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Jeju – The vacation paradise of South Korea Pt. II

After waterfalls, new fruits and a visit of the famous Seongsan Ilchulbong, I travelled to the Western side of the island. At the third day, I visited the Hallim Park and the Hyeopjae Beach.

 

 

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Day 3: Sea, K-Dramas and museums
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The Oedolgae Rock

At the third and last day of my trip on Jeju, I wanted to use my time to visit the Western side of the island. I met a Korean a day before and we decided to travel together. On our way, our first stop brought us to the Oedolgae Rock. From there one has a nice sea view. Different loop roads guide along the rock cliffs. The setting is really nice which is the reason why it is not surprising that this background was also used for some K-Dramas. In general, Jeju is one of the favourite places for shooting programs. Oedolgae Rock was also the setting for the K-Drama “Daejanggeum”. The TV series were broadcasted in 2003.

 

 

The second, really short stop, brought us to the “Jungmun Tourist Complex”. Here are several museums as Ripley’s “Believe it or not! Museum” which is a chain from the US and shows different curiosities, wonder of nature and records. Furthermore, there is a Chocolate Museum and a Teddy Bear museum. Visitors of the “Alive Museum” can make funny pictures and play with optical arts and  “Play Kpop” is a museum about K-Pop music with hologram- as well as 3D-concerts. But I don’t want to make too much advertise here. If you like museums, have a bit time and/or rainy days, this place is perfect for you.

 

At the Oedolgae Rock
 
 
 
 
 
Ripley's "Believe it or not - Museum" at the "Jungmun Tourist Colplex" - already the building looks a bit crazy.
 
The K-Pop museum at the "Jungmun Tourist Colplex"
 
At the  Hyeopjae Beach
 
 
 
 
 
Hallim Park – palms, caves, and tropical birds

Hallim Park is named after its location near to the Hallim-eup. The park was founded in 1971 and is a famous tourist spot next to the popular Hyeopjae Beach. Hallim Park reaches almost 100,000 square meters and has many different gardens with plants, animals, and caves.

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Feeding the small parrots

After the “Palm Tree Avenue”, visitors can see the “Wild grass & Flower Garden”, the “Jeju Stone & Bonsai Garden”, the “Stone Exhibit Hall” and the “Water Garden”. The “Hyeopjae & Ssangyong Caves” are known as the only two-dimensional caves in the world. The “Jae-Am Folk Village” dscn9745includes several traditional houses. Visitors get the chance to feed small parrots, see beautiful peacocks and ostriches in the “Bird Garden”. Here some birds are also allowed to walk freely through the park. In the “Subtropical Garden” live different types of animals as turtles, snakes, and lizards. I liked that the birds had the chance to walk freely. But – and I don’t want to start a long and tiring discussion now- but I had the feeling that the terrariums in the “Subtropical Garden” were a bit too small for the animals. And I think that’s a pity because the gardens are really beautiful but, in my opinion, visitors can enjoy their visit so much more when they have the feeling that the animals feel well in the park (whereupon I also do not want to impute something).

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Besides the listed gardens, there are also smaller ones which are open in different months as the “Cherry Blossom Garden” in April. We dscn9618were almost three hours in the park, I really underestimated the size of it. The entry fees were 10,000 Won ( ~9$). I would recommend the park, it was really beautiful and fun to see all the plants and animals. My highlights were feeding the small parrots, the avenue with the little Grandfathers at the beginning of the “Wild grass & Flower garden”, but also the “Bonsai Garden” with little trees which were several hundred years old, the “Palm Tree Avenue” and the little houses of the “Jae-Am Folk Village”.

 

White sand beaches and clear blue water

Our last stop for the day brought us to the Hyeopjae Beach (협재해수욕장). I already wrote in my last article about beautiful beaches with crystal clear blue water which look like they were stolen from a high glossy magazine. Yes, with this sentence I meant the Hyeopjae Beach on the Western part of Jeju. I don’t know how full the beach is in high season since we were there in mid of October. There were still several people relaxing at the beach. The coast is around nine kilometres long, has beautiful white sand and lava rocks. The water is for a long time very shallow when you walk in. I think swimming is only allowed with a life guard in high season.

 

Click here to read part I:
Jeju – The vacation paradise of South Korea Pt. I

 

 

 

Jeju – The vacation paradise of South Korea Pt. I

Three days in the vacation paradise of South Korea, the island of the little grandfathers, the hallabong fruit and beaches which look like they were stolen from a high glossy magazine.

 

 

Facts about Jeju

Jeju (제주, or actually Jeju-do, because the abbreviation “do” stands for province) is an island and the southernmost place of South Korea. Furthermore, it is one of the nine provinces of the country. The capital of the island has actually the same name, it is Jeju-si (“si” stands for city) or simple Jeju City. The island is built up of volcano rocks from the mountain Hallasan, which is with 1,950 m also the highest mountain in South Korea. The mountain is a dead volcano with a crater lake and located in the centre of the island. Nowadays the mountain and its environment are a national park. The island has subtropical climate and is a really famous vacation destination for Koreans. A few years ago, it was also the most popular place for honeymoon travels. Nowadays Europe is also a favoured aim for newly-married couples.

 

 

 

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From little grandfathers and new fruits

dscn9270Dol hareubang  (돌 하르방) is the Korean name of the stone figures which are everywhere in Jeju. Rather the word “dol” (돌) stands for stone and “hareubang” (하르방) for grandfather, so they are the (little) grandfather stones. And of course, they sell this little dscn9106sculptures also in any variations of souvenirs. Those versions remember me actually a little bit to the little trolls from the Disney movie Frozen. However, originally the figures are considered to be gods and should bring protection and fertility.

I think hallabongs and tangerines are the most sold fruits in Jeju. dscn9510Hallabong is a variety of mandarin and orange. The more widespread name of the fruit is “dekopon” and it is a hybrid fruit. But in South Korea, the fruit is named after the mountain Hallansan in the centre of the island, where it is primarily grown. Besides the fruits, the markets also offer freshly squeezed juice, chocolate and pastries made out of hallabongs and tangerines. Also, popular fillings for chocolate are blueberries, green tea and cactus fruit.

 

 

Day1 : Seongsan Ilchulbong and U-do

Seongsan Ilchulbong (성산 일출봉) is one of the must-see sightseeing points. dscn9033It is a volcanic tuff cone formed by an eruption. Seongsan Ilchulbong is also called “Sunrise Peak” because it is located on the eastern side of Jeju, so the view of the sunrise is perfect. The ticket office opens one hour before sunrise. However, the public transport doesn’t run before 6 am. That was also my problem why I couldn’t see the sunrise at the peak. Seongsan Ilchulbong is part of the UNESCO World Heritage, beside the mountain Hallasan and the lava caves Geomunoreum.

dscn9184Close to Seongsan Ilchulbong is another small island, U-do (우도). The island was also created by a volcanic activity more than 2.1 million years ago. U-do is named after its shape which remembers reputed to a cow, that’s why it is also called “Cow island”. The island is easy to reach by ferry. Many Koreans feed the seagulls with shrimp crisps. Some of the birds ate them out of their hands, others caught the crisps the Koreans throw to them out of the air. The seagulls seem to like the crisps a lot. So if you want to see them from near you should buy one package in the convenience store and give it a try. Actually, it gave me the chance to make some good photos of the birds.   dscn9160
Many people also bring their (rented) car to the island. Though the island is much smaller than Jeju it is still too big to walk everything by foot (unfortunately, I speak from my own experience). If you want to visit the island and don’t have a car or don’t want to bring it, you should at least rent a bike or better a quad. Otherwise, you won’t have the chance to visit the real beautiful places of the island. If you don’t want to rent a vehicle I wouldn’t recommend a visit.

 

Seaside in East-Jeju
 
 
On the way to the Seongsan Ilchulbong
 
View from the peak of the Seongsan Ilchulbong.
 
The stairs to come to the Seongsan Ilchulbong.
 
The try to make a nice picture - but it was a little bit windy...
Seongsan Ilchulbong
 
Korean women sell fresh sea food.
 
 
From the ferry to U-do.
The famous cow of the island U-do.
Beach on U-do
 
 
 
U-do is famous for its horses.
 
Day 2: Many waterfalls around Segowipo
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Jeongbang Fall

Segowipo is the second largest city of Jeju and takes the whole southern part of the island. Near the centre of the city is also the Cheonjiyeon (천지연폭포) and Jeonbang Falls (정방폭포). I visited both falls at the same time. Unfortunately, it rained the whole day, as you will see in the photos. Most Koreans wore rain capes which are, in my opinion, really useful, but still you feel like seeing the Teletubbies everywhere ;). To visit the two waterfalls, you have to pay 2,000₩ (~ 1.82$) for each.

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Cheonjiyeon Fall

The Jeonbang Fall is the only waterfall in whole Asia, which falls directly in the sea. Furthermore, some ajummas (older Korean women) sell fresh sea food at the waterfall.  The other waterfall, Cheonjiyeon, is near by the Saeyeongyo Bridge (새연교). A loop road guides the visitors to the waterfall. You also see other smaller falls and can cross the river by using flagstones. The translation of Cheonjiyeon is “sky connected with land”, so the waterfall falls from heaven to earth. In warmer seasons there is also the possibility to go to the Donnaeko Valley (돈내코유원지) and swim in the clear water under the Wonang Pokpo Waterfall. The water is ice cold because it comes from the Hallasan Mountain.

 

The Soeyeongyo Bridge at the harbour of Seogwipo.
 
The Jeongbang Waterfalls
Korean sell fresh sea food directly at the waterfall.
 
On the way to the Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls.
A little Grandfather
 
The Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls
A Mandarin duck
 
 
 
 
 
At the harbour of Seogwipo.
 
 
The loop way around the birds island.
Big spiders in the coppices.
 
 
 
At the Donnoeko Valley with the Wonang Pokpo Waterfalls.
 
The harbour of Seogwipo
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Saeyongyo Bridge is at the harbour of Seogwipo and lead to the Saeseom Island (새섬). The translation is simple, dscn9236“Saeseom” means “bird island”. Saeseom has a warm temperate forest consercatiom zone. A loop way guides around the island and offers beautiful spots. But be warned, if you have a spider phobia this way might not be the best for you because a lot of big spiders (the body has the size of your thumb) live in the coppice around. But of course the spiders are not poisonous and actually also stay in their cobwebs, so don’t worry. The bridge is illuminated by night and the major tower, which is designed after a sail from a ship, changes its colours.

 

Click here to read part II:
Jeju – The vacation paradise of South Korea Pt. II