Saturday, June 9, 2018

History and Nature in East Jeju

On my fourth day in Jeju, I was left to my own devices and I went on to explore a bit of the east side of Jeju.

830AM to 5PM (Closes 30 minutes to an hour later in spring and summer)
Admission fee: 11,000 won
Audio Guide rental: 2,000 won

Jeju Folk Village is a large open-air museum showing the different kinds of villages (mountain village, fishing village, shaman village, etc) in Jeju in the 1890s. (For K-drama aficionados, Jeju Folk Village was the filming location for Jewel in the Palace.) There were different kinds of houses, complete with tools, earthenware, and even animals (like a donkey, a cow, and a black pig!). There were also exhibition halls for fishing tools, farming tools, local crafts, and earthenware. It was quite interesting to see how Jeju people lived over a hundred years ago. There are three scheduled 30-minute folk performances (1120AM, 130PM, 330PM) but I did not get to see any of them as I had to leave Jeju Folk Village by 1030AM to catch the bus to Seopjikoji.

Directions by bus: From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal, take bus 221 to 제주민속촌 Jeju Folk Village bus stop (last stop; 1 hour).

 Houses in a mountain village

 Taewoo, a raft used for fishing

 Jeju black pig

107 Seopjikoji-ro, Seogwipo-si

The beautiful coastline of Seopjikoji peninsula starts at the sandy Sinyang Beach 신양 해변 where there are benches to just chill, feel the breeze (or if it's a strong wind, get pelted by sand), and take in the view of Seongsan Ilchulbong in the distance. Following the road into Seopjikoji, the landscape changes into a rocky coastline then to grassy areas and a Canola flower field.

Along the way there is an aquarium called Hanhwa Aqua Planet Jeju 아쿠아플라넷 제주; The Glass House (a building designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando), which houses Mint Restaurant and the Zippo Museum; a lighthouse; a building that looks like candy; the remains of an old signaling site called Hyeopja Beacon Fire Station 협자연대; and an art gallery called Yumin Art Nouveau Collection 유민미술관 which is housed in a building called Genius Loci 지니어스 로사이 (also designed by Tadao Ando).

Hanhwa Aqua Planet Jeju
아쿠아플라넷 제주
Daily 10AM to 7PM
Admission fees:
40,900 won (19-64 yrs old)
39,200 won (13-18 yrs old, 65 yrs old and above)
37,200 won (3-12 yrs old)

Yumin Art Nouveau Collection
Wednesday to Monday 9AM to 6PM
Admission fee: 12,000 won

It was spring and the walk from the entrance of Seopjikoji down to the southern tip of the peninsula was long but comfortable. The sun was out, but the breeze kept me cool, and the landscape all around kept my eyes busy. I didn't stop by Hanhwa Aqua Planet, but popped into Zippo Museum and checked out the artworks and the humongous artsy Zippo lighter cases. I also went to the lighthouse for sweeping views of the sea and of Seopjikoji. Continuing my hike south, I passed by a poorly maintained and off-limits building that was designed to look like candy, until I reached the Hyeopja Beacon Fire Station, which from afar looks like a small mound of rocks. On my way back, I went to see the Genius Loci building but it was Tuesday, the day when it (and the Yumin Art Gallery within) is closed. Nearby, I spotted a field of canola flowers where I took some photos before hurrying back to the entrance to catch the bus to Seongsan Ilchulbong.

Directions by bus:
  • From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal, take bus 201 to 성산포 수협 Sungsanpo Waterworks bus stop (95 minutes) and transfer to bus 295 to 섭지코지 Seopjikoji bus stop (3 minutes) or walk 2.5 km to Seopjikoji entrance. Be aware that bus 295 only comes 10 times a day. If you don't want to transfer, take bus 201 to 신양리입구 Sinyang Entrance bus stop (100 minutes) and walk 1.5 km to Seopjikoji entrance.
  • From Jeju Folk Village, walk 1 km to 표선환승정류장(표선리사무소) Pyoseon Transit Stop bus stop and take bus 295 to 섭지코지 Seopjikoji bus stop (40 minutes). Be aware that bus 295 only comes 10 times a day. If you miss bus 295, take bus 201 to 신양리입구 Sinyang Entrance bus stop (40 minutes) and walk 1.5 km to Seopjikoji entrance.
A view of Seongsan Ilchulbong from Sinyang Beach at the entrance of Seopjikoji

 Changing landscape

The Glass House

Art at the Zippo Museum

The Genius Loci building houses the Yumin Art Gallery

The lighthouse reflected on the Genius Loci building

Canola flower field

Seongsan Ilchulbong
Summer 710AM to 7PM
Winter 730AM to 6PM
Admission fee: 2,000 won
Seongsan Ilchulbong, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a 180-meter high volcanic tuff cone. Tuff cones are formed from the interaction between rising magma and bodies of water. Tuff cones are between 100 to 300 meters high and have steep sides and a wide and broad crater at the top. Seongsan Ilchulbong's crater is about 600 meters in diameter.

Seongsan Ilchulbong is also called Sunrise Peak, and people who have cars go to Seongsan Ilchulbong early to watch the sunrise. But people like me who can't afford or are too cheap to rent a car won't be able to catch the sunrise if taking a bus. No sunrise, no sunset, I still decided to make it Leg Day by climbing the stairs to the peak. The peak can be reached in 20 minutes, but I took many breaks to catch my breath and reached the peak in half an hour. Up top, the bleachers on the viewing deck afforded a view of the grassy crater.

Back down below, I checked out the surrounding area where the Haenyeo (female divers who don't use scuba gear) are (but the performance schedule was already over), and the viewing area where one could see Udo Island in the distance.

Directions by bus:
  • From Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal, take bus 201 or 211 or 212 to 성산일출봉입구 Seongsan Ilchulbong Entrance bus stop (95 minutes).
  • From Seopjikoji, take bus 295 to 성산일출봉입구 Seongsan Ilchulbong Entrance bus stop (10 minutes). Be aware that bus 295 only comes 10 times a day. If you miss bus 295, walk 1.5 km to 신양리입구 Sinyang Entrance bus stop and take bus 201 to 성산일출봉입구 Seongsan Ilchulbong Entrance bus stop.

Leg day!

 On top of Seongsan Ilchulbong

Seongsan Ilchulbong's crater

Views from the top

Down there is where one can watch a haenyeo

The other side of Seongsan Ilchulbong

Udo Island in the distance

Note: Since I was staying in Jeju City, the directions I have provided above start from Jeju Intercity Bus Terminal. If you are staying in Seogwipo City, use Google Maps to find nearby bus stops and what buses to take. If you can read Korean or have the patience to use Google translate (though the translation is not perfect), the Jeju Bus app or the Jeju Bus website is a more accurate option than Google Maps.

In the map below, I have pinned two places that you might also want to stop by: Gwangchigi Beach, for a view of Seongsan Ilchulbong, and the Canola Flower Fields, if you're visiting in spring.

This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

South Korea Spring 2018
Jeju Accommodation: Sum Guesthouse Jeju Airport
Traveling Around Jeju by Bus
Checking out Cafes in Jeju
Jeju: Location, Location, Location (for a Photoshoot)
Jeju Eats
History and Nature in East Jeju (you're here!)
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Jeju
Hiking Hallasan via Yeongsil and Eorimok Trails
Daegu International Airport to Gyeongju
Gyeongju Accommodation: Chacharang Guesthouse
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Historic Areas
Walking Around Gyeongju
UNESCO World Heritage: Gyeongju Yangdong Historic Village
Joining the Cherry Blossom Loving Crowds in Jinhae
Cherry Blossom Binge Continues in Busan
Busan Museum of Art
Spring 2018 Jeju and Southeast South Korea Itinerary and Expenses

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