Ginger, Kelly and I camped-while our friends stayed at a “minbak” called “The B and B”-but not a bed and breakfast (like all the bars and coffee shops with “Live Music” on the sign-but no live music-I think “live music” is just part of the names).
Anyways the first night we camped in the front yard of the minbak-but were happy we hadn’t agreed to stay.
Pictures I had seen of Jeju featured blue, clear water, white sands and palm trees. The minbak was in the middle of farm country-the closest restaurant or store was 2 miles away, and the beach was made of dark rocks, with drop offs, big waves and older woman harvesting seaweed. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that-but we didn’t have anyway to cook, and wanted to be by tropical beaches with better swimming conditions.
Thursday morning we found a cabbie who told us where to go. He took us to Hyeopjae beach- it was everything I wanted out of Jeju.
We set up our tent in a grove of pines and planted ourselves there for the remainder of the trip. The water was warm and gorgeous-the sun was so intense you had to sit under an umbrella, slathered in sunscreen. Forcasters predicted rain but the weather was perfect.
The beach was by Hallam Tropical Park and we spent Saturday wandering around in cactus and palm tree gardens with all kinds of species- I ate a cold noodle soup flavored with cactus flowers and drank cactus juice for lunch.
At Hallam there was also an “ancient village” where original old houses and artificts were displayed, a Jeju stone-bonsai garden, lava caves, water gardens filled with the “sacred” lotus and “bird paradise” with lots of peacocks and strangely-ostriches.
Some of Jeju’s lava tubes are UNESCO World Heritage sights. The ones at Hallam are geologically unique as limestone has seeped inside, creating stalagmites and stalactices-extremely rare in lava caves.
And well, to clarify-the weather was perfect until the last night-Saturday at 3am a torrential rain storm blew into our inexpensive tents-so we packed up and headed for a jjimjibang in Jeju-city, by the airport. It was a good mini-adventure- the vacation might have just been too perfect without it. Also the flight was at 10am so it’s not like we were really missing too much beachtime Sunday.
The weekend was incredibly relaxing- I forgot all about the 100 student evaluations waiting for me at work.