Monday, September 23, 2013

Jeju-do Vacay

Our Jeju Journey began on Friday. Our flight was leaving from Gimpo at 12:20. So we thought we'd catch the shuttle around 9. We figured an hour on the shuttle, and we would then be approximately 2 hours early to this airport. So we get to the shuttle stop, and the bus doesn't come for like 45 minutes. Then we get stuck in LOTS of traffic. Who knew there would be so much traffic on a random Friday mid-morning. But there was. Brigitte and I start figuring out what we're going to do if we miss our flight because it's now about 11:30 and we're still sitting in traffic (quite a stressful time for my poor mother). Fortunately, we arrive at the airport, run to check in, and the guy says to be to the terminal before 11:50. I look at my watch only to see that it's 11:45 and we haven't gone through security yet. The good news about Gimpo airport is that it's tiny. We get through security in about 5 minutes and run to the terminal. TIME TO SPARE. My family had time to pee. We filled up our water bottles. Psh, what were we even worried about. Brigitte and I maintain that that's what we intended to happen the whole time!

We get to Jeju after a short 1 hour flight and find our hotel. Unload, take a breather, and then decide to walk towards the water. We could see it, but it was probably a kilometer away. We got to the bottom of the hill and saw a nice little place that said "coffee and beer" and decided it's in our best interest to stop on in there. The guy there was REALLY nice and spoke wonderful English. He recommended us some places to eat and we made our way to the beach. After a quick dip for my parents and sister, and some feet dipping for me and Brig, we decided to make a journey to find some kind of food. The struggle here was that my mom is vegetarian (although she still eats fish) and I prefer not to eat fish. Fortunately we struck gold and found a place that served both fish and pork. Come to find out half way through our meal that the pork is the black haired pork, famous on Jeju, and to prove that you're eating the pork, they leave the hairs in the meat that is cooking on the grill in front of you. Brigitte's mental breakdown about the hair alerted the cooking attendant to ever so gracefully cut the hairy part off. The meat itself was quite good. Glad I tried a Jeju delicacy. We then stalked up on groceries from the local 7-11 and headed back to the hotel for some rest. 

This might be a good place to add that we stayed in a typical pension, where we sleep on the floor. No beds. This was quite surprising and alarming to my parents. 

The next day (Saturday) we arranged to pay a flat fee for a taxi to take us around the island all day to all the places we wanted to see. 

Our first stop was the "popular" beach, whose name I forget. It was pouring all morning but stopped just in time for us to get to the beach! YAY! We didn't swim, but we walked around a bit and enjoyed the sights. 

Our next couple of stops were two of the waterfalls on Jeju. both were very pretty. The second one is the only waterfall that flows fresh water into salt water. Pretty cool I guess. Very pretty to see a waterfall on the edge of the ocean. 

Then we headed to a couple of craters. The first was a huge "hike" where we climbed up a TON of stairs (I think my sister counted 707 or something like that). The view from the top was gorgeous. Out one side, you could see the ocean, out the other side was the city and the tallest mountain in Korea, Hallasan. The second crater was significantly less cool. It was really just a big hole in the ground. 

Our last stop was to the famous (or if you're my mother, infamous) Jeju Love Land (don't worry mom, I won't post the pictures). But to paint a picture of what this place includes, imagine a park, filled with phallic things.  This park originally started as university art project. Then it gradually got added to and became a nice place for couples to visit to (according to the guidebook) "get inspiration" or to "become educated." Side note: Jeju is a pretty big honeymoon destination for Koreans because it's called the "Hawaii of Korea" as it has nice beaches and nice weather. Anyways, my parents opted out of this visit but Brigitte and Jessica and I had a grand old time walking around the park. I'm pretty sure Korea is the only place in the world to make a park of such things. 

The last day we had in Jeju we decided to go to Hallim Park which is a park with a little bit of everything Jeju has to offer. Our first stop was the lava tubes, which is pretty much what it sounds like, a tube made from lava. There were 3 tunnels so that was pretty neato. Then we walked through the botanical garden and the bird sanctuary. Last we stopped by the mini folk village, got some lunch, and then headed to the beach. We ended the day just hanging out on the beach and swimming. We had to head up to the hotel around 3 to begin the process of catching our flight home, which was flawless (totally on time!). 

That was our greater Jeju experience. Quite fun. I'm glad I was able to go in my time here!

First Beach

First waterfall

Second waterfall that flows into salt water. 

First crater. So green!

The inside/view beyond the crater

View from the other side...Hallasan in the background

Crater number 2. That light green stuff down there is the bottom. Significantly less cool. 

No comments:

Post a Comment