Korea destinations – Jeju

There are literally hundreds of attractions on Jeju island, and if you read travelogues on Jeju, you’ll find that no two are the same. Dokkaebi road (mysterious road) is probably one of the more popular ones. We had a go there as well, putting the car into neutral gear and watching in amazement as the car went uphill on its own. Quite fun.

Dokkaebi Road
Cars lining up to try out Dokkaebi Road. Even from this photo, it looks as if the path is an uphill one.

We stayed at Neulpureun Guesthouse at the south western side of Jeju so we it will be convenient for me to visit Yeongmeori coast the next morning. As there was no information about restaurants in that area, i selected to go to the only restaurant that was marked in the GPS navigation app. It turned out to be a traditional cold noodles shop, which we were not so keen on, but along the same street, there was a BBQ place packed with locals. It was cheap and good!

The combination platter that included live abalones cost only KRW 38000

It was not a comfortable sight seeing the abalones squirming as they were grilled. To be honest, i didn’t enjoy eating them when i had to grill them myself. Anyway, in case you’re interested, this restaurant is located at roughly the GPS coordinates 33.22360, 126.2539.

The hosts at Neulpureun Guesthouse were such kind and friendly people (as with all Koreans!). I recommend staying here if you’re visiting attractions near south western Jeju. The only downside was the shared bathroom.

The next morning, we went to Yeongmeori coast, only to be disappointed – it was closed due to high tide. The pathway can be seen submerged in seawater. Oh well, so much for arranging for a nearby accommodation. Anyway, we were told there was a nice view 5 minutes drive from the Guesthouse, prior to reaching Yeongmeori. True enough, there was a nice view, so not all was lost.

Nice sea view
Nice coastal view
Spotted an interesting looking spider - big round red-spotted body, skinny legs, just like in the cartoons!
Spotted an interesting looking spider – big round red-spotted body, skinny legs, just like in the cartoons!
Beautiful flower near Yeongmeori coast entrance
Beautiful flower near Yeongmeori coast entrance
And another one
And another one
Smiley horse
Smiley horse

The next logical thing to do seems to be lunch, for which I have selected Seongmi Garden, a popular restaurant that features local chicken. Knowing this place will be packed, especially during the holidays in Korea, we decided to get there early (before noon), and thankfully we did so. The turnover was really quick, and we got our table not long after, but afterwards the queue just kept getting worse.

Steamboat with slices of chicken to start you off. Nothing special about the chicken, unlike for beef where different cuts will taste different
Steamboat with slices of chicken to start you off. Nothing special about the chicken, unlike for beef where different cuts will taste different
Stuffed chicken, now this was very good
Stuffed chicken. Very nice texture.
Green bean and rice porridge cooked in stock (chicken stock I presume) served at the end. I've never eaten green bean porridge cooked this way. This was mind blowing good! The green bean remained whole (instead of having the skin separated) despite probably having been cooked a long time.
Green bean and rice porridge cooked in stock (chicken stock I presume) served at the end. I’ve never eaten green bean porridge cooked this way. This was mind blowing good! The green bean remained whole (instead of having the skin separated) despite probably having been cooked a long time.

Next up, Jeoulmul recreational Forrest. This was a nice place for taking a stroll.

Picnic benches
Picnic benches
Korean style lanscape
Korean style lanscaping
Spring water. Can you spot the crow?
Spring water. Can you spot the crow?
Wonderful boardwalks
Wonderful boardwalks

Our last item of the day was to scale Seongsan Ilchulbong, arguably the most important attraction in Jeju. The light rain didn’t deter us from going.

And here we are at the summit
And here we are at the summit. Not too challenging.
Panoramic view of the crater
Panoramic view of the crater
View of Seongsan town
View of Seongsan town
Coast at the foot of Seongsan Ilchulbong
Coast at the foot of Seongsan Ilchulbong
Take note of the timing in case you're interested in the performance
Take note of the timing in case you’re interested in the performance
Yet another pretty flower
Yet another pretty flower

There are plenty of restaurants near Seongsan Ilchulbong. Again, i relied on the suggestions from my GPS app and selected Yetnalyetjeok. They specialize in pork (black pork, no less) dishes and also have a few seafood ones. The price is very down to earth. I would suggest that there is no point in going to a specialty BBQ place to eat black pork, as you probably can’t tell the difference between black pork and normal pork.

Black pork kimchi stew. The soup is tasty. The pork is a little dry, which is expected for pork cooked in soup. This was only KRW 5000!
Black pork kimchi stew. The soup is tasty. The pork is a little dry, which is expected for pork cooked in soup. This was only KRW 5000!
Black pork bulgogi. The sauce was thick and not too sweet, very good.
Black pork bulgogi. The sauce was thick and not too sweet, very good.
Pork cutlet. Koreans pork is good for doing this.
Pork cutlet. Koreans pork is good for doing this.

Udo island is a short 10 minutes ferry ride away from Seongsan town. Upon reaching the ferry terminal, there’s a signboard that points you to the car park and the other way which goes to the ferry. You need to go into the car park. Someone was stationed there to ensure all the cars visiting Udo would go into the car park. A boring job indeed, but so necessary. I have a confession to make: i was one of them who doubted and hesitated in going into the car park.

You do need to make a stop, fill up a declaration form and pay for the ticket before you can drive onto the ferry. I guess i’ve read about this from some blog posting before, but didn’t bother to note down.

Stacked volcanic black rocks
Stacked volcanic black rocks

I think the best sights on Udo island are Udobong Peak where the lighthouse is, and Geomeolle beach. The weather wasn’t so good while i was there though, so i scrapped the idea of walking up to the lighthouse.

The path leading to the lighthouse was covered with thick fog
The path leading to the lighthouse was covered in thick fog

Day 8DSC_0410_wm

Geomeolle beach
Geomeolle beach
Volcanic black rocks
Volcanic black rocks
Peanuts and orange flavoured ice cream
Peanuts and orange flavoured ice cream. Peanuts is probably grown on Udo.
Agriculture is still the main activity on Udo despite it being a tourist attraction
Agriculture is still the main activity on Udo despite it being a major tourist attraction
Paddy fields are segregated by black volcanic rocks
Paddy fields are segregated by black volcanic rocks

Lunch was at the restaurant famous for Hallasan fried rice. You have a choice to start with either pork or spicy squid. Since we had quite a bit of pork the night before, we chose the squid.

Spicy squid
Spicy squid
Erruption!
Eruption!
The finished product which is supposed to resemble Jeju island. The history of Jeju island is told (in English) as the fried rice is prepared.
The finished product which is supposed to resemble Jeju island. The history of Jeju island is told (in English) as the fried rice is prepared.

At KRW 37000, lunch was not cheap, but for the “show” that was part of lunch, it was quite interesting.

The beaches on Udo are not as impressive as i thought they would be, save for Geomeolle beach. Nevertheless, it’s pleasant to take a stroll.

Statues of diving women, a testament to how tough they are. Respect.
Statues of diving women at Sanho beach, a testament to how tough they are. Respect.
Re insisted on having a photo taken with this mascot
Re insisted on having a photo taken with this mascot
One of those fanciful vehicles you can rent on Udo. This one reminds me of the Batcycle, with its fat tyres.
One of those fanciful vehicles you can rent on Udo. This one reminds me of the Batcycle, with its fat tyres.
Lighthouse at the northern end of Udo.
Lighthouse at the northern end of Udo.
Cafe by the beach, literally
Cafe by the beach, literally
Onboard the ferry heading back to Seongsan
Onboard the ferry heading back to Seongsan

The final stop for the day was Manjanggul cave, which is actually a lava tube. Being able to walk inside a tube carved out by molten lava seems quite novel to me.

This plant on the way to the cave entrance reminds me of Minecraft
This plant on the way to the cave entrance reminds me of Minecraft
Cupolas
Cupolas
A turtle rock that reminds me of Star Trek
A turtle rock that looks like a spacecraft from Star Trek
Lava column
Lava column

Since we were early for dinner, we had a look around the Yeondong shopping district. It was quite dismal, and was more geared towards Chinese shoppers. Maybe the Jungang underground mall would be better, but I’ll suggest doing shopping in Seoul or Busan.

I was initially thinking of Yurine for dinner as it is famous among Koreans, but decided on Doraji instead after reading bad reviews on TripAdvisor about Yurine. They both specialize in seafood and do more or less the same dishes.

Galchi Jorim or braised ribbon fish. I don't know why it costs so much (KRW 48000 or S$57) but i had to try it nonetheless. I can tell you this dish was heavenly. The sweet and spicy sauce goes so well with the fish.
Galchi Jorim or braised ribbon fish, the dish i was looking forward to try. I don’t know why it costs so much (KRW 48000 or S$57) but i had to try it nonetheless. I can tell you this dish was heavenly. The sweet and spicy sauce goes so well with the fish.
Grilled Okdom or Tile fish. Very tender.
Grilled Okdom or Tile fish. Very tender.
Abalone porridge. It tastes miles apart from the Cantonese version we're used to, but was very good in it's own way. The porridge goes so well with the abalone.
Abalone porridge. It tastes miles apart from the Cantonese version we’re used to, but was very good in it’s own way. The porridge goes so well with the abalone.

By the way, the Hallabong oranges from Jeju were the best mandarin oranges I’ve ever tasted, so if it is in season while you’re in Jeju, make it a point to try it!

Hallabong oranges
Hallabong oranges

We had a morning flight to Busan. Based on a recommendation, we went to Droptop cafe at the airport (instead of the bigger franchise Cafe Bene which we haven’t tried). It was a good choice. Droptop gets my vote as being the best franchised cafe, besides Paris Croissant (by the way, Paris Baguette isn’t good).

Croissant, cheesecake and garlic crispy ball
Croissant, cheesecake and garlic crispy ball

The crispy ball was interesting. It was crispy indeed. The cheesecake was also quite unique. If you’re flying from Jeju, definitely go to Droptop!

 

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