With a new year comes a whole new 365 days to travel and so we decided to get goin right away with our trip to Jeju on January 1st. What was nice about this trip was that we were flying out of the local Gwangju airport which means no 4 hour bus ride to Seoul which always feels like the longest part of any trip we’ve taken thus far. The cab was about a 15 minute ride to the small but friendly Gwangju airport. The flight time was about 45 minutes which gave the flight attendents just enough time to tell us how to use a barf bag and give us a piece of candy before we touched down at Jeju International.
We had the misfortune of arriving on a rather busy day which meant no rental car as they were all gone, but the local bus took us on about an hour journey along the coast to our destination, Tae Gong Gak Guesthouse in Seogwipo on the southside of the island. Once we arrived we were greeted by the nicest dude on the island, Ki-beom who was the owner of the guesthouse and has only been operating the location for about 6 months now. We initially had only planned on staying 2 nights but after the experience we had at the guesthouse and Ki-beom the first 2 nights, we booked a third. Nicole did some blogs in more detail about some of our stops along the way so I will let you refer to those for the lowdown but for now i will give you a quick run down.
When we woke up in the morning, we headed off towards the west and stopped by the Yakcheonsa Temple.
We were hungry already and ate a gigantic herb burger (which we believe was all veggies) and then walked off towards a waterfall which was preceded by a beautiful carved bridge.
Then we headed to a beautiful but very empty sculpture park, I think we were the only ones there. The cab then took us to mini land which Nicole already wrote on.
From there we headed back to the hotel and Ki-Beom drove us to the top of a cliff area to watch the sunset. Not only was the wind ridiculously cold, but the sun was hidden behind some clouds.
We then hiked down a forever long path getting lost once and stopping for some street roasted sweet potato. We finally reached Cheonjiyeon Waterfall but had no idea how to make the night setting work on the camera…Nicole got a bit impatient.
Ki-Beom then walked us to a really traditional Jeju Korean restaurant.
The next day Ki-Beom drove us to the rental car place and we picked up a sweet kia morning and set off to the east coast. Our first stop was the folk village which was completely empty and looked closed. I spotted some windmills and had to take a look….using wind energy…
We wandered through it and then hit the road and headed to sunset peak. Sunset peak, Seongsan Ilchulbong, was a small hike up the side of what is a volcanic landform built long ago.
We grabbed some toast sandwiches and had a picnic overlooking the water…waiting for the women diver show. The island of jeju is known for three things….wind, women and rock. Today we saw all three. The women divers were incredible. They were all over the age of 65 and looked more like 80. They were decked out in double layer diving suits and masks. they grabbed their nets, sang a ritual song and then slowly followed a rope along some rocks into the cold water. Then, they dive deep down into the water…no water tanks and stay down for 2-3 minutes collecting octapus and mullosks off the bottom of the water.
When the show was over we drove further north to the Manjangguk, the lava tube caves. The caves were made from lava that once flowed through them from the volcano. They were super deep in some areas and it was hard to imagine flowing hot lava streaming through the same tunnels we were standing in. You could see on the sides of the cave where the lava may not have reached the top and the walls cooled creating a shelf of sorts.
We left the cave and drove back west through Jeju City, the south down towards Halla Mountain, stopping and Loveland (which we already wrote about) and Mystery Road (water bottles will roll uphill when placed on the road). We then ate at Mr. Pizza…their salad bar and pizza rock and headed back to the hotel.
The next morning was a complete mess trying to get back to the airport in time and return our rental car. Everything worked out, due to our plane being delayed 15 minutes, so we made it just in time.
Anyway, enjoy the slideshow…we will head back to Jeju in the spring to attempt to climb Mt. Halla and head to the beach in warmer weather.