South Korea Day 5

Jeju Island

Wow what a long long day! It was up before the sun was this morning for another very ambitious day trip. I had asked the troops to be ready and waiting to go at 5 am. To their credit not only was everyone ready on time there was no complaining at all. In the dark we traversed our way through the lanes and alleys of Insadong and found our way to the bus stop. 1 bus ride later we arrived at Gimpo Airport just after the sun had risen. I was so anxious on the way as the bus was running so slow. In the end it was super easy to navigate through the airport and security and we were ready to go!

Seoul to Jeju island is one of the most traveled flight paths in the world. There are over 96 flights a day. The gate we boarded from was boarding planes every 10 minutes so it was super busy. We took a bus from the boarding gate to the plane and then sat back and enjoyed the 55min flight across South Korea to Jeju Island.

Our beautiful guide Grace picked us up at the airport and we eagerly started our Tour of Jeju Island. She explained to us that Jeju has its own dialect and sometimes they need subtitles on the Korean tv. The main things they have on the island are wind, volcanic rock and women. She told us lots of interesting facts about Jeju island. It is known as the Hawaii of Korea. We were all very excited to start exploring.

Our first stop was the Jeju Stone Park. It is this huge park with all the volcanic rocks around. Some areas are natural stones that were found. Some are carved. It was an odd place but we really enjoyed walking around looking at all the things that were there. Also the grass was so green and the sky so blue all the pictures we were taking looking beautiful. We tried a few shots with us posing but I think we just ended up looking like weirdos.

In the car on the way to the next stop the folk village we learnt that Jeju island has 21 walking tracks and if you walked them all you could go the whole way around the island.

Grace drove us to the folk village and booked us into seeing one of the traditional houses. We arrived at this house and was greeted by the cutest elderly Korean man. It turns out the traditional houses of the village are all lived in by people. He invite us into his house and it was so entertaining he was so funny and I just lives him. He explained the history of the houses and traditions. He explained that Anthony as a married man would be called a king and he wouldn’t need to do anything as the wife does it all.. I don’t think sounds too different from real life ;p He showed us how gates used to work in the Jeju houses. Each gate has hole for 3 poles and depending on what pole is up tells you if someone is home or if they are away. He kept making jokes and laughing with himself and we couldn’t help but laugh with him his happiness was infectious.

We looked at his pet pig as Jeju is known for the Black Pork. He showed us the tea Jeju has been brewing for ages. It is called 5 taste tea because depending on how you are feeling the taste will change. For eg. If it tastes sour you are tired or have kidney problems. Interestingly it tasted sour for Anthony while the rest of us were a bit sour and sweet. We ended up buying some Tea from him because he was just delightful. He also showed us that his house has been used in some Korean Dramas although I do not remember the name. We then had to leave which was sad but our next stop was lunch.

Lunch was in the folk village too. Grace ordered for us and joined us for lunch which was lovely. We had a feast of 2 different types of Jeju Black Pork and about 1 million side dishes. We also got some Korean rice wine which was nice and got to eating. We also had a Mugwort pancake. There was so much food. When we finished the pork Grace told us to put all the side dishes in the pan with some rice so we could make our own dishes. That was delicious as well.

Full and satisfied we walked through the rest of the folk village. Grace also explained to us that if you took all of the stone walls in Jeju and put them together it is estimated to be 6x the size of the Great wall of China. The village is amazing and the thatched roofs on all the houses are awesome. However I would hate to be the person who has to change he thatching complete every 10 years.

Grace picked us up at the end of the village and we started the drive to Sunrise Peak. This place is another UNESCO World heritage site. The view of the crater when we got there was amazing it was so pretty. Grace told us it would take us 40 min up and down to reach the summit. However as we got closer to the walking tracks we realised how tall this freaking Mountain was. Now we had 2 injured people and our legs already felt like they needed a private holiday so we where very unsure how this trek would go to the top. Determined we started the very long and very steep hike up the mountain. It was long and very difficult but after about 53 flights of steps we made it to the peak. The views of Jeju Island all the way up the Mountain were amazing and the crater up the top was great. I understand why they heritage listed the area although I will not be in a hurry to hike it again.

After sculling multiple drinks down the bottom of the mountain we jumped back in the car and Grace took us to our last stop of the day which was the Lava Tubes. It is this huge tunnel that about 300 years ago was hollowed out with lava. The cave is cold and wet although it is amazing to look at. The tunnel is also UNESCO heritage listed. I rolled my ankle a couple of times in the tunnel as the bottom is full of uneven rocks made from the lava. I would recommend going here though it is a beautiful example of the force of nature.

Tired from a big day Grace drove us back to the Airport. We could not have asked for a more amazing tour guide. She was friendly, helpful and just a joy to be around. If anyone wants to find her I booked her through toursforlocals. Thankyou so much for today Grace. You made it such a great day and thankyou for putting up with us talking about movies for the last hour of the drive. You were amazing.

We grabbed some food at the airport and then completed our crazy day trip with a 55 min flight home. What a day. I cannot believe we completed a day trip with 2 flights but man was it a good day. Jeju island is such a beautiful place and I would have loved the opportunity to stay on the island for much longer. However we only have 2 more days in Seoul. Anyway I am so tired so it is bedtime for me!!