The whole island of Jeju is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site dubbed as “volcanic museum”. From a little research, it is still considered a live volcano! Many of its landmarks are aftermath of its eruption sometime 5,000 years ago. These formations make you appreciate how nature works. I’ve always been a nature traveller so Jeju Island is my kind of thing.
Day 1 How to get to the Island from Incheon/Gimpo International Airport
There is no direct flight to Jeju from Incheon Airport so you have to go to Gimpo Airport. Jeju Air offers the cheapest flights from/to the Island. From the Incheon arrival area, follow the sign “KTX Airport Railroad” until you get to the basement. Look for the ticket vending machines – KRW 3800 plus additional KRW500 for the card. Board the train going to Gimpo for about 30-45 minutes (I think 5-6 stops). When you reach Gimpo station, get a reimbursement of KRW500 for returning the card at a vending machine (choose return card) then follow the sign “domestic terminal” up to the 2nd floor for your boarding and ticket procedures. The 3rd floor is departure area.
When in Jeju International Airport, approach the information center at 1st floor. Ask for the bus schedule. If you are going to stay for more than 2 days, I advise you to stay somewhere in Segwipo area because the sites are walking distances. However, if you need a closer place to the Airport, stay in Jeju City. I stayed in Yellow Guesthouse in the center of the City by taking bus #100 (or bus#38) outside Gate 2 and alight in Dongmun Market (KRW1200). Normally, bus ride no matter the distance costs KRW 1200 except the bus limousine #600 that costs higher (KRW3500-6000). The bus stops are very organized with headboard signs showing the name of the station. Just be very observant and you will not get lost.
After checking in at the hostel, I decided to walk around the City. I went back to Dongmun market (dry and wet market) and bought some Jeju oranges (their main product is orange). I tried some Korean delicacies and rested on a Korean café near the ocean’s harbor. (I always try local coffee!) I moved to take some photography shots in the main lighthouse area where you can see the beauty of the Island from afar. It’s was very windy and chilly. It reminded me of my lighthouse adventure in Anstruther, Scotland. Same chilly, windy feels. At night, I tried window shopping in the famous Jungang underground district (yes, it is really underground the main highway). Coming from Bangkok, Thailand, I found that their street prices are expensive! Haha. Oh well, you don’t go to Jeju to shop, go to Bangkok!
Day 2 Cheonjeyeon Falls, Jusangjeoli Cliff, Yakchunsa Temple
The first on my agenda is Cheonjeyeon Falls or the pond of the gods. I took bus #200 back to the airport (KRW1200) and board the airport limo bus #600 at gate 5 (KRW4,500) to Jungmun Resort (station). When you reach the bus stop, walk back for 10 minutes to your left towards the Information Building/Center then at this intersection, take right. The falls have no entrance fee! Go down to the first tier of waterfall (pond) where Koreans believed that their 7 gods take a night bath. Move down to the second tier where you can really see the cascading water into a deep, blue pond. Afterwards, go up into the Segmyo bridge where the 7 gods/nymphs are carved along its side. It’s a beautiful orange bridge. You have to be prepared to walk on stones and tree roots so wear the right gear.
I took the same bus to the International Convention Center (ICC) Station (KRW1,300) to see the Jusangjeoli Cliff (entrance fee of KRW2,000). It is located at the back of the ICC so walk for 7 minutes. This cliff was formed by years of solidified lava! Amazing right? You’ll appreciate how nature molded its beautiful oval and cylindrical patterns. It reminds me of Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. Jeju’s is dark brown to black while Ireland’s is light brown to gray. There are food stalls in the entrance so take time to taste their local delicacies. I tried but I forgot their Korean names!
I moved to Yakchunsa Temple by boarding same bus (KRW1300) and stop in the station of the temple’s name. This is the symbol of Korean art and culture where intricacies of their designs and styles are nearly perfected. It’s beautiful and have this relaxed-laidback atmosphere. By the way, always inform the driver where you are dropping by and always sit infront. I could have done more, however, I decided to go back to Jeju City because I was afraid it’ll gonna rain. I feel famished so tried eating on a traditional Korean restaurant for only KRW6,500!
My flight to Busan was 8 am so I left the city at 630 am. It was raining cats and dogs! Good thing a stranger gave me an umbrella! I left the umbrella in the airport hoping someone can use it too (I can’t check it in). Koreans are really, really nice!
Side story, when I arrived in Busan station, I asked an older man for the direction of my hostel but he instead, offered to drive me to it. Generally, I do not just climb into a stranger’s car but either I trust him or get totally soaked. In the end, he is just really nice and kind. I felt so grateful for being able to reach my hostel dry and lighthearted.
People are generally kind so I make it a point to be be kind too. Always. Hopefully. 🙂