This post takes readers through the best of what I experienced on Jeju island in a taxi. My partner and I together with her sister and husband were there in October of 2014 for 3 days and 2 nights.
Why go by taxi?
For one, public transport is not readily available on the island. As a result, getting about can be terribly difficult without a transport of your own. You could , if you like, rent a car to self-drive too.
Secondly, after the hustle and bustle of Seoul and Nami Island, we just wanted to take a back seat and just enjoy the scenery while someone else worried about how to get to a certain place. Essentially, we went for the taxi because it was easier for us. The taxi arrangements were completed in Singapore and our driver was to meet us directly at Jeju domestic airport.
But how did we get to Jeju in the first place?
Getting to Jeju island
We took a 1 hour domestic flight by Air Busan from Seoul to Jeju. By the time we got there it was lunch time and little did we expect the feast below to be awaiting us. This eatery came recommended by our driver and left us quite stuffed.
North, South, East & West
The way to explore the island is to do it systematically. If you designated that particular day for exploring the Central part of the island, go to all the places there before proceeding to another part of the island. Though it may look small, getting from place to place within Jeju island may take 2-3 hours if not properly planned.
An additional consideration is the closing time for some of the attractions. If you are within an area and a particular attraction closes earlier, it then makes sense to go to the particular attraction that closes first first to avoid disappointment.
It varies for everyone but by and large I prefer the natural attractions (e.g. Seongsan Ilchubong) rather than the man-made ones (e.g. mini-world).But first, Harubangs.
That’s the name of ubiquitous stone statue that you see below that are widely associated with Jeju island. They are considered gods that offer protection and fertility.
Typically these statues are carved from porous volcanic rock and feature smiling expressions, big pupil-less eyes, a broad nose and a mushroom-like hat. Usually if you come across a set of 2, their hand positions exchange (i.e. one would have the left above the right and the other, the right above the left)
These can found all over Jeju and are made into souvenirs to be sold. Other souvenirs you can consider getting is their Butter Honey almonds and their Yuzu tea syrups.
[CENTRAL]Black Pork Barbeque
There is perhaps nothing better on a cold autumn night than having barbecued black pork, warm toufu soups and miso paste washed down by ice cold beer.
The way you eat the freshly barbecued meat is to wrap it up in the lettuce and put in other ingredients as fancy takes you. For example, I like mine with the sweet onions, Kim Chi and a large dollop of miso paste.
Recommended by the hotel staff,this was about 5 mins taxi ride from Jeju’s city centre and boy,were we in for a treat. This really, really hit the spot for us. If you are searching for an awesome Black Pork Barbecue place, search no further, for your search is at an end. http://www.jejuneulbom.co.kr/
Another must visit in Jeju island is Seongsan Iluchulbong also known as Sunrise Peak. You need to exercise abit to get to the top (about half an hour to 45 mins) but the panoramic views are well worth your climb up.
Take note that there is only one way up and down the peak. The trail starts out gently and gradually becomes steeper. Basic amenities like park benches and toilets are also available on your way up. On your way down, you follow a different route which also means views are slightly different.
Individuals: Adults 2,000 won / Teenagers & Children 1,000 won
Time to explore: Approx 1.5-2 hours
Also in the area at the base of the peka are the Seongsan Ilchulbong Jeju Women divers (Haneyo). They perform twice – once at 1.30pm and another at 3.00pm. We didn’t get the chance to do it but there is even a special trail that takes you down to where the women do their song and dive into the water.
If you hear their haunting song, you’ll do well to investigate it’s source.
Another must visit for me was Sangumburi Crater. As this area changes with season, expect to see a different scene if you were to go in a month apart from October. As the name suggests it is a place that is more for the scenery and with the lovely mountains in the background, it makes a perfect backdrop for a scene out of a Korean drama (which has been done)
In my opinion though, the autumn was the most beautiful time to see the place in with the Eulalia plants in full bloom as they wave their silver tips in farewell to summer in the gentle breeze.
The paths are well -paved and there are wooden swings you can sit on to drink in the sights. After you are done with all the photo-taking, you will arrive at the crater where you can picnic if you like.
Adults 6,000 won / Youths, Children, Seniors 3,000 won
Time to explore: 2 hours
Scheduling your visit well can enable you to spend a more fulfilling time on the island. In this post you found my top recommendations for food, the Jeju black pork and two nature attractions – Seongsan Ilchubong and Sangumburi crater.
Let me know in the comments if there are other great finds I’ve missed on Jeju island!