Saturday, 22 September 2012

Jeju


Before we'd even arrived in Korea I'd heard about Jeju, the honeymoon capital of Korea, with it's tropical landscape and white sandy beaches it was always being compared to Hawaii. Autumn is supposed to be the perfect time to go so I decided to take my mum when she visited.

We flew with Jeju air early on Sunday morning and came back late on Monday night. I don't think it was long enough to properly explore the island, but it was enough time to see what it was all about. The flights were so cheap as well, it cost less than a return KTX ticket to Seoul.

We decided to stay in Jeju city, with the short amount of time we had it was handy to be able to dump our stuff as soon as we got off the plane and go out and explore. I would really recommend the motel we stayed in. The room was ok, although it was a smokers room, but there was a computer connected to the internet. It was the owner who  hands down made our stay at EJ Motel though, he couldn't speak much English but he was super helpful, calling the translation service whenever we needed help and using google maps to point us in the right direction.

With not much time I had read lists and lists of things to do in Jeju. The best two sites that I could find was this one and this one.

On the first day we managed to see:

Manjanggul Cave

It was wet, rainy and cold when we landed in Jeju, so we thought it would be the perfect time to shelter in the caves, apart from the fact it was dripping down there too. It was a precarious walk through puddles, but worth it if you take your umbrella to protect you from the splashes.

Sunrise Peak
By the afternoon the clouds had started to clear (a little) so we decided to go to the Songsang Ilchubong as we had been told it was one of the main things to do in Jeju and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We weren't really sure what we were supposed to do with this massive lump of rock, but it seemed a bit rude not to climb it once we got there. The views were totally worth it though, and as we came down we saw the spot that is infamous for the female divers. I also liked that there was a young girl walking back down the steps, jumping 3 at a time and then laughing manically every single time she did it. She never tired of it, and I didn't stop finding her funny until the bottom.

We topped the day off by eating Jeju's speciality dish, BBQd black pig, recommended by our lovely Motel manager. To be honest, it was really nice, the restaurant staff were really friendly, but I couldn't tell the difference from normal bbqed pork.

The second day:

Jusangjeolli Cliff

This was the perfect way to start our second morning, we got a bus to the cliffs and then bought some oranges from a little old lady who was sat by the entrance. They were an amazing breakfast! Apart from one coachload of people, we had most of the observation deck to ourselves once they disappeared.

Cheonjeyeon Falls



From the cliffs we decided to take a walk to the falls, I don't think it's one of the major falls but is definitely in lovely surroundings. They were very plush and green and had lots of nice decking and picnic tables that you could have lounged around on if you had the time, but we carried on the hunt for the bus stop so we could move on, as we didn't have much time left. 

Hallim Park

The sun finally decided to poke its head out in the afternoon on the second day, so we decided to head to Hallim Park, which is advertised as Jeju's botanical gardens. They aren't like the typical botanical gardens I've seen before, and felt alot more like a zoo or farm park. There was an amazing Bonsai garden, a water lilly garden, a birds of paradise garden and a traditional folk village. We ate in the folk village and had grilled mackerel which was super tasty and surprisingly cheap. I couldn't resist but buy some cactus flavoured chocolate from the park seeing as they had cactus flavoured everything. I also fell in love with all the 'stone grandfathers', also known as dol hareubangs that were dotted around the whole Island.

I really enjoyed our whirlwhind trip of Jeju, it was nice to be surrounded by so much green once again. The only thing I would criticise about the Island is the public transport. It was cheap, but the rides would take hours, often 1.5 hours between spots, and then it just drops you on the main road, which means we sometimes had another 4 or 5k walk. It wouldn't be so bad if we weren't so pushed for time.

If I ever had the chance to go back, I definitely would love to go to some of the museums such as Love Land and try one of the Olleh Walks, where you follow coloured ribbons around the Island. Cute!