It was after deciding to go to Seoul that we planned the trip to Jeju Island. We gave our selves two days here, which definitely wasn't enough time to do everything, but it was a nice break from the city and the extreme culture shock. The flight from seoul to Jeju was CHEAP, we payed $45 a person round trip, and those weren't even the cheapest tickets.
One of the first things I noticed about our flight was the number of families. In Seattle there are more pets then children so I'm not used to seeing so many people with young children out and about. Jeju island is filled with theme parks, hikes, and beaches. It's definitely a family friendly place to vacation. Even the hotels had play rooms for small children.
Rent a car to get around Jeju, but make sure you get your international driving permit first (There was a guy there that didn't realize he needed a permit and gave the poor rental car office people a real hard time) They set up the GPS so it spoke english, and to search for directions to any destination we just had to type in the phone number to the place we wanted to go. The GPS also alerted us to every stop light camera (there were tons) and speed zones.
Rent a wifi egg that works in all of South Korea. It was a little extra versus the one that just works in Seoul, but only by $2 a day. It was super helpful because we were able to look up phone numbers to put in our gps for directions while we were on the road. You can reserve one online in advance here or pick one up at the many wifi egg counters at Seoul International Airport.
Don't rush to the airport. Getting through security at Jeju airport and Gimpo International airport in Seoul didn't take much time, it wasn't crowded and they had every security line open. I'm all for planning ahead and getting there early just in case, but 45 minutes should be more than enough time.
Remember to Relax. There are what seems like an endless amount of activities to do on Jeju Isand. Hello Kitty island, dinosaur world, daewoo land where you can hunt pheasant and they'll cook it in their restaurant for you. We didn't do everything, we didn't even do everything on my list of things we must do, but I do appreciate the time we took to just hang out by the water and soak up some sun. It's a beautiful place to explore but also a great place to just relax.
This was one of my favorite meals we had while in Korea. Still jet lagged, and not super well adjusted yet, all we needed our first night there was food. The area is famous for black pork, there is even a street that is just places that serve black pork, so of course, we had to try it.
The set menu was 8000 krw per a person, and they brought us so much food, featuring boiled black pork and fried fish. No one spoke English besides saying "set menu" but that didn't really matter. It was good, and cheap, and exactly what we needed.
So yeah, this was a real place. Jeju is filled with hiking opportunities. The most well known one is up the volcano in the middle of the island that is responsible for forming it. It's a long hike, taking about half a day, and unfortunately we didn't have time for that one #regrets. There are also hiking trails at various points around the coast of the island. So if you're like us, and not in hiking clothes or really feeling the need to hike in that kind of humidity, this is the hike for you. It didn't take far to get to the scenery, we got there fairly early so tour busses were just starting to show up. I could see how this could become a pretty crowded place later in the day. Got same great pictures, saw some giant spiders, and headed back on the road to our next stop.
The Cliffs are stunning here. There's a walkway built around the edge of part of a cliff so you can get these amazing views over looking the water. It was crowded, and everyone was taking selfies, so I wouldn't recommend bringing a tripod or selfie stick to capture these vistas. The view was still stunning! The entire island is very "touristy" but this area was especially, with multiple resorts, restaurants, and museums in a small area.
This was on of the few free attractions on the island. The building included a tea museum, a cafe with tea inspired desserts, and a gift shop with some truly amazing tea. The surrounding grounds had fields of tea growing. Have I mentioned tea enough times yet? We loaded up on tea here to bring back as souvenirs. My favorites were the pretty basic ones (yeah I'm basic). The Green Tea is the best green tea I've ever had, and the Canola flower and honey tea is my new favorite. You can find the Osulloc shops and cafes all over Seoul as well, we kept passing one in the shinsegae shopping center.
Hallim Park was like a garden theme park. Almost everything on the island was set up like a theme park, so it only made sense that the same would happen here. They have caves to explore, gardens and green houses with different themes. The park is huge. We didn't go through the entire park, and had to stop to get some orange drinks to help with the heat situation. Did I mention the humidity is real here? It was a fun place to explore, and it's right by our next stop: the beach!
White sand, black rocks, and the bluest water I've ever seen. I swear I didn't turn up the saturation on this picture! This was the only beach experience we had while on Jeju. There are more beaches, it is an Island after all. But again, this was just barely a two day adventure for us. It wasn't crowded and there was plenty of parking. This area wasn't heavily populated by resorts like some others, so it was pretty chill.
We couldn't come this far and not go to hello kitty island, especially after passing it two times already. It was exactly what you think it'd be, a building filled with hello kitty dolls. They had play rooms for kids, a restaurant, a timeline of hello kitty through the years, a theatre, and a replica of hello kitty's house.
Hidden Cliff Hotel
The infinity pool! I'm not one to normally advocate for spending a ton of time at a hotel, especially when there's so much to do out on the island. But there was an infinity pool! The breakfast buffet was also pretty spectacular.
Nexon Computer Museum
In Jeju City, I mostly wanted to go here because they have a waffle shaped like a computer keyboard at their cafe. We didn't make it here, which is why don't have a picture of the waffle. It's also supposed to be fun and interactive, but I was mostly in it for th efood.
Love & Sex Museum
So there are two of these? i think. We went to one, but the pictures are NSFW. People got them confused on trip advisor when leaving reviews so you'll see pictures of both places online. One is a straight up museum with diagrams and a library. The other one is a sculpture park. Supposedly it's for honey mooners to learn what it's all about.