This is actually a very long overdue post since the trip was actually on December 2016 to January 2017. Due to my procrastinating habit and me being easily focus-shifted, the post ended up coming out sooooo late. Well, anyway..
I finally achieved one of my dream/bucket list/things-I-want-since-years-ago and that is…..visiting South Korea! The South Korea addiction of mine started way back from high school. So, years later I was so thankful to cross it off of my bucket list (well, almost anyway, I still have several things related to the country).
The opportunity came because I got assigned from my campus laboratory to find conference where I can present the laboratory’s grant work. I got the chance to present the work in Jeju Island, South Korea. I arrived in Jeju Island on 27 December 2016 late at night and stayed there until 31 December 2016 morning. Since the conference was only on 29 December (with the previous day being the day to confirmed my attendance to the conference which only took for about 3 minutes…) I got 2 full days of going around the island.
What you have to take note if you were to visit Jeju Island is the fact that the island is actually really big and the tourist attractions are basically spread all over the island, meaning that you can’t actually visit a lot of places at once since the distance between each of them are too far off. Besides, their main public transportation is bus and they don’t have subway yet like Seoul so the time spend on the road is actually pretty long. Other thing to remember is, most of the locals don’t speak English. If you’re like me who’s basically clueless about Korean language in general, my advice is just to find the nearest tourist center since they speak English well to know more about what to explore with the time you got in hand.
Day 1: Seongsan Ilchulbong
I was actually planning to go to Mount Hallasan on my first day at Jeju Island. But, with me being hardly adjusted to the cold weather (it’s 0 degree at that time which later I found out was not actually the worst you can experience in South Korea), I ended up starting my day a little bit late. The bus ride for Mt. Hallasan took for about 2.5 hours and the last bus that went to Mt. Hallasan was on the afternoon (I forgot at what time but I think maybe it’s on 2 pm). So, the lady at tourist center advised me to go to Seongsan Ilchulbong instead.
Having no idea whatsoever I decided to follow her suggestion. I rode bus no. 710. But then I had no idea where to stop so when I heard the word “Seongsan” in one of the bus stop I decided to drop off there, only to find out that it’s not the correct bus stop HAHAHA. I was so confused and I didn’t know what to do, so I ended up taking a taxi to Seongsan Ilchulbong from there. Luckily, it’s not that far. From google, when you want to go to Seongsan Ilchulbong, you should’ve stop at Seongsan-ri Samuso/Seongsan-ri community office bus station.
The ride from Bus Terminal to Seongsan took about 2 hours but let me tell you this, it’s really worth it! The view was really pretty. I’ll let the picture show you why.
And me, trying to be handy and getting a good shot with my solitude (thanks to gorilla pod and camera timer):
I spent like 4 hours there, mostly just to walk around, to enjoy the view and well, to have some alone time and have some time to think about everything hahaha. After that, I ended up getting back to the guest house since I gave up with the cold weather.
Day 3: Mount Hallasan, Iho Beach, and That Place that I haven’t Actually Figured Out What’s the Name
Day 2 was my conference day so I continued to explore the island on my third day. The third day started with me being a little bit adjusted to the weather, so I went to Mount Hallasan from early morning. Then again, me not being that athletic with a lot of energy, I didn’t finish the long track since I was exhausted! But I did enjoy the view and the long walks.
Anyway, if you were to visit Mount Hallasan on winter, since it’s indeed after all a mountain, bring a mountain tracking gear since the road will be quite slippery. Since I stayed in a guest house, actually one of the guests were nice enough to lend me hers so I didn’t have to rent or buy the stuff.
If you wonder how Mount Hallasan looks like, here it is.
I went back to the center of Jeju Island in the afternoon. I decided to visit one of the nearest beach since Jeju Island had tons of beaches and the trip wouldn’t be completed without visiting one. I didn’t really have a lot of time since my flight to Seoul next day was on early morning so I had to pack the night before.
The lady in tourist center suggested me to go to Iho Beach (seriously, I was really thankful for her existence as I was entirely a clueless traveler). So I took the bus to go to Iho Beach. On my way there, I spotted a little wooden pier with gorgeous view so I ended up taking off there. Until now, I still have no idea what’s this place actually is. But this place really brought myself a lot of feelings and contemplation.
Moving on, my last stop was the Iho Beach. From this place, it still took for about 15 minutes with taxi (since I didn’t find any bus passing anymore…). It’s actually quite sad to go to the beach all alone since most of people there visited the beach with their families, friends or their loved ones while I was there all alone strolling along the beach with the camera’s battery almost ran out. But, you can never doubt the joyful and calmness you can get from the beach anyway.
And so that’s it! After Jeju, I went to Seoul and also explored the city which had a pretty contrast sight compared to Jeju Island. I gotta say I didn’t visit a lot of places while in Jeju but only from those places I can already concluded that Jeju Island is a really beautiful place to visit. Based on my post maybe I did seem like I didn’t plan my itinerary beforehand but I actually did. But then, it’s actually best to explore Jeju Island with a rented car but I was alone and rented a car was an expensive choice, so I had to take the bus everywhere which took quite a long time, and with the inadequate time I got in hand, I ended up going to places with no plan in hand. I didn’t regret it tho, not at all. I actually really liked it!