Monday, November 10, 2008

Korean Adventure: Jeju Island - Saturday

Gee, and I thought Wednesday was a long post.

For the weekend we booked a two day trip to Jeju Island with a group called Adventure Korea.

This is an excellent group and I highly recommend a trip with them if you get a chance. They crammed so much into our two days in Jeju, somehow managed to keep us on schedule, and very nice people to boot! My fiancee is taking another trip with them in December to Kaesong in North Korea.

Anyway, it was an early start to the morning considering the Halloween festivities of the previous night. We arrived at Gimpo airport and met up with the group around 7am. After an hours flight south, we landed in Jeju!

Boarding a coach bus, we got a quick look of the island and then proceeded to our first stop: a Mongolian horseback riding show. Our itinerary says:
These famous horses have been reared on Jeju Island since the Mongols first invaded Korea.
The show itself started out quite slow, with so music and the horses riding around. However, as it went on, they started pulling more and more impressive tricks with a variety of impressive mounting and dismounting while in motion, as well as jumps, twists, and way too many people standing on the same horse. It was a pretty decent show.

From there we had a Korean BBQ lunch (with some very earthy tasting Makkoli that no one seemed to care for). After lunch we boarded a ferry and went over to nearby Udo (Cow) Island. This is the largest of the small islands that ring Jeju, and is apparently shaped like a cow. The circumference is only about 17km and the population is roughly 1600-1800. There we saw the lion-head peak, the black sand beach, and the white sand beach.

The trip to Udo

Lion head peak

A oddly worded English warning, and us.

At the lion-head peak, my fiancee and I got to ride a pair of horses up the slope. Well, some guy walked the horse while we rode them. It was actually kinda scary, the one horse seemed pretty tired and not particularly obedient because of it. I was a tad nervous he might freak out, but then, I had a tad bit of horse trauma at a summer camp once long ago.

Since these islands are all volcanic in origin, black rocks dominate the coast. The black sand beach is simply a beach with the sand noticeably darkened by this fact. The white sand beach however is not a sand beach at all. It's composed of small pieces of coral, and is considered a national treasure. We were warned that taking any of the beach with us was illegal and unwise to do through airport customs.

The Black Sand Beach

The White Sand Beach

We also saw a bunch of Jindo puppies all over the place at Udo. Jindo's originated on the South Korean islands, and are quite cute!

We didn't see any of the famous Jeju women divers (Haenyeo), who apparently dive for up to 2 minutes and 20 metres depth without scuba gear. I'm told this was because it was Saturday, but I'm not sure if that's true.

After taking the ferry back to Jeju, we went to Sunrise Park (Ilchul Land) which is filled with a variety of different plants, animals, and pieces of art. There's also a fairly deep cave that is open to the public. There were chickens, rabbits, ostriches, and Jindos. There was also a cactus pavilion. Unfortunately, our tight schedule prevented us from exploring this large garden park too much.

From Sunrise, we went to this weird sort of nostalgia museum. It was of Korea in the 1960s, showing the period of transition into a developed country. It was kinda odd but interesting.

City life in 1960s

School, complete with children being disciplined at the front by being told to do odd things.

Traditional Korean Costumes

For some reason the one classroom exhibit had a bunch of fake guns

After that, we made it to the hotel. The place was fairly nice and right by the ocean. Unfortunately, it was getting dark by the time we got there and everyone was fairly exhausted. Also, the plumbing on the first floor started backing up, so everyone in those rooms had to be moved to another hotel down the way. We were unaffected. We went out and ate and drank Soju with our tour guides for a while and then turned in.

Love The Name

1 comment:

  1. Jeju Island is the largest island in South Korea, is about 130 Km south of Korea Peninsula. Jeju Island a land mass that rose from the seabed about 1-2 million years ago after an undersea volcanic eruption. The whole Jeju Island consists of basalt, dark-brown volcanic rock, lava rock and volcanic soil. The Island of Gods is a living folk village, a paradise island of South Korea, and a popular destination for honeymoon couples and tourists.


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