Five Reasons Why You Should Visit Jeju Island In South Korea
I have come across countless posts about Seoul, but much less about this charming island south of South Korea. It's such a shame because Jeju is a gem. Away from the hustle and glitz of Seoul, this place is where one can relax and wander around. There are so many beautiful landscapes to enjoy. There are variety of options for promising adventures: waterfalls, estuaries, beaches, lava tunnels, and many more. We went to Jeju early spring, it was still a bit cold but bearable with a light jacket. The coastal city reminds me Lucerne, Switzerland. The quaint city center that is pedestrian-friendly, pretty flowers starting to bloom and come alive with the arrival of spring. If that isn't enough, let me share some reasons why you should visit Jeju.
Driving is easy and cheap.
If you are traveling as a group, this will turn out to be more cost-efficient. We rented a car for around Php 2,000 per day. To get around Jeju, you need to take a bus and plan around its schedule. By renting a car, we were able to go wherever we please and don't have to rush to catch the bus. The cars come with a dependable GPS. Just key in the number corresponding the place you want to visit and you're good to go! Make sure you ask your GPS to be set to English. :)
The best bibimbap I've ever had.
Our lovely bed and breakfast host, Sylvia, let us in on a little secret. This place is a short walk from Tae Gong Gak (TGG - best bnb ever!!!) located in the general market. No extravagant sign, just people walking to the same direction. :) We almost had all our dinners here as they close late. Simple, fresh, and delicious. That explains why we don't have a single photo of the bibimbap. We devoured it even before it had a chance for a photo op. :)
Jeju is a nature lover's wonderland.
A leisurely drive will already showcase the beautiful landscape. No entrance fee needed. There are endless fields of yellow rape flowers. Mysterious volcanoes grace the horizon. You can drive down, park and walk across a park to a waterfalls. In fact, there are several waterfalls across Jeju that you can just walk and likely come across signs that will lead you to one. In the spring, roads are also lined with cherry blossoms. For major attractions, a fee may be required. You can also explore the Manjanggul Caves. This is a UNESCO heritage site where you can navigate the lava tubes formed some several hundred thousand years ago (~300,00 years). If you are claustrophobic, this might not be for you. :) Lastly, you can scale up South Korea's highest peak, Mt. Hallasan. The ascents are limited to day climbs only, but there are different routes for different levels of difficulty. The most difficult routes may take 8 hours or more while others as short as 2 hours. Obviously, as I am un-athletic, we took the Yeongsil trail as this is the shortest and easiest route. Piece of advice: Wear proper shoes when exploring Jeju. There will be a lot of walking and some climbing.
Green tea and Make Up
Jeju is home to the world-famous Osulloc Green Teas. Rows upon rows of green tea plant will greeted us as we drove up the property. There are also paths which will allow you to wander to tea gardens, museums, forests. We decided to have our lunch here, amidst the tranquil environment. This is where I got to have the best matcha ice cream, yay for desserts! It was quite a unique experience for us. :) But, that is not all there is to it. A visit to South Korea is not complete without Korean make-up hoarding. :) And this is the best place for it. the Osulloc property also houses the Innisfree Jeju House. Innisfree products boasts of the Jeju volcanic masks which I personally use. So yeah, I'm a fan. If you arrive just in time for the activities, you can join in. There are products here that may not be available in other stores. Needless to say, this is where most of the shopping happened and where we got little presents for people back home.
I hope this will make you mark Jeju as one of your travel destinations soon! You will not regret it :)