Flowers and flowers – Lupin in May, Hydrangea in June

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Sanghyowon celebrates Lupin festival in May and Hydrangea festival in Jun. This beautiful park holds fewer package tourists so you can enjoy beautiful scenery and space. There are so many photo spots. Take time and take nice photos of your own with flowers.

Camellia Hill has many couple tourists. If you are travelling alone, you will be a little annoyed by many couples posing for good shots in front of flowers forever. Don’t worry there are so many photo spots. There will always be a nice spot for you. Camellia flowers are the main attraction in Camelia hill but hydrangea are awesome in Jun.

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What could be the best way of travelling Jeju?
Well, it depends….
It really does.
Many Koreans rent cars to travel Jeju. As long as you have an international drivers license and you are over 20 years old, renting a small car in Jeju is quite affordable.
Many young Koreans rent scooters for a few day trips. It’s romantic and fun.
Quite a few people rent bicycles for 4-7 day round trips along the sea.
Walking definitely is along Olle trails and many people complete the trails in a month or two.
There is a baggage delivery service from one guesthouse to another(guesthouses have the phone numbers) so you don’t have to carry heavy baggage with you when you travel by a motorbike/bicycles/on foot.
Bus trip is also fun if you are not in hurry. Most bus drivers I met were very helpful and you will see many locals in the buses. I enjoyed Dolmush in Turkey and small buses(they were actually vans) in Sri Lanka and people I met on the way. Definitely worth trying! If you purchase T-money card, you can have transit discounts. T-money cards can also be used in Seoul, Gyeonggi and Incheon areas.
Renting a taxi for a day can be convenient if you don’t have a lot of time and you haven’t done a lot of research before the trip. Most taxi drivers know all the tourist attractions and where the best spots for the photo shooting are. They also know good restaurants. Whichever city you are in Korea, taxi drivers are the best persons to ask for good restaurants.
There are about 100 taxis in Jeju that English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese and Russian translation is available(Mon-Fri 07:00 ~ 22:00, Sat,holidays 08:00 ~ 18:00).

Check out below site for English/Chinese/Japanese available taxi or guided tour.
http://english.jeju.go.kr/index.php/contents/community/news?act=view&seq=4980&bd_bcid=english_movie
http://www.sallytour.co.kr/

Below are well-known and popular bicycle rental shops in Jeju. Sorry, they are only in Korean but they provide a lot of good information.

http://www.jeju8253.com/

http://www.jejuhiking.co.kr

http://www.bikejeju.com/index.php

You must be cautious on your safety when you are travelling by scooters and bicycles.

World Heritage – Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes

World Heritage site of UNESCO

World Heritage site of UNESCO

There are a few Korean sites listed under UNESCO(United Nations Educational,Scientific and Culturral Organisation)’s World Heritage. They are mostly cultural sites and Jeju is the only natural site so far.

Below is the introduction of the site by UNESCO (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1264)

Outstanding Universal Value

Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes is a coherent serial property comprising three components.  The unequalled quality of the Geomunoreum lava tube system and the exhibition of diverse and accessible volcanic features in the other two components demonstrate a distinctive and important contribution to the understanding of global volcanism.

Criterion (vii): The Geomunoreum lava tube system, which is regarded as the finest such cave system in the world, has an outstanding visual impact even for those experienced with such phenomena. It displays the unique spectacle of multi-coloured carbonate decorations adorning the roofs and floors, and dark-coloured lava walls, partially covered by a mural of carbonate deposits.  The fortress-like Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone, with its walls rising out of the ocean, is a dramatic landscape feature, and Mount Halla, with its array of textures and colours through the changing seasons, waterfalls, display of multi-shaped rock formations and columnar-jointed cliffs, and the towering summit with its lake-filled crater, further adds to the scenic and aesthetic appeal.

Criterion (viii): Jeju has a distinctive value as one of the few large shield volcanoes in the world built over a hot spot on a stationary continental crust plate.  It is distinguished by the Geomunoreum lava tube system, which is the most impressive and significant series of protected lava tube caves in the world and includes a spectacular array of secondary carbonate speleothems (stalactites and other decorations), with an abundance and diversity unknown elsewhere within a lava cave.  The Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone has exceptional exposures of its structural and sedimentological characteristics, making it a world-class location for understanding Surtseyan-type volcanic eruptions.

The property is well managed and resourced, with a management plan in place for the period 2006-2010 and resources for its implementation.  Key management issues include avoiding potential agricultural impact on the underground environment and managing the high number of visitors to the property.  There is potential for further extension of the property to include other significant lava tube systems and volcanic features of Jeju.

Koreas say ” Seeing once is far better than listening hundred times”. Why don’t you just pack your stuff and fly to Jeju? You will know what it means.

Have you been building some karma?

Baengnokdam

Baengnokdam

They say, you can see Baengnokdam in your first attempt only if you have built good karma for 3 generations.

Thanks to my parents and great parents, I can proudly say that I saw Baengnokdam in my second visit of Mt. Halla and the first visit of the summit. Baengnokdam is a crater lake on the summit of Mt. Halla. Because of such a changeable weather in Jeju and especially Mt. Halla, it is not easy to see the summit clearly in your first attempt.

For people of Jeju, Mt. Halla is not just a high mountain you can see anywhere in Jeju but their lives, histories and sacred religion. There are legends and tales about the mountain. I will talk about Jeju’s tales next time.

My first hiking to Mt. Halla was right after coming back from New Zealand. There are famous trails like Milford track and Routeburn track in New Zealand. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of New Zealand and didn’t expect much from Mt. Halla. However, Mt. Halla totally wowed me. I was facinated by its mind-blowing scenery.

How about hiking the highest mountain in the South Korea?  http://www.hallasan.go.kr/english/

If you have been a good boy or a good girl by listening your parents, it’s time to see if your partents did that as well.

Walking meditation

Olle trail

I visited Osho meditation centre in India some time ago. During my stay there, I tried different meditation styles. a common meditation style(sitting calm and try to concentrate but always falling in a sleep), a dynamic meditation style(involving hard breathing, jumping and shaking head..), a dancing meditation and so on. At the end of my 4day stay, I realized I am not really a meditation person. However, I enjoyed walking meditation. It involves a slow walk and feel the surrounding. I guess anyone enjoys hiking or walking is actually doing the walking meditation unconsciously.

Olle trail (http://jejuolle.org/) is the perfect place for doing a walking meditation. 26 trails round Jeju are now open. One route is about 5Km to 23Km long and takes 4 to 8 hours. Many Koreans now visit Jeju for only Olle trails. If you walk one of the popular routes on weekends it can be quite crowded.

Each and every route has its own colour and beauty. Everyone has their own taste so I don’t want to say which routes are better than the others. I walked route 3 to 11 and I really loved all of them. My plan is walking all the routes in different seasons. When I walked Route 7 in Dec, strong wind with a bit of snow made me humble(I was walking in a bowing posture) but the scenery was just awesome and so different from the scenery of summer.

If you walk with company it can be more fun. They say “쉬멍놀멍-shimeong nolmeong” meaning as resting and having fun in Jeju dialect. It means take it easy and walk slow while you enjoy. You don’t need to finish one route per day although many others do. How you enjoy is more important.

I believe walking in Olle trail makes worth of flying from the other side of the globe to Jeju. Visiting Jeju for a couple of day? No, you need at least one month just for Olle. If you plan to visit Jeju, please plan a long holiday or plan a few trips.

Jeju?

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(Oreums in Jeju)

If you type Jeju in Wikipedia, you will be overwhelmed by a lot of information (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeju_Island) but still not many people know about this beautiful island. In fact, if you have been to Bali and you loved it, Jeju is a must visit place.

The reason I love Jeju is it has everything I would want for my holiday. Beautiful beaches, nice restaurants and hotels? Are you joking? Staying for a month in Jeju is not enough to visit or experience even a half of what Jeju can offer. Awesome Mount. Halla, over 300 Oreums(volcanic cones), scuba diving, fishing, hiking at Olle trails, various public and private musiums, folk villages, theme parks and outdoor activity parks and so on, and so forth… Different ranges of accommodations and fantastic hospitality. I can go days…

I will be writing about Jeju where my passion lies (and sometimes my boring life in Kuala Lumpur). Please call me the Jeju Evangelist.