My four days in Jeju Island has grown an attachment in my heart and a sorrow in my misfortune. The misfortune of not having what feels like enough time spent.
This not so little island, has the most frequent flight path with Seoul city in the world, with one nearly every ten minutes taking off and with only an hour in duration it’s easy to see why. Both sides of the airports are civilised, pleasant and quite conveniently efficient. Unlike the smaller U.K airports I’ve experienced, I didn’t feel like cattle being herded through hoards of chaos and worrying about my handbags being chucked around, and baby food examined piece by piece for an unacceptable lengthy time. Jeju airport doesn’t fly to many places but does have an impressive airport with a large number of duty free shops.
Off the beaten track, Jeju Island to the rest of the world is relatively unknown. I didn’t see many foreign visitors, any majority of which are from China with Chinese tourists doing a ferry stop. A few from Indonesia and Philippines.
And for us this is where our only problem arose. Not many English speaking travellers mean a huge language barrier with the locals and a lot lost in translation especially when for example ordering food or in our case, my husband messing up the location of picking up our rental car on the first day was an absolute disaster.
We had two hotels to choose from for our stay. Shilla Stay or Maison Glad. Both of similar calibre, quality and location. We ended up booking Maison Glad which was very family friendly, had a children’s activity centre, swimming pools and high end restaurants. Only thing lacking for me was spa and beauty treatments I desperately needed a pedicure from all the travelling and would have preferred the convenience. The gym facilities for guests are at an extra charge and you have the option to get a haircut whilst there.
First night we are ate at Samdajeong restaurant on site which is in the top ten list of restaurants to visit in Jeju. An exquisite global buffet service costing at around £52 per head. My husband being a self proclaimed ‘sushi connoisseur’ delighted in the unlimited fresh seafood treats offered at the sushi counter. One thing for sure you can’t come to Jeju and not indulge in their local seafood produce which you’ll enjoy at a fraction of the cost compared to U.K
We also ate at the Samdajeong for breakfast the following morning for convenience with the same again buffet style dimsum, salads, meat and soup dishes next to the usual egg chef and breakfast pastries. (Around £20 per head)
On our last night we ate on site again at Azalea, Jeju Farm Grill. Which served up a lavish set menu of several courses of more traditional Korean dishes, starting at around £27 to £47 each. Not as busy as the buffet place but I preferred it here with it being a bit more relaxed.
Our go to place to eat or eat on the go was Paris Baguette, a popular bakery chain all over South Korea which you can’t miss and they do the freshest sandwiches, bread, buns etc at a reasonable price.
Places to visit:
Hello Kitty Island
My husband told us one of the main reasons he fitted a trip to Jeju island in to our travels is because of the Hello Kitty World. One of Mimi’s obsessions. When in actual fact it was for the World Wonder that sits on the island, the inactive volcano. (The last one of the seven on his list to tick off)
You get three floors of Hello Kitty paraphernalia, a kitchen, a bedroom, a giant school bus, a dance floor, all good fun in the name of keeping children happy whilst travelling. The shop they have onsite is where you will probably do the most damage, most of it is just overpriced and tacky. There is also an onsite restaurant and a soft play area, just don’t forget your socks.
Osulloc Tea Museum
Not much of museum but still a great place to visit, the hoards of people that you find here mainly visit for the tea shop which sell a wide variety of high end teas from their farm which the museum is situated on. You can sit in the cafe and have artisan bakes with a luxurious towering matcha latte or a refreshing citrus ice tea on crushed ice. The gardens also make for a lovely walk.
Free to get in
Teddy Bear Museum
Another one for the kids for all things cute and cuddly a homage to the teddy bear in all kinds of outfits set up in historical themes. A fun way for kids to learn.
Around £6 each to get in
Manjanggul Cave (Lava Tube)
UNESCO world heritage sight. Go well prepared if you visit the cave, wear good shoes/boots and weather proof outerwear as it is quite wet inside the cave.
Works out less than £1 to get in so fairly cheap to visit. Not ideal for buggies, there are lots of jagged stones and steps.
New 7 World Wonder of Nature. The views at the top are breathtaking and worth the visit even though it does get uncomfortably busy here, parking can be a nightmare but I would say it is very much worth it. Formed from Volcanic eruption, there is a magnificent crater on the Seongsan peak which is known for its sunrises. You can go for walks around the extremely scenic route and also go horse riding.
‘The Pond of God’ Probably my favourite place to see here. Very picturesque and relaxing, with three different sites you do have to do a bit of walking around to see the best bits but I would advise taking your time around the landscape, take lots of photos and patiently take the natural beauty in.The main waterfall creates a domino effect of a second and a third waterfall. Plant life rare and in abundance thrive here.
Admission is fairly cheap and works out less than £1 for children to get in.
There is so much more to see in Jeju Island than the above I’ve listed, the list of museums situated on the island are endless and intriguing. If you plan a trip to South Korea, a visit to Jeju is a must, spend a good amount of time there so you can get in to island life and make the most of everything it has to offer