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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 4: Jeju and it's Unesco World Heritages

Day 4 in South Korea (second day in Jeju), we hired a taxi guide to drive us around.  We have planned our itinerary in such a way that on Day 1, we will explore the places of interest around where we stayed (Seogwipo) on foot.  Come Day 2, we will visit places that is away from where we stayed. :)  So, for a fee of W130,000 (Approx. RM377), we explored Jeju from South to West to North and back to South and... it was really nice. :)

This is Mr Won, our taxi guide for the day, who came highly recommended in TripAdvisor and a few other websites.  According to the various websites that I've googled, his schedule are usually fully booked.  We were lucky to get him for a day cause someone else cancelled their's. Mr Won do not ask for deposit to confirmed the booking.  He keep his words and expect the same.  :)  He easygoing, jovial, kind and he speaks English.  It may be important to some of you who is worried about the language barrier.  He will follow your itinerary (if you have one), or you can just follow his! :)

Mr Won
Email: maarooii@yahoo.co.kr
Mobile: +010 36972303

Note: A comment on my blog stated that Mr Won did not show up on the date he supposed to take them on a tour on the island.  Therefore, I strongly recommend for any future readers or visitors to the beautiful island to engage other guide/drive.  It's just lucky us that we had a great experience with him as our guide.

Mr Won pick us from our hotel at about 8am and our first stop for the day was Seopjikoji which was made famous by a Korean drama shot here - All In.  Never a big fan of K-Dramas except once in the bluest moon when I just want to sit in front of the TV from morning till night and rot.  Believe me, it rarely happen.
Reason of visiting was because I wanna marvel at the beauty of Seongsan Ilchubong (Sunrise Peak, a Unesco World Heritage) from afar before hiking up.  To see it's unique shape and understand it's placement on the island if you know what I am saying.   From this photo you will notice a long stretch of wall made of stones stacked together.  In fact, most fences in Jeju are made this way.  To divide lands, plantations, houses.  Sort of cool isnt it?  We walked passed stone walls like these at one point while trekking on Day 1.  On closer inspection, we noticed they are cemented together.  No wonder it doesn't crumbles.  I thought I could send it crumbling down like Jenga with one kick!  :p 
Beautiful isn't it.  A little white light house perched on top of the hill overlooking the bluish sea. Perfect spot to build a little white house for my retirement. :)  The greens were so green and the blue were so blue.... so pretty.
The weather was glorious that day, total opposite of the day before.  Love the sun.  Love the breeze.  Love how my hair were all messed up from the cold wind blowing on my face.  It was so cold.  I am so missing that weather as I am typing this.  The long stretch of walking path overlooking the sea.  Nice.  As like the rest of the places we were to visit that day, we enjoyed each of the place till our hearts contend before moving on to the next.
Seongsan Ilchubong (a.k.a. Sunrise Peak) was just a short drive away from Seopjikoji.  My initial intention was to hike up and catch it's first sunrise in the morning.  But when I found out that the sun rises at 4:30am in Spring, I changed my mind.  Come on.... 4:30AM??? Forget it!  Lols....
I fell so in love with it.  Hahahahaha.....  Anyway, once up there, I thought the crater feels smaller than this.

Seongsan Ilchulbong actually rose from under the sea in a volcanic eruption over 100000 years ago.  It has a crater of about 600m in diameter and 90m high.  Apparently, during peak of spring, the peak will be surrounded by bright yellow coloured rapeseed flowers.  Unfortunately, when we were there, it was almost end of Spring.  So, no yellow flowers.  Did caught sight of some at farms, but it was rather pathetic... :p
And so... we begin our hike.  The entire place was packed with tourists.  We almost ran up the peak if not for the few pit stop we made to catch our breath.  Just wanna hike up to see what it is all about and get away from the crowd. :p  If you plan to visit Seongsan Ilchubong (you must visit), try avoiding 9am - 11am.  I read that's the peak time for buses of tourists.
The view from halfway up.
And that fading mountain faraway is the infamous Mount Hallasan.  I believe it would be an awesome place to hike.  Just a pity we didn't have enough time.
And voila... here's we are, at the peak looking into the crater!  The green look so fluffy and nice to jump in.  Hahahaha.... read that in rainy season, rain water will be caught in the crater forming a small little pond...
Oh yeah, there is an entrance fee to Seongsan Ilchubong.  Just W2000/person (approximate RM5.60).  Minimal fees.  
After Seongsan Ilchubong, enroute to the Haenyeo Museum, I saw these windmills and prodded Mr Won to stop for some photo taking sessions. :p  Well, can't help it.  Never seen an electric windmill like that.  We don't have them here in Malaysia.  It looked so cool.  A little romantic even. Just like in movies... hahahahaha....
There are many museums in Jeju.  I do not understand the point of visiting museums like Teddy Bear Museum, Sex Museum, Trick Art Museum, Loveland, The Maze and etc.  I believe with money, it can be built anywhere else in the world unless of course Jeju aspired to be the island with most museums. :p  Of all, we picked to visit Haenyeo Museum, the one and only museum we visited in Jeju.
Haenyeo refers to female divers who dive into the ocean water to gather various shellfish, seaweed & etc without the proper scuba diving gear.  They just have with them a pair of goggles, a float to mark her location, a basket to put her harvest and a weeding hoe.  They would dive as deep as 20m, hold their breath for as long as 2-3 minutes and when they surface, they would make a whistling sound which is their unique way of breathing out the carbon dioxide and breathing in fresh oxygen. 
And so, at the Haenyeo Museum, we get to see a more realistic view of a Haenyeo's lifestyle.  Picture above shows the different tools used by a Haenyeo.  Totally unique to Jeju!  A history of more than 200 years if not mistaken and is still in practise today.  Today's haenyeos are mostly old ladies.  I won't be surprised if they are the last generation of their kind.  It's a pity our children would not be able to witness them.

It cost only W2200 per person to enter the museum (RM6 approx.).

We headed down to Manjanggul Cave after that, another Unesco World Heritage.  Basically, most places of interest in Jeju is a Unesco World Heritage.  Manjanggul Cave is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world, formed when lava sprouted from deep in the ground to the surface.
Lava marks form on the wall and ground of the cave from a long time ago.
The temperature inside the cave is rather cold and the dripping icy spring water doesn't really help.  I think it is in here that I caught a cold that left me with a fever, croaky voice and tasteless tongue for the rest of my trip.  It was hard enough for them to understand my English in silky voice and now they have to decipher them in my croaky voice.  It was funny..... hahaha.... 
There are a variety of structures inside the cave including this one.  It cost W2000/person to enter the cave (RM6 approx.).  Basically, it cost more or less the same for entrance everywhere in Jeju.  Manjanggul Cave opens daily from 9am to 6pm. Happy exploring!
Here we enjoying our late lunch of Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Broth) which we had Mr Won brought us to.  A place away from the tourists which frequents only by the local! :)  It was the most delicious Samgyetang I ever had!  (the last delicious food that I could still taste in Korea!  After that day, it was bland all the way...hehehehe) .
Check out it's texture.  Oo la la... all soft and smooth and not forgetting that huge ginseng!  It was so aromatic!  I couldn't quite remember how much it cost us in total.  That the problem with blogging about it 2 months after the holiday! My bad.... Damn those chicken.... my stomach is growling now!
Have you heard of the mysterious road of Jeju?  Well, this is it, when we pass thru it after lunch. The mystery of the road is, at the downhill slope, if you put your car on neutral, it will move uphill instead.  There were many tourists by the side of the road pouring water on the road and it flow uphill instead!  Cool isn't it?  They said it's an optical illusion.  But I still couldn't quite make out what is it that we see that makes us feel opposite?  And so I thought, the eyes tells the brain what to think first before anything else thus the result.  You get what I mean?  If I am blind, I would not think it is a downhill slope.  I might feel it is uphill actually.
By time we get back to Seogwipo, it was already about 5pm ish... we made a quick stop at Jeobang Waterfall and guess what we chanced upon?  Some haenyeos serving freshly caught shellfish on the rock!  Such a beautiful setting.  I was all excited!  I could almost taste it in my mouth!!!
The husband and Mr Won was against me sampling them citing that my tummy would not be built for it and I remembered arguing about how the soju (rice wine) would kill whatever germs it has!  Lols...
I almost drooled into the plate will taking this picture.... so fresh, sweet, and delicious!  All from my imagination of course.
What a life!  Enjoying super fresh shellfish sashimi by the rocks with beautiful sunsets, soju, and friends.  Damn! Damn! Damn!  Lols...
A haenyeo busy cleaning up the shellfish prior to serving them fresh!
Super awesome background setting. :)  I simply love these kind of stuff.  Locality!  No frills stuff.
And this my friend, is Jeobang waterhall.  Just another waterfall that flows out to the sea.  Ok ok nice la... but would be nicer if it is summer and we are allow to play in it!  Lols... And that, would be super nice!!!
The husband posing for me.  I took many nice pictures of him.  And he took many crap pictures of me. :D  That makes us a perfect pair.  My strength, his weakness.  His strength, my weakness.  Lols...  

Entrance to Jeobang Waterfalls = W2000/pax (RM6 approx.)
That pretty much wraps up our short trip to Jeju.  2 full days/3 nights.  Picture above show little buckets of colourful flower in full bloom lined both sides of the street n Seogwipo.  Pretty sight indeed everywhere we turn!
Nice golden hill in the background....
That evening, we went for a last minute shopping for local produce like Jeju Chocolates at the Maeil Olle Market before calling it a day!

I hope this little entry would be able to assist you in your plans to visit this Island of Thousand Gods.  It truly is beautiful.  Missing it already. 

Should this entry fail to provide you with the info you required, always visit the Official Site of Korea Tourism Organization.  They have one awesome informative site!  Happy researching!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Last Week of June

I got upset with this crap.  Sigh.  Disappointed with the people we hired to care for our well beings.  The point is, do we still wanna hired the same bunch of people to make crap decision for us?  I gonna loose my little paradise over there...:(
Someone took a photo of us while we waited for the lift on our way out for lunch.  Cause, we were all wearing black & white.
Another piece of news makes me go... tsk! tsk! tsk!.... What makes them think husband do?  Some friends responded my FB post with this.... "Maybe it's directed to Rusmah.  :p"  hahahaha.... jahatnya! 
To end the first half of 2012 and to welcome in the second half, the husband and I ran at the 'Tom Dick & Harry's Mou Man Tai 5km' run in TTDI.  'Mou Man Tai' means 'No Problem' in Cantonese. :)  I like it.  
The atmosphere was nice.  Easy going.  Everyone with a mo men tei attitude. :)  It would be nicer if all my buddies were there. Love the singlet though.  Sort of classic-ky. :)
Learned that TDH organised runs like this every couple of months.  They will surely be seeing a lot of our faces :)  It is like this.  All you have to do is, pay RM40 for registration where RM10 would go to Malaysian Aids Council (Red ribbon), a free pre run drink (which we didnt get) and free flow all night long after the run and a whole night of fun. :)  Awesome get together for friends right. :)  
Then, later at night, I faced some problem with my mobile.  It have this thing pops up then it would go "No Service".  Then all of a sudden, it would be all ok again.  I wonder what's wrong.  Anyone facing the same thing?  
And then, as I was browsing thru FB, I saw this.  Maybe I would have a wall done up like this. :)

Good night.