June 9, 2017

Travel Korea - Jeju Island, Day 2

Our second on Jeju Island started incredibly early - at 5 am. If you recall back from our post on our first day there, we fell asleep just around dinner time and what was supposed to be a quick 20 minute nap turned into a 10 hour sleep fest. 

We woke up bright eyed though and fully charged and had a jam packed day of things to see and places to go. I didn't realize just how much ground we covered until I went back and worked on pictures for this post. What a great time this was. I miss it so much and wish we can go back soon. Jeju Island wasn't quite like Maui but close, and I think I gravitate towards islands and have these longings to live there. Some may think it's island fever but, I don't know, for someone who is so very introverted and like the quiet and peaceful life with Yangkyu and dogs, I think it is quite fitting. 

 // This picture doesn't have anything to do with Hallasan. It was just a random place we ran into while driving around. I thought it was pretty and made a quick stop to take a picture of it. // 

Because nothing was really open early on in the morning, we decided to venture to Hallasan, which is the highest mountain in Korea. You can't miss it when you are driving around Jeju Island - it's majestic, smack in the middle of the entire island and almost always in your view.

Yangkyu and I didn't climb up Hallasan, it's almost a 9 hour round trip hike and we certainly didn't have the time to fit that in our schedule. We wished that we did have a few extra days on Jeju Island because we would have liked to have made it the trip to the top. I'm not much of a hiker and hiking doesn't interest me all that much, but I think it's the feeling of accomplishment when you climb to the highest point, which is unbeatable. It's also feels like you kept a really hard promise. It was like that when we were hiking at Old Rag in Shenandoah just shortly after Piri passed. When we reached the top I cried silently and thought, "Piri, we made it. We made it to the top." My body was brutally aching but it all felt so healing.

At the entrance of Hallasan (I presume one of many?), we took in the inviting yet intimidating pathway. People were already gathering by the numbers and the parking lot already full of eager hikers. They all had incredible gear, and Yangkyu and I just looked so ill prepared.

I didn't take pictures from Hallasan so I unfortunately don't have any to share here, but if you ever get a chance, you may want to just do a quick Google image search. It is quite breathtaking and beautiful to say the least.

Before leaving, Yangkyu and I ended up grabbing a quick breakfast at a nearby restaurant. We again got just one meal and shared (our game plan). There was self clean up where you bring your tray back to the clean up area. The food was good but I also liked the feeling of community and respecting of communal space from all patrons. They used the tables neatly and wiped down tables before leaving and said thank you. I saw this spirit time to time and it was always good to see and be a part of.

After our quick visit to Hallasan, we headed over to Lee Jung Seob Street located in Seogwipo City, which was not too far from where we were staying. Lee Jung Seob was a famous oil painter, but I'll get more into him a little later.

Here you can find cute and artistic stores featuring crafts and other handmade items. I am not sure if you remember me talking about Seng Hwal Hanbok previously on my blog, but there was a store that sold them (handmade). I tried on a pair, and while a bit expensive, I promptly bought it without any regrets. During the weekends, there are stalls and stalls of artwork created by local artists for sale. Unfortunately we weren't there during the weekend and didn't get to experience it.

We ended up coming back to Lee Jung Seob Street on the third and last day of our stay on Jeju Island to buy gifts for friends. There were just too many beautiful things for sale that make for perfect gifts. 

Right off of Lee Jung Seob Street is the residence. The entire house was not his, rather a couple, Song Tae Ju and Kim Soon Bok, offered him a room to live in. The family of the couple still live in this very residence and tourists are asked not to disturb the still occupied rooms. The room to the side where a picture of Lee Jung Seob is hung is available to view and is a tourist attraction.

Lee Jung Seob was born in 1916 and was a prolific modern artist and oil painter who created works throughout Korea's colonial period. His earlier works date back to his pre-war student years at Pyongyang and Tokyo. Following the outbreak of war, Lee Jung Seob found refuge in Busan and also Seogwipo, Jeju Island and his paintings and drawings from this period of his life feature children, animals and plants. It is said that Lee Jung Seob left some of the greatest paintings in the history of Korean modern art during his stay in Seogwipo. 

Lee Jung Seob was married to Yamamoto Masako (Korean name - Lee Nam Duk) and the letters they exchanged with each other while they were geographically separated are displayed at the Lee Jung Seob Gallery near Lee Jung Seob street and residence. They were the most beautiful pieces of writing and had me glued to the wall just reading them. Due to the hardships of living in Jeju, Masako left for Japan with their two sons, hence the exchange of letters between the two. Sadly, Lee Jung Seob never had the opportunity to meet his family again except for a short meeting for 5 days in Tokyo in 1953. He would later suffer from schizophrenia born from his longings to be with his family and turned to alcohol. He died of hepatitis in 1956 in destitute conditions, at the age of 41, in Seoul. 

Lee Jung Seob's artistic style was influenced by Fauvism and his themes are very indigenous. He is credited with making contributions to the introduction of western styles in Korea. One of his most famous works is the "Ox". 

Before leaving for Jeju Island, my mom let me know that Lee Jung Seob was a source of inspiration for her when she was studying oil painting as a college student. 

As we were getting done with perusing Lee Jung Seob Street, residence and gallery, we were hitting lunch time and decided to food hop at the nearby Olle Market. We started with something called the Hoitto, which is a fusion of hodduk (sweet Korean pancakes) and burrito. Visually it looked amazing, which might have upped our expectation a bit, but the taste wasn't all that out of this world. 

We did have some amazing eats in the form of crabs though. That was delicious. We also had hallabong juice (the tangerines which are famous in Jeju - although the juice wasn't 100% natural) and topped it off with peanut dumplings (Udo peanuts are also famous in Udo, Jeju, which is a smaller island off of the main Jeju Island). 

Believe it not, this course actually filled us up pretty nicely and we were off to our next destination -- Cheon Ji Yeon waterfalls.

 // These guys are called Dol Hareubang ("dol" means stone and "hareubang" means grandfather or senior in the Jeju dialect) and you can see them everywhere around the island. Legend has it that if you rub the nose of these statues, you will be granted a son (perhaps because the hats they are wearing are a phallic sign?). They are also generally known as sources of fertility and given as gifts to women with fertility problems. // 

Cheon Ji Yeon means "sky connected with land" and it was given this name because the water appears to fall from the heavens.

From the parking lot, it is a short and pleasant walk over. You can enjoy a variety of trees and rare plants before you hear the sound of the waterfall. Along with the Lee Jung Seob Gallery, the entrance fees to Cheon Ji Yeon Waterfall was free (April promotion to increase tourism during the early spring season). 

We were fortunate enough to not have to face overcrowded spaces as there weren't swarms of people here and all throughout Jeju Island. Part of it was also because around this time China had banned travel to Korea because of the rising tension over the Thaad defense platform. We were told that normally Jeju Island would be overly crowded, mostly by Chinese tourists (and Gimpo Airport even more crowded than what we had experienced -- wha??!)

Before leaving Cheon Ji Yeon Waterfall, Yangkyu and I grabbed some ice cream at one of the stores in the parking lot. Just as we were paying, a young college student asked the store owner how much the selfie sticks were selling for. There were two kinds and the more expensive one of the two was $10 (it wasn't automatic and had a cable line to connect to your phone and an accessible button you can press to take a picture). The student ended up not buying the selfie stick but after hearing the explanation ourselves we were sold! We were pretty excited to have it but we lost it when we were heading back to Seoul (think we may have dropped it somewhere at the airport - darn). 

After Cheon Ji Yeon Waterfall, we continued on our way to Song Ak San but happened upon three places we didn't have on our itinerary and made spontaneous stops. The first was 
Yeongmeori Coast and the Buddhist temple right across from it and the Kim Chun-Ji Lighthouse. 

Yeongmeori Coast is where Mt. Sanbangsan stretches into the ocean which makes it look like a dragon's head going underwater (Yeongmeori means dragon head). 

The view from atop what I think is a tower, where also fire was lit to give light at night, is amazing and breathtaking. From there, you can take steps leading down to the coast.

There is a beautiful field of Yuchae flowers (which are famous in Jeju Island) and if you pay, I think it was around $2, you can go inside and take pictures. Going past the field of flowers you'll see the Hamel Castaway Memorial, which has a replica of a ship that Hendrick Hamel set sail in but was shipwrecked and drifted to Yeongmeori Coast in 1653. You can go inside the ship for an educational experience. Just across from the replica is a small Dutch themed restaurant. 

Continuing on you'll come across a beautiful beach and an area where Haenyo (women sea-divers) sell freshly caught sea cucumbers and other seafood. We had intended to eat here but quickly realized we had used up all our cash to buy my senghwal hanbok at Lee Jeong Sub Street earlier in the day. 

There is also a Marine Park, which we decided to skip. We made a slight detour to head back up to street level to head over to the Buddhist temple across the street. We ended up passing by a little play area with some rides and also farm animals that I think you can either pet or ride? This was a little disappointing as the animals (pony and sheep) looked as though they weren't very well taken care of. This would be a reoccurring theme I would see on Jeju Island -- animals that looked ill treated (but I also felt this at other resorts in different countries and here in the US, etc. -- I am against using any animals for entertainment purposes). 

 // Yeongmeori Coast -- here you can see a field of Yuchae flowers, which are famous in Jeju Island, a replica of a a Dutch merchant ship and other activities that included some farm animals, which I wasn't a fan of. // 

 // Yuchae flowers // 

 // Replica of a Dutch merchant ship wrecked on the Yongmeori Coast in the mid-17th century. //  

 // Area where haenyo prepare and sell freshly caught seafood. // 

 // Wow. That view. // 

Yangkyu and I had wanted to visit a Buddhist temple in Korea but we couldn't decide which one and so it was just kind of up in the air (if we run into one, we run into one, if not, then oh well). Fortunately we saw one right across from Yongmeori Coast called Sanbanggulsa. It was huge and inviting and the colors and details amazing. 

We saw several worshippers, people who spent time tidying up the grounds of the temple, pulling weeds and washing concrete. It looked like such a tedious chore, but they didn't mind doing it. 

The views were breathtaking, the huge golden Buddha statue stunning and while there were lots of stairs to climb, making a stop to view this temple was definitely worth it. 

There are also little eateries at the bottom of the temple (there are also restaurants before you cross the street from Yongmeori Coast if you want a full meal). We decided to stop by a place called Sunny House Hotdog for some coffee and a uniquely prepared hot dog (topped with parmesan cheese!). The interior was decorated nicely - lots of classical music related decorations and a nice garden feel throughout.

After a good rest and filling up our stomachs (we of course ordered just one hot dog to share since we needed to keep our stomachs ready for dinner which was going to be Jeju's famous black pig pork belly bbq), we continued our way to Song Ak San but made another impromptu stop at a beautiful coastline with a cute red lighthouse.

 // Sunny House Hotdog is all the way on the left // 

We had no idea where we were but we just needed to stop and take in this view. So many tug boats and beautiful colors and a whimsical red light house. It was just too picture perfect. It made me feel so calm and instantly at peace. It was quite windy, especially when we got closer to the light house, but it was ok. 

Normally, when I look out into the deep dark water I get anxious and nervous. Just imagining what is under makes me feel uncertain. But here it was different. From a far, I saw a little island and wondered out loud what it was. Yangkyu, being the storyteller he is, said, "That island? That's Piri's Island. He's been hanging out there with Russian dog (his imaginary friend -- here too) and his goat friend (a recent imaginary friend we gave him because I love goats so much). They even run a little restaurant but the goat is a little troublemaker so I think business has been a little bad." I chuckled and said, "If I knew Piri was here the entire time, I would've come to Korea sooner." But Yangkyu added and said, "No, that's not possible because our reunion with Piri will happen at a later time. Not now. So he's gone off somewhere temporarily until we finish visiting Jeju Island." With a little disheartened heart, I mumbled, "Oh.. I wish I can see him even for a little while..." Yangkyu tried to smile and grabbed my hand and we headed toward the red light house. 

 // Piri's Island // 

It was only after coming back home did I do some research on what this lighthouse is called. It's name is Kim Chun-Ji Lighthouse located at the end of a breakwater at Sagye Port. It is named after a woman who left for Japan in 1946 at the age of 20. She lived there for 50 years and memories of her hometown kept her going through all the hardships and difficulties of living abroad. She wanted to do something for her hometown and the residents and so she built a lighthouse, which the residents in turn named after her. Her husband also set up a companion lighthouse in the distance in white, which unfortunately we did not see or know of until looking it up. I also saw that there are many lighthouses in Jeju which we didn't get to see. We will definitely have to go back one day and go see them.

Heading back to our car, we saw someone and their dog playing in the street. Yangkyu said that Piri sent us that dog. And from that moment on, every time we saw a random dog Yangkyu would say that Piri asked all the dogs in the area to look out for us so that we're having a good time. It was such a silly thing to suggest, but I find comfort in those silly thoughts and chuckled every time I saw a four legged friend.  

We arrived at the bottom of Song Ak San at golden hour. We didn't climb up but took in the majestic scenery from afar. There was also another Yuchae flower field (entrance fee required again - we didn't pay to go in here but took pictures from outside the parameter). 

The view here was just the perfect end to a very long day of exploring Jeju Island. I still remember the feeling of the breeze and the smell of the sea and wishing that time would stop because the following day would be our last day on this beautiful island. 

For dinner this night, we ended up having Jeju Island's famous black pig pork belly BBQ. It was most delicious and we also ordered some nengmyun (cold buckwheat noodles) at the end. People eat it to wash down all the grease from the meat. It actually ended up being a bit too much for us and while I'm normally known as a nengmyun killer, I couldn't even get one bite down because I was so full. Instead, Yangkyu over did it and ended up eating the whole bowl. I don't know how he didn't get food coma afterwards.

After dinner, we actually ended up driving to a place called the glass museum but when we arrived it was closed. The drive over in complete darkness was a bit scary as there aren't a lot of street lights and some of the older houses in the dark looked something out of a horror movie. 

We came back to Pause in Jeju, our lodging, late at night and after washing up we fell quickly asleep and ended up getting up again the next day at 5 am. We began it at a coin laundry and breakfast at our favorite convenience store, GS25.

Thanks for reading along. This one was quite long, eh?

I hope you'll continue to join us on our adventures.

 // Travel Korea : DMZ Tours
 // Travel Korea : Childhood Memories
 // Travel Korea : Seoul
 // Travel Korea : Jeju Island, Day 1


  1. Lovely place. I know that Jeju is a famous tourist destination in South Korea, but it always feels like a quaint place for me. And I can't stress enough how I the markets in Korea always get me excited - it's full of street food!!! I love them

  2. I remember seeing Hallasan on a K-variety show. I can't remember which one maybe 1N2D and the view from the top was quite majestic. It's a shame you guys didn't have the time for the hike but it looks like you guys really made the most of your time on Jeju. The island just looks so pretty wherever you go and why does Korean street food always look so mouthwateringly good?! This is coming form someone who usually refuses to eat off street carts LOL

  3. It's almost as if I travel through these photos, Jane! Thanks for sharing your adventures..and yum..pork belly BBQ <3

  4. Oh wow, I would love to visit here Jane you capture it so beautifully and I love the story of Piri's Island, what a sweet story teller Yangkyu is!!

  5. Yangkyu is such a great storyteller. I have a feeling he's quite right about Piri and his island too


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