Tag Archives: Manjanggul

Jeju Island

27 May

JejuianAs advertised, I spent the week of May 19-25 on Korea’s honeymoon/getaway island of Jeju! Now, for the sake of curbing my verbosity (and because I don’t feel like thinking too hard), I’m doing this post in point form, with pictures throughout. Ladies and Gents, a walk through my week on Jeju-do!

May 19:

01

  • 1 hour on the plane, after the easiest airport security checkpoint I’ve ever crossed!
  • First impressions: Jeju is gray and drizzley! Where’s my tropical vacation weather?!
  • Too early to check into my first-night’s hostel, I spent some quality time in Dunkin’ Donuts. They served my bagel in small bite-sized pieces with a fork, and I finished my lame book.
  • Got to my hostel and realized why it was only $13/night. On the bright side, there were only 3 of us in my 6-bed female dorm room that night, so there was room to move and the ability to chat.
  • I spent the evening walking aimlessly (which isn’t to say unhappily!) along the northern shoreline. I witnessed a Jeju “mermaid” (elderly woman diver without breathing apparatus) surfacing from the waters, her day’s catch in its bulging net. I also found a great gazebo thing on the edge of a cliffy gorge, as well as a smallish temple.

May 20:

  • Switched hostels. Totally worth the extra $7/night, plus free breakfast!
  • Hopped a bus down south, to the Jeju Folk Museum. Felt awkward when I realized it was an old-fashioned village where people actually live. It’s free, and you can walk through several yards and poke your head into rooms, but that’s only interesting for about half an hour. Not to mention the women who live there tend to be standing around, watching their guests snoop around their houses. I left after a snack break – for another 1-hour bus ride.
  • Befriended a girl at our hostel, also from Vancouver. Then Jessica arrived! We ate a dinner of Jeju “black pork” together. Delish!

May 21:

  • Had our free breakfast, then hopped the bus to Hallasan (“san”, meaning mountain). Our Vancouverite friend joined us after deciding against the 10-hour hike. Jess and I decided to do the 5 hour one, and it was a great choice! I hate hiking. I’ve said that before. But it was a great day, we had wonderful views, and I was happy to work for them.
  • After returning back to the hostel, showering, and donning clean clothes, we went to ACTUAL PIZZA HUT and ate pizza. Then Jess and I bought an ice cream cake to celebrate her upcoming birthday, and reward ourselves for all our hard work.

May 22:

  • Getting lost day: a bus ride due south, to the city on the opposite side of the island. Then many hours spent wandering in the wrong direction, wondering if we should “just take a taxi” everywhere. We tried to find some waterfalls, but ended up at a different one (just fine; water falling is water falling). Then we wanted to go to the beach, which we didn’t think was that far, and so ended up costing about 4 times as much as we thought it would by taxi. It was an expensive mistake for a day that should otherwise have cost us nothing, but at least the scenery was gorgeous.

May 23:

  • At the top of Songsan! I suggest doing an image search, as none of my pictures do it justice.

    At the top of Songsan! I suggest doing an image search, as none of my pictures do it justice.

    Jess and I got in contact with CINDY, who was also on the island! After a few frantic emails and phone calls, we finally were able to cross paths. She ended up joining us for yet another hike up Songsan Ilchubang, or “sunrise peak”, this great, gaping bowl of a mountain that seems to come up out of no where and is supposedly a great place to watch the sun rise. We didn’t, but it was still pretty.

  • Again, it seemed appropriate to reward ourselves with junk food, so we had a burger lunch before heading out to activity #2:
  • Lava caves! Manjanggul is a lava “tube” that goes on for a couple kilometers underground. For only a couple bucks, you can descend into the depths of the earth and walk its cold, dark bowels.

    At the end of our walk down the lava tube. It ROCKed.

    At the end of our walk down the lava tube. It ROCKed.

May 24:

  • Relaxation day! Jess and I visited the nearby(ish) Samyang black sand beach, where the sand was particularly hot to walk on. We got sunburned, explored the tidal pools, and gushed about how CLEAR the water was. Then we changed out of our bathing suits and walked around town a bit.

    The sand didn't seem that  dark to me, but it was sure hot to step on!

    Samyang “black sand” beach. The sand didn’t seem that dark to me, but it was sure hot to step on!

  • That evening we found out about an Indian restaurant, in a happening part of town we hadn’t explored yet. Rajmahal was not only pretty easy to get to, but we got a great 2-person deal which more than worth the delicious and authentic food we got.

May 25:

  • I enjoyed my last breakfast at the hostel, said goodbye to my comrade, then hoofed it to the airport.
  • When this becomes your normal, you've arrived.

    When street kimbap becomes your normal, you’ve arrived.

    After the plane, I took a bus back to Chuncheon. Once there, it was only by chance that I should run into Peter and Joy, a couple who have been like stand-in parents to me this year. Apparently their son was on the same bus as me, and they were picking him up! Without thought, Joy and I gave each other a big hug, and they offered me a ride home. I was so happy and surprised to see them that I realized just how difficult it will be to say my final goodbyes. I’ve spent enough time in Chuncheon that I run into people I know, and can call many of them family. To me, that’s the definition of home. Bittersweet only begins to describe the feelings I have about leaving Korea in eight short weeks. What a day that will be!

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