Photography 4

Joy in Solitude: Jeju Island in Pictures

My first trip to Jeju was a lesson in not planning trips in groups and just saying ‘Fuck it’ and going anyway. Ever since my very first travel experience, which I also took solo due to a friend dropping out last minute, I’ve enjoyed the freedoms that come with travelling alone. To quote George Bluth, “There is joy in solitude…

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Of course there are those moments of fantasticalness where you want to turn to someone and go “this is awesome”, and Jeju has a lot of great places that befits it’s a status as a popular tourist destination for foreigners and Koreans alike, most of which have been written about by better writers elsewhere.

However I implore you to stay well away from Jeju Love Land. It is only what becomes of a country that is so sexually repressed and unless you find joy in statues of erect penis and/or elderly Koreans giggling like prepubescent teens at the sight of them then give it a miss.

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For me, Jeju’s highlight comes in the form of the Jeju Olle trails, founded and literally handmade by former-journalist Suh Myung-Sook and her brother. The trails take in a lot of Jeju’s breathtaking and oft hidden beauty. During my two trips I have only taken a small percentage of its routes but I dream one day of taking a few weeks and doing the entire course, wonderfully, all the routes are connected.

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The brilliant Ken Lee over at Seoul State Of Mind has done a couple of posts about the Jeju Olle Trails that one should definitely look at.

My other favourite part of Jeju is the Manjanggul Lave Cave… Jeju is a (long-dormant) volcanic island and to my mind, walking through a tunnel that once had molten rock flowing through it is supercool-super.

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PRO-TIP: The frequentness and cheapness of flights to Jeju from mainland South Korea mean that it can easily be done on the weekends…I would recommend avoiding Jeju during the Korea’s holiday periods, Chuseok (thanksgiving), Seolnal (Lunar New Year) and such…pick one or two weekends, even if you are only in Korea for a year, and go then. But definitely go.

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How to get there:

 Get on a plane

Get to Jeju City Bus Terminal

From there buses to all places in Jeju are frequent and numerous.

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4 Comments

  • Steve Miller (@qiranger) says: June 25, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Looks like you had a great time there. I also love Jeju and find it wonderfully inexpensive to travel there.

    Reply
    • Ali Safavi says: June 27, 2014 at 3:28 am

      Indeed, I have done every time I’ve been there, and much cheaper than other places offering similar experiences in south-east Asia…

      Reply
  • jamessaunders says: June 26, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Hey Ali: Jim here from Jeju Island. I’m the native English language volunteer for Jeju Olle Trail. Thank you for your kind words about us! Ken’s posts are pretty awesome too. He’s actually a Belegi Ganse Young Supporter for this year and will be on the island this coming weekend for a workshop. We’ll be out on Route 12. So if you’re ever coming back to Jeju please send me a message. We should be able to walk a trail together or do something like ‘Clean Olle’ or ‘Walk Together’.which adds a bit of a different experience. On top of all that if you need any other information then I’m currently working on an English language blog for Jeju Olle Trail: http://jejuolletrailinformation.com/. By the way I’m a Coventry man myself!

    Reply
    • Ali Safavi says: June 27, 2014 at 3:32 am

      Hi Jim, yes I’ve read about yourself before, I think in Ken’s blogs. I will definitely keep that in mind for next time, I’d love to help out and get the experience too obviously. I’ll add your website to my original post on my blog site (though I’m sure I saw it when I writing the post and added it already…). Ah not far then, I grew in Leicester and spent many years in Derby myself.

      Reply

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