Jeju: The Simple Life

Last weekend I jetted off to Jeju Island, a Korean volcanic island off the southern coast of the country. It’s a very popular tourist destination for Koreans and has plenty of hotels and resorts. But for me it was a chance to escape the busy city life of Seoul and take it easy in the village of Jongdal-ri (종달리). One of my friends is a writer and was very kind to let me crash there.

Flying into Jeju City

Flying into Jeju City

My friend's home in Jongdal-ri...nice little paradise

My friend's home in Jongdal-ri...nice little paradise

Another guest!

Another guest!

Inchulbong cliff

Ilchulbong cliff (일출봉)

View of Udo Island from Ilchulbong

View of Udo Island from Ilchulbong

Volcanoes seen from Ilchulbong

Extinct volcanoes seen from Ilchulbong

The largest of the volcanoes, Hallasan Mountain, lies at the center of the island. At 1,950 meters, it’s the highest in South Korea. We hiked around the base of Hallasan for four hours in the pouring rain. Good fun and adventure, but unfortunately no pictures of the trek. After the hike, we headed to the “fifth-day market” (오일장).

Fresh vegetables

Fresh vegetables

Assorted kimchi, Korea's traditional pickled dish

Assorted kimchi, Korea's traditional pickled dish

Corn dogs and beondegi

Corn dogs and beondegi

For those of you in the dark, beondegi are silkworm pupae. Not my favorite snack… I opt for the corn dog.

Colorful hot peppers

Colorful hot peppers

There were also dogs for sale. These were for pets though, and not 보신탕 (dog soup).

Standing out

Standing out

After the market, we drove to a cafe in 대포동 with a great view of the sea and cliffs.

Fishermen at the beach in Daepo

Fishermen at the beach in Daepo

Tranquility

Tranquility

The next day I took a ferry to U-do, and rented a motorbike for a quick tour of the island.

My ride

My ride

Volcanic rocks, view of a volcano on Jeju-do from U-do

Volcanic rocks, view of a volcano on Jeju-do from U-do

Old anchor, sea colors

Old anchor, sea colors

Lighthouse

Lighthouse

Tip of U-do

Tip of U-do

Tractor, farmhouse and me

Tractor, farmhouse and me

I think my favorite part of the trip was just walking around the village of Jongdal-ri.

Trees bring people together.

Trees bring people together.

I loved the volcanic rock walls

I loved the volcanic rock walls

Flower. Volcanic Rock.

Flower. Volcanic Rock.

Villages have graffiti too.

Villages have graffiti too.

Traditionally, Jeju is a matriarchal society. Women divers, or Haenyo (해녀), would earn the income for the family. The village I stayed in seemed to still have quite a few of these divers, as witnessed by the diving gear hanging outside their homes. These women dive throughout the year, have no oxygen tanks and can swim down to depths of 20 meters. Hardcore.

Haenyo's diving gear

Haenyo's diving gear

View around Jongdal-ri from the top of Jimmibong

View around Jongdal-ri from the top of Jimmibong

Jongdal-ri by day

Jongdal-ri by day

By night.

By night.

And back to Seoul…

Eastar Airlines Flight ZE 214

Eastar Airlines Flight ZE 214

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~ by nathanhendrix on July 27, 2009.

One Response to “Jeju: The Simple Life”

  1. Super!!! une coupure nature qui fait du bien 🙂

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