Korea – Jeju Island

We had zero intention of leaving Vietnam after only a few weeks in country but when Becky’s aunt told us about a decent deal to Korea, our interest was piqued. Vietravel was offering a 6 day/5 night special to Jeju Island for 9.59 Million Dong (USD $422). The price included a special direct charter flight from Saigon to Jeju and return, 3 star hotel, tour guide, and all food, activities and entrance fees. We normally avoid tour groups (especially large Asian tour groups), but this sounded like a great way to extend our full immersion Vietnamese language studies outside of the classroom. Sign us up! Vietnamese citizens normally require a rather difficult and pricey visa to visit Korea, but Jeju Island is a visa-free zone. No wonder this tour was fully booked within days of being published.

Coast on the north end of Jeju City Becky and the mermaid statue; Dragon's Head Rock Basalt rock formation known locally as "Yongduam Rock" (Dragon Head's Rock) Becky and Chi Xuan pose next to guardian stone statues, protectors of Jeju Island; Yongduam Rock Basalt souvenirs for sale (over 90% of Jeju's surface is basalt so this is a common souvenir); Yongduam Rock Robby next to a colorful Jeju map Robby about to board our "I Love Jeju" tour bus Our Vietravel tour guide, Jung, giving another of his long winded lectures. Little did we know that we had signed up for 6 days of intensive Vietnamese when we booked this tour! Crashing an all Vietnamese tour group to Jeju Island! Entrance to Jeju Folklore & Natural History Museum Display case of an oarfish, the longest of all fish; Jeju Natural History Museum Village "Yeongdeung Goot" (exorcism) ceremony believed to proctect Jeju's fishermen; Natural History Museum Funeral display; Natural History Museum Women divers of Jeju island Traditional shoe and hat display at the Natural History Museum Model of traditional boats used in Jeju; Natural History Museum Farming diorama; Natural History Museum Basalt stonework section of the Natural History Museum Example of a millstone used in every village; Jeju Natural History Museum Bryde's whale skeleton; Natural History Museum Basking, Great White and Whale Shark display at Jeju's Folklore & Natural History Museum Chi Xuan, Di Tam and Di Phuong at the marine exhibition of Jeju's Natural History Museum Becky takes a sip of water; Jeju Folklore & Natural History Museum Robby at the ice sculpture room of Sumokwon  Theme Park Ice sculptures that visitors are encouraged to touch; Sumokwon Robby at the entrance to a massive ice igloo; Sumokwon Becky behind the wheel of an ice car; Sumokwon Park Jeju island's most wanted! Tree pose on a surf board! Whoa horsey! Spiderman and Robby Running of the bulls Lady liberty sharing some wine Robby is intrigued at the door handle to the men's bathroom at Loveland Park Giant penis at the entrance to Loveland - Jeju's unabashed sex theme park Men's open air urinals; Loveland Hmmm, a ponder between the legs; Loveland Loveland figurines Funny sign at Loveland Park Waffle treats at Loveland Park Ladies & Gents bathroom sign; Loveland Di Tam, Hai and Chi Xuan about to have Korean hot pot for dinner Korean "meat on a stick" snacks for sale at a local 7-Eleven store Robby and the "Dol Hareubang" (large rock statues) of Cheonjiyeon Waterfall Brown-eared bulbul; Cheonjiyeon Waterfall Cheonjiyeon Waterfall Oedolgae Rock Yakcheonsa Temple, Jeju's most popular Buddhist Temple Water fountain; Yakcheonsa Temple Yakcheonsa Temple - the largest Buddhist prayer hall in Asia 3 meter tall Buddha; Yakcheonsa Temple Colorful lanterns inside Yakcheonsa Temple Dragon detail; Yakcheonsa Temple Colorful mandala; Yakcheonsa Temple Over 80,000 gold Buddha statues on display at Yakcheonsa Temple Buddhist lanterns; Yakcheonsa Temple Pathway leading to Yakcheonsa Temple Robby chowing down at Supseom Fish Restaurant Handprints of famous K-pop stars Psy and Big Bang; Play Kpop Museum Our friend Hai is virutally selected to join K-pop band "Big Bang" in a holographic music show; Play Kpop Museum Becky at the Joanne Bear Museum Posing with bears in traditional wedding outfits; Joanne Bear Museum Jeju's Museum of African Art Robby strikes a pose in the tea fields at O'Sulloc Tea Museum Kimchi makers Robby takes a big whiff of his kimchi Our Vietnamese tour group goes bonkers for dried seaweed in a sales frenzy Money is thrown around as everyone gets in on the buying action at the seaweed/kimchi shop Wearing hanbok - traditional Korean dress Fish bridge in Doduhang Fishing boats in Doduhang Harbor Dinner is served - each guest gets 1 KG of chicken in a hot pot! Enjoying our chicken dinner at a restaurant in Doduhang Korean ginseng - a pricey souvenir! Jusangjeolli Rock Pillars Selfie in front of Jusangjeolli's hexaogonal pillars Haeneyo woman selling seafood at Jusangeolli Kissing in a massive shell; Jusangjeolli Jusangjeolli snack vendors Robby, Dung Sau and Di Sau await our Pork BBQ lunch feast Lookout over Jungmun Beach Becky enjoys a dip with her new friends Thai, Ying and Hai; Jungmun Beach Spicy Korean seafood hot pot (haemul jeongol) for dinner Becky by the entrance to Seongeup Folk Village Traditional dwelling built of thatch and lava rock; Seongeup Folk Village Storage containers for traditional Jeju medicinal concoctions; Seongeup Folk Village Photograph of "haenyeo", female divers from Jeju famous for gathering shellfish, abalone and sea urchins; Seongeup Folk Village German shepherd guard dog; Seongeup Folk Village Trail to Seopjikoji Chapel turned gingerbread house; Seopjikoji Climb up to the lighthouse for dramatic views of the coast line; Seopjikoji View from Seopjikoji lighthouse Horned turban shells; Seopjikoji Squid hanging to dry; Seopjikoji Robby dives into a bucket of squid; Seopjikoji Korean license plate Bacon..it's what's for lunch! Di Phuong and Robby grilling up our lunch Entrance to UNESCO world heritage Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak Sun dials near the base of Seongsan Ilchulbong View looking back as we climbed up the bowl like crater of Seongsan Ilchulbong Selfie at the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak Becky and Dung Sau; Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak Staircase leading to the base of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak Haenyeo women divers host several shows daily at this secluded section of Seongsan's coast line Snake venom beauty soap...supposedly good for erasing wrinkles! Let's diet arm sleeves Korean masks for sale at an overpriced souvenir store foto gallery lightboxby VisualLightBox.com v6.1

Our Vietravel Itinerary:

Day 1: Saigon to Jeju via Jetstar

Day 2: Pick up from airport and meet local guide. After breakfast, visit Yongduam Rock, Jeju Minsok Natural History Museum and Sumokwon Theme Park (ice sculptures and 3D art included). Korean hot pot for lunch, followed by a visit to Mysterious Road, Loveland sex themed park. Check in to Amoureux Resort Hotel. Korea hot pot dinner.

Day 3: Breakfast buffet at hotel. 7:30 am departure for Cheonjiyeon Waterfall, Oedolgae Rock, and Yakcheonsa Temple. Lunch at Supseom Fish Restaurant. Afternoon visit to the Play Kpop Museum, Joanne Teddy Bear Museum, and O’Sulloc Tea Museum. Before dinner, learn how to make kimchi and dried seaweed. Have opportunity to try on traditional Korean dress (Hanbok). Dinner at a restaurant near Doduhang Harbor.

Day 4: Breakfast buffet at hotel. 7:30 am departure for Ginseng Center, Herbal Medicine Center, and a Cosmetics Store. Lunch followed by a visit to Jusangjeolli Rock Pillars. Visit Jeju JTO Duty Free (photocopies of passports will be provided). Afternoon free time at Jungmun Beach, Jeju Island’s most popular beach. Seafood hotpot (Haemul Jeongol) for dinner.

Day 5: Breakfast buffet at hotel. 7 am departure for Seongeup Folk Village, followed by a visit to Seopjikoji, the eastern coast of Jeju Island. Seopjikoji has been the set for numerous Korean TV dramas such as “One Thousand and One Nights”, “Gingko Bed” and “The Uprising”. Free time to hike to the lighthouse or eat seafood. Visit to a chocolate store for free sampling of Jeju’s best chocolates. Lunch at a Korean BBQ restaurant. Afternoon visit to UNESCO world heritage site Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. Free time to hike up to the peak. Duty free shopping opportunities in the late afternoon before dinner.

Day 6: Early (4 am) wake up call followed by 4:30 am departure for the airport. Breakfast served on board Jetstar flight back to Saigon.

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