Wednesday 15 August 2012

Beautiful Jeju

One of the places that everyone tells visitors to visit here is Jeju. Dubbed the 'Hawaii' of Korea (much like Hainan in China.) I didn't think I was going to make it to Jeju because I'd run out of times when I could go and I had resigned myself to that. But then, in typical Korean style a random twist occured. My camp was split in the middle by a week. This was time for school to be officially closed and I wasn't allowed to go into school. So camp ended up being the 1st and 3rd weeks of the school holidays. I had 2 vacation days over from my contract and decided to make the most of this time off to make a very short trip to jeju. It was mid-week so it wasn't too crowded and luckily the weather was really good for me.

I packed in quite a lot while I was there, and as the weather was so hot and I'm a wimpy English girl I arranged my trip so I spent the hottest part of the day (mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun) inside museums (which are plentiful in Jeju!)

One of the most impressive things in Jeju is it's beauty, especially compared to mainland Korea. On one of my days, in the late afternoon I headed to the coast to see the lava cliffs. Jeju is a volcanic island and much like the white cliffs of Dover the black lava cliffs are a sight to see. This really took my breath away, it was absolutely stunning. And at the time, having only two weeks left in this part of the world it really made me realise how much I was going to miss the natural beauty that abounds in Asia. Heading into Europe I know I have plenty of beauty still to see; but this is the end of a huge part of my life, living in Asia and being so close to so many gorgeous places. I'm certainly not done exploring this area and I will definitely be back to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of Asia once again.

No people

Lots of people

This slogan was everywhere and it really made me feel welcome, especially as everyone I met was so friendly and helpful. It really did seem like they loved having visitors.

Simply gorgeous

This is a statue of the famous 'mermaids' of Jeju. The haenyo (literally 'SeaWomen') are able to dive for up to 20 metres holding their breath for two minutes and catch the profitable abalone as well as other sea creatures. They are in decline in Jeju now as other jobs are more desirable, particularly in tourism. But they symbolise a traditional matriarchal society one common in Jeju.

This was probably the best noodle soup I've had in Korea. It was delicious! I couldn't get enough!

A slightly drab, rainy day on my last morning in Jeju, but it's still pretty good looking!

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