This is part of an ongoing travelogue, to start at the beginning click here.
After lunch, it was quite a long drive to the eastern side of the island. All four of us were dozing off after a heavy meal and also waking up early. By the time we reach Seongeup Folk Village, it was drizzling. Which was kind of a good thing, meaning that we were the only visitors there at the village. Seongeup is a traditional folk village, where dozens of families have stayed there for generations. Part of it has been turned into a tourist attraction, in an effort to generate some income for the families. It reminded me of the Sade traditional village in Lombok we visited last year.
The tourist area consists of an open square, a welcome centre (also selling some souvenirs) and house, and a few other small buildings.
This is our tour guide, can’t remember his name. He and his wife can speak decent English. He worked some years in Indonesia and has visited Malaysia before, so he can still remember some Indon / Malay phrases. He gave a very interesting and humorous introduction to traditional life on Jeju island.
Jewel in the Palace (Dae Jang Geum) was also filmed here, and they’re are obviously proud to advertise this fact.
The twin grandfather statues found everywhere on the island.
Overall, I would recommend coming here for a short visit, but you need a guide to fully enjoy the experience. The guides will also try to sell you their local homemade products like 5-scented tea, honey, and horse bone pills (!).
From the village is a short drive to the easternmost point of the island, Seongsan Ilchulbong. This is a dormant volcano crater that rises from the sea right on the beach. If you are up to it, you can wake up at 3.30am and come here is ungodly hour, hike up the crater and see the sunrise. It is also a traditional custom to come here on New Year’s Day to see the annual first sunrise.
But of course, we’re not crazy enough to wake up at that godforsaken hour. Unfortunately, though, it was still raining when we got here, although not heavy. In normal weather you should take 30-40 minutes to reach the crater. But with the rain and slow climbers, it took us about 45 minutes. To fully appreciate the crater, you should google up ‘seongsan ilchulbong’ and see an aerial photograph.
On the way up, you can see a great view of the peninsular that connects to the island on a narrow isthmus.
We finally reach the top! Kinda hard to take a good shot here. The crater is filled with trees and vegetation and is not accessible to public except at the viewing platform at the rim of the crater.
I would rank this place a must visit even if you come for the sunrise. The view from the top is worth the climb (although may be strenuous if you really unfit). As a bonus, if you come here during spring, you can enjoy a sea of yellow ripening canola. Makes a beautiful shot with the mountain in the background.
After Seongsan, we had actually completed our itinerary, but we still had a few hours of daylight. so our driver brought us to Seopjikoji, another natural wonder nearby.
The volcano activity left rocks with strange formations here, for example the on right is called ‘candlestick rock’.
You can hike all the way to end of the path, there is a small lighthouse where you can climb up. The small chapel on the right is also called ‘All In House’ as it was featured in a Korea drama.
After that, it was a long drive back across the island. Near our home, we stopped by another supermarket to buy some dinner stuff.
Dinner was instant noodles, some yummy sausages from the supermarket (2 for 1 sale) and bread.
For desserts there was sweet hallabong plucked from our own private orchard.
Next – Back to Seoul.