Korea Day 6 (08 May 09) – Jeju Island

Our first stop of the day is a visit to Yongduam. This is basically a lava rock formation that resembles the head of a dragon. At first I was looking at the rock and couldn’t seem to see any dragon head. This is when my auntie described to me and suddenly I was like there it is..all along it is in front of me. Took some imagination to see it though. As we were walking around this area, we spotted some middle-aged women selling some seafood. Our guide told us that these were the famed divers in Jeju, these women would dive underwater without oxygen tank and pick seafoods like clams, abalone, sea urchins, seaweeds. Walking along the rugged coast, I was looking out into the sea. This place is very peaceful (more so if not for the tourists I guess). Listening to the waves hitting the rocks, the sea breeze gently blowing, it is a very relaxing moment. Around the corner we were shown a statue of a mermaid, no idea why this was here… my guess is to commemorate the female divers who worked like mermaids when they dive to gather the seafood.

Cute signage for toilet
Me with the guardians on Jeju Island
It says “Dragon Head Rock”
Coastline on Jeju Island
Dragon Head Rock (Well doesn’t really look like one from this angel)
Looks more like a dragon head from this angel (use some imagination)
Effects of Volcanic activity
Dragon Head Rock close up
Mermaid Statue

Our next stop was definitely breathe taking, we were driven to the eastern part of the island to visit the Seongsan volcano crater. My first impression of this place was it is full of tourists, but the scenery around it at the base is breathe-taking enough. There was a roll of Guardian statues and some stones that make out to be some calendar system. As we walk up the some 500 steps to the top, we were greeted with beautiful scenery even half way up the peak. I turned around from time to time to snap some pictures of this picturesque surroundings where one can see the emerald coloured sea and an island not too far. We were getting pretty excited by the sights that we saw and expected the peak to be even more breathe-taking. Some walk later we found we were right at the top……. well at least to me the scenery was more beautiful on our way up then at the peak. What we saw was a disappointing crater filled with soil and greenery. Maybe our expectation of seeing a volcano crater was over-hyped, or perhaps our impression of a volcanic crater should be red filled with molten lava and not green fill with soil and grass that had led to this disappointment. To me this is more like a soccer field then a crater. After snapping some “touristy” pictures, we proceeded down to the base and along the way admiring the scenery that surround us.

Driving towards Seongsan volcano crater
Seongsan volcano crater
Series of Guardian statues at the crater
World sun dial
Picture before the walk towards the crater centre
View of the surroundings
Sun dial
Traditional Korea Building Structure
Flower Blooming at the crater
View of the coastline on my way up
View of the coastline on my way up the crater
A great walk up
Half way there
Nearing the crater centre
View of the crater (the volcano has been dead for centuries)
View of the coastline from the top

Leaving the Seongsan Volcanic crater, we were drive south-westerly to Seong-eup folk village. Here we were shown the traditional homes of the locals in yesteryear. In those days, there is no lock or proper doors. We were told that the locals were so honest that doors were not necessary then. All they had was some logs placed at the entrance of their house. Different number of logs on the gate means different things (can’t really remember what the meant). We were shown the tools they used for farming and processing of the harvests as well as a black pig pen! Then we went around snapping pictures of the houses and finally we were brought to this area which seem like a living room of some sort which we were given the touristy treatment. A lesson on the Jeju honey was given followed by the selling of that product…… sighz…..

Traditional Jeju House
Some of the farm animals (more for display for tourists)
A traditional house

Leaving the Seong-eup folk village we were drive further west to our next destination -Weodolgae or lonely rock as the locals call it. This coastal rock formation is rather popular with the locals as we could see people picnicking here. This park was made famous by some Korean drama. This rock formation is a result of erosion i guess, however our guide offered a local version of the rock. It was believed that there was this old woman waiting here for her husband to return from fishing but her husband never returned. Hence she turned into this rock to continue waiting for her husband. One can see some human features on this rock, but I did not, guess I am not that imaginative to see all these…. a walk around the area looking into the sea and the crowd enjoying their day out here was rather festive as there are some locals playing Korea music and dancing around. By this time my camera is running low on battery, can’t really snap alot of pictures of this place.

Coastal feature is common on the island
The lone rock

Our next stop is a waterfall – Cheonjeyeong waterfall which is due west of the lonely rock. By this time my camera has already ran out of battery (damn…) can’t snap pictures of this area. Anyways, the bus stopped at the bus parking area, we were told that we need to do some light walking to the waterfalls. As we were walking through the parks, we can see flowers were blooming (this is the end of spring transiting into summer by the way). What greeted us next was this bridge. The red coloured metal bridge with some white coloured cement sculptures on it. This 128m arc bridge is the Seonimygyo bridge, the white sculptures are actually nymphs, 7 on each side. After crossing this bridge, a little more trek, we arrived at the waterfalls. Listening to the water hitting the rocks at the base of the fall was therapeutic and relaxing. Little time was given to us to take pictures of this place (well I thought the time given was sufficient as other then the waterfall, there is really nothing much here), we headed back towards the bus to our next and final destination of the day.

We arrived at this must-see road on Jeju Island, doubted as the mysterious road, this road is believed to go against the laws of gravity! On the way there our tour guide given us an account of how this road was discovered. Urban legend has it that there was this cabby, who had to relieve himself while driving along this road. After peeing, when we returned to his car, he found his car on top of the sloppy road. The cabby returned to tell his friends about this road and that is how this road attracted millions and millions of visitors to this road on the island. As we were approach the road, our tour guide to look at the road ahead. Yup, it did look like it is sloping upwards. Soon the bus driver turned off the engine and what we experienced was the bus moving up the slope! At the top of the slope, the driver reignite the engine and drove us to a car park. This is when we alighted took a bottle of water and see the water actually flowing upwards. There are alot of theories explaining this phenomenon we saw, well who cares… this sight just amazes me…. time to head back to town for dinner and some free time.

After dinner it is our free time my auntie, my sis and myself went shopping around the area, to look for local produce. We went to some night market and the famed underground shopping centre that we missed the night before. Did some walking around to digest the food we ate, we then head back to the hotel to do our packing as tomorrow is our last day in Korea.

Flowers on the street 
Flowers in full bloom
Downtown Jeju Island
Downtown Jeju Island
Walking around the night market
Fresh Jeju Orange

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