Right after we got back from our trip to Japan (Wednesday), we decided Thursday evening to take a short trip to Jeju, also known as Korea’s Hawaii. We left for the airport the next day at 4:00 a.m. How great is it that we were able to up and go on such a fun adventure?! Jeju is an oval-shaped, volcanic island south of Korea. The island is fairly small, only measuring 73km (45 miles) across and 31km (19 miles) wide. When we first arrived in Jeju, we were greeted by the sight of palm trees. While the weather was definitely warmer than mainland Korea, it was still a bit chilly. We started our Jeju adventure by exploring some of the volcanic lava caves on the island. The caves were formed by lava flowing through and melting away the rock. It was really cool to see the flow lines on the sides of the caves, and the frozen melted rock formations. Large cracks could be seen on the rock walls of the cave. Our next stop was Seongsan Ilchulbong, on the East coast of Jeju. Seongsan Ilchulbong (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is a crown-shaped formation that was created by volcanic eruptions. The picture above is an ariel view of the volcanic formation during the summer. Since we were traveling to Jeju in the dead of winter, it wasn’t nearly as colorful.
Before making the short hike to see this natural wonder, we stopped for some traditional Jeju noodles and noodle soup. We’ve fallen in love with Korean food, and this stop did not let us down! After our bellies were filled, we headed out to hike Ilchulbong.The view as we were hiking up was pretty amazing! Horses are quite famous in Jeju… both for riding, and eating. In the distance, we could see Udo Island, which means cow island. The island is supposed to resemble a cow lying down.We made our way to Seogwipo, the town located at the southern part of the island. We decided to stop and see Jeongbang Falls. However, due to it being winter, the water flow was minimal. After the waterfall, we headed out to find a jjimjilbang to stay in for the night. We ended up staying at Water World, a jjimjilbang located directly underneath the Jeju World Cup Stadium. Cards are always a great form of entertainment!As we were leaving Water World the next day, we passed by the actual entrance, which is way easier to spot than the entrance we found the night before. The Daepo Jusangjeolli cliffs were next on our list. These cliffs were formed by lava eruptions. The hexagonal pillars are quite a site to see. As we were leaving the lava cliffs, we stopped for a photo shoot with Jeju’s mascots, carved lava figures. We also walked by the African Art Museum. As we made our way up to the north part of the island, we changed our plans and decided to hike up Mt. Halla that day! Mt. Halla is Korea’s tallest mountain at 6,398 feet.We were unexpectedly greeted by snow, and lots of it!The hike up was absolutely beautiful! We really enjoyed being in the snow. It was the first time we had been surrounded by snow since moving to Korea. The view at the top was even better. We loved hiking with our Oboz! They did a great job in the snow… which is nice since we will be using these to trek to the Everest Base Camp while we are in Nepal.
We spent the next day at the northern side of the island. On our way to see the Dragon Head Rock, we walked through a park that had a gorgeous walkway along a river. Look at that blue water! Our next stop was Dragon Head Rock. So the last experience we had on Jeju was definitely a memorable one, but also one that I did not take part in. Jared and Jacob really wanted to try one of Jeju’s speciality meals… horse meat. Yep, and according to them, it tasted like delicious beef. I was still hungry, so we stopped for some Col-Pop. Col-Pop is especially popular among the kids in Korea. Fried popcorn chicken sits in a dish on the top half of the cup, while Coca-Cola sits in the bottom half of the cup. Jeju was a wonderful place for us to spend the last few days of our winter vacation. If you get the chance to go, we’d definitely recommend going, especially during the spring or summer.