It’s been somewhat of a hectic week.
Last weekend, I went to Jeju-do, or Jeju Island. It is part of Korea, but it is often referred to as “The Other Korea.” It’s a “self-governing province” according to most maps. I read in a book that Koreans used to refer to it as “That place over there.” Clearly things have changed, as the majority of the tourists that I saw appeared to be other Koreans. Several told me that it was their first time there! And this was coming from people in their 20s, even. It would be like me saying I hadn’t been to Gatlinburg and I am a Tennessean.
Anyway, the reason I went now and not during the summer/spring were because I really wanted to see Jeju before things got too busy. Since the tourism season was over, I figured that I wouldn’t have to jostle with too many tourists, too. For some reason my KEB card doesn’t buy things online, so I had to call the airlines and book my ticket. I did the same with my hostel booking. Btw, Hani Guesthouse is great!! A little out of the way, but great price and comfortable accomodations.
Here’s a taste of where I stayed:
Getting to my destination was surprisingly pleasant. I left in the afternoon on Saturday. Security didn’t make me take off my shoes, nor did they confiscate my water bottle! Ahh 🙂 The flight was only one hour. I got there late in the afternoon, and first I was supposed to take a bus to the Bus station. So I caught the bus to the station. Once there, I was supposed to take another bus to the hostel. This was the tricky part. Unlike the subway, it’s kind of hard to hear the name of the bus stop, even when they do play it in English. It didn’t help that I didn’t really know what the word of my stop really sounded like. Fortunately, I met two Russian girls on the bus who were on their way to the hostel as well. They didn’t get off at the stop specified, but they did know how to get there, so I went with them.
Day 1: Having met the other people in my room (A girl named Julia who is teaching English here, and her Dad) I went downstairs. The breakfast was free, it was toast and eggs you made yourself. I broke the yolks, but I got good advice from Julia’s Dad. I needed to break them with confidence!
I got some instructions, and then set off on my trek. It was a lot of walking and trying to find different buses. I went to this area…I honestly am a bit sleepy and can’t think of what it was called. Anyway, the site was called Jungmun daepohaeanjusangjeollidae according to my ticket. Yeah, say that 5 times fast!
Next I found my way to Jeongbang Falls. It was very pretty! I’ll post pictures later…my computer is being irritable, and I steal a connection here.
After the falls, it was around 5 or 6ish, which meant that everyone was going to close soon so even though the day was still relatively fresh, I had to go back. I asked a lady at the tourism place, but she didn’t help me much with my bus dilemma. I was standing at the side of the road, looking pitiful, when a man randomly picked me up! I would NEVER do this back home, or anywhere else, ever….but I went along with it. I spent the whole hour nervous that I was going to get killed. The man didn’t speak the best english, but he expressed his desire to take me around to the three sites I hoped to visit the next day. I lied and said I didn’t have a cell phone. He did take me back to the hostel, no crazy stuff, but I didn’t take him up on his generous offer. I had taken risks enough!
Day 2: I met some Americans at the end of day 1, Greg, Chelsea, and Jessie. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to add any of them on Facebook so I may never see them again 😦 We decided to first go to the caves. They were really neat! Formed entirely by magma, it was an interesting experience. Next, we went a maze that was close by. I just followed them, and ate my ice cream 🙂
Next we went to U-do (an Island off of the island)….it was so pretty. Originally we planned to rent bicycles, but we got the idea from some other people to rent ATVs. So we took turns driving the two that we rented. It was so much fun! It took us about two hours to ride around the island, which was very fun. We saw the traditional women divers, the beautiful rocky beaches, and many statues. It was so much fun!
Our third site was Seongsanilchulbong (I was looking at the brochure and it’s late, so forgive my spelling!!) , which is also known as Sunrise Peak. It was so beautiful! We got to see the sun going down and we took plenty of pictures.Once again, I’ll add pictures to this post when my connection is better, though anyone who reads this blog is probably my friend on FB.
After this, it was time to go home. We did a combination of taxi rides and bus rides to get home. What a fun day! I said goodbye to my new friends that evening, and got ready to leave the next day. It was a great vacation!