S. Korea: The island of Jeju

I’m alive, and back with the last post in the South Korea series! This one also has a lot of pictures! Lots of new things will be coming soon, but I’m glad I finally got this done and uploaded. 

A couple posts ago, I’d mentioned that my travel buddies and I had come to S. Korea with different motivations. JH’s undying enthusiasm for shopping was beginning to tire out both HZ and I, so we came up with a mutually-acceptable compromise: for the last three days of our trip, we would split up — HZ and I would go to Jeju for a change of scenery, while JH and RP would stay in Seoul to go around the city at a more relaxed pace.

 

So, in the early hours of January 1st, HZ and I stumbled from the hostel into a taxi that took us to Gimpo International Airport.

First sunrise of the year!

First sunrise of the year!

A bonus to this early morning flight was that I witnessed the first sunrise of 2014 from 30,000 feet in the air! Not many people can say the same, right? It sort of made up for the lack of fireworks the night before…

Our car for three days!

Our car for three days!

After getting off our (Busan Air) flight, we took a free shuttle to a nearby KT Kumho Rental branch to pick up our car. I really recommend reserving online before arriving in Jeju — the prices are significantly better, and you can choose a specific car to fit your style and budget. HZ was quite pleased with the car itself, while I was most happy about the English GPS and the free portable Wifi “egg” that we requested. If you have an International Driver’s Permit, driving is really the most efficient way to get around the island.

Often the roads were single-lane, and there were lots of speed bumps for safety. The view was great though!

Often the roads were single-lane, and there were lots of speed bumps for safety

The first day, we noticed some snow on the ground. Two warm days later, it had all disappeared...

The first day out, we noticed some snow on the ground. But two warm days later, it had all disappeared…



I had read online that the best way to get around with the GPS was by phone number — even scenic landscapes in Jeju have a number! In keeping with all that research, I’ll list out the names and phone numbers too.

[   Day 1 – East Jeju    |     Day 2- South Jeju    |    Day 3 – West Jeju    ]



.

Day 1 – East Jeju

Our first meal in Jeju was at a famous restaurant called Yuri-ne. They say they specialize in authentic Jeju cuisine, and true to form they had a lot of fish and seafood items in their (English!) menu. Whether or not they were truly authentic, the food there was really good (and a little bit spicy)!

Our first meal in Jeju -- seafood soup and lots of banchan

Our first meal in Jeju — seafood soup and lots of banchan

Fresh and yummy

Fresh and yummy

It was here where I first tasted raw crab kimchi — the soft, almost jelly-like texture was a complete surprise! I don’t usually enjoy crab, but I fell head-over-heels for this…

My absolute favourite banchan: kimchi soft-shell crab legs!

My absolute favourite banchan: soft-shell crab leg kimchi!

***

YURI-NE (link)
427-1 Yeon-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-748-0890
 - The restaurant is at the corner of an intersection - keep an eye out for a pair of stone tigers in front of their parking lot!

***

It was a very nice day, so after our stomachs were filled, we headed towards an outdoor museum called Mini Mini Land. This place is known for having large models of significant buildings from around the world, and I’ve always wanted to visit an outdoor museum. Though it was slightly old and a bit beaten down by the weather, the models were still a delight to look at!

I missed seeing the actual thing in Seoul, but this made me feel slightly better

I missed seeing the actual thing in Seoul, but this made me feel slightly better

I love blue-tiled roofs

I love blue-tiled roofs

HZ with his GoPro camera, circling the Taj Mahal

HZ with his GoPro camera, circling the Taj Mahal

The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

Somewhere in Rome...

Somewhere in Rome…

The Tower Bridge, London

The Tower Bridge, London

Osaka Castle!!

Osaka Castle!!

Ishtar Gate, ancient Babylon

Ishtar Gate, ancient Babylon

Considering how I had seen many of these buildings in various textbooks over the years, it was a refreshing change to see them as 3D scale models (I was particularly excited by the Ishtar Gate). There was also a small building attached to Mini Mini Land, which featured several new media artworks.

My favourite was a light projection piece: over an off-white fictional landscape of famous monuments, various graphics and sounds were layered over it to take the viewer through all kinds of weather over one day (sunrise to late night).

Three of my favourite scenes during the loop

Three of my favourite scenes during the loop

The original landscape, without any layers

The original landscape, without any layers

It was a stunning mix of visual and technical coordination. I liked it so much I stayed to watch it loop through twice before HZ pulled me away. I really think it’s work like that that makes new media interesting to those who haven’t studied it.

***

JEJU MINI MINI LAND (link) 제주미니랜드
606 Bijarim-ro, Jochon-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-782-7720
 - Entrance fee: 9,000 won
 - Parking fee: free

***

Continuing with our outdoor adventures, our next stop was the famous Sunrise Peak, or Seongsan Ilchulbong. It’s really a crater instead of a peak, strictly speaking, but it had a nice view regardless.

Sunrise Peak, one of Jeju's many World Heritage sites

Sunrise Peak, one of Jeju’s many World Heritage sites

It’s advertised as one of the best places to catch a sunrise in Jeju, though it was still quite crowded during the middle of the day as well. Thankfully, the stairs to the top were solidly constructed and well-maintained — HZ and I made it from bottom to top in 20 minutes without needing to rest.

Very, very nice stairs all the way up and down

Very, very nice stairs all the way up and down

Panorama of the crater

Panorama of the crater

That thin strip of land is what connects the area around Sunrise Peak with the rest of Jeju

That thin strip of land is what connects the area around Sunrise Peak with the rest of Jeju

On our way back to the car, we saw the women divers' hut!

On our way back to the car, we saw the women divers’ hut!

A quick note about women divers: in Japan, they are called ama, and in Jeju they are called haenyo. They are essentially the same — in both places, women dive off-shore (all year-round) without tanks or scuba gear to harvest shellfish up to 20 feet below the surface.

The history goes that hundreds of years ago, coastal men were often sent out to sea on fishing boats or to go to war. The women in those communities started to dive to feed their families and make a little bit of money on the side. In the Ise-Shima region (where I am close to), women dive for oysters and sell the pearls for profit. In Jeju, women dive for expensive shellfish like abalone and conch. Eventually, with this steady source of income, women became the “head” of the family and established a matriarchal hierarchy.

Unfortunately, because of the harsh working conditions (early mornings, constant dampness, freezing waters during the winter), the number of active women divers has drastically gone down in the last two generations as the haenyo sent their daughters to college instead. It is almost certain that by our children’s time (or our children’s children) this centuries-old trade will have completely died out. Now, in both Jeju and Japan, the older women divers sometimes hold public demonstrations for tourists to educate them about their work.

We didn't go for the demonstrations. Instead we headed straight for a restaurant supplied by women divers, near the foot of Sunrise Peak.

We didn’t go for the demonstrations. Instead we went for a late lunch near the foot of Sunrise Peak.

Simple homemade banchan

Simple homemade banchan

This restaurant, Ojo House of Women Divers, is solely supplied by the shellfish collected by women divers (and I suspect are staffed by them as well). The freshness of their food, along with the relatively generous portions of abalone porridge, are what they are known for.

The famous abalone porridge. The ones I got with my bowl were on the small side, but I did get 8 of them! (The porridge is green because of the abalones.)

The famous abalone rice porridge. The ones I got with my bowl were on the small side, but I did get 8 of them! (FYI, the porridge is green because of the abalones.)

If you are ever in the area, you should try this restaurant. A word of advice though: their porridge bowls are huge, so unless you’re super hungry it’s a better idea to split a bowl between two people.

***

OJO HOUSE OF WOMEN DIVERS 오조해녀의집
3 Ojo-ri, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-784-0893
 - Abalone porridge: 12,000 won

***

On the way back to the main island, we stopped by a stretch of road that had some very picturesque rapeseed flower fields. Unfortunately, you had to pay to enter the field to take pictures (crazy, right?), so we just took some photos a little bit further away for free!

Rapeseed flowers, from the opposite side of the road

Rapeseed flowers, from the opposite side of the road

Goodbye, Seongsan Ilchulbong!

Goodbye, Seongsan Ilchulbong!

***

SUNRISE PEAK / SEONGSAN ILCHULBONG (link) 성산일출봉
284-12 Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-710-6655
 - Entrance fee: 2,000 won
 - Parking fee: 1,000 won

***

Just as the sun was getting ready to set, we made our last stop of the day at the very cool Gimnyeong Maze Park. The link has more information about it, but it was entirely funded by an American professor who fell in love with the island of Jeju three decades ago (and who still teaches at Cheju National University).

We challenged each other to a race through the maze. HZ went straight while I took the first turn...

We challenged each other to a race through the maze. HZ went straight while I took the first turn…

It was created by a world-famous maze designer, Adrian Fisher, in the shape of Jeju and incorporates seven cultural motifs. You are given a pamphlet explaining the history of the maze when you enter, as well as a map (in case you get lost)….but where’s the fun in that, right?

There are two viewing platforms inside the maze; one placed halfway through, and one at the end. This was taken from the first one.

There are two viewing platforms inside the maze; one placed halfway through, and one at the end. This was taken from the first one.

Ah, I see HZ!

Ah, I see HZ!

I did it! I reached the end first! (You can see the first platform from the second one, which is where I'm standing)

I DID IT! I reached the end first! (You can see the first platform from the second one, which is where I’m standing)

Five long minutes later... there he is!

Five long minutes later… there he is!

By this time, I was laughing too hard to take a steady picture

By this time, I was laughing too hard to take a steady picture

Ringing the bell to signal that you've completed the maze

Ringing the bell to signal that you’ve completed the maze

All in all, without the map it took HZ about 10 minutes to get from start to finish. This is a small place, as far as tourist attractions go, but it’s an incredibly fun and interesting pit stop if you’re in the area and the weather is nice. Bonus: there are several friendly cats living near the ticket booth if you also want some animal therapy!

***

GIMNYEONG MAZE PARK (link) 미로공원
122 Manjanggul-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-782-9266
 - Entrance fee: 3,300 won
 - Parking fee: free

***

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Day 2 – South Jeju

The island of Jeju is considered one entire province of South Korea, and in this province there are two “cities”: Jeju City in the north, and Seogwipo City in the south. Interestingly, quite a few of the island’s natural attractions are on the south side, and a few man-made ones were built near them too, so all tourists end up making the trek south at some point in their trip.

Chasing the sun

Chasing the sun

On our second day (the only full 24-hour day we would spend in Jeju), we decided to explore Seogwipo and its surrounding area. It took us a little under two hours of driving to get there from Jeju City.

First on our list was the supposedly picturesque Soesokkak Estuary. Getting there was a little difficult, because several rivers flowed into it — we had to follow it until the end of the road before we got to the main viewing platform.

Everyone's trying hard to get a decent shot (you can also rent an over-priced kayak to paddle up and down the estuary if you have the time...)

Everyone’s trying hard to get a decent shot (you can also rent an over-priced kayak to paddle up and down the estuary if you have the time…)

I was disappointed by it, frankly — I really had to try hard to get a handful of pictures that I liked. The water wasn’t deeply coloured like in most Internet pictures unless you shot it from a far distance, and along the platforms there were too many trees blocking the view. All in all, it might be better to visit here in the spring or summer (or just skip this one altogether)…

I guess this could be romantic...

I guess this could be romantic…

***

SOESOKKAK ESTUARY (link) 쇠소깍휴게소
140 Soesokkang-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-732-9998
 - Entrance fee: free
 - Parking fee: free

***

Our next stop was at the more visually-satisfying Jeongbang Falls. There are a couple of other famous waterfalls around Jeju, but this is the only one where the waterfall flows into the ocean…

Isn't it beautiful?

Isn’t it beautiful?

You could get really close to the water (no barriers)

You could get really close to the water (no barriers)

Enjoying the cool ocean breeze (it's so much warmer in Jeju than in Seoul)

Enjoying the cool ocean breeze (it’s so much warmer in Jeju than in Seoul)

A panorama of Jeongbang Falls and the ocean

A panorama of Jeongbang Falls and the ocean

We munched on some grilled octopus on the way to the falls (there are some food stalls near the entrances of  tourist attractions in Jeju)

We munched on some yummy grilled octopus on the way to the falls (there are always some food stalls near the entrances of tourist attractions, it seems…)

There were a couple of haenyo who had set up a small sashimi shop close to the falls

There were a couple of haenyo who had set up a small sashimi shop close to the falls

They didn't speak English, but after a lot of gesturing from HZ they seemed to understand what we wanted: abalone!!

They didn’t speak English, but after a lot of gesturing from HZ they seemed to understand what we wanted : abalone!!

Our lunch (it was our most expensive lunch in Jeju)

Our lunch (it was our most expensive lunch in Jeju)

Considering the freshness and the ocean view, I'd say it was worth the experience!

Considering the freshness and the ocean view, I’d say it was worth the experience!

***

JEONGBANG FALLS (link) 정방폭포
37 Chilsimni-ro 214 beon-gil, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-733-1530
 - Entrance fee: 2,000 won
 - Parking fee: free

***

Of course, one plate of sashimi isn’t really enough to fill two people, so we wandered into Seogwipo City itself to look for food. We ended up exploring a covered market street (shotengai in Japanese) and bought sandwiches and a bag of roasted chestnuts (my winter favourite).

Fragrant, warm, and comforting (but they also make me thirsty too)

Fragrant, warm, and comforting (but they also make me thirsty too)

Close to the market was a rather artsy cobbled street, and it was along there that we stumbled into Panong Café. In addition to a small café menu, this place’s main attraction are their recycled pony souvenirs.

The front half of the shop featured communal crafting tables for those interested in making their own ponies

The front half of the shop featured communal crafting tables for those interested in making their own ponies

To understand the meaning behind the ponies, let me explain about the Jeju Olle trails.

Way back in 2006, a local journalist Suh Myung-sook had burned-out professionally and decided to quit her job. She then hiked along the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain on a holiday to recharge herself. The story goes that she was so impressed by it that she was inspired to recreate something similar in Jeju.

Blue and orange ribbons are the only trail markers, to avoid imposing man-made structures on the natural landscape

Blue and orange ribbons are the most frequently-seen trail markers, to avoid imposing too many man-made structures on the natural landscape

Since her first hiking trail was made public in 2007, the Jeju Olle Trails have now expanded to 21 trails (at least 10km each) that go all around Jeju Island. Unlike the route in Spain, the focus of Jeju Olle is less spiritual and more geared towards appreciating the natural landscapes of Jeju, as well as the local culture and historical sites (the trails pass through small villages, tiny volcanic zones called oreums, beaches, farms, and forests).

Spotted in the rapeseed fields by Seongsan Ilchulbong

An Olle trail sign (these only appear at significant spots), spotted near Seongsan Ilchulbong

These walking trails are a major tourist draw, and they promote ecological awareness and conservation issues. One of the issues they began tackling a few years ago was the amount of waste produced by the fashion industry — tons and tons of clothes are thrown out every season because they’re no longer “in style”.

With the help of local artists, they started an initiative to recycle the fabrics from these clothes into handmade keychain charms. These could then be sold to tourists as souvenirs, with the profits going towards maintaining the trails. The Ganse pony was chosen as both the mascot for the trails and for the keychains because they’re only found in Jeju, and they represent a slower-paced lifestyle.

You can either make your own (it takes 3-4 hours), or you can buy a pre-made one for 15,000 won

You can either make your own (it takes 3-4 hours), or you can buy a pre-made one for 15,000 won

I didn’t have the time to make one from scratch, so I bought a red one to bring back to Japan with me. It was really hard to choose, as each pony was completely different… If you are interested in getting or making one of these special keychains, you should definitely search for this café!

There was a very excited and incredibly adorable puppy inside the cafe. I think both HZ's and my heart melted a little whenever it gave us this look...

There was a very excited and incredibly adorable puppy inside the cafe. I think both HZ’s and my heart melted a little whenever it gave us this look…

***

PANONG CAFÉ 바농 카페
19 Ijungseom-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-763-7703
 - For more info about Jeju Olle: here, and here
 - For more info about the Ganse pony dolls: here, and here

***

We left the city center after that, and headed towards the Jusangjeolli Cliffs.

Stunning! (I'm so grateful we had such good weather during our Jeju trip)

Incredible! (I’m so grateful we had such good weather during our trip)

They look sort of familiar, right? That’s because they are formed by the same type of volcanic activity as the one that shaped the Giant’s Causeway in northern Ireland! Those beautiful hexagonal pillars are the signature feature of these cliffs.

Nature can be so amazing! (Fractals!)

Nature can be so amazing! (Fractals!)

Unfortunately, of all the tourist attractions we went to, this one was the most restricted: you could not get close to the cliffs themselves, and there were only three (very crowded) platforms that offered a good look at the pillars. While it certainly beats a plane ticket to Ireland, it didn’t feel like there was an equal amount of value for money…

Volcanic rocks are a constant feature in Jeju, but particularly at Jusangjeolli Cliffs!

Volcanic rocks (sometimes carved to look like people) are a constant feature in Jeju, but particularly at Jusangjeolli Cliffs!

***

JUSANGJEOLLI CLIFFS (link) 대포동지삿개
2767 Jungmun-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-738-1521
 - Entrance fee: 1,000 won
 - Parking fee: 2,000 won

***

The sun was already beginning to set when we left the cliffs and headed to our final destination for the day: Yongmeori Coast. HZ was already a bit tired and discouraged from the cliffs, so I really had to persuade him to make this one last stop.

On the way to the coast, we came upon this scene. The benefit of a car is that you can stop anywhere if you want to take pictures!

As soon as we rounded the corner after the ticket entrance, his enthusiasm completely returned. We were there at low tide, so we had the pleasure of scrambling up and down the coastline without any restrictions.

So glad we came here. It was breath-taking to walk around this area in the sunset!

So glad we came here. It was breath-taking to walk around this area at sunset!

Lovely water pools near the edge of the coastline

Lovely water pools near the edge of the coastline

(Actually, HZ is eating a piece of dried cuttlefish here...)

(HZ is eating a piece of dried cuttlefish here…)

The "rings" that run through the coastline were formed by centuries of waves pushing against the lava from a nearby volcanic vent

The “lines” that run down the coast were formed by centuries of waves pushing against the lava from a nearby volcanic vent

Watching our second sunset in Jeju

Watching our second sunset in Jeju

The colours of the rocks changed in the early evening light, but that only added to their charm

The colours of the rocks changed in the early evening light, but that only added to their charm

The setting was so nice I couldn't help myself and took a lot of "model shots" of HZ

The setting was so nice I couldn’t help myself and took a lot of “model shots” of HZ

This reminds of the secluded beach shots often used in fashion campaigns...

This reminds me of the rugged beach pictures often seen in men’s fashion campaigns…

My favourite picture from this series

One of my favourite pictures from this series

So happy HZ humoured me and my constant instructions

So happy HZ humoured me and my constant instructions

This part was his idea...

This part was his idea…

This definitely wouldn't have been possible at any of the other places we visited...

This definitely wouldn’t have been possible at any of the other places we visited…

Entirely his idea...

You can probably tell from the number of pictures how much fun we had exploring this area. It was photogenic from almost every angle, and our timing and the weather were perfect. I really recommend this place, especially in the winter if you want to avoid the crowds.

This was as far as went before we turned back (we weren't sure when they closed the entrance after sunset)

This was as far as we went before we turned back (we weren’t sure when they closed the entrance after sunset)

Bye-bye, Yongmeori!

Definitely one of the highlights of our trip!

***

YONGMEORI COAST (link) 용머리해안
181-1 Sagye-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-794-2940
 - Entrance fee: 2,000 won
 - Parking fee: free

***

The best dinner we had in Jeju was the local specialty, black pig BBQ at the famous Heukdonga Jeju restaurant. They claim that they only serve meat from free range local black pigs. Though there are a few branches of this chain in Seoul, their flagship store is of course in Jeju. (I would assume the meat is better here too…)

The chauffeur is now also the cook

The chauffeur is now also the cook!

The meat was slightly higher in price than regular pork, but the restaurant included two strips of skin as proof that we were really getting authentic black pig meat (haha)

The meat was higher in price than regular pork, but the restaurant included two strips of skin as proof that we were really getting authentic black pig meat (haha)

Yummy~

Charcoal-grilled and yummy~

Such concentration...

Such concentration…

The proper Korean way to eat grilled meat (drool)

The proper Korean way to eat grilled meat (drool)

Whether or not you eat at Heukdonga while you’re in Jeju doesn’t matter, so long as you try black pig BBQ at least once on the island. It was delicious, and really satisfying after a full day spent exploring… Make sure to bring enough money though!

***

HEUKDONGA JEJU (link) 흑돈가
2343 Nohyeong-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-747-0088

***

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Day 3 – West Jeju

To be honest, the western side of Jeju is the least developed (with regards to tourist attractions). We had over-exerted ourselves on the second day, and there were no longer any must-see locations left on our itinerary. This worked out well, considering we had to return the car in the afternoon and fly back to Seoul in the evening. So we decided to very leisurely drive around the west of Jeju…

It really was convenient having our own car...

It really was convenient having our own car…

We stopped by the O’Sulloc Tea Museum just for something to do. True to other reviews on the Internet, the “museum” portion of the complex was not that big compared to the “shopping” portion (it was the wrong season for us to tour the tea farms). We spent some time smelling the different tea samples the store offered, and browsing through their sister brand innisfree‘s beauty products. Everything was packaged in such appealing and lovely designs — had I needed to buy more souvenirs, I probably would’ve spent quite a bit of money there…

Instead, we decided to relax in their café and try some of their green tea-flavoured menu!

Our huge Matcha Latte, and Matcha-Vanilla ice-cream

Our huge Matcha Latte, and Matcha-Vanilla ice-cream

Making him wait (sometimes I do it for fun)

Making him wait (sometimes I do it for fun)

Lovely ice-cream. Cold things taste better in winter!

Lovely ice-cream

The hands of someone who gave up waiting for me

The hands of someone who gave up waiting for me

"How does it taste?" -- me; "Like every other matcha ice-cream..." -- HZ

The verdict: “How does it taste?” – me; “Like every other matcha ice-cream…” – HZ

There was a fancy conference building nearby, and we snuck in to take a look around

There was a fancy conference building nearby, and we snuck in to take a look around

Another one of my favourite shots

Another one of my favourite shots

Hidden in the back was an intriguing "comments" wall

Hidden in the back was an intriguing “comments” wall

This is a very good idea, honestly

This is a very good idea

***

O'SULLOC TEA MUSEUM (link) 오설록티뮤지엄
425 Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-794-5312
 - Entrance fee: free
 - Parking fee: free

***

I had previously read about a small local restaurant along the way that made an incredibly large burger — you had to share it, because it was too difficult to finish by yourself.

The restaurant is inside an interesting wooden lodge, but all the surfaces have since been covered by years and years of graffiti from other customers.

Trying to deflect the camera's attention

Trying to deflect the camera’s attention

While the restaurant itself was charming, the burger was a huge disappointment taste-wise. I can appreciate that the vegetables are organic and locally-grown, but the burger patty tasted a little too funny, and it was hard for us to finish what we had ordered (even though HZ hates wasting food).

A close-up of the burger's size

A close-up of the burger’s size

I won’t be posting the restaurant’s phone number, because I don’t really think it’s worth going to. If you read any other reviews about this place that say it’s delicious, you should definitely take their words with a grain of salt.

***

HWANGGEUMRYUNG BURGER (link) 황금륭버거 본점

***

Our last tourist stop before we returned the car was the famous Hyeopjae Beach. It was definitely the wrong season to be at a beach, and there was construction going on near the parking lot. However, the view of Biyangdo Island across the water was still beautiful in the winter, and the water was just as blue as I was led to believe.

Many people had built small rock statues using the volcanic rocks scattered near the water's edge

Many people had built small rock piles using the volcanic rocks scattered near the water’s edge

A structurally-sound rock pile

A pyramid-shaped rock pile

HZ couldn't resist building his own, though his pile was rather precariously balanced (it got knocked over five minutes later)

HZ couldn’t resist building his own, though his pile had a more unorthodox shape (sadly, it was accidentally knocked over 5 minutes later)

In many ways, this beach represented Jeju for me: unexpectedly beautiful

In many ways, this beach represented Jeju for me: touristy, but unexpectedly beautiful

The water looks so inviting, even though it's probably freezing cold in the winter...

The water looks so inviting, though it’s freezing cold in the winter…

HZ, with the view of Biyangdo Island

HZ, with a last view of Biyangdo Island

***

HYEOPJAE BEACH (link) 협재해변
2497-1 Hyeopjae-ri, Hallim-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
064-728-3394
 - Entrance fee: free
 - Parking fee: free

***

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The last Olle marker I saw on this trip

The last Olle sign I saw on this trip

I’m incredibly glad I made it out to Jeju instead of only staying in Seoul. Of course, I’m most grateful I managed to convince HZ to come along with me!

While the food was not as great, the scenery and ocean air definitely made it all worthwhile. The best part: we avoided the crazy crowds that always head toward Jeju in the warmer months! The weather was temperate during the days we were there, and sometimes we didn’t even bother wearing our coats — such a dramatic change from the chill winds in Seoul.

If you ever find yourself in South Korea during the winter, I really hope you also spend some time in Jeju!

.

This marks the end of my 12-day winter trip to South Korea. After spending so much time in another city and country, it took a while for me to re-adjust back to Japan. I definitely missed the heated flooring in Korea — Japanese winters would be so much more bearable with heated floors…

But I digress. 

Now that this mammoth series has ended, I’ll post about some smaller trips I made to Tokyo and Kyoto in February and April, respectively. Thanks for reading all the way through!

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