It's been a while since my last post. That's due to the fact that I've been traveling around Korea without my laptop to write anything. Although I do have my phone and I could write on there...but that's a pain in the ass.
These past few weeks I travelled to Jeju Island 제주 and Busan 부산 again. Anyways let me start from the top.
Through a friend of a friend I met a Belgium guy Jonathan who is also backpacking around Asia. He had just finished touring through most of Southeast Asia and had even got a motorcycle in Vietnam which was exactly what I'm planning on doing. So we definitely clicked and I had a ton of questions for him about Southeast Asia and Vietnam in particular.
Anyways due to the whole MERS bullshit scare, plane tickets from Seoul to Jeju Island, aka Honeymoon Island, where extremely cheap. I got a one way ticket for about $20 which is cheaper than a KTX ticket from Seoul to Busan! So Jonathan and I decided to travel together for the next couple weeks and we headed out to Jeju. I was full of questions for him about Vietnam which I hope didn't annoy him too much. Jonathan if you're reading this then sorry man if I annoyed you.
Anyways when we landed in Jeju it was rainy and pretty shit weather as always. I simply can't seem to get a break from bad weather out here. When we got there we arrived at the You and I guesthouse/hostel. It was pretty nice I have to say. Good clean sheets, clean bathrooms, free breakfast, and it's located right in the center of Jeju City. It was there that we met an Englishman, Lennie. Lennie is everything that you can imagine in a funny English bloke. He is quick witted, has a dry sense of humor, and an natural love for Craig David.
The following day in Jeju was actually turned out quite nice. It wasn't raining anymore and actually was sunny. We decided to to head out to a small island off the northeast coast of Jeju called Udo 우도. It's actually a very beautiful island with great views and a nice walking trail. There's a funny origin story of the Udo.
These photos are from phone because my camera had died when I unknowingly left my LCD screen on...idiot move I know. Along the way we met group of Americans, two law professors and a recent college grad, who were traveling through Jeju as well. We linked up and decided to all travel together.
The following day we decided to hike up the highest mountain in Korea, Mt. Halla 한라산, since the weather was still good. We had read signs and posting about how long it would take to hike up the mountain and most of them said it was about a 9-10 hour round trip from the base to the top. So we decided to wake up around 5:30AM to catch the bus by 6:10AM to the mountain base. Little did we know that it actually was about a 6-7 hour roundtrip hike so we could've all got an hour extra of sleep which would have been nice. Regardless it was relatively empty going up the mountain which was a perk. The whole way up was a solid built trail some parts even had nice decking, except when you get near the top where the builders kind of said fuck it and basically threw planking anywhere.
One thing I noticed about Koreans when they go hiking is the dress up for it like no other. They all have their hiking poles, a huge backpack like they're gonna be out for days, and the flashiest hiking outfit possible. That's all just incase you didn't know they were going hiking. Upon further observation my friends and I noticed that in their enormous hiking backpacks they aren't carrying gear but booze and food for when they reach the top. They were always eating and drinking. The Korean hikers reminded me of hobbits always carrying food and eating.
Oh and I have to mention this guy I saw on the mountain wearing dress shoes. He had to look stylish going up.
The remaining days in Jeju turned out to be pretty good in terms of there being no more rain. Although there was no more rain it was extremely hot.
Jonathan and I decided to rent a car to explore the rest of the island which turned out to be relatively cheap. About $55 each for 4 days. For the next couple days we bounced around the Island since we didn't need to wait anymore for buses that took forever to get anywhere.
We visited the a lava tube cave of Jeju, Manjanggul 만장굴 which was cool, but extremely dark inside. The lightning system was kinda done pretty poorly in my opinion. It was incredibly cold in there and the water dripping from the ceiling dropping on my back felt like someone dropping ice cubes down my back. My dive watch measured it down to about 60 Fahrenheit or 15C, which was pretty dam cold for me considering I was only wearing a tank top and shorts
Now the reason Jeju is called Honeymoon Island is for the fact that so many recently married Korean couples come to Jeju for their honeymoon. It's filled with a lot of natural beauty and has so many things dedicated for couples to do. The island is absolutely filled with any type of museum you could think of. Things are not even relevant to Korea like a Da Vinci Museum or The Teddy Bear Museum. There are soo many attractions on this island that you could spend an entire month going to every single one, not that anyone in their right mind would want to. The most famous attraction in recent history is probably Loveland. Loveland is a sex theme sculpture park with sex education films and all this other sex related stuff for the sheltered Korean youth. And no, I did not go there.
However, I did go to Oedolgae 외돌개. The story goes like this, Oedolgae is a large stone pillar that stands about 20 meters tall from the ocean. The Koreans battling the invading mongols dressed up the pillar as a giant general. Upon seeing the giant the mongols committed suicide out of fear. Now how accurate that really is I have no idea. It's just a story about a giant rock in the ocean so who really knows.
The beaches on Jeju were actually quite nice. They weren't dirty or overcrowded, but the water was cold as fuhhh and there were no waves. The no wave part is pretty funny, because we went to this one beach known for it's "surfing" but the waves were maybe 3 feet or 1 meter. The only thing you saw was a bunch of people sitting on their boards waiting for a wave that would never come. What was even funnier were the noobs looked like serious try hards walking around and when they tried to get a wave they crash hard.
Jeju has three famous waterfalls that are supposed to be utterly beautiful. To be completely honest they leave a lot to be desired. I was not impressed. We went to Cheonjiyeon which was ok, but you couldn't even swim in the water.
Jeju is a fun little island with lots of beautiful nature for sure. I'm sure it would look even better if the skies are clear and the weather cooperates. However, until then I'm stuck with the time I had of the island. It's not bad, but it wasn't all that amazing as well.