Winter in Jeju Island: The East Side

Saturday, August 30, 2014

All around us were unmistakable signs of winter. It was 7 in the morning when our plane landed at Jeju International Airport. Outside, the air was painfully cold, and your breath would come out in white clouds that vanished in an instant. People wore heavy jackets and scarves wrapped up to their chins. Seeing signs in Hangul, I told myself, "I am definitely not in Manila anymore." 
Photo taken at Seongsan Ichulbong Peak
What I know about Jeju is that it is the premier honeymoon destination for Koreans. It is also famous for its vast array of natural attractions, UNESCO heritage sights, beaches and wildlife. We did not prepare an itinerary because we will avail a cab tour. Why not DIY? Because public transport in the city is easy but not across or around the island. DIY sounds exciting but since we only have two whole days in Jeju, we don't want to spend a lot of time in between sites waiting for the next bus to arrive.
Did you notice I love taking photos of my shoes? :)
When we arrived in the hotel, we requested a cab tour right away. About 30 minutes later, Mr. Kang Gye Taek or simply Mr. Kang arrived. He was our driver/tour guide for two days. He proposed an itinerary which will cover Jeju's east and south attractions. But before you scroll down, please check out our South Korea travel video right here. I really really hope you do!
photo taken at Manjanggul Cave
We started the tour of East Attractions at around 8:30 in the morning. Our first stop was Manjanggul Cave which is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was my first time to get inside a huge network of volcanic lava tubes. Unlike cave tours in the Philippines such in Sagada, Manjanggul Cave is like a walk in the park. Inside is a 1 KM lit course that will take visitors inside the earth.
Photo taken at Gimnyeong Maze Park
From Manjanggul Cave, we continued our drive to a maze park. Gimnyeong Maze Park contains a maze that has seven hidden features incorporated in it. The maze itself is shaped like Jeju and the images can be seen from above include the following: a serpent, which was an object of worship; horses, which were brought by the Mongolians; a ship, which represents the arrival of the dutch; yin/yang to represent harmony; and Domen stones which are relics from the Bronze Period. It's not a huge park but we definitely had a hard time finishing the maze.
Jeju Black Pig Barbecue

At around 10:30 in the morning, we told Mr. Kang that we would like eat already. He said it's too early for lunch but we told him we didn't eat breakfast. He asked what we would like to eat and we told him we wanted to try Jeju Black Pig Barbecue. He brought us to this really nice barbecue house. Check out my blog post about black pig barbecue right here.

photoburst feature of GoPro Hero 3+ That was Maki at Seopjikoji
On our way to Seopjikoji, we saw a couple of sea women plunging into the cold sea. Mr. Kang said they call them 'Haenyeo' and they are symbol of female independence in Korea. He said, all year round these women, using only flippers and goggles, scour the sea bottom to catch sea creatures such as abalone and octopus. But unfortunately, the number of sea women has drastically decreased over the years. 

Dolhareubang at Seongeup Folk Village

Dolhareubang!!! This is perhaps Jeju's most iconic statue. These strange stone statues are everywhere in Jeju. Mr. Kang said they are known for offering protection and fertility. He said for a newly married woman, if she wanted to conceive a baby boy, she needs to touch the nose. If she wants a baby girl, she needs to touch the ears. Interesting right? :)
Maki and Jett at Seongsan Ichulbong Peak
Our second to the last stop was Seongsan Ilchubong Peak. It is yet another UNESCO world heritage site no wonder it is crowded. The drive up the coastal road which sits at the bottom of the mountain was amazing! As much as I would want to climb to the crater, I was not ready for strong winter winds. I should have worn my Heattech stuff!
Photo taken at Jeju Loveland
And last but not the least... Jeju Loveland (>o<)  It is an outdoor theme park that showcases over a hundred of erotic, sexy, funny and silly sculptures.  I tell you, it's very awkward to walk around the park. But I enjoyed it because of other visitors reactions to the statues. The old ahjussis and ahjummas are hilarious!
Strolling at night in Jeju
Before I knew it, we were already back in the hotel. I was so tired! And oh! Our hotel was Jeju Four Seasons which is only around 10 minutes away from the airport. Though it's not fancy, the service is very good. The floors are always heated which kept us warm. Overall, we had a very pleasant stay. 
cheap but delicious Korean meal
We spent our first night wandering around the streets. We found this small Korean restaurant at the end of an alley. I ordered Bibimbap which is a famous Korean dish. Basically, it is served as a bowl of rice topped with different veggies, eggs and sliced meat. There's a lot going on with the taste. But It is spicy that's why I love it!
Maki doesn't like veggies - she eats Ramyeun everytime haha
So, there you have it! I originally planned to make only one post about Jeju but I thought it is too much in a single post. The second part will be published in the next couple of weeks, I hope. If anyone is going to Jeju soon, I recommend Mr. Kang. He is a very nice ahjussi. He was like our uncle when we we're touring Jeju. Gomapseumnida ahjussi! And oh! Here's Mr. Kang's contact numbers:
Mobile: 010-3692-2030
Home phone: 064-753 2031

You can ask the receptionist in the hotel to contact him. Enjoy Jeju!

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  1. Hi Milet! x Tagged you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

  2. Hi..may I know how much did you paid for your 2 days tour in jeju? Will go there this October and i'm already planning my trip ahead of time. Thanks! ��