We flew from Busan to Jeju. We chose the volcanic island purely because of the hit Korean drama, Boys over Flowers, which was shot there. There were scenes from the drama taken on a yellow flower field. I always want to be taken pictures while running on a sunflower field ala Indian movie. It didn’t cross my mind that we were visiting Korea during winter, hence there wouldn’t any flower blooming let alone a flower field. Nevertheless, Jeju was gorgeous and engaging. Our best memories..
Climbing Sunrise Peak
After realizing there wouldn’t be any running in between the flowers, Jeju itinerary was empty. The guesthouse managers suggested a few things. We decided to go to Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. It took more than an hour bus ride to reach the place, but it so was worth it. Even during winter, the sunrise peak was breathtaking. The natural beauty was a treat to the eyes.
Climbing up wasn’t easy for me, actually I hate climbing! Because I was both unfit and lazy. I reached up huffing and puffing like an old lady while my friends were waiting for the peak while enjoying the scenery but that too was worth it. I can only imagine how fantastic would it be to see this place during the sunrise.
Sighting the Mermaids
When you visit Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, make sure you are in time to see the women divers at either 1 PM or 3 PM. These so called mermaids are Haenyo, women divers, who make a living by diving into the sea to catch “food” with simple diving equipment. Haenyo is a protected tradition in Korea with an interesting story behind it. Unfortunately, we were late so we couldn’t see these strong ladies in action. Doing something I would never do, to dive and catch a wriggling octopus. I would have peed in my pants, in the sea.
Staying in a Guesthouse
Jeju has hundred of guesthouses and we stayed in one called Yeha. Staying in a guesthouse was a fun experience, you guys! We got to people watch in their personal habitat. Since I have written about it before, I will skip blabbering about this one. But really, do stay in a guesthouse, meet interesting people.
Feasting Black Pig
The girls told me that Jeju is famous for the black pig dish and we ought to try. It took us four cabs, the last one finally agreed to take us, after we called the guesthouse manager to explain to the driver to drop us somewhere we can eat the famous local dish.
It turned out that there was a street dedicated to the black pig dish. Right until I looked down on the food in front of me, I thought a black pig would be black meat, like maybe the meat was darker, or it was marinated in soy sauce. It wasn’t, it’s red meat which came from a black skinned pig. (I am having a hard time describing the pig I ate).
The food came, and it was sooooo good! The meat was so tender that it melted in the mouth (Note to self: I like eating things that melt in the mouth). Trust me, it’s good. Like, OMG, I love life kinda good. It was so good that we came back the next night to the same place.
Taking a Peek at the Spirited Garden
I like spending time in the gardens, but visiting garden was never prioritized in my travel itineraries, so I consider myself lucky to be able to see the Spirited Garden. The garden, built with love, was so peaceful and nurturing. We spent our time here walking and reading the words of the owner/gardener written on the rocks all around the garden. Spirited Garden is voted as one of the most beautiful gardens in the world and I agreed. I left the place feeling lighter.
One of the most obvious things about Jeju Island, besides the natural beauty, is that it’s a short getaway island for tourists, both local and international. There are many guesthouses in the island and touristy activities including parks, gardens and museums. We ended up going to two museums over that weekend. The first one was the Teddy Bear museum. We enjoyed it; they have very interesting collections of teddies. The only let down was the gift shop, which is usually my favorite part of a museum. The bear’s fur wasn’t soft enough compared to the price they charged.
We also went to the Trick Museum. I wasn’t feeling well on that day, but my besties had a blast.
Enjoying the Seaside
On the day, we took a bus ride to Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak we passed by a picturesque seaside with many houses, hotels and other amnesties built right in front of it. It’s so beautiful. If you ask me those sights alone makes Jeju worth visiting.
On our last day, we went to the seaside at Wangjeong-ri. It has a small white sand beach with a few coffee shops overlooking it. We went to the called hi & bye and spent the whole morning there, enjoying the tastiest drinks and fantastic weather. If there is one place in Jeju I would like to be teleported to. This is the place.
I always want to hide/retire on the beach, preferably Phi Phi Island but these days, the image of sitting on a balcony overlooking the seaside like Emily Thorne on Revenge season 1 seem so appealing (she didn’t do much of it on the later seasons, too busy plotting and re-plotting unnecessary revenge on people other than the one who betrayed her papa). Oh yes, I would love that, especially if there is black
pig pork being served for dinner.
Ps. I will be posting scenic Jeju pictures every day of the week on Instagram, check it out. Also, thanks for reading; you are invited to my future seaside house in Jeju.