Our trip to Jeju began with a bus ride. Buses are funny things. You find them in almost every country in the world and they can be as different as the people that occupy them. Sometimes dirty, sometimes smelly, sometimes your not sure how it's still alive. But sometimes they're quite pleasant, comfortable even and having to spend the better part of a day with them doesn't seem so bad. Such is the case here in Korea usually. Then sometimes, the more time you spend with them, the more you start to see the side of them that wasn't so apparent at the beginning.
Enough silliness. The bus was long, and the driver was an AC Nazi as in he only turned it on for a minute at a time. Incredibly uncomfortable by the end.
Arriving in Mokpo, we stayed at a Love Motel for the night, then made our way to the ferry. The "ferry" was one of those old cruise ships from the 80's that at one time may have been luxurious by someone's standards. Our Meet Up crew was comprised of nearly 100 foreigners, the majority of which had spent the entire night drinking themselves silly. Many of them decided that the 4 hour ferry ride was a good time to go for a round 2. Van and I spent the majority of the time trying to find some sober people to socialize with. Not much luck.
When we finally arrived on Jeju, the weather was starting to turn. We had been forewarned that foul weather was on the way so we weren't too disappointed. We wandered around for a bit, then made our way to our first restaurant on the island to have the famous "black pig BBQ" of Jeju. Think super thick, super fatty bacon. Pretty yummy but not really any different from the traditional Samgibsal we've had a million times before. From the restaurant we had a good view of the ocean out the back though and as the night progressed, a fantastic lightning show gave us quite a bit of entertainment.
Our first stop on our official tour was to some Lava Tube caves. The rain had gone and blown itself up into a full on typhoon. As we made our way through the river in the parking lot, we were looking forward to being deep inside the nice dry caves. Funny thing about underground caves though. They leak. They leak a lot. In fact, at certain points, it didn't seem much different from being outside. The underground waterfalls were quite a sight however but man was it cold. On the way out, the storm was getting particularly strong and just as we were leaving the cave a HUGE bolt struck right next to where we were and I got zapped through our umbrella leaving my thumb numb for about half an hour!
So with the weather being what it was, our guides decided to rearrange the schedule a bit, so our next stop was to a trick art museum. We had seen some of this before at an exhibition a while back so we weren't thrilled about it but it was pretty fun and we got some good pics. Our new friends Kayla and Autumn helped make it even more enjoyable. By the time we left, the skies were finally starting to clear.
Our next stop was a quick ferry ride over to Udo island. The plan was for us to rent ATV's to tour the island with. Having been on one before with little success, I was apprehensive about getting one and thought that the Golf Carts might be a safer, more pleasant alternative seeing as how it was still raining a bit. After being duly ridiculed, Grandpa Kyle gave in to the peer pressure and agreed to go with the ATV. Turns out, they were all set to 2nd gear anyways, so not having to shift made it super easy and very, VERY fun! We took a lunch break at a Pirate themed cafe, that was a bit hidden off the main road. The Bibimbop there was exceptional and the owner and his wife? were quite the characters. Again, Kayla and Autumn putting around with us made the day exceptionally good! We ended the Udo trip with a visit to a black stone beach that was quite beautiful. Kayla fell and we all laughed. Good times!
After Udo, our next stop was to Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, a giant crater that is known as being the best place to watch the sunrise and sunset from. We were a bit behind schedule so we had to book it to the top but the view was well worth the effort. Amazing end to a fantastic day!
For dinner, we went to a restaurant right around the corner from our hotel that's known for their "giant herb burgers." They were certainly giant and not half bad.