We started our trip in Jeju Island, South Korea. Jeju was sleeping at 10pm and waking up at 6am to get an early start on the day. Eating LOTS of seafood. Driving/parking struggles (there are legit no driving laws in Jeju. People drive and park on the sidewalk). The weather was beautiful on all the days we were there, extremely lucky. Here are some of my favourite memories from Jeju
DAY0: After three back to back flights, we arrived in Jeju. However, the wireless wifi-egg decided to stop working right when we needed it to work. Now we have no idea how to get to our airbnb, I’m driving in Asia where driving laws do not exist, and I am tired and hungry. It was not a very good mix. We got so desperate we decided to turn on our LTE roaming… but Jeju was too remote and there was no LTE. Just when we started to lose all hope, CL and I decided to park the car and go for a walk to cleanse our minds. Then out of no where… a korean guy came up to us and asked “airbnb. alice?” (Alice being our host). We were caught off guard and immediately started saying yesyesyes! Just like that… we were saved by luck… or by a higher force. I do not know. Celebrated with Jeju black pork and lots of soju & makgeolli ($3 a bottle in restaurants. WHUTTTT)
Day 1: We got up early and decided to have buckwheat pancake (a Jeju specialty) for breakfast. The small restaurant is suppose to open at 7… when we got there at 7:30, Halmoni did not seem like she was ready to serve. Communicating only in hand signals and a couple words of our poor Korean, we found out that the store was not open, BUT Halmoni made an exception and cooked it for us
She even used gestures to teach us how to eat it properly. The way to do it is: wrap in one hand, chopsticks in the other. One piece of fish followed by one bite of pancake wrap. It was a perfect balance.
While hiking Mt. Hallasan, we met a bunch of ahjummas and ahjussis hiking. They are super fit. Hiking the Korean way means makgeolli, kimbap, kimchi and hot peppers. They invited us to sit down with them. Again, we communicated in only hand gestures. It was a very nice pick-me-up halfway through the hike. One of the ahjussis would stay behind us and whenever we got tired, he would STAND AND WAIT and push us to continue on. Funny story, the guide book said this hike is “5 hours round trip”, t’was a lie… It was not 5 hours round trip, instead it was 5 hours one way. We did not realize this until after the fact. Coming down was probably the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I have never been so happy to see the bottom of a mountain. TLDR it ruined us and we basically could not walk for the next 3 days. The view was beautiful though haha
DAY2: PAIN and possibly the most scenic day of all. Driving along the coast of Jeju. The view was absolutely mesmerizing… Parking on the side of the road whenever we saw a spot that we could take basic photos in.
Visiting the diver women and tasting some strange but delicious sashimi; with Soju of course. Right beside the waves, sitting on a asian plastic stool.
Then possibly the best mackerel on Earth. $30 for that entire plate… It deserves its own panel. Did not expect it to be so big. We ordered too much food, but ate it all.
A not so pleasant but still important memory. Our Airbnb host was not happy about how we were closing the door in the mornings. Since we get up early, closing the doors too loudly disturbed them. However, they handled the situation very poorly. I was ambushed as I was coming out of the shower and yelled at. The situation made me very uncomfortable… so we kindly packed up our stuff to move to a hotel in Downtown Jeju for our last night.
DAY3: EXTREME PAIN. Walking down was the worst. AND we explored the lava tubes underground today, which meant stairs downwards. AND we hiked another peak… which was just pure torture coming down. We gave the ahjummas a good laugh, literally grabbing onto the handrails and stopping every couple of steps.
My favourite memory was this beach with the windmills. We stumbled upon it by driving down a narrow alley.
The wait at this lit abalone restaurant was 90 minutes… so CL and I wandered around the neighbourhood attempting to find a store that sold makgeolli… so we can drink on the beach HAHA
We returned to downtown Jeju early to check into our hotel. The receptionist was extremely helpful, he even drew a map for us when we asked about restaurant recommendations. Here is where we had our first pot of homemade makgeolli… and fell in love. We got lit *insert fire emoji*
DAY4: On our last day on Jeju, it was pouring rain. Actual buckets of water coming down from the sky. We planned an indoor market on this day just in case it rained. Perfect planning! We chilled in the market for a bit then headed to the airport… Jeju airport is honestly the most packed airport I have ever been in.