UNTUK VERSI BAHASA MELAYU, KLIK SINI.
If you planning to visit South Korea, Here is should look like this – make it a short stay in Seoul, say 3 days is enough. Forget about Kimchi cooking class while you can get a pre pack kimchi at the supermarket. Forget about Hanbok costume because Malay traditional Baju kurung Pahang is more beautiful than that. But if you are so into K-POP, I suggest you to stay in South Korea and never leave.
Now let me tell you about Jeju Island. I am not insane if I tell you that you should spend a week or two here in this island. I regretted that Mike and I spent 3 short days without renting the car. Mike didn’t believed me when I told him that South Korea has a strict policy when it come to foreigner driving in their Republic. Republic of South Korea is nothing like Thailand and Malaysia. You must have international driving license applied in your home country prior your visit to South Korea. He finally believed that I was not joking about international driving license when our hotel staff at the reception counter asking for it. I couldn’t get angry because I was too tired from the walking tour we went through during our 5 days stay in Seoul.
If you wanted to visit South Korea with intention besides shopping and K-POP, please come go Jeju. 4 days minimum with RENTAL CAR. You can’t walk around this island like Gili Trawangan in Lombok.
My opinion – Jeju Island is the most beautiful compared to many island situated in South East Asia. Yes, Thailand and Philippines are famous with its crystal blue, white sandy beach. But Jeju Island has more than a beach. I was so mad that for the first time, I unable to make a full round island tour while I was in Jeju. Seriously I asked Mike to consider to come back here again some other time with international driving license and RENTAL CAR.
The skies wasn’t that blue in Seoul. It reminds me of Beijing. But in Jeju, I can guarantee you that it has the bluest skies and the freshest air that you can enjoy.
My decision to call Jeju is the most beautiful island wasn’t came from my solo judgment. This island won few UNESCO accredited titles as World Nature Heritage, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, 7 Wonders of Nature and many more. The whole island (not part, not just waterfall, not just beach, but the whole island) is standing side by side with Amazon Forest in South America, Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil, Komodo Island in Indonesia, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Puerto Princessa Underground River in Philippines and Table Mountain in South Africa.
If you come to Jeju Island, I suggest you to stay in SEOGWIPO, which is located in the south of this island. Stay here for at least 3 days since there are few walking distance, interesting places around this area. Jeongbang waterfall, Cheonjiyeon waterfall and Saeseom islet are among must see interest in Seogwipo. Seogwipo city isn’t bad at all for you shopaholic. If you still have remaining days to spend in Jeju, you can move up north of this island, to Jeju city nearby airport for a day or two.
I would like to start my story of Jeju Island with Seongsan Ilchulbong because it is the first thing we would like to see when we read about Jeju. This tuff cone formed from an underwater volcano erupted 5,000 years ago and designated as one of the National Monument by UNESCO. Like I said before, if you have extra budget, you can stay in Jeju for a week or two and get a chance to climb Mount Hallasan. Yes, if you are hiking and climbing fan, Mount Hallasan in Jeju is a must try. The cost is most likely to climb mount Kinabalu I guess.
Since we did not rent a car, we took public transportation which is bus. The service isn’t bad at all. The timing of the bus is very reliable. Distance from Seogwipo to Seongsan Ilchulbong is around 43 km. But with bus, it has like 30 stops, it took us more than 2 hours to reach our destination. I fell asleep on both trip. It costs us KRW 3000 per one way trip if I’m not mistaken. The journey was way too long and the bus driver was kinda bossy. He didn’t allow me to snap picture while I’m on his bus! Felt like in North Korea for a second.
Once we arrived in Seongsan bus stop, it wasn’t hard at all to find where the entrance to Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. The signboard are everywhere. We had to do a little climb towards the entrance. It was an exhausted long bus ride, we stopped by at local cafe for a drink. Have you ever tried banana coffee? We did. It taste like drinking caramel banana soup.
It costs KRW 4,000 (RM15) per entry, per person. Thousand of people were there. It is quite impossible for you to get picture alone with the Ilchulbong peak.
This place is beautiful. We were here around 5pm and cloudy. But if we have rental car, I can guarantee you that we will be here early in the morning to watch the sunrise. This peak is also known as Sunrise Peak and people says it has the most beautiful sunrise moment here in Seongsan Ilchulbong. You can do mini hiking here. Standing at 180 meter high with beautiful pathway and stairs, you can climb this little peak up and down in 50 minutes time. I didn’t do it. My legs were too painful from climbing up and down subways in Seoul for 5 days. So I waited for Mike at the foot hill with my camera. It happened that Mike able to finish the climbing within 30 minutes.
If you come here early, you will have the opportunity to watch the women divers show. They dive into the ocean without oxygen tank while collect some oysters. It’s cold and windy here. I don’ know how those lady divers manage to do what they do.
You will never get to the whole peak into one picture once you crossed the ticket booth though. But, if you really wanted to see how it looked like, you can take a helicopter tour to get a full look of this peak. As for me, I had to go to parking lot so that I can get some picture alone with Ilchulbong peak. There is nothing much to do here besides little hiking and posing for camera, but this place worth a visit for its beauty and fresh air. If it is not because of thousands of visitors, this place would be perfect.
I was wondering that thing, hanging like a long dry poop. It can be seen every where if you come to South Korea. Finally I came to know that, it is an ice cream holder/ tube. It has hole in the middle and fill it with ice cream. I didn’t try it though since it is hanging in the open air like that, because I am sure people sneezed and coughed near it and it will make that thing clean enough to eat?
Suddenly I feel fed up to write more on Seongsan Ilchulbong after I remember how many visitors pestering around with their selfie stick and group photos here in Seongsan Ilchulbong. I guess I have to stop here, now. Hahahahahah (what an excellent excuses)
Jeju Island, South Korea