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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Jeju Island, South Korea

Hamdoek Beach
So, I decided on a second year of teaching in South Korea; this time, Jeju Island.  I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.  I arrived in Jeju on August 26, 2013 with 25+ expats who decided to teach with EPIK, most of whom were in Korea for the very first time.  I could tell that they were excited about learning Korean culture and making the very best of their one year as an English teacher.  And so was I.  I had heard of the many things to do on Jeju Island and of the many people I had spoken to before I got here, no one had anything bad to say about Jeju-do.  I so, I came planning to make the most of my one year teaching elementary school and uncovering the gems that make Jeju-do a perfect destination for honeymooners, vacationers and expats wanting to experience life in Korea surrounded by aesthetic qualities and views that make up Jeju-do.

Here's my Jeju Island Bucket List
Sunrise Peak, Nov. 2013
1.  Seongsang Ilchubong Peak
Seongsan Ilchulbong (182 meters high) rose from the sea in a series of volcanic eruptions beginning over 100,000 years ago.  The site resembles an old fortress on a coastal cliff and was originally a volcanic island but was later connected as sand and gravel accumulated in between.  The sunrise seen from the peak is considered one of the most fascinating scenic views in Jeju.

Manjangul Caves, Jan. 2014
2.  Manjangul Caves
Manjanggul Cave is the longest lava tube in the world. It is 5 meters wide, between 5 to 10 meters high and is over 13 km long. The lava tube, which formed about 2.5 million years ago, has been well preserved, revealing a splendid interior that is out of this world. Only one kilometer of its total length is open to tourists.
Cheonjeyeon Falls May 2014
3.CheonjeyeonCheonjiyeon Falls
Cheonjiyeon Falls create a splendid view of water falling from a steep cliff with a sound thatdrowns out all others.  Cheonjiyeon, meaning Gods pond, derives its name from the legend that the seven fairies serving the King of Heaven came down to the pond on stairs of cloud and bathed in its clean waters.  The waterfall is 22m high, 12m wide and 20m in depth. The clear and deep water of Cheonjiyeon Falls is renowned as a habitat for Mutae eels. Also, the annual Seven Fairies Festival is held every May.
Hallasan Mountain Oct. 2013
4. Hallasan Mountain
Situated in the heart of Jeju Island, Mount Hallasan (1,950 meters) is the highest mountain in Korea and a dormant basalt volcano.  About 360 parasitic cones, or oreum in the Jeju dialect, are found on the volcanos flanks, creating a remarkable landscape. On top of the mountain is a crater lake called Baengnokdam, which is 3 kilometers in circumference and 500 meters in diameter.  The landscape is beautiful throughout the year and a diverse and rare ecosystem can be found at different altitudes. As such, Mount Hallasan is a Natural Conservation Area.
Teddy Bear Museum, July 2014
5. Teddy Bear Museum
If you love Teddy Bears, then this is a MUST VISIT place. The Teddy Bear Museum lives up to its name, boasting quite an impressive variety that have been loved for more than a hundred years the world over.  There are two galleries that boast teddy bears from various countries. You can also enjoy yourself at the museum shop, café, restaurant or the outdoor park where you can view the spectacular Jungmun Sea.
Yeomiji Botanic Gardens, July 2014

6. Yeomiji Botanic Garden
Yeomiji Botanical Garden at Jungmun Tourist Complex is the largest botanical garden in Asia, the magnificent glass Yeomiji Conservatory has collected and displayed 1,200 species of subtropical and tropical plants.  Yeomiji is a Chinese word consisting of three letters with yeo meaning such,” “mi” “beauty and ji” “land, which combines to mean a garden paradise.  In Yeomiji Garden, there are several greenhouses with different theme -  flower garden, an aquatic plant garden, cactus and succulents garden,  jungle garden & tropical fruits garden.

Jeongbang Falls, June 2014

7. Jeongbang Falls
Jeongbang Falls (정방폭포) is only water fall in Asia that falls directly into the ocean.  On the wall of the water fall, there is an inscription written Seobulgwacha, referring to Seobul passing by this place. Seobul was a servant of the Chinese Emperor Jin (BC 259~210) who was ordered by the Emperor to find the substance that would make him immortal.  Seogwipo is also said to have gotten its name to mean Seobul headed back west.
Jeju Folk Village Museum, July 2014
8. Jeju Folk Village Museum
With a total of 117 houses and facilities, Jeju Folk Village Museum has restored the scenes of the village to that of the 1890s. Among them are Mountain Village, Hill-Country Village, Fishing Village and Shamanism Village.  On land of more than 40 acres it has been reconstructed following long-term research and analysis of experts. Some of the extensive range of folk items on display are 1,627 woodenware, 1,046 bamboo ware, 1,699 earthenware, 1,544 porcelain ware, 765 wax candles, 921 ironware and 579 other items.  The Jeju Folk Village Museum is the islands main tourist attraction where customs of the old days can be explored.
Seonimgyo Bridge, May 2014
9. Seonimgyo Bridge
Seonimgyo Bridge is an arch bridge on Jeju Island over Cheonjeyeon Waterfall that has seven nymphs carved on both sides.  The bridge is also called Chilseonyeogyo (칠선녀교) or Seven Nymphs Bridge.  The nymphs symbolize the Korean legend of the descent of seven beautiful nymphs from heaven at night. Seonimgyo Bridge is the first arch bridge or Ojakgyo  (오작교) design in the region.
Jungmun Beach, Sept. 2013
10. Jungmun Beach
Jungmun Beach (중문해수욕장) has a sandy shore so fine that it is called Jinmosal. The white sand beach is 560m long and the water has an average depth of 1.2m.  Different shades of black, red, and grey are beautifully mixed into the white sand of the beach. This helps to accentuate Jeju-do Islands black Hyeonmuam stones. To the right side of the beach is a natural sea cave called Haesikgul Cave.
Love Land, Sept. 2013

11. Loveland
Jeju Loveland (제주러브랜드) (also known as Love Land) is an outdoor sculpture park which opened in 2004 on Jeju Island in South Korea.The park is focused on a theme of sex,
running sex education films, and featuring 140 sculptures representing humans in various sexual positions.  It also has other elements such as large phallus statues, stone labia, and hands-on exhibits such as a masturbation-cycle. The parks website describes the location as, a place where love oriented art and eroticism meet.

12. Hop a ferry to Udo Island
Beautiful beaches, sweeping cliffs, woven back streets and rural country charm its all worth a day trip. Udo Island is a tiny, romantic island with a Scottish/Irish feel, modest B&B pensions, a lighthouse and its navigable by scooter, ATV, bus and car. Ive heard you can wisk around the island in under an hour by scooter! If I didnt explore the inland veins of the neighborhood streets, its possible I wouldve made it within that time frame.
Udo Island, June 2014

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