Korea Pt. 3 - Volcanic Jeju Island

Jeju Island, Seoul, Busan, DMZ in Korea
August 27, 2019 Travel

From Busan, we flew to Jeju Island, which was the easiest way to get here, and pretty cheap was well! I think my flight was around $50/person, which wasn't too bad. Just a warning, there are a ton of pictures in this post because Jeju Island is beautiful and there's so much to do here for such a tiny little island! We were staying for 3 nights, so we had 2 full days to explore, and we also had decided to rent a car to drive around the island rather than relying on tours or public transit. Actually, when we went to rent our car, the workers were talking to another customer, and then later told me that the customer was some famous Korean actress, which was kind of cool even though I have no idea who she was hahah!

We had decided to stay in a hotel just a bit outside of Jeju city, which turned out to be a good idea because traffic in Jeju city was pretty awful for such a small little town. Anyway, it doesn't really matter where you stay if you have a car, since the island is so small, it's not that far to drive around the whole island.

Our first stop on our road trip was to the Osulloc Tea Museum, where they had a variety of delicious green tea desserts, as well as some really nice green tea for purchase too. It's cool because since Jeju island is basically a volcano, the green tea is a little different because of the volcanic soil, not that I can really taste a difference.

Next up, we headed to the Yongmeori coast, but it wasn't open to visitors since the tide was high, so we decided to come back later and head to Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls, which is actually a few waterfalls! It's really nice, and probably takes around an hour to see all the picture spots, and head back.

We had lunch in Seogwipo, where we had Korean bbq (again), but we tried the famous black pork of Jeju island - you can find it at many places on Jeju island. I can't really tell the difference between the black pork and regular pork, but it was super tasty nonetheless!

After lunch, we checked out Jeongbang Falls, another famous falls on Jeju island. There is a third famous one, called Cheonjiyeon Waterfall (yes, very similar to Cheonjeyeon falls), but we didn't go to the third one since we wanted to see some other spots instead. All these spots had small fees to enter, but fairly low and reasonable, plus you got discounts if you were students or under 25.

After that, we went to see Daepo Jusangjeolli Cliff, which is like the Korean version of Giant's Causeway (which I also really want to see). It's really cool, and is also formmed from volcanoes. Jeju island is cool because the whole island is basically just a big volcano, the main volcano is Hallasan, which is in the the middle of the island. Unfortunately, we weren't up for hiking Hallasan, it can be a pretty long hike (like 8-10 hours), and the weather was really hot and a little smuggy as well, so we didn't think we would be able to see too much nor did we want to deal with hiking in the heat. Anyway, these rocks were really cool, and the view by the sea was beautiful!

Our last stop for the day was back to Yongmeori Coast. You can walk around the rocks when the tide was low, and it was high tide when we were here in the morning so we couldn't go so we came back again later in the evening. Although it should have been open at this time, apparently the water was rough, so it was too dangerous to go down, which was unfortunate :( Instead, we just walked around the are and walked a little further up the hill to get some nice seaside views.

So that was our first day exploring Jeju Island! For dinner, we headed into Jeju city for some pork noodle soup, which is something that is supposed to be something to try on Jeju Island. There's like a street in Jeju city where all the pork noodle soup places are. Anyway, driving into Jeju city was pretty hectic, there was a lot of traffic, and also the drivers on Jeju island were all insane. It was also super difficult to find parking, but we managed to find a paid parking garage for a couple hours. The noodles were tasty, but honestly I still prefer ramen broth. It was still worth trying, and also a cheap meal! We also found the best bingsu that I had the whole time I was in Korea, it was at a place called Alice Bingsu, and their shaved ice like just melted immediately in your mouth. Also, their green tea one was shaved green tea ice, rather than green tea flavouring on top of the shaved ice, so it was sooooo tasty!

The following day, our first stop was Manjanggul Cave. It's basically a lava tube, and is full of hardened lava structures like stalagmites and stalactites, columns, and other lava-y things. The world's largest lava column is also in here, that's when the lava flowed down from another lava tube, and then hardened and left a column! It was really cool to walk in a lava tube, although it was a little scary knowing that technically, Hallasan is still an active volcano.

After checking out the lava tubes, we went to see Seongsan Ilchulbong, which is like a hill, and had some food nearby in the town below. You can also take a boat out to Udo island from the little town here, which we unfortunately didn't have time to do. Anyway, Seongsan Ilchulbong is basically a hill in the shape of a crater that was formed from a volcano erupting, and is also a UNESCO heritage site (as is all of Jeju island and its lava tubes, in general). The climb up isn't too long, around 30 min, and it's all stairs, but still quite painful in the humid heat. At the top, there's a beautiful view of the town and island down below, as well as a really cool view of the crater!

After that, we just wanted to relax for a bit, so we headed to Hamdeok beach to chill for a bit before dinner. Afterwards, we found this delicious seafood place a short drive from the beach, where we were pretty much the only people in the restaurant. The waitress was so lovely, and also had pretty good English, and we had this delicious dish with all different kinds of seafood and beansprouts in some delicious sauce, and also a bunch of side dishes.

The following morning, we just had a couple hours before we had to head to the airport to fly back to Seoul, so we stopped by Jeju Loveland before going to the airport. It's basically this park with lots of statues in promiscuous positions, I won't post the pics but enjoy this SFW one! It was fun to walk around the park looking at everything, and the park itself is super nice and laid out well! :D

That was the end of our brief stay on Jeju Island, unfortunately! I loved Jeju Island, it was so beautiful and cute, and although we got to see a lot, we definitely could have stayed another couple days and really thoroughly explored all the Jeju island sights, including hiking up Hallasan, and exploring Udo! Next time! :D

For our last night in Seoul, we stayed at a guesthouse close to Central station so that access to the airport would be easier, as my boyfriend had an early morning flight. It was up a hill, so that was kind of painful in the heat with our suitcases, but in a a convenient part of town, so I didn't mind too much.

Our final dinner was - you guessed it - more Korean bbq! We went to a restaurant that was feature in one of Anthony Bourdain's shows, called Jeongdaepo, the meat was delish and the service there was great too! A great end to our trip :') The next day, after my boyfriend left, I wandered around Seoul by myself for a bit before heading to the airport, and enjoyed some dessert from a Osulluc store in Seoul, as well as some single serving bibimbap!

I really loved my trip to Korea, actually a lot more than I expected. The food was great, the sights were great, and the people were so friendly! I don't think I encountered a single person who wasn't nice, which honestly surprised me as a tourist. I think I say this about every place I visit, but I would really love to visit again in the future, and explore other parts of Korea as well! :)