South Korea – Jeju Island – part 2

RO: În prima parte a articolului despre insula Jeju am fost oarecum cârcotași și am judecat puțin coreenii pentru că atribuie superlative poate nemeritate insulei, însă acum, că tot am ajuns la partea sudică, recunoaștem că parcă am schimbat complet foaia și/sau destinația. Dacă nordul, dominat de capitala Jeju City, este aglomerat și poate departe de a fi exotic și plin de palmieri și plaje spectaculoase (nici urmă de asemuire cu Hawaii ori Bali), ei bine, în sud, lucrurile stau complet diferit. De aceea am vrea să insistăm încă o data pe faptul că zona Seogwipo sau Jungmun este mult mai potrivită pentru cazare. Într-adevăr, și mult mai scumpă, cu hoteluri pretențioase, cazinouri și cam tot ce și-ar putea dori omul în materie de lux. Până la urmă, nu-i de mirare că aici vin toți ținerii căsătoriți să își sărbătorească luna de miere. Sau dacă totuși este musai de stat în Jeju City, cel mai indicat ar fi de ales zona terminalului de autobuze (Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal),  pentru a economisi timp, a fi aproape de toate autobuzele către toate atracțiile insulei și pentru a evita traficul din oraș. Noi am stat la hotel Regent Marine The Blue, atrași de un preț foarte convenabil, însă nu îl recomandăm.

EN: In the first part of the article about Jeju Island we judged a little bit the Koreans for assigning unworthy superlatives to the island, but now that we’ve reached the southern part of the island, we have to admit that things are completely different, as if we’ve changed the destination. If the north part, dominated by Jeju City, is crowded and perhaps far from being exotic and full of palm trees and spectacular beaches (no trace of resemblance with Hawaii or Bali), oh well, in the south things change quite a bit. That’s why we would like to insist one more time on the fact that Seogwipo or Jungmun area are much more suitable for accommodation. However, these area are the most expensive ones, with fancy hotels, casinos and anything one could wish in terms of luxury. In the end, there’s no wonder that all the newly weds in South Korea spend their honeymoons here. But if it is absolutely necessary to stay in Jeju City, the best area would be the bus terminal (Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal) to save some time, to be close to buses to all destinations on the island and to avoid the traffic from the center. We stayed at Regent Marine The Blue hotel, being attracted by a very convenient price, but we do not recommend it.
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RO: Insa abia in sudul insulei ai sentimentul ca ai ajuns intr-un Paradis exotic, abia aici gasesti plajele din pliantele turistice si tadaaaa, aici se afla plaja Jungmun, cea mai cunoscuta si apreciata plaja de pe insula Jeju. Si da, recunoastem, plaja chiar la fel de frumoasa precum o lauda blogurile si ghidurile turistice! Si in sfarsit, apar si palmierii la orizont, cat sa pricepem si noi de unde a venit toata nebunia cu Hawaii-ul de Est 🙂 Jungmun este Paradisul surferilor, si nu se lasa usor descoperit. Noi am dat de ea din intamplare, trecand prin toata luxosenia pamantului de la hotelul Lotte (cine a mai vazut hotel in Coreea de Sud cu trei mori de vant uriase fix in centru – mai olandeze ca tot Kinderdijk-ul la un loc). Dar ce sa faci cand ceri instructiuni in engleza si ti se raspunde cu un ridicat de umeri – chiar si in cea mai turistica zona a insulei 🙂 In zona Jungmun se afla si Yeomiji Botanic Garden, cea mai mare gradina botanica din Asia (noi nu am apucat sa o vedem).

EN: But only in the southern part of the island you get the feeling that you’ve finally arrived in an exotic Paradise, as this is the place where you can find those beaches from the touristic advertising and tadaaaa, here we found the Jungmun Beach, the most renowned and appreciated beach on Jeju island. And yes, we do admit that the beach is as beautiful as the travel blogs and touristic guides recommend it! And finally, there are palm trees in sight, so that we can finally understand what’s all the fuss with the Hawaii of the East 🙂 Jungmun is the surfers Paradise and it’s not easy to discover it. We accidentally bumped into the beach, passing through all that luxury from Lotte Hotel courtyard (who has ever seen a hotel in South Korea with three huge windmills in the middle of it – looking as Dutch as the Kinderdijk itself). But hey, that’s what happens when you’re asking for instructions in English and no one is able to give you a response – even in the most touristic part of the island 🙂 In Jungmun area there is also the Yeomiji Botanic Garden, the biggest botanical garden in Asia, but we did not have the chance to see it.
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R
O: Zona este intr-adevar frumoasa (poate putin cam prea modernizata si americanizata pentru gustul nostru), insa aici sunt unele dintre atuurile cele mai de pret ale insulei Jeju. Dintre toate, preferatele noastre raman stancile de la Jusangjeolli, niste stalpi de bazalt foarte asemanatori cu ce am vazut pe superbitatea de plaja Reynisfjara in Islanda sau Giants Causeway in Irlanda. Sunt absolut perfecti ca forma si au fost formati in urma cu foarte multi ani, atunci cand lava care a erupt din vulcanul Hallasan a ajuns in apele marii la Jungmun. Privelistile sunt intr-adevar spectaculoase, si chiar daca este un punct foarte, foarte turistic si mereu aglomerat, este cu adevarat impresionant.

EN: The area is indeed beautiful (maybe a bit too modernized for our taste) but here we could find some of the best aces up the sleeve of Jeju island. Our favourite are by far the Jusangjeolli rocks, some basalt pillars similar with what we have seen on the gorgeous Reynisfjara beach in Island or Giant Causeway in Ireland. They are absolutely perfect in shape and have been formed hundreds of years ago, when the lava from the Hallasan volcano reached the waters of the sea at Jungmun. The views are indeed spectacular and even though this is a very, very touristic point, it is truly impressive.
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RO: Alte atractii din zona ar include si cascada Cheonjeyeon (a nu se confunda cu o alta cascada, numita Cheonjiyeon din Seogwipo hahaha!) si intregul parc din jurul acesteia, inclusiv podul arcuit Seonimgyo, cu sapte nimfe sculptate pe una dintre parti. O alta cascada faimoasa din zona Seogwipo este si cascada Jeongbang, pe care insa nu am vizitat-o. Si orasul Seogwipo in sine (al doilea cel mai mare oras de pe insula), mai primitor si mai dragut ca vecinul Jeju City de la nord.

EN: Other attractions in the area would include the Cheonjeyeon waterfal (not to be confused with the other waterfall from Seogwipo – called Cheonjiyeon hahaha!) and the entire surrounding park, including the Seonimgyo arched bridge, with those seven nymphs carved on one side. Another famous waterfall in Seogwipo area is Jeongbang, but we have not visited it. And the Seogwipo town itself (the second biggest town on the island), cuter and nicer than the north neighbor Jeju City.
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RO: Ce am ratat pe insula Jeju? Traseele Olle, 26 la numar, niste poteci de-a lungul coastei insulei, cu privelisti si peisaje spectaculoase, de dificultati diferite, perfecte pentru cei care au mai multe timp de petrecut pe insula. Site-ul acesta prezinta fiecare traseu in parte, cu fiecare punct turistic ce poate fi vazut parcurs si cu poze de la fata locului 🙂 Chiar ne pare rau ca nu am ajuns pe niciunul dintre traseele Olle, sunt o metoda foarte ingenioasa de a-si promova turismul pe insula, iar multe dintre ele par sa fie intr-adevar foarte interesante din punct de vedere cultural. Bineinteles, a face toate traseele intr-o singura vizita este de departe imposibil, 430 de km de trasee ar putea fi parcursi pe jos poate in mai bine de-o luna 🙂 Insa scopul lor este doar de a deschide putin accesul turistilor catre cultura tipica locului si peisajele frumoase.

EN: What did we miss on Jeju island? The Olle Trails, 26 of them, some footpaths along the coast of the island, with spectacular views and scenery, with different difficulty level, perfect for those who have more time to wander around the island. This site presents each trail in detail, with every touristic point that can be seen and pictures 🙂 We are really sorry that we haven’t been to any of the Olle trails, they seem to be a really ingenious method to promote tourism on the island and most of them seem to be interesting from a cultural point of view. Of course, it is absolutely impossible to visit all the trails, 430 km of trails could be walked probably in more than a month 🙂 But their goal is just to give a glimpse of the typical culture and scenery. 

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Photo Source: www.english.visitkorea.or.kr

RO: De asemenea, oricat de anti-talent in ale sportului si urcatului pe munte am fi noi, dupa excursia din Feroe cand ne-am incumetat sa vedem lacul Sorvagsvatn parca ni s-a deschis putin apetitul pentru aventurile montane 🙂 Asa ca pentru o vizita ulterioara pe insula Jeju am include si o urcare pe cel mai inalt munte al Coreei, Hallasan, de 1950m, un vulcan stins din varful caruia se vad niste privelisti senzationale catre intreaga insula. Traseele sunt in general usurele (unele dintre ele au si acces la transport public, la altele insa e nevoie de masina pentru a ajunge), dar oricare dintre ele ar fi cel ales, este nevoie de o zi intreaga dedicata muntelui Hallasan. Ce este interesant e faptul ca in jurul conului principal se afla peste 300 de alte conuri vulcanice, numite oreum-uri (cel mai renumit si mai vizitat este Geomun Oreum), deci optiunile de hiking sunt numeroase. Noi am fi ales insa traseul care duce tocmai catre varful muntelui Hallasan, pentru a vedea lacul Baekrokdam 🙂 Mai multe despre atuurile insulei Jeju si despre locatiile declarate patrimoniu Unesco se pot gasi pe site-ul acesta.

EN: Also, no matter how unskillful we would be in terms of sports and hiking the mountains, after our trip to the Faroe islands when we dared to see the Sorvagsvatn Lake, we started to like the mountain adventures 🙂 So for a next trip on Jeju island we would include a hiking on the highest mountain of Korea, Hallasan, 1950 meters height, a dormant volcano from the top of which gorgeous views towards the island can be seen. The hiking routes are generally easy (some of them even have public transport access, but others can only be reached by car), but no matter which one of them would be chosen, a full day for mount Hallasan would be needed. What is interesting is the fact that around the main volcanic cone there are 300 other cones, called oreums (the most renowned one is Geomun Oreum), so the hiking options are numerous. We would have chosen the route that goes up the top of mount Hallasan, to see the Baekrokdam Lake 🙂 More about the Unesco World Heritage locations on Jeju island can be found on this website

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Photo Source: www.luxuo.com

RO: Cat despre bunatatile locale de pe insula Jeju, n-avem cum sa nu mentionam ceaiul verde (exista chiar si un muzeu Osulloc dedicat ceaiului verde) si fructul hallabong, o combinatie de mandarina si portocala, foarte dulce, tipica insulei Jeju. La o prima vedere nu sunt cu nimic diferite de mandarinele normale, atata doar ca au o umflatura specifica aproape de codita 🙂 Cu toate acestea, ne-a fost destul de dificil sa gasim hallabong pe insula, de multe ori se vindeau portocale normale 🙂 Si bineinteles, pentru carnivori, black pig e delicatesa locului. Ce am fi vrut insa sa incercam (dar nu ne-am documentat indeajuns) ar fi fost mancarea dintr-o casa tipica de haenyeo (asa numitele Haenyeo’s House), sa gustam din melcii abalone. Pare-se ca astfel de restaurante locale se gasesc in orice satuc costal, insa lipsa masinii de inchiriat ne-a cam taiat din optiunile de explorare, fiind mereu dependenti de autobuze si programul lor, asa ca n-am dat de niciun astfel de restaurant in drumul nostru.

EN: As for the local goodies on Jeju island, we have to mention the green tea (there is also the Osulloc museum, fully dedicated to green tea) and the hallabong fruit, a combination of tangerine and orange, very sweet, typical to Jeju island. At a first glance, they seem to exactly the same as a normal tangerine, just that they have a typical bump close to the neck 🙂 However, it wasn’t easy to find hallabong on the island, most of the time people were selling normal oranges 🙂 And of course, for the meat lovers, black pig is a local delicacy. What we would have wanted to try (but we did not document enough) was the food from a typical haenyeo house, to try the abalone snails. Seems that this type of restaurant can be found in any coastal village, but not having a rental car really reduced our exploration option, always depending on the buses and their schedule, so we could not find any haenyeo house on our way.  

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Jeju Island Foods – Photo Source: http://www.iamontheroad.net/blog/top-6-jeju-island-restaurants/

RO: Concluzia? Ne-a placut si nu prea insula Jeju 🙂 Nu stim daca am recomanda sa fie neaparat inclusa pe un itinerariu in Coreea de Sud (Busan ne-a placut mai mult si chiar am regretat ca nu am stat macar o noapte cazati), insa este intr-adevar cea mai renumita insula coreeana iar pentru localnici, chiar este Paradisul pe Pamant. Aici isi petrec noii casatoriti luna de miere, aici se relaxeaza sud coreenii la plaja, aici gasesti cel mai inalt munte al Coreei de Sud, vulcanul stins Halla, de 1950 metri inaltime, aici ai unica provincie autonoma din tara si colac peste pupaza, aici ai parte de trei mari “abundente” cum le place coreeniilor sa le numeasca: vant cat cuprinde, roci vulcanice la fiecare pas si… femei deosebit de frumoase (chiar daca operate :D). Asa ca o vizita in cea mai mica provincie a Coreei de Sud (aflata totusi pe cea mai mare insula a Coreei de Sud :D), n-ar fi tocmai rea. Singura grija ar fi setarea asteptarilor corecte, pentru ca nu e tocmai ce s-ar numi un Paradis exotic in adevaratul sens al cuvantului, insa trebuie sa recunoastem ca are punctele sale forte.

EN: Conclusion? We enjoyed Jeju island but not that much 🙂 We don’t know what to answer if someone would ask us if we would recommend Jeju Island for an itinerary in South Korea (we liked Busan more and we regretted that we did not stay there at least one night), but we have to admit that this is the most renowned Korean island and for the locals, it really is Paradise on Earth. Here is where the newly weds spend their honeymoon, the local people relax here at the beach, here you have the tallest mountain in South Korea – the dormant volcano Hallasan of 1950m, here you have the only autonomous province in the country and if all these were not enough, here you get to see and feel the three “abundances” as the Koreans like to call them: wind – as much possible, volcanic rocks everywhere and… extremely beautiful women (even if they had plastic surgery :D). So a visit to the tiniest province of South Korea (on the biggest island of South Korea :D) is not quite a bad idea. The only concern would be the fact that people have to adjust their expectations, as we wouldn’t call Jeju island a proper exotic Paradise; but we do admit that it really has some beautiful places. 

 

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