After so much delay and procrastination….. I am finally back to doing a post on this last trip in 2017!!
So my last trip of the year in 2017 was to … *drumrolls*
Seoul and Jeju, Korea (duh, as though it is so hard to guess right, the title already speaks for itself okay)
Since my last trip to Korea in 2015, I was actually really looking forward to all the mask and skin care shopping and the cold winter temperature! What I have also been looking forward to was hopefully, more English translated street signs, more accessible transport for foreigners, and friendlier ahjumas (because we are here to contribute to their economy :P). I could vaguely remember the same airport and place that I landed years back in Incheon Int’l Airport, it was good memories back then and I thought I was back to some hometown this time. Nonetheless, although this was a packaged tour signed up with a travel agency, we still get to visit some familiar places and never visited places and the most important feature of the trip was, we will also be taking a domestic flight to Jeju and visit some UNESCO heritage sites! It has always been my goal and dream to try to visit some UNESCO cultural / heritage sites whenever I visit a different country. 😀This is one palace in the heart of Seoul – Gyeongbok Palace, where I really love it despite it looking so old and traditional. This was my third time visiting this palace and it was the first time I got to know that the admission is free if only you dress up in the traditional Korean costume called the HanBok! I love this picture because of the mix of traditional and modern architectures infused together. It just reminds us of how Korea or any country in the Asia region would look like in the olden days and how it has amazingly transformed into a city with so many skyscrapers and business districts around it.
This is a picture of us on the Jeju rail bike, it was something different yet relaxing. The rail bike was automatic, meaning although there are pedals under each seat, we did not have to pedal and it will still move allowing us to enjoy the scenery around us. This was located quite seclusively, as I noticed there were no bus stops or subway stations nearby, when we arrived, it seems like there were just only 1 or 2 old couples out on their rail bikes. The exciting part was when the tour guide who was in the same rail bike as us egged us on to pedal as much as we could to overtake the other couple beside us (there were 2 rail trails, each beside one another).
After the rail bike, we were moved off to this peak where it was said to be one of the famous attractions of Jeju. On the east coast of Jeju island sits the 182m high Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak aka Sunrise Peak. This peak was claimed to have rose from under the sea during a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago and at the top of this peak, sits a crater. It was packed with locals and tourists when we arrived, but it was not too stuffy nor warm since it was in winter. So alone, I took up the challenge to hike up this peak in order to get some over the top pictures like the above one. It was indeed well worth the climb and worth the sweat despite climbing in winter wear. 😅
A pity there was no helicopter ride or fly some drone to personally capture this beautiful shot of the crater on this peak.
This was the other side of the peak where I decided to explore after descending. Looking out at the sea, the view was magnificent, the vast space of this place were covered by deep blue ocean and mountainous rocks, the feeling was awesome especially when the cool breeze was blowing into my face and messing up my hair, I cannot help but thanked God in my heart for such a beautiful creation that he has given to us.
This was the Jusangjeolli Cliff, a spectacular volcanic rock formation sight at the southern coast of Jeju Island. There were so many other tourists crowding when our tour group was there, it was a pity as we couldn’t spend more time admiring the natural creation of this rock formation, taking pictures was not easy due to the overwhelming crowd too.
Besides visiting natural sceneries, the itinerary also consisted some attractions in the city. We had visited the Sumokwon Theme Park which is itself an indoor theme park and houses the popular Ice Museum. There were huge blocks of ice artistically crafted by Japanese artisans to form many different sculptures like animals, cars, the Jeju symbolic statue, etc. It was considered a small museum and I recalled there was nothing informational to know about besides just viewing all the gigantic ice sculptures, so we just walked through it and ended the activity in less than 30 mins.
We were lucky to be able to visit the 3rd highest mountain in South Korea – Mt Seorak. As we had limited time for each place in the itinerary, we had to take a cable car ride up to the summit instead of hiking up to quickly enjoy the beauty of the surrounding scenery at the top of the mountain.
This place reminded me of a Korean drama “Yong Pal”, where one of the romantic scenes was taken near these gigantic windmills in the hills. I am considered a “mountain tortoise” since this was actually my first time coming so close to these cluster of windmills. It was freezing cold here at the Daegwallyeong Skyranch, a privately owned sheep ranch located in Pyeongchang. Fortunately, the itinerary included a tractor ride around the vast grazing landscape of rolling and treeless hills, otherwise, we cannot imagine we could have survived under such low temperatures of -15 degree celcius.
There were a few other attractions in this itinerary that was not mentioned in this post, due to the lack of pictures as there were some places we had visited in the previous trips, just find it weird taking the same pictures again. And due to the lack of free time and new places we wanted to explore on our own, the shopping plus the freezing weather in Seoul had somehow taken a toll on us, it was a pity and wished my loots could have been more than the picture shown below. 😀
And before I end this post, I hope you will enjoy and please ask me in the comments box below if you have questions.