Jeju is known to be the Hawaii of South Korea. I think it has an identity of its own. Unlike Hawaii, its culture isn’t over exploited. Instead of its culture being a show it’s just a way of life and there happens to tourists standing in the distance. Jeju-do (‘do’ is tacked onto island names to signify that it is an island) is about an hour flight from Seoul. The flight was like many I have taking before except we all played Rock-Paper-Scissors against the flight attendant. We as flyers should make this a cultural norm to play games on flights to get us pumped for our destination. Anyways, once arrived in Jeju we took a bus to our hostel. Our area was the “old” city. It has a traditional market selling Jeju tangerines and various sea creatures. Right below the area resided an underground shopping center. About a 2 minute walk away is the famous Black Pork Street. Continuing down that street is a small amusement park, many seafood restaurants, and the sea. My friends and I definitely hit the jackpot location for our hostel. We had about 3 days of Jeju so we decided to just explore on our arrival day and hire a taxi driver as our tour guide for the two days afterwards.
Since we didn’t have our taxi driver yet we took a bus to a nearby beach. When we arrive to “beach name”, we all were completely stunned by its beauty. This beach was definitely my kind of beach. I loved the clear blue waters, the soft sand on the flat beach, the cute families, and the gorgeous volcanic rock. I went on a mini hike on the mountain right beside the beach and I was greeted with tombstones. They gave me the creeps but the view was pretty nice. The distance I saw a beach with some windmills scattered across the area and the other side showed endless ocean waters.
For most beaches in Jeju, I just remember them by what they had so please excuse my inability to give legitimate names. A beach on the westside, had an area where there were many stacks of rocks. If you didn’t think stacked rocks could look cute, think again. There’s something about these stacks that made me happy and relaxed. Yeah, I know it’s a little bit weird. Go experience it yourself! The beach right next to it had lots of kelp washed up on its shores. The colors of the water, kelp, and volcanic rock right next up to each other is a site you don’t see any most mainland beaches in the States.
On our way to Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak), we stopped by a beach adorned with windmills. We ended up at the same beach I saw from the mini hike the day before. It’s nice how things work out sometimes. The water was like “beach name”, it was so blue and clear. This windmill beach is definitely the cutest beach I’ve gone to.
Manjanggul Lava Tube
Manjanggul Lava Tube was really a site that everyone must go to. The tube is dark, cold, and the floor is very uneven. While walking it cold water drips down and surprised me every single time. To the end and back is 2 kilometers all together. Seeing the enormity of the space and its beautiful rock formations was a cool experience.
On our way to Seongsan Ilchulbong, we stopped by a beach adorned with windmills. The water like yesterday’s beach was so blue and clear. This windmill beach is definitely the cutest beach I’ve gone to. Seongsan Ilchulbong was also an amazing site. It is one of many UNESCO sites that can be found in Jeju. Unfortunately we did not have time to climb (next time hopefully). This mountain is actually a huge crater and is covered in lush greenery.
Jeju Folk Village
At the end of the day, we did a quick stop at a folk village. The houses where no one lived were completely traditional and included stone outhouses. On the other hand houses with residents were fixed with some modern items. It was interesting to see houses built with volcanic rock and mud but had modern windows and appliances. We finished off with a photoshoot with the original Grandfather statues that Jeju is famous for.
After a mini lunch break of green tea goodies at the tea museum, we headed towards Cheonjeyeon Falls. This place is one of my favorite experiences in Jeju. The waterfalls were beautiful even though they were a trickle. The time spent there was very relaxing surrounded by high cliffs while learning to skip rocks was one of those simple activities that I really enjoyed. Skipping rocks at a volcanic formed waterfall will be an experience to remember for the rest of my life.
Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff
To end our adventures we did some sightseeing at the Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff and Mysterious Road. We didn’t do much besides walk through but Mysterious Road was really a mystery. Our taxi driver put the car in neutral so it would roll down the hill. The weird part was the road looked like it was going up hill.
Youngduam was pretty with its volcanic rock cliffs but the “Dragon Head” rock didn’t look much like what it was named after, yet there were still many tourists.
I definitely recommend everyone to go to Jeju if they’re in Korea. It’s a nice break from the city if you’re staying in any big city. My host mom told me that it’s actually a trend for families to stay in Jeju during summer vacation. There’s so much to do in Jeju that I’d like to one day stay for a whole month. This little trip to Jeju ended my time in Korea with a bang.