This past week, my friend and I planned to visit South Korea! We would be visiting both Jeju and Seoul. The plan was to leave on Tuesday night and arrive the next morning in Seoul where we could explore for a few hours before catching our flight to Jeju. This did not happen according to plan.
I only have one class on Tuesday, so most of my day was spent preparing and packing for South Korea. My friend’s class ended at six, so we decided to meet up at around eight to head to Tsim Sha Tsui to exchange money (we heard the exchange rate was better there) and then catch our bus to the airport. Unfortunately, we did not time it correctly and we reached the check in only 10 minutes before it closed. However, the check in counter had closed early, so we couldn’t make our flight even if we rushed through. This was the first time I had ever missed a flight and it felt horrible. We had desperately tried to find anyone to help us, but since it was late at night, most of the staff was gone. We ended up buying another ticket for the next morning and sleeping in the airport since it was too late and the MTR stopped running. We found the number of the airline’s customer service and tried calling them, but after an hour of complaining to them, we still didn’t get a refund. They said that they would take this matter to the higher ups, which was better than nothing at all. At least we have a small chance to get a refund. We had dinner at McDonalds and then went off to find somewhere to sleep.
The next morning I made sure to wake up and head over to check in three and a half hours earlier to make sure we didn’t miss this flight either. We ate breakfast at McDonalds again (I’m slowly trying out all of the menu options at this point) and headed over to check in. Since we were so early, we got to squeeze in a three hour nap before the flight. Arriving so late in Seoul messed up our plans for the day. We were planning on taking an hour tour of Seoul and then head off to Gimpo airport where we would then fly to Jeju. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for this anymore and just headed off to Jeju instead.
Once we arrived, though it was dark out, we decided to visit one of the famous market places in Jeju, Dongmun Traditional Market Place. Compared to the market place in the Philippines, this was much bigger. It was very much like a maze, each time you would turn down another section there were three other directions you could explore. The market place was not as busy as I imagined it being, but we went closer to closing time, so it’s likely that it had been bustling a few hours prior. We bought Jeju mandarin oranges after trying a sample. They were delicious and served as a great snack for the next day that we spent in Jeju.
We also had the opportunity to try Jeju Black Pork. I personally could not tell the difference between regular pork and black pork, but that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy eating it. The restaurant that served the pork had many Mandarin speakers, so it was easier to understand how to order and what to order. Afterwards, we decided to digest our food by exploring the area around Youngduam rock. The view was gorgeous, and we could climb down to sit by the ocean. It was very peaceful since there were little to no tourists around at that time of night. It was, however, very cold, which was the only reason we didn’t stay longer to enjoy the view.
The next day in Jeju was packed with events, courtesy of my travel buddy Jessica. We first visited Hyeopjae beach, which had the clearest, bluest water I’ve ever seen in my life. Unfortunately, it was very cold, so we didn’t get to dip our feet in the water, never mind even think about swimming in the water. It was a great background for photos, however. There was a big portion at that beach filled with stack of rocks. I’m not entirely sure what the cultural significance of those rock stacks were, or if it was even culturally significant, but they were really interesting to look at. I was even compelled to make my own before realizing that we did not have enough time if we wanted to fully appreciate the next stop.
If you love gardens, I highly recommend going to Hallim Park. It’s very close to Hyeopjae Beach, so we were able to walk over instead of having to take public transportation or spend money on a taxi. At Hallim Park you can see many different gardens of flowers to bonsai trees to rock sculptures, as well as caves, animals, and a small folk village. Going through the caves was a bit daunting for me because of the low lighting and my fear of the dark (as well as the fact that I once watched a horror movie that took place in cave that I never fully recovered from). Even though it was terrifying to go through that cave, it was also worth seeing and part of the experience. It was impressive how they maintained those caves as well. As for the rest of the park, I took approximately 700 photos to give you an idea of how pretty and worth a visit it was.
We finished off our trip to Jeju by visiting the O’Sulloc Tea Museum. The tea exhibit was small, but outside you could see the green tea plantations and they also had a cafe with plenty of tea-based menu items. We ate one of the best green tea ice creams of my life. I could not stop thinking about it days after we ate it. 1000 out of 10 stars!
안녕히 계세요! Goodbye!