Jeju, the Island of Gods D2: Indoors
[01 Nov 2016]
The only full day we had in Jeju, and I had a lot of sightseeing packed for the day. It was a good start when we saw how good the weather was. A far cry from the overcast sky of the previous day, and I was delighted!
O’Sulloc Tea Museum 오설록티뮤지엄 [GPS: 794-5312]
There were practically no repeat of places between my Mar and Oct/Nov visits to Jeju, save for O’Sulloc Tea Museum 오설록티뮤지엄 since I have quite an unhealthy love for Matcha thus need to replenish my stock at home. I pegged this as the first activity of the day to avoid the busloads of tourists expected later in the day. My decision proved right; we arrived rather early at 0930hrs slightly after opening hours yet there were already several large buses parked. One can only imagine how much worse it gets later in the day. Oh wait, I have seen how bad it could get.
Bypassing O’Sulloc Tea Museum, we headed straight for Innisfree Jeju House 이니스프리 제주 하우스 first. The flagship store is built simply in light timber wood, with glass walls all around thus allowing natural light to stream gently into the standalone building. I like airy, brightly lit and well-ventilated spaces so it comes as no surprise that I walked into this store even though I don’t use any of Innisfree’s skincare products. Just the sheet masks.
There is a counter serving organic dessert. We have not had our breakfast but I was saving my stomach for O’Sulloc hence we gave it a miss. If you’re not so crazy over Matcha like I am, give Innisfree’s a try. This store also conducts soap-making lessons, and is the only Innisfree store in the whole of Korea that offers this. It sounded interesting but 1) I couldn’t afford the time to sit down and make soap, and 2) the mister would be bored to death. So, no thanks.
We rounded back to O’Sulloc Tea Museum – my personal kind of wonderland. 😉 Along the way, we walked by the tea bushes next to the building and started taking some selfies. A newly developed hobby, unfortunately, that required some brushing up. I thought we were ridiculous enough taking pictures of green bushes that don’t look particularly interesting, but a few Chinese tourists were hilarious – they pretended to be picking the tea leaves. That situation slowly evolved; by the next time I turned to look at them, they were plucking tea leaves off the bushes for real. Uh oh, I don’t know if I should stop them or not. Let’s just pretend we didn’t see it and walk away…
It was time for our breakfast proper, but not after I did a spot of shopping. Akin to a child who found herself in Toys”R”us, I went a little overboard with filling my basket. I had to be stopped. Literally. The mister simply took the basket out of my hand and marched to the cashier to make payment, thus ending my shopaholic moment abruptly.
We were fortunate to have been spared a queue at the counter. Shortly after we collected our order, a large crowd of tourists streamed in, presumably from a tour bus. Since I made it a point to sit far away from the ordering counter, we were not too bothered by the noise increase.
I order the Alfredo every single time I walk into an O’Sulloc cafe, regardless of the weather or ambient temperature. You might have guessed right that I love Root Beer Float too. As for the roll, well… I have tasted better dessert made with green tea/Matcha in Uji, in particular, but this roll from O’Sulloc wasn’t all that bad. It’s just that comparatively, I prefer the way Japanese make their rolls – soft and airy.
Since we were running on a tight schedule (the mister kept teasing that we were probably going to meet all the busloads of tourists at our next destination), I daren’t dilly-dally. We made a move soon after enjoying our breakfast.
Hello Kitty Island 헬로키티아일랜드 [792-6114]
Hello Kitty Island is a relatively new attraction that popped up in Jeju in Dec 2013. From afar, we could already spot the building painted and decorated in the signature hues of pink associated with the mouthless kitty. This was also the first attraction in Jeju where we had to pay an entrance fee.
And the admission fee is not cheap, priced at ₩10,000 per person. The counter staff asked if we wanted the stamp booklet; that would cost ₩12,000. In a feeble attempt to save some money, I told the mister that we should stick with just ₩10,000. And promptly regretted after the tickets were issued, when I spotted a standing banner nearby explaining how we should use the booklet (to get ink stamps at checkpoints found within the building).
Everything just screamed cute! I mustered my inner pink that morning and squealed every time I entered a new room and saw new exhibits. I was busy snapping away on both my DSLR and iPhone. The mister also started snapping away. While I know my pictures will eventually find their way to this travel blog or my Instagram account, I’m not certain what he intended to do with the plentiful pictures he took. 😆
Alright, I’m not a huge fan of Hello Kitty so I shan’t delve into the history and stuff (which I’ll have to google first to research anyway) but since I’m into cutesy things and recently, pink, I hd quite a bit of pictures taken. Just going to put all the pictures together in a gallery below.
I actually spent the most time at the merchandise store. 😆 It took a lot of willpower to walk out of the building simply with a little pair of Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel wearing hanbok. Would I recommend this charming attraction? Sure, if you have little girls or love Hello Kitty/cutesy things. Otherwise, no compelling reason to.
Teddy Bear Museum 제주 테디베어뮤지엄 [738-7600]
More than a decade ago, I once visited Teddy Bear Museum with my mum and sis when we joined a group tour to Korea during the Lunar New Year period. I remember loving the museum and thus had always wanted to come again with the mister. As I drove near the museum, I realised Jeju has changed a lot over the decade; I don’t recognise the area at all! And the entrance to the museum didn’t look like that. I remember a large space with slopes of grass. That’s all gone now, and in place, more attractions.
Admission fee is also priced at ₩10,000 per person. Expensive for a small place but if you are a fan of teddy bear, there are more than enough exhibits to keep you happy. I know I was exhilarated!
I wanted to try taking a selfie myself and asked the mister for the stick. He was naughty enough to use my DSLR to take a picture of me awkwardly handling the selfie stick. I gave up, by the way. Didn’t manage to take a decent wefie with the life size bear.
A lot of self-explanatory exhibits all soooo cute! I was totally enamoured. 😛
We managed a rather nice wefie, but his arm was sore from holding the selfie stick the whole morning. Result? A shaky hand and a blur image. OK… need more practice! And maybe a better selfie stick.
The merchandise section is not large, but I took so long simply browsing. I knew I should not buy anything yet I couldn’t help but keep walking round and round looking for something inexpensive and practical. Nothing. So I left empty-handed. Such a feat.
I love the whacky exterior of this Starbucks store just opposite to the Teddy Bear Museum. We went in looking for the old Jeju specific tumbler but learnt that they no longer sell it. Disappointed, we went on to our next destination.
This post is running longer than I expected, so I’m splitting our Day 2 into 2 different posts instead. Coincidentally we were exploring museums and exhibitions up till this point, and following that, all nature and landscape.