Jeju, the Island of Gods D3
[02 Nov 2016]
This is our third and final day in Jeju, and we didn’t even have a full day since our flight back to Seoul was schedule in the late evening. To make the most of whatever time we had left, we started our day early.
Yongnuni Oreum 용눈이오름 [GPS:728-2742]
There are several parasitic volcanos as a result of the eruption of Mt. Hallasan in 1007. Yongnuni Oreum 용눈이오름 is one of them. Almost 250m in height, this oreum is particularly picturesque with a good view of the eastern part of Jeju Island.
We arrived at the oreum early enough; was only the 2nd parked car in the whole parking space. It was extremely gusty on the windward side of the hills and got progressively stronger as we reached the summit. It was so bad I think someone small could even get blown away. Not exaggerating it one bit; I could not even walk properly in the wind.
But the view was truly worth the climb. Right at the summit, we could make out Songsan Ilchulbong Peak 성산일출봉 in the far distance. Could also see a lot of wind turbines and green plains. I wished Jeju Island will remain like this for a long time to come, but with newer and bigger attractions being built all the time, I doubt my wish will come true.
Because we started early, it was almost like we had the whole oreum to ourselves. As we were descending the oreum, busloads bringing Korean middle school students started ascending it. A lot of them. The oreum started feeling crowded. I was glad we were done with our sightseeing.
All the trekkers we met along the way ascending and descending Yongnuni Oreum were native Koreans, mostly from the mainland. No international tourists, except for the both of us. Perhaps we were a little too early to meet them, perhaps they don’t usually visit such spots. I’m not certain, but I appreciate it being a less-than-popular destination: no litter, no rampant trampling of the flora just for that perfect shot.
Unexpectedly, we came across this view as we were driving away from Yongnuni Oreum towards our next destination. And strangely enough there was a slip road, making it safe for us to stop the car to take in this spectacular view of the wind turbines. I really love how Jeju makes use of so many wind turbines as energy resource. So environmentally friendly.
All In House 올인 하우스 [GPS:782-7800]
I didn’t watch All In 올인 하우스 because it was a Korean drama about gambling – I don’t exactly approve of gambling and the existence of casinos in principle. Even when I play mahjong with friends at home, it was more for the fun of it rather than gambling for the winnings. But I do know that the house is located at Seopjiikoji 섭지코지, a wide and flat hill that extends right to the sea coast facing Songsan Ilchubong peak. From pictures I found on the internet, the area looks scenic enough for me to want to take a look for myself.
This is the All In House. I feel nothing for it since I didn’t watch the drama at all. In any case, it was not opened for admission. Not certain if that was going to be a permanent closure or not. Many Chinese tourists were disappointed.
There is so much more than the All In House at Seopjikoji. We continued ambling along the pathway beyond a lighthouse (most Chinese tourists were scaling the steep metal stairway to reach the lighthouse but we decided to pass), not knowing where it would lead us. Just a handful of visitors had the same idea, but most did not venture beyond the lighthouse. Because of the geographical location of Seopjikoji (right at the eastern tip), one gets a panoramic view almost throughout. And it was so beautiful.
Eventually, we walked to the end of the pathway and discovered what laid ahead – a beach front and a view of Songsan Ichulbong across the deep blue waters (indicating its depth). It was so gusty none of our wefies turned out nice (think: wayward hair strewn across our faces). We laughed over our feeble attempts, walked on a little along the coastline and came across an odd item on the rocky beach. A chair. Now, the waves brought in a lot of litter during high tide; we saw numerous plastic bags, bottles and what-nots. But the chair… it didn’t look like it was brought in by the waves; looked more like it was placed there intentionally by someone who fishes at that spot frequently.
Having explored the hill thoroughly, we retraced our steps back to retrieve our car. Since we didn’t get to enter the All In House, there were not admission fees collected. However, we had to pay a token amount of ₩500 for using the carpark. As we were driving off, I was telling the hubby that they might as well charge ₩1,000 – much easier to collect notes than coins. Or perhaps, they do have some use for the coins.
Aqua Planet Jeju 아쿠아플라넷 제주 [GPS: 780-0900]
Aqua Planet Jeju 아쿠아플라넷 제주 is a relatively new attraction located nearby Seopjikoji. We decided to visit because well… aquariums are my favourite. Upon entering, we realised that this Aqua Planet is a lot larger than we’d expected. Admission fees are also priced rather prohibitively at ₩39,500 per person, meaning that it won’t be worth our while because we couldn’t afford the time to walk it through in detail. Disappointed, we agreed to leave it for our next trip.
Gimnyeong Beach 김녕 성세기 해변
Since we didn’t spend much time at Hanwha Aqua Planet, there was a bit of excess time before handing over our car hence a last-minute decision to round back to Gimnyeong Beach. Compared to the afternoon when we first went to the beach, it was a much more beautiful day. Perhaps pictures would turn out looking nicer.
In some ways, I was right. The pictures taken during our first visit didn’t turn out terrible, in fact they were quite nice too. But different days, different time at the same place begets different feels. Having two sets of entirely different pictures of the same beach, I was contented.
Now I’m going to talk a little about renting a car in Jeju. The reservation for a car should always be done way in advance, whenever practicable. Do not leave things to chance by turning up at the counter without a reservation; it would be terrible if they couldn’t provide you with a car.
I mentioned a few posts back that renting from Lotte Rent-a-Car wasn’t a deliberate choice I made, it just happened that it ties up with Singapore Airlines and I could earn some Krisflyer miles in the process. But having rented from Lotte Rent-a-Car and the smaller, lesser known car rental company in Mar, I think I prefer the former. For starters, they have more counters (we waited 5 minutes, tops) and while I can speak and understand Korean, renting a car involves certain technical terminology that I have not learnt in my Korean Language class. No worries, the counter staff at Lotte Rent-a-Car seek very comprehensible English.
Also, just look at the collection of rental cars they possess. Such a huge selection to pick from. I’m sold. For our repeat visit to Jeju, I’m definitely going to use Lotte Rent-a-Car again.
The rental company is located a little way away from Jeju Airport, and they provide free shuttle bus service both ways. We arrived at the airport about 3 hours ahead of our flight. A little early so we spent the bulk of our time at a cafe after checking-in.
Our flight was delayed. In fact, all the Jeju Air flights around the same time were delayed. The particular section (right at the end) of the departure hall was filled with passengers from 3-4 flights, all delayed. It was so confusing we wondered if anyone boarded the wrong plane.
For a faster turnaround (and perhaps due to a lack of aerobridges – Jeju Airport is operating over their optimum capacity and they know it, since a new terminal is currently being constructed), our aircraft was parked at a remote bay. Not my first remote bay boarding experience, but definitely the first one in the evening. Picture taking opportunity! The ground staff were very nice to allow us to do what we wanted to, away from the queue. So many things can go wrong with unauthorised personnel getting lost on the tarmac, not to mention the security issues.
Boarding took quite a while but eventually, after about a half-hour delay, we departed from Jeju.