So last weekend we decided to take a weekend trip to Jeju. Hyo hadn’t been since she was in grade school, and I had never been so we thought it was about time to check it out.
Unfortunately, we took our trip at what seemed to be the beginning of the rainy season down there. It rained everyday we were there so that cut out any beach activities, but we were still able to have fun and enjoy a lot of things.
First things first…the flight
We took Eastar Jet. I was very pleased with them. The flight from Incheon to Jeju is only about 50 minutes and the seats were comfortable for domestic. No delays or anything so that was good.
Renting a Car
I highly recommend renting a car if you go to Jeju (scooter is the next best thing). We had a few problems when trying to rent a car. One, I don’t have my Korean driver’s license yet. Foreigners can only rent a car if they have that, or an international driver’s permit. I didn’t have that either. We thought about getting a scooter, but it was raining the whole time.
Two, Hyo has a license, but her experience driving is literally zero :p . So we came up with an idea. She rented the car and…you can put 2 and 2 together 🙂
We decided to stay in Jeju City, and we stayed at the December Hotel. Nothing special, but a good price and a good base to start out from to explore the island and come back to. Rooms were spacious and clean, and we were very pleased with the service as well. They have a parking lot and apparently I can’t park because the hotel manager asked me about 3 times to give him our car keys so he could repark my car for me. Thanks.
So on Saturday, our first day there, we checked in, hopped into our car, and set off to our first destination.
I saw MazeLand on some website (can’t remember) and wanted to check it out. It reminded me of this huge maze we had back home in Detroit my mom took me to when I was in elementary school so I guess i was feeling a little nostalgic. The maze wasn’t as big as that one, but we still had a good time. Hyo started off as our navigator, but she eventually gave me the map and told me to finish.
Luckily the rain took a break while we were out in the maze, and we finished both mazes in about an hour. We did get lost a few times and I just ended up following some random people which got us even more lost.
The scenery outside is also nice and I could imagine what it looked like when it was sunny outside.
After finishing up the maze, we set off to our second destination…
Seongsan Sunrise Peak
The rain had still stopped for a bit when we arrived, but it was still cloudy and windy so even if we did arrive in time for the sunset, I’m we wouldn’t have been able to see it.
We parked the car, paid for our tickets, and headed up the small peak. Hyo and I must really be out of shape or just getting older. It’s not a long hike, but damn were we tired going up those stairs. Some people were walking barefoot and I looked in disbelief.
We made it to the top in about 30 minutes (stopping to take pictures along the way) and once we got to the top, the view was beautiful even on a rainy day. Now Hyo is afraid of heights, and once we got to the top, it was incredibly windy. She was even more scared and I couldn’t get her to go to the railings to see a closer view of the peak. She was literally afraid she would be blown off the mountain.
She told me to go take my pictures, which I did. As we began to go back down, a random Korean guy asked me to take his picture and then asked me to take a picture together saying I was his new friend. Korea never ceases to be random to me haha. As we headed back down, there was a nice ledge overlooking the landscape below. I asked Hyo to turn around and act like she was looking out over the railing, and I would take her picture from behind. She was obviously confused, but did it anyway.
While pretending I was taking her picture, I pulled out the engagement ring I had bought her, got in front of her and proposed. She was surprised, and a family coming up the mountain was shocked and started taking pictures.
We headed back down the mountain happy as ever.
Jeju is famous for 흑돼지 (pork from the black pigs that live there) so we wanted to try it. We found a nice restaurant near our hotel which had so many side dishes and vegetables it was awesome. We got pretty full, and the taste is slightly different from the regular pork you can find in the rest of the cities in Korea.
I woke up kind of early and opened the window and saw breaks of sun, so I was a little excited. After going back to sleep, I woke up again to find the rain back. 짜증나.
We headed out to Udo after waking up a bit late. Udo is a small island right off Jeju’s east coast which has ATVs, scooters, horses, and other things for people to enjoy. Following the car’s GPS took us to the wrong ferry terminal. It was about 12:45, and the ferry was supposed to leave at 1, and we didn’t want to wait for the next one at 2, because we had other things we wanted to see. So Hyo punched in the destination on the GPS on her phone, and we got to the terminal at 12:55.
We rushed inside for our tickets, and we made it onto the ferry with about 1 minute to spare. The ferry ride was not very long, but the weather made the waves very choppy. And for some reason since January, I’ve developed slight motion sickness when I take boats or when airplanes are landing. I didn’t have it too bad on this ferry, but I still don’t know how or why I have it after being totally cool for most of my life.
After we arrived, we headed to the ATV place and rented our ATV. Once again, foreigners can’t rent without the proper license, so Hyo had to use hers. She is too cute when trying to drive, and after driving around for a little bit, she decided it was best to let me drive the rest of the way.
This is when the rain started coming down like crazy, but we had our rain gear on, and it wasn’t going to stop us. We rented the ATV for an hour, saw some horses, saw the sea, and really just felt free driving around on it. After finishing, we headed back to the ferry to head back to the main island of Jeju.
After we got off the ferry, we got to our car and….I didn’t have the car keys. My first reaction was that they fell out while riding the ATV, so we called the rental company, and they said it would take an hour to bring a new set, and cost about 50,000 won for taxi fare (for them) and the new keys…ugh.
But Hyo told me the keys could be on the ferry because I laid down and they could’ve fallen out. So we went back to the ferry which was luckily still there, and voila! they were laying on the floor next to a pole we were sitting near. We were very lucky and jumped for joy haha. We called the company and told them we found the keys, and headed off to our next destination.
The name means lonely rock, and that’s exactly what you see after years of erosion from the sea and wind. It was still raining a lot when we went here as well, but the walk to the viewing point was well sheltered by a lot of tropical plants. it was a very quick trip here, but still enjoyed it. We got some good pictures, and the view was awesome.
Last stop…The Teddy Bear Museum
Since it was raining, we decided to try an indoor place for a change. The Teddy Bear Museum seemed to be near the main tourist area of the island as I saw a lot of families and attractions all clustered into one place. It was pretty interesting and the museum had a lot of themed Teddy Bears from Michael Jordan to a scene from Titanic. We went through it pretty quickly though and got in just before it closed. After we finished, I spotted the Chocolate Museum next door, but of course it was closed! So annoying as I quite the sucker for chocolate.
With the day almost over, we wanted to try to catch a glimpse of Hallasan, Korea’s tallest mountain. However, while driving, I got distracted by trying to find a good place to take a picture of a rainbow that had suddenly appeared, and then it disappeared completely defeating my efforts.
We still had some daylight so we tried to drive up to the top of the mountain anyways, but it got dark very quickly, and before you knew it, we were driving up this 2 lane winding road with no other cars in sight. I’m not gonna lie, it was a bit creepy. Especially when we got out of the car to try to take a picture of the landscape below. When we got out, I looked behind us at pitch black nothingness and concluded that this is exactly how a horror movie starts. We promptly got back into the car and accepted that we wouldn’t be seeing the mountain, and just steadily drove down the road until finally we saw another car for the first time in about an hour and a half.
We finished the night off with some 닭갈비 (Grilled Chicken) which was supposed to be special chickens from Jeju. I admit, it was probably one of the best i’ve ever tasted, and the vegetables were really fresh as well.
Hopefully next time it will be sunny when we visit Jeju again. And you definitely need about 3 or 4 days to see most of the things you may wanna see. Until next time…look for a comic on Sunday!Also remember that romanization is only a tool. Try not to depend on it too much. Learning the Hangul alphabet is the key to success!
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