After I finished my first final for this spring term in Korea, a group of four of us decided to head to South Korea’s largest and most popular island destination: Jeju! We arrived there in the early morning on a Friday in late May and were super excited to just dive in to exploring this volcanic island. Jeju is known for its picturesque attractions in nature– one being its dormant volcano, Mt. Hallasan– and its many beaches. I had been anticipating travelling to this island for quite some time and was excited to step away from the city life for a bit!
We arrived right after lunch time and conveniently Jeju’s five day traditional market also happened to be open, so we headed there first; our first destination on the island! It was definitely the most impressionable market I’ve visited since arriving in Korea. The size of and variety in the market was so great. I may have mentioned this before, but Korea’s markets have anything from fishing rods to cheese hot dogs; you can really find a large variety of things in them. This one in particular had so much delicious looking traditional food and rows of snacks and fried goods that I was so tempted to buy. I was unfortunately really full during that time and wasn’t able to stomach a snack, which was something so regrettable that I still think about it to this day.
Later that day, after checking into our Airbnb, we headed to Jeju’s famous black pork street. Black pig is native to Jeju island and its role in Jeju style barbeque is central; Black pork is definitely a must-try when you’re in Jeju. There’s an entire street dedicated to well-known black pork barbeque spots and we were looking forward to stuffing our faces at one of the restaurants there. We chose a restaurant based off of a recommendation one of my friends received and ordered a combination for four people and the bill ended up being around 80,000 won, which is around 80 USD. It was definitely some of the best barbeque I’ve had while I was here in Korea in general and I also really enjoyed the abalone that came with it.
That dinner wrapped up an eventful first day!
The next day, we were very determined to go out and put ourselves in nature as well as get some beach time in. Our first destination was the area where the Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls are located. The Cheonjeyeon Waterfalls are a three-tier waterfall system that originates from cold water that comes out of the roof of a cave. These waterfalls were definitely one of the most beautiful things that I’ve seen in Jeju and really in Korea as a whole. It was the first time I saw water in such a beautiful shade of blue and the water seemed fun to swim in, but extremely scary at the same time.
We also visited a beach after lunch this day and had some typical fun in the waves and in the sand! It was something I missed doing and really looked forward to doing as the weather was a little too cold to go to the beach during the trip to Busan. It had been a year or two since I’ve been to a proper beach before we went to this one! I also noticed that there were many surfers out on this beach during our time there and found out that Jeju is the birth place of Korean surfing culture!
One of our last destinations for our first day out exploring were the Hwanguji Natural Pools! I also think this is one of the spots of nature that is a must-see! I was feeling a little fatigued so I didn’t join my friends in swimming in this one, but from what I heard it was cold! They also had to be careful swimming around because we were there during sunset and the tide was much much lower than what it is in the morning, so there were many protruding rock structures in shallow water. There were also a good amount of people enjoying the swim here; it seems like a popular spot!
That concluded an eventful first two days on Jeju island!
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