I have a dark imagination, I would rather think that the hospital suffered a rash of mysterious deaths in the mid 90s because the clinically insane owner tormented patients and their spirits haunt the hospital to this day.

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I knew from my research that there wasn’t a straightforward way into the hospital. It was not simply a matter of walking in the front door, because it was locked up pretty tight. However, previous trespassers had left ways of getting into the hospital. The most recent posts said that there was a ladder that went to an open second floor window. However, that ladder is really no longer necessary. Much to my surprise, you can practically walk through the front door. Or should I say crawl through the front door. The main entrance is covered in rebar, but there is a section on the bottom that allows a human to squeeze through it.

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I took one final picture of me outside and posted it on social media, so in case I was killed by vengeful spirits of former patients or by a psycho killer hiding on the premises, at least there would be a record of where to find my body. Considering how difficult it was for me to find the actual hospital, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how easy it was for me to actually get into the hospital. I also saw plenty of graffiti, both in Korean and English, from the thousands of trespassers who blazed the trail for me over the past 20 years.

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Once inside, I started to explore. There was plenty of sunlight by the entrance, but the farther down the hall I went, the darker and spookier it got. I came equipped with a flashlight and it helped me peer into the open rooms. It was strange to see evidence of the fact that the hospital was abandoned 19 years prior, such as a calendar from 1995.

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Even if this hospital isn’t truly haunted, it is still a fascinating study of what happens when man made structures are abandoned and returned to nature. Man may be able to do amazing things, but nature is one powerful beast that will overtake anything given enough time. I mean, nature has reclaimed whole ancient civilizations and buried them under desert sands or lush jungle forests. So in the space of 20 years, nature has invaded Gonjiam hospital and is slowly taking it back from man.

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The hospital has multiple floors, but the ground floor was the darkest and the spookiest in many ways. Even if the hospital was abandoned deliberately for practical reasons, it still seemed eerie to see how disheveled the hospital was. I mean, it’s not like this place was cleaned out in an orderly fashion and all you are seeing are empty rooms. Nope, plenty of furniture was left in the rooms, particularly on the ground floor. I found room after room where mattresses were stacked, wooden furniture was shoved, old blankets were stuffed, all of it slowly rotting from the influx of weather.

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In some rooms, it looked they were still set up for patients, only now nearly 20 years had passed. A good chunk of the windows were broken and there was glass everywhere. So, even if it wasn’t the case, it definitely looked like the hospital was abandoned in a hurry, thus lending credence to the idea the hospital was overrun with ghosts. And since this was a former psychiatric hospital, you know that any ghosts that could reside here would be even creepier, because they would be the ghosts of former, mentally ill patients.

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Undoubtedly the first floor was the creepiest for me to explore, because it was darker and disheveled. The farther down the hallway I went, the darker it got. I was acutely aware I was alone and every sound was heightened in my senses. Even if I didn’t think there were actual ghosts that would attack me, I kept thinking of live serial killers lurking in the rooms waiting to jump out and kill me. It’s one of those times I felt rather vulnerable and did feel like I was in a horror movie. I kept looking back to the entrance way with the bright sun shining in, like if I could see the light, that would protect me against psycho killers, like the one that inhabited American Horror Story: Asylum.

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I went to the second and third floor, though they were not as creepy as the first. Higher floors had more light, so it didn’t feel quite so spooky. Most of those rooms were also empty, so it just felt like I was in an empty building. I did get genuinely spooked a couple times, because I ran into the local cat. I mean, when you are in a creepy, abandoned psychiatric hospital, you do NOT want to hear unfamiliar noises that sound like someone is walking in the same building as you.

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The hospital ends in a roof that opens up to the lush view of the forest around me. The whole setup is in one of those rural looking areas that are within walking distance of the town.

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Once I satisfied my ghoulish curiosity, I crawled out from where I came and walked back to town to catch a bus back to Seoul. All in all, it was a satisfying trip.

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Now, of course, the most important thing: how to get there. There is more than one bus that goes from Seoul to the town of Gonjiam. As I stated earlier, I chose to take 1113-1 bus from Gangbyeon Station, Exit #1, because it was the most convenient for me. But there are other buses that go to the town of Gonjiam, like Bus 500-2 from Gangnam Station, Exit #7, and pretty much any of them will get you where you want to go. Now, unfortunately I don’t have the exact stop to take, since I overshot the bus stop and had to backtrack back. But getting off in the center of town will make it a shorter walk. The directions I read from another blog post was” from the center of town, cross a little bridge and turn right and keep going up the narrow road. The path starts a ways up just after you pass a 2 story brick house.” Yes, that is true, though I can’t find the actual street names I wrote down when I did this trip to make it easier. So the MOST IMPORTANT thing you need for a trip to Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital is the Google coordinates: “37.362433, 127.33474″.  These coordinates were a life saver for me. Thank you smart maps and 4G cell networks.

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If you like creepy places, have a sense of adventure, and are in the neighborhood around Seoul, definitely take some time to visit Gonjiam Psychiatric Hospital.

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