Korea Day 3: Mesmerizing Jeju Island (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Wholesome cuteness and fun all rolled in one, that’s how I’d describe Hello Kitty Island. Being an ardent Hello Kitty fan, I’ve been to Sanrio Hello Kitty Town in Malaysia (new but rather small) and Sanrio Puroland in Tokyo (big but rather old). Among these three, I love Hello Kitty Island in Jeju the most – it’s big, clean and new!

Black Pork Lunch

After indulging in a dose of cuteness, we went for lunch. Lunch of the day was black pork BBQ – meat of the Jeju black pig, which is one of the famous food here. Just like your usual Korean BBQ, you can choose to eat it wrapped in a lettuce.

Black Pork

Tender with a firm bite, and although it was grilled without any marination, the meat was delicious on its own. I’m not a pork lover, but I find that black pork tastes better than regular pork. The Jeju black pork is said to be very nutritious too.

After lunch, we made a brief stop at Jeju Orange Chocolate Factory. It was a Sunday, so the factory was not operating. We were given an introduction of the chocolate manufacturing process. Jeju is famous for its tangerine – they are big and super sweet. White chocolate coated on thin slices of tangerine tastes really fantastic. The chocolate costs 10,000 won per box (~SGD12) of 10pcs – not cheap though.

Jeju TangerineJeju tangerine – big and sweet

Jeju Chocolate

Next, we went to Seongeup Folk Village. Located at the foot of Halla Mountain (the highest mountain in South Korea), it’s a small town that holds a vast amount of culture such as the abundance of black lava rocks scattered on the ground and even used in their houses, the abundant display of stone grandfather statues called harubangs, the distinctive conventional “restrooms” and the local black-haired pigs.

Village 2

Black Pig

Yup, that’s the kind of black pig that we had for lunch just now. Haha! Luckily, I saw it after I ate, else I would have lost my appetite. Lol.

For those of you who have watched Dae Jang Geum, numerous scenes from the famous drama were shot here.

Village 1

Seongeup Folk Village
Address: 104, Seongeupjeonguihyeon-ro, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do

Our next destination was Seongsan Sunrise Peak. Seongsan Ilchulbong (name in Korean) rose from under the sea in a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. There is a huge crater at the top of the peak. The crater is about 600m in diameter and 90m high. With the 99 sharp rocks surrounding the crater, it looks like a gigantic crown. The sunrise from the crater is said to be magnificent.

Seongshan

While the southeast and north sides are cliffs, the northwest side is a verdant grassy hill that is connected to the Seongsan Village. The ridge provides an ideal spot for walks and for horse riding as well.

Hiking up Seongsan Ilchulbong was surprisingly quite manageable. The hiking trails were easy to follow, coupled with nice and cool windy weather. Our tour guide told us that it takes ~20 minutes to walk up to the peak without stopping for rest. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the peak because it was drizzling.

Seongshan 2

Seongshan 3

Definitely a place worth visiting and it’s popular among tourists too. Selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, this place will enchant you with the magnificent view sculpted by Mother Nature. You can find several cosmetics brands like Innisfree and Nature Republic nearby. There is also Lotteria, a burger chain and Dunkin Donuts with Starbucks.

Seongsan Sunrise Peak
Address: 284-12, Ilchul-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do

Our last destination was Dragon Head Rock. As its name suggests, the rocks here look like a dragon’s head, created by strong winds and waves over thousands of years.

Dragon Head 3

Dragon Head 2

Dragon Head 1

Yongduam Rock (Dragon Head Rock)
Address: Yongdamroteo-ri Yongdam-2dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do

Dinner was one of the BEST in our entire tour. We had seafood steamboat. There was an optional upgrade of 35,000 won per person for sashimi with abalone. Everyone in our group opted for the upgrade, which was absolutely delicious.

Hotpot dinner

The meal started with yummy abalone porridge. We get to savor live seafood sashimi, abalone, sea cucumber, oysters, prawns, fish, and lots of side dishes such as egg roll. It was my first time seeing a live abalone. We’ve no guts to eat them alive, so we put them into our steamboat pot.

Hotpot dinner 2

V also tried eating a live octopus. It totally freaked me out. The lady restaurant owner took a live octopus for all of us to try. She cut them into small pieces and served with its arms still squirming. Yikes! And V said it was such an intriguing experience for him.

After dinner, we took a stroll before heading back to Jeju Oriental Hotel.

 

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Korea Day 3: Mesmerizing Jeju Island (Part 1)

Itinerary: O’Sulloc Green Tea Museum, Glass Castle, Hello Kitty Island, Jeju Orange Chocolate Factory, Seongeup Folk Village, Seongsan Sunrise Peak, Dragon Head Rock

Day 3

This was one of my favourite days in the entire tour. I’ve heard so much about Jeju. People say it’s the best part of Korea. Even the locals love the island so much. No wonder it’s also called “Korean Hawaii” – it’s a popular spot for lovers and romantics.

When I reached Jeju, I was totally convinced that this island is indeed very special and beautiful. Jeju boasts “triple abundance” – wind, rocks and women. It’s well-known for being very windy, and I love the crisp fresh air. There is no heavy industry in the island, thus it’s regarded as one of the cleanest areas in South Korea, with low emissions of air pollutants.

Due to past volcanic activities, there are black rocks all over the island. Its reputation of having an abundance of women dated way back to the time when fishing was the primary source of income, and a large number of fishermen lost at sea. Therefore, there were more women than men in the island.

You might have heard of the mermaids of Jeju. Known as ‘haenyeo’, they were actually Korean female divers who made their living by harvesting seafood by hand from the ocean floor. Because of their grueling daily life, they had a saying: “Better to be born a cow than a woman.” The life of a haenyeo was extremely tough and unhappy, though.

Our tour guide recommended Haenyeo Museum – an informative and beautiful museum that showcases the history, lifestyle and traditions of traditional female divers. She commented that most of her female tourists who watched the documentary in the museum were soaked in tears, seeing how hard the life of these divers were. Unfortunately, this museum wasn’t in our itinerary. If I’ve a chance to visit Jeju again, I will certainly visit this museum.

Haenyeo Museum
Address: 26 Haenyeobangmulgwan-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si, Jeju
Website: http://www.haenyeo.go.kr/english/

Having talked so much about Jeju, our first destination on Day 3 was O’Sulloc Green Tea Museum. Unfortunately, it was drizzling in the morning. Thus, we couldn’t get a chance to go out to the green tea plantation.

This museum is widely known in Korea. The entire building takes the shape of a green tea cup. Visitors can enjoy unique o’sulloc teas and yummy snacks made with green tea. The second floor of the building has an observatory where visitors can enjoy the views of the nearby green tea fields and the surrounding landscape. There are also various green tea products sold here, from food items to skin care and hair care products.

The O’Sulloc café was quite crowded, I had to queue for 10 mins to get this cup of green tea ice-cream that was highly recommended by our tour guide. Didn’t try out the green tea rolls and tea shake because we had a huge breakfast at the hotel.

Green tea

Green tea 3

Green tea products

Green tea ice-creamThe green tea ice cream was the best!
O’Sulloc Green Tea Museum
425, Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Website: http://osulloc.com/
Admission is free
To Go: Yes! You must try the green tea ice-cream too.

After O’Sulloc Museum, we went to the Glass Castle. In this castle, visitors get to see world’s largest glass ball and largest glass diamond, a glass stonewall, a mirror lake, a glass bridge, and many models all made entirely out of glass. It also has a forest trek that brings visitors through various glass-themed installations, like flower fields and a family of deers, made entirely out of glass of course!

Glass Castle

Glass Castle 2

Jeju Glass Castle

Glass Castle
Address: 462, Nokchabunjae-ro, Hangyeong-myeon, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
To Go: Yes!

Next, we went to the happiest place in Jeju – Hello Kitty Island. Yay! There are lots to see in this pinky island with many special Hello Kitty themed exhibition halls – Kitty History Hall, Art Education Hall, Music Education Hall, Art Gallery, World Gallery Hall, Trip around the World Gallery Hall, Constellation Education Hall, Planned Gallery, Hello Kitty Café, 3D Theater, Outdoor Modeling Gallery and more. If you’re a huge fan of Hello Kitty – you must not miss out Jeju Hello Kitty Island.

The Hello Kitty Café is packed with awesome cuteness. The entire café has a lovely pink interior, even the tables and chairs have Hello Kitty pictures on them. We didn’t try out the food as we were running out of time. There are many kiddie rides and indoor play area, but they are more suitable for young children.

Kitty 6

Kitty 2

Kitty 1

Kitty 3

Kitty 5

Kitty 4

Hello Kitty Island
Address: No. 340 Hanchang-ro Andeok-myeon Seoguipo city Jeju
Website: http://www.hellokittyisland.co.kr/en/
To Go: Certainly YES!

To be continued in Part 2

 

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Korea Day 1 & 2: Descendants of the Sun Special Exhibition at Doota Duty Free

Day 1:

We flew to Incheon via Korean Air Flight KE648, departing at 11:00am and arriving at 6:35pm. As mentioned in my previous post, the main reason why we chose this tour is because it has a morning flight. It was less tiring when we began our tour on the second day.

Our tour guide met us at Incheon Airport. We also met with our tour mates, there were 16 of us – such nice number! Our group size is ideal and not too big.

Then, we boarded our coach to hotel. The weather was sooOoo good! At night, the temperature was 13°C and windy – it felt like walking under a giant air-con. May is the end of Spring. Besides October, it’s one of the most pleasant months to visit Korea.

The journey to our hotel took about an hour. By the time we checked into our hotel, it was almost 9pm already. We quickly went out to fill our growling tummies. We walked straight into the first eatery that we saw. Turned out, it was KFC fried chicken. Hah!

There we go – fried chicken as our first meal in Korea! ^^

Our first night was spent at Koreana Hotel. This is also the hotel that we stayed at the last 2 nights of our tour, so I’ll share the pictures of the hotel room in my last post.

Day 2:

Breakfast was on our own, we ate some bread that we bought at the convenience store. Our tour guide picked us up at 9:30am. Our first destination was Dongdaemun (东大门) – Korea’s largest wholesale and retail shopping district. Opening from 10am till 5am the next day, this is the place where you can shop NON-STOP!

Dongdaemun shopping district is made up of 2 main sections – the retail shops and the wholesale shops. And the best time to visit is after 10pm when the night markets are up. You can enjoy the bustling street food stalls to replenish your energy while you shop.

We reached Dongdaemun at 10:30am. Our coach dropped us outside Doota Duty Free Store, and we were given 2 hours of shopping time here.

Doota Duty Free

Much to my surprise (and completely unexpected!), I came to this place on the first day of my tour. The day before I flew to Korea, my Taiwanese friend called to inform me about the “Descendants of the Sun” special exhibition at Doota Duty Free Store. I assured her that I would not miss it.

I hustled excitedly into the store. Floor by floor, I finally found the exhibition at Level 7. I went crazy for a while! It was such an eye-opener!

The exhibition includes several life-size panels of Song Joong Ki, exact replicas of some scenes in the drama as well as live-screening.

DOTS 1

DOTS 2

DOTS 4The place where the most famous “wine kiss” took place
DOTS 5The medi-cube
DOTS 3Dr. Kang Mo-yeon’s house

There are so much more in the exhibition. I was completely mesmerized! ^__^

So, we got a prelude to shopping at Dongdaemun on our first day, and we planned to visit the place again at night on Day 8, which is our free & easy day.

We went for lunch and head to Gimpo International Airport to catch our flight to Jeju Island. We boarded Korean Air KE1241 flight, departing Gimpo Airport at 3:30pm, and arriving Jeju International Airport at 4:40pm (1hr 10mins).

Jeju International Airport is much bigger than I’ve expected. It was also crowded and packed with tourists, in fact, it’s even busier than Gimpo International Airport.