I have to say, our trip to Jeju was pretty stinkin fun. I got to camp 4/6 nights, learned to ride a scooter, saw lots of greenery and water, enjoyed peace and quiet, and fell asleep to waves crashing on the beach.
We took a lot of pictures, and, as I'm at the airport, it is taking forever to upload any of them...so just click HERE to see the FUN that we had!
A quick rundown of our itinerary:
Day 1: Left Saturday on a quick 50 minute flight from Gimpo Airport to Jeju. To our surprise, we were seated in FIRST CLASS! The seat laid back into a bed! (Obviously, a great start to vacation). When we arrived in Jeju, we grabbed a map from the tourist info center and hopped on a bus down to Jungmun Resort, which is at the southern edge of the island, kind of close to Seogwipo. We thought we might be able to camp there, but couldn't really find anything, so ended up staying at a cute minbak for the evening.
Day 2: Grabbed a bus towards Seogwipo and then up to Donneko Campground, near the base of Mt. Hallasan. Great spot, and free! There wasn't anyone around and we could walk over to a little waterfall area across the street. The only downside of the area was it's about a 40 minute bus ride to civilization, and we hadn't really prepped food.
Day 3: Hallasan Hike Day! It's easy to get to the trail head from Donneko campground, but a bit of a walk. The hike itself was quite lovely---almost no one else on the trail, lots of trees, and warm weather. HOWEVER...it had rained the night before and snowed on the mountain, so as we got higher, we got chillier. The pictures from the top of the trail (not the top of the mountain) are funny, as we just wanted to get them over with. I think we must have hiked at least 10 miles that day when you take into account the walk to the trailhead.
Day 4: Took down camp and headed to.........UDO ISLAND........my most favorite part of the entire trip. On the bus to the ferry terminal, we met an old man from the island who could not speak English at all, but helped us get on the boat and gave us his phone number in case anyone gave us trouble. Cute cute. After the 15 minute ride, we hopped off the boat and walked across the island to the northeast side. There, I asked a police officer if it was okay to camp on the beach. He responded with, "okay, maybe." We camped anyways. Two more officers stopped by and all said it was okay. Our site was pretty perfect. Free, right above the beach, with a great view. (CHECK OUT THE PICTURES) The rest of the day was spent setting up camp and exploring our area.
Day 5: FUN day. It was a bit chillier this day (more wind), but we set out walking the eastern side of the island back down to the ferry terminal. On our way, we walked up to a lighthouse and took some great panoramic shots of the island. Then..........we rented SCOOTERS! It was my first time on a scooter, and I think I'm in love. They are so easy to ride and very fun. It only cost about $30 for two scooters/two hours. Sweet. Riding around the island was a lot of fun, and we got to see a lot more than had we been on foot. The best part was seeing the women divers that the area is famous for. Old women diving for seaweed and other sea life is a pretty amazing sight.
Later that day, one of our favorite officers from the day before stopped by and invited us to the police station. Of course we said yes! Pretty fun.
Day 6: I woke up around 1am to the sound of wind and rain, and our tent proceeded to get battered for the next 9 hours until we mustered up the courage to pack up and head out. A tent pole broke at some point in the morning, so I made the executive decision to scrap the $15 kid's tent. Justin agrees that I made the right choice. Ha. Then, we hoofed it 2/3rds of the way back to the ferry. The guy we rented scooters from the day before drove by and picked us up for the last 1/3rd. Awesome! After the ferry ride back to Jeju, we grabbed a 40 minute, $10 taxi ride to Jeju City, where we had to leave the next morning. A tourist info woman told us a motel where "a lot of foreigners stay," so we headed there. Pretttttty seedy, and I think we got bedbug bites, but we got great showers (the first of the week!) and snuggled down while the rain fell outside.
No first class on the way home, but we did get the exit row. Overall, an amazing vacation with no mishaps, lots of fun, and almost perfect weather.
Seriously, click here to look at the pictures.