Our last full day in Jeju and our activities were concentrated on the west side of the island. These were the places we visited:
- O’Sulloc tea museum
- Innisfree Jeju House
- Sanbang mountain
- Cheonjeyeon falls
- Jusangjeolli cliffs
- Yakcheonsa temple
Looking back, this itinerary is pretty impressive in terms of the number of places we managed to visit.
O’Sulloc tea museum
To celebrate and promote the history of tea in South Korea, AmorePacific established a tea museum near the Seogwang tea fields. AmorePacific is also the parent company of Innisfree and other popular Korean skincare and cosmetics brands.
We first visited the Seogwang tea fields which made for a great photo op. While there was quite a crowd there, the fields were large and it was easy to find an isolated spot for photos.
We then made our way opposite to the tea museum. Entering the museum, we were treated to the history of tea through the display of beautiful tea sets from different eras and regions.
At the end of the exhibit, visitors were also treated to a refreshing cup of warm tea.
The exhibition area tapered off into the cafe, which unsurprising, offered mainly tea-flavoured items.
We went all out, opting for a milkshake, ice cream, and a swiss roll, all in green tea flavour.
The milkshake was the best. The swiss roll was meh.
Outside the building, the gardens were meticulously kept and there were some pretty unusual breeds of flowers.
Innisfree Jeju house
Our next stop, Innisfree Jeju house, was a stone’s throw away. Innisfree is a well-known Korean skincare and cosmetic brand that offers an affordable range of products.
The flagship store not only has their product lines on sale, but also features a soap-making corner and a cafe.
We were mainly there to shop since we had been cut off from our typical consumer habits during our time thus far on the island. I personally like their volcanic clay range and highly recommend their volcanic clay mousse mask. The non-mousse version is more popular but the mousse one applies a lot easier. I also feel it’s of higher efficacy.
After leaving the Innisfree Jeju house with our purchases, our plan was to head to the Yongmeori coast next. However, our driver advised us against going down to the beach as it was really windy that day and it could be dangerous. Instead, we saw the coast from above.
As it was, the point where we were was also the start of a manageable trek up to a signal beacon on the Sanbang mountain.
Although in hindsight I qualify this as manageable, it was still a series of steep steps which got me panting at the endpoint.
And while I was trying to catch my breath halfway through, a very pregnant lady overtook me, barely panting as she climbed up those stairs.
But even the incline at Sanbangsan could not prepare us for the flights of stairs at the Cheonjeyeon falls.
The Cheonjeyeon falls are located in a garden-like complex and there are three main falls to visit. The first (as pictured above) is a small cascade but also the most accessible. You can literally put your hand into the azure waters.
The second and third falls can only be appreciated from a distance but are definitely more magnificent than the first.
To get to each waterfall, we climbed countless flights of steps to and fro. It is no wonder why a traveler’s comment (or grouse) on TripAdvisor was titled “too much climbing too much walking”!
The Seonimgyo bridge was another sight to behold in the location. With 7 large nymphs carved in white, flanking the red steel structure, the bridge stood out from afar.
Black pork BBQ for lunch
Black pork bbq is a specialty in Jeju and it is so prevalent that they have a street specially for it.
Just like how we did the previous day, we used a mixture of broken Korean and hand gestures to let our driver know that we would like to get black pork barbecue for lunch.
He wasn’t too familiar with the restaurants around but still managed to lead us to a decent-looking restaurant with Chinese-speaking staff. We eventually managed to order these:
See that weird leafy side dish (first dish from the top on the right)? Not only did it looked weird, it tasted super weird too. It definitely topped my list of unusual Korean side dishes.
We also ordered the cold buckwheat noodles which I didn’t quite appreciate. The noodle tend to coagulate and it just tasted cold and slimy after a while. My conservative Chinese tastebuds also didn’t like mixing cold and hot dishes together.
Expecting to see basalt cliffs, we initially thought we were at the wrong place on arrival. The location was more like a park with rows of coconut trees and decorative statues that looked like they were borrowed from a tropical resort.
Where were the columnar rock formations we expected to see?
Turns out, as we walked a little more further in, there were wooden bridges and observatory decks that allowed visitors to view the magnificent basalt columns from afar.
I was hoping to get more up close so the whole experience was pretty underwhelming for me.
From afar, the columnar structure still looked pretty impressive though. It is amazing to think that these formations were borne from the solidification of lava.
We also spotted a couple of haenyeo (female divers) diving into the ocean to gather food. As they dived into the deep water without any oxygen equipment, their orange floats were the only things that remained visible above the waters.
Not on our initial itinerary, but we had some time to spare before the engagement with our driver would end, so we asked him to bring us anywhere of interest.
And we’re glad he brought us to the Yakcheonsa temple.
The temple was decorated with colourful lanterns and in itself, the walls and beams and roofs were painted in gorgeous hues.
Just look at these ornate designs!
The interior was also surprisingly magnificent.
Pretty pleased with this last-minute addition!
At the end of our temple visit, there was still a fair bit of time before our arrangement ended. We tried asking the driver to bring us to another place but he just didn’t give a response and drove us back to the hotel.
We ended up reaching our hotel slightly past five (our booking was till six). There was still some time before nightfall so we set out for a nearby hypermart we found on google.
To our dismay, it was closed. We found a second on Google and walked over, only to find out that it was closed too!
It was only on our third closed store, that we realised that all hypermarts were closed for the day. From the notice we saw at the third store, it appears that large supermarkets are closed on the last Saturday of each month. 😩
We had no choice but to settle for food and snacks from the convenience store to end our day.
With this, we ended our Jeju trip and prepared for our flight to Busan the next day. The full itinerary will be out soon… 🙂
Overall, Jeju had been a wonderful place full of sightseeing places. Due to its geographical location, there are many volcanic phenomenons as well. Will I return again?
Depends on my agenda. If I’m looking for a place to rest and recover, I wouldn’t mind holing myself up in a nice b&b near the coast on the island. But if it’s for sightseeing, probably not. I feel I’ve seen enough of Jeju on this trip.