Just 130 kilometres off the south coast of Korea, there lies an island. It is an island where you are surrounded by oranges trees, where the crashing of waves is never too far and where the possibility of dinosaurs and unicorns living harmoniously together is distinct. This island is every photographers dream with stunning scenery and photo opportunities lying everywhere. The island? Jeju.
For those of us on the mainland, Jeju is a place we merely hear about. Korean families go there all the time and bring back tales of hiking and orange eating. So for four girls, sitting in Paju one Friday night, the idea of heading to Jeju for a weekend excursion became a reality. It was all too easy to book tickets, with many flights and many airlines flying to the island. After a quick internet search, accommodation became available and again thanks to the world wide web, a car was also booked before we had a chance to finish the bottle of wine.
Two of our group arrived Friday afternoon and after picking up the car, we started on the 40 minute drive to the accommodation. What we arrived to was a modern looking house on farmland just off a main road. Our room (although apartment is possibly a better word) was large enough to fit all 4 of us comfortably and the balcony was almost as big as the room itself.
The Trick Art museum, open until 11pm, gave us plenty of photo taking opportunities while we waited for the gang to arrive.
The sound of silence the first night was deafening. No barking dogs, no drunk adjussis, just silence in its purest form. It was like we were the only people on the island and nothing outside of our room existed.
Refreshed and ready we hit the big tourist spots on Saturday. A short drive saw us on the coast and we enjoyed spectacular views of Sod Island.
Cheonjiyeon Waterfall is perhaps one of the most beautiful in Jeju. After a scenic walk, strolling through nature and wildlife, the waterfall appears.
As a keen photographer, I enjoyed beautiful, elegant photo opportunities of the natural landscape on the island. I’m pretty sure, my friends were slightly sick of the words “we’ll just stop for two mintues. Look how beautiful that is” I used to see my life in pictures but with watching the waves, it transformed to music and pictures. So lyrical, so beautiful. Despite the freezing conditions, I was more than willing to wait for the right light, the perfect conditions.
We did many of the usual tourist things and quality assured the oranges;
Just as we were about to discover the hiding place of unicorns, (possibly at the top of Hallasan) our flight beckoned and it was back to Paju.
For anyone considering a trip to Jeju, consider the following;
1. Rent a car. It’s the only way to get around. There are loads of rent a car agencies at the airport and it’s pretty cheap to hire one for the weekend.
2. Shop around for flights. There are loads of companies that fly to Jeju. Shop around for the best value. We flew Jeju Air. Flight time is only 55 minutes.
3. If you’re only going for a weekend, organise what to do in advance. Hallasan will take a few hours no matter which route you take so prepare accordingly. Try to get your attractions in one area, then move to the next and do all the attractions in that area and so on. It saves a lot of time.
4. There is plenty of accommodation available for every budget. We stayed at Jeju Ecosuites. We booked a special deal through Agoda. The owner was foreign and was super helpful. Its a most beautiful place to stay but it’s in the countryside so it’s a good idea to have a car to stay there.