Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekend trip to Jeju Island! (Part 1)

And we're back on the mainland! The Jeju jaunt on the weekend went quite well and we hit most of our destinations. The flights themselves went smoothly and we had little trouble finding our way around the island. We had to check our maps a few times, but we didn't get lost. Our travels took us to Jeju City on the north side and Seogwipo on the south side. 

Getting there and back proved easy. Like I wrote below, getting through check-in and security was easy. We went from the front door to the waiting area in less than 30 minutes. I can't say the same for any time I've traveled in the US. Over there, it's "arrive 2 hours before takeoff," but over here, it's "arrive 45-60 minutes before takeoff" or something similar.

Here's what we saw or did:

Ate delicious barbecue black pig

Drank Jeju Orange makgeolli

Love Land

Cheonjiyeon Falls

Jeonbang Falls

Wandered south Seogwipo

Since we took many photos, part 1 will focus on food, drink, and Love Land. Part 2 will look at the both falls and will include some reflections from the trip.

We arrived at Jeju Airport at 5:30pm and immediately made for the information booth. The lady there handed us maps and bus information and helped us with the evening's plans for food and visiting Love Land. She spoke good English and highlighted our bus stops. We were to take a city bus to the restaurant and get a taxi to Love Land. From there, we'd take take a taxi back to the airport and pick up the #600 Airport Limo bus to Seogwipo. We did precisely that and rode the #5 bus out of the airport.

Black pig at Heuk Don Ga Restaurant

My intrepid co-teacher Mrs. J recommended it "one of the best restaurants I've ever eaten in." R and I couldn't agree more. We partook of the regular black pig and the marinated black pig to compare the two. Portions were generous and there were plenty of side dishes. While both agreed that black pig didn't taste significantly different than regular pig, the special sauce the restaurant served did set off the flavors. The sauce sat in a small cup on the wire grill. It acted as a marinade and had a savory punch to it. Between the two kinds of meat we ate, I liked the regular black pig the most.

Heuk Don Ga's easy to find: It's a block away from the Halla University bus stop. It's hard to miss thanks to having two buildings and a large facade. While walking inside, we noticed a three story black pig restaurant across the street. Both establishments were doing a lively business as well. Think of that though: a multi-story restaurant dedicated to barbecue. If the place is that big and that busy, then they know their stuff. 

As for prices, we paid 34,000 for the spread you see above. Two portions of meat at 14,000 and a 6,000 bottle of tasty makgeolli. The makgeolli (I forgot the name) cost more than usual, but it was tasty. This blog,, has many excellent pictures of Heuk Don Ga. It's in Korean, but the pictures tell the story.

Drinks: Jeju, Jeju Orange, and Olleh makgeolli; Hallasan Soju

One thing I enjoy about Korea is trying the makgeolli in different regions of the country. It can change in subtle ways depending on your place in the country. The Jeju and Olleh brands tasted more or less like carbonated makgeolli: Creamy, but not too thick. The Jeju Orange stuff, on the other hand, was a treat, for it's flavored with the juice from real Jeju oranges and had a stronger, less carbonated taste. R remarked that it tasted like it had more alcohol than it did, but it was the standard 6%. It tasted vaguely like a carbonated screwdriver. I'm glad I got to try it, if only for one time to far. As far as I've seen, it's not available on mainland Korea. A standard 750ml bottle sells for around 1800won. (Readers: Is it out there? Perhaps in Busan or Mokpo?)

On the Hallasan Soju: It tastes like soju and has cool labels. It costs a couple hundred won more than regular soju.

Side note: R and I saw a kind of peanut makgeolli at Heuk Don Ga, but we didn't try it. Anyone seen that on mainland Korea?

Love Land

What a place. It puts the adult in adult theme park, for it's sculpture after sculpture of genitalia and sexual acts. The picture here comes from the VisitKorea tourism site. It should provide an idea of Love Land. We enjoyed wandering about the beautiful grounds and admiring the artwork. And it is art, it's simply art about sex. Love Land, like Haesindang, ranks among our favorite experiences in Korea thanks to its coolness and its incongruity with Korean culture. Love Land highlights how even conservative Korea makes room for outlandish sexual sculptures. We can't recommend this place enough.

Getting there will most likely involve a taxi ride, but it is on a bus line. We paid about 5,000 because it was a short distance from the restaurant. The taxi ride back to the airport cost around 7,000. Admission to the park? 9,000. Age 19 and over. Also, bring some money for the gift shops. They aren't all about sex, for I picked up a fedora there.

More links: (Korean)

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