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Thursday, February 2, 2017

[Korea Itinerary] Jeju in Winter for Lunar New Year (3 nights, 4 days)


This picture was taken at Seopjikoji (섭지코지), where there is a great view of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (성산일출봉).
My family and I went to Jeju during my parents' week-long visit to Korea (full itinerary to follow, including 3 days in Seoul).

We went over the full Seollal - Lunar New Year - Chinese New Year (설 연휴), which for 2017 was from 27 January to 30 January.
Flight: We flew on Eastar Jet, it's a Korean charter airline.
Each person is able to bring one FREE checked bag (15 kg or lighter).

Hotel: Ramada Plaza Jeju Ocean Front (hotel pictures and review to follow)
This hotel is very close to the airport, but there aren't that many tourist attractions nearby. We selected it because of it's semi-central location and proximity to the ocean, literally across the street.

Tip! Rent a car! The public transportation is available in Jeju, but since it is kind of countryside (especially in off-season) you will find yourself waiting a lot longer than you'll find yourself waiting in the city.
Additionally, check the list here to see if there is reciprocity: http://dl.koroad.or.kr/license/en/sub/popInterLicArea.jsp
Otherwise, you can easily get a global driver's permit.

If you do not want to drive, you can hire a driver or a tour guide. Additionally, there are taxi tours available. If you're interested in more information about taxi tours, I can translate the information from a Korean travel book I bought, just leave a comment here.

Day 1:
Flight scheduled for about 11:20
We arrived really early, like too early for a domestic check-in at Gimpo. (We took a taxi from Myeongdong, it was about 25,000 KRW).
Our scheduled flight was delayed, so we were put on an earlier flight (about 10:15), which was really good service on Eastar's part, but that flight was also delayed, so we didn't board until about 10:45.

So, we arrived around noon to Jeju and it was about 12:15 when we arrived at our hotel. 

The first order of business was to go to 제주 김만복, which is a really famous place for 전복 김밥 (abalone kimbap).
We got one kimbap, one rice ball, and one abalone porridge.
It was about 400 meters from our hotel, which was really great.

Then, we picked up our rental car (we rented from the rental car place within our hotel).

We went on a bit of a drive.
I knew we should stop by somewhere wher ewe could see the Jeju stone grandfather statues, so we went to the Stone Museum and Culture Park (제주돌문화공원).

Then, we went to seafood and meat shabu shabu (hot pot) buffet restaurant (천해천 샤브샤브)

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped off at the Samyang Black Sand Beach (삼양검은모래해변).

Day 2:
We started off walking to 용두암 (Dragon's Head Rock), which was about a 15-minute walk from our hotel.

Then, we went on a drive to the south, eventually all the way to the South Sea.
We went to InnisFree Jeju House (이니스프리제주하우스) and O'sulloc Tea Museum (오설록티뮤지엄), which are both actually on the same grounds.

Then, we went to the Jungsangjeolli Cliff (중문대포해안 주상절리대). This is a cliff where you can see the columnar lava cliffs.

We were quite close to the Jeju World Cup Stadium, so we stopped off there too (월드컵경기장).

Then, we went to the Cheonjiyeon Waterfall (천지연 폭포)

And then to the Yongmeolli Shore (용머리해안) and Sanbang Mountain (산방산) for sunset, which was great.

Then, on the way back to the hotel, we went back to a really good seafood restaurant that specializes in two of the more famous Jeju dishes - braised hairtail/cutlassfish (galchi jorim 갈치조림)  and braised mackerel (godeungeo jorim 고등어조림). We got the galchi jorim and roasted mackerel. 

Day 3:
We decided to go to the east this time, eventually to the East Sea (Sea of Japan).
We started off with a stop at the Hamdeok Seoubong Beach (함덕 서우봉해변), which is famous for a mint green sea and is a pretty famous beach in the summer (according to my guidebook) since it's so scenic and shallow.

Then, we went to the Haenyeo Museum (해녀박물관) to learn about the Jeju diving women, who are designated on the UNESCO World Heritage list. It was kind of rainy, so it was nice to take a break inside for a bit. There's an 8-minute video that is available in English (or Chinese/Japanese), if you request it.

Next, we stopped off near Tokki Island (토끼섬), which is named because it resembles a rabbit (tokki means rabbit in Korean). It was a little hard to see, but we learned about the Hado VIlalge.

By that time, it was about lunch time, so we went to this Japanese fusion restaurant I found, it's called Seopjihyang (섭지향), which I believe means something like the scent of Seopji. We got one of each of the menu items, which isn't as big of an undertaking as it seems, there are only 3 menu items (4 if you include the sashimi that you have to request ahead of time). However, this was our dinner for the day.

We then went to Mango Ray to get a few mango shakes. I got a mango coconut shake.

Then, we went off to the Seopjikoji Beach (섭지코지) - you can see a photo of the view at the top of this post :)

Then, we set off to the final destination for the day - the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (Seongsan Sunrise Peak), which is now designated as one of the "new 7 wonders" of the world, not without scandals and rumored cheating, of course. We did a bit of a hike, but stopped about halfway - we kind of just wanted a bit of a view. I probably could have continued going, but my mom had planned on only going halfway.

We then went back to the hotel because we needed to return the rental car by 8PM.

Then, we walked around a bit and I picked up some special dduk for my office. It's called 오메기떡 (omegi dduk) and is a specialty of Jeju. I got mine at 몰랑몰랑 (Mollang Mollang), but there are plenty of other options. My options here were ones filled with Hallabong (special citrus fruit available in Jeju) or ssuk (mugwort).


Day 4:
Our flight was at 10, so we didn't really have time to do anything this day.
The airport is quite small with poor wifi availability, so plan accordingly, I guess.
There is a pretty big duty free shop, so you could entertain yourself there for a bit, I guess.

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