Saturday, December 14, 2013

Jeju Island, Part 2

Day 6 – Seopjikoji, Seongsan Ilchulbong and Manjanggul lava tube
Wed 20/11/13
Breakfast as usual at 7am, then Mr Kim sent us to the bus stop (free of charge) to take the bus to Seopjikoji (KRW 3000 or RM9). There was no direct stop to Seopjikoji, but we have to alight at Seongsan-eup Goseong-ri stop, then take a taxi for about 5 mins (KRW 4200 or RM13). The bus ride was very long, more than an hour and the bus was full of school students so we couldn't get seats. Only after ¾ of the journey that we managed to get seats when the students alighted. Our bus driver helpfully signalled to us when it was time to alight and then helped us to get a taxi and made sure we arrived at Seopjikoji. So sweet of the ahjussi.

When we arrived at Seopjikoji, there were already many tourists, the majority of them from China, by the busloads. You could instantly identify them ;) Seopjikoji was where the shooting of the Korean series All In took place. It was a beautiful green patch of land on a promontory by the sea. There was no entrance fee. We enjoyed some freshly made potato chips and grilled squid accompanied by the sea breeze. 

Pretty Seopjikoji! Hard to believe it was snowing yesterday at Hallasan Mt and sunny today down below

grilled squid

We then hailed a taxi (no problems to get a taxi, there were many tourists around) to Seongsan Ilchulbong (KRW 6200 or RM 19), about 10 minutes away. Again we got a very sweet ahjussi who stopped by at a beach for us take pictures with Seongsan Ilchulbong as the background. He even volunteered to take a picture of the 3 of us together, then brought us to Seongsan with no additional charge (he used the meter. Fortunately so far, all the taxi drivers used their meters)

view of Seongsan Ilchulbong from beach

We were yet again mesmerized by the beauty of Jeju – this time in the shape of the volcanic crater that is Seongsan Ilchulbong or Sunrise Peak. Entrance fee was only KRW 2000 or RM6 and it was totally worth it. You had to be there to believe it. It was also a Unesco Heritage Site under Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes

A bit more climbing (very little in fact) were required to go to the peak where you could see the crater – now filled with grass. We thought the volcano must have been dormant now, compared to the ones we saw in Indonesia which were still active and spewing ash and smoke, and you could smell sulphur. See here, Seongsan Ilchulbong is a typical tuff cone, with a small diameter, relative to its height and with steeply dipping rim deposits. About 5000 years ago, an ascending magma interacted with the groundwater within the lavas, resulting in powerful hydroeruption.

view from top

Seongsan Ilchulbong crater

Then we made our way down to catch the Jeju women diver ( haenyo) performance at 1.30pm where 5 elderly women (ahjummas) sang a folk song before making the plunge using the traditional gear of the net and float and wearing black rubber suits with the weight belts – similar to Scuba diving – but minus the air tank. They could dive for a few minutes without breathing and caught the octopus which they proudly waved to their appreciative audiences.

let's go diving!

ahjummas getting ready, singing folk song
splash! ahjummas with their white floats
here's their catch!

At the exit, we saw some souvenir shops so we did some shopping here before catching the bus to Manjanggul caves (KRW 1000 or RM3). We saw 2 Malaysian ladies at Seogsan whom we saw again on the bus to Majanggul. The bus did not go further into Manjanggul which was about another 1km from the main road, so we had to catch a taxi to reach there. We alighted on the opposite side of the junction into Manjanggul so we just missed the bus that would pass right in front of Manjanggul which came just as we exited our bus. A few taxis that passed by didn't want to take us in there (perhaps it was too near) until an ahjussi finally agreed to. He took the 5 of us into taxi and only paid KRW 2200 or RM7.

It was getting darker (dusk was at 5.15pm) and getting colder so we quickly made our way into the caves after prayers at an open area near to the washroom. Entrance fee was KRW 2000 or RM6. The caves were actually tunnels made by lava that flowed millions of years ago. This was also one of the Unesco Heritage sites under Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes. Most of people who didn't appreciate geography / geology might find Manjanggul a bit of disappointment (imagine dark caves with stalagmites and stalagtites – but made by lava flow – and bat guano). I thought it was an important site to visit - a 13.4km long cave made up of lava tunnels -but could be done quickly as it didn't give very impressive pictures. But then again, mine was only a compact camera, so perhaps a DSLR camera would do justice. 

lava tunnel

the entrance to the cave tunnel
the tunnel

the wall
the floor

lava raft shaped like a turtle

lava column: lava pours down from ceiling to floor

Unesco heritage site

The cold weather and cold wind made us hungrier faster. So it was a no brainer to decide that the next activity would be dinner – at Bagdad Restaurant again. This was our final night in Jeju / Korea so we were planning for a feast. To get back to the main road, we had to take a taxi. But since it was closing time at 5.30pm, there were very few taxis around. The only taxi that we saw demanded KRW 4000 or RM 12 to take us just to the main road (it was getting darker and colder for us to walk). So we had no choice but to take the taxi. Grrrr this was the first time we encountered an errant taxi driver who wouldn't use the meter and he was younger (not that young, but not ahjussi old). At the main road, we had to wait for the bus back to Jeju bus terminal. We missed the first bus that passed us by as our bus stop were not lighted up so probably the bus driver didn't see us and just sped past. Ahhh and it was getting really cold now. Luckily about 15 minutes later, another bus passed by and we managed to stop it. The bus fare back to Jeju bus terminal was KRW 1500 or RM4.50, and took about 30 minutes. On the way to the bus terminal, we saw the bus passing by our guesthouse, but there was no bus stop nearby. The next bus stop was a bit further away. So we decided to continue to the bus terminal.

At the bus terminal, we alighted and took another bus to City Hall (KRW 1000 or RM3). From City Hall, we walked to Bagdad, but not before dropping by at Paris Baguette to pack some breads and our favourite milk as lunch at the airport tomorrow. We asked for directions from a few shops but none were speaking English until we went to Rotiboy. Thank you Rotiboy. It was just a short walk from there to Bagdad. For our feast tonite we ordered white rice, lamb curry, chicken curry, naan bread and chicken tandoori. There were a few other Malaysians also there. We didn't finish our tandoori, so we packed it for lunch the next day. Our feast cost us KRW 70000 or RM 215. From Bagdad, we then took the taxi back to our lovely Green Guesthouse to pack our bags and rest before leaving tomorrow. 

chicken tandoori

Bye bye Green guesthouse

Day 7 – Goodbye Jeju, goodbye Korea
Thurs 21/11/13

As our usual routine, we had our breakfast of Korean rice with vege, fish and seaweed soup with self fried eggs before saying our goodbyes to Mr Kim. He sent us to the airport at 8.30am (free of charge) for us to catch our flight back to Busan at 10.35am, this time via another budget airline – Air Busan which cost us KRW 45000 or RM 136 one way. As per Jeju air, we were allowed to check in our luggages without additional fees, do online check in and choose our own seats also without any addiitonal fees. The online check in was done before coming to Korea so we already had our boarding passes. So we only had to deposit our luggages at the airport counter. For the 1 hour return flight to Busan we were also served juice drinks, free of charge. I love this type of budget airline. No hidden costs. 

Mr Kim driving us off to the airport

Bye bye Jeju

Think that is Mt Hallasan

Air Busan orange juice, FOC!

We arrived at Busan airport's domestic terminal at 11.30am, took our luggages then proceeded to the international terminal just next door, by walking. We had our packed lunch at the airport departure lounge, did some last minute shopping to finish off the Korean won and had another round of Holly's coffee before proceeding for counter check in at 2pm. We had already done online check in but still had to go to the counter, plus we paid for a 20kg check in luggage. We weighed our luggages, and after a bit of re-arranging – voila it was 20kg. We managed to check in 2 luggages with combined weight of 20kg. 

Hello again Busan, for a bit

Holly's coffee

Some more time to kill before our flight back to KL at 5pm. We went to the nursing room where there was a sink, so it was convenient to perform our prayers there – luckily there weren't any nursing mothers at that time.

Finally after a 4.5 hour wait, we finally boarded the plane bound for KL. We didn't pre order any meals going to Busan, but ordered 1 meal flying back. To our shock, the price of pre-order was more expensive than buying in flight itself. But if you bought the meal in flight, you won't be guaranteed of your meal of choice availability. I still had KRW 6000, so I finished it off by buying a Korean cup noodle – arghhh there was halal Korean cup noodle after all! - and Lipton lemon green tea. We didn't go through the meal card on our incoming flight so we missed out on the halal cup noodle – or we could have bought it in Korea! Lesson learnt the hard way again. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the cup noodle – it was quite spicy, but nice. 

remember this - Nong Shim shin cup noodle

Thank you Busan, Gyeongju and Jeju for the truly awesome experience! See you again.



Blogger hortensia said...

Nice pics!

9:39 AM  

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