Breakfast was a meal of sushi bought along the road to Hallim Park, my first destination for the day. Hallim park is a very pretty and quiet park. The busloads of tourists are missing for my trip, either I am too early, or this park is off their itinerary, whatever the reason, I am thankful.
Words will not do justice to the beauty of the park, so I will let pictures do the talking. Suffice to say that this park shouldn’t be rushed through. Be sure to visit at least the two lava caves, especially Ssangyong Cave, and the bonsai garden.
After the park, I drove on towards O’sulloc Tea House Museum. On the way, along the road is a very beautiful white colored building with a number of cars parked outside. So being the curious me, I pulled up to ‘investigate’. It turned out, it’s a traditional korean styled restaurant (where you seat on the floor) serving pizza! Though the waiters don’t speak english, the chef is quite fluent, and capable of explaining what types of pizza is available. The shop has only 4 types of topping for their pizzas – kimchi, bulgogi (pork), sweet potato and potato. His pizzas come in 3 sizes – 1m long oblong (all 4 toppings), 50cm long oblong (choose 2 out of the 4), and circular (only 1 out of 4). I went for the 50cm long oblong, and chose kimchi and bulgogi. I must say this is one of the best pizzas of all time. The crust is crisp and not too ‘doughy’. No wonder just 30 min into opening (opens at 12noon), the shop is full. Obviously I can’t finish the pizza, and the waiter is more then glad to help me pack them into a take out box.
O’sulloc Tea House Museum is set amidst a backdrop of a green tea plantation. It has an exhibition of tea wares, which in my opinion is not the main reason visitors are there. There is a small cafe in the premise, which serve really nice and rich macha, i.e. green tea ice cream. I also find the hot green tea latte refreshing. Though many people ordered the green tea cake, which is actually green tea swiss roll, I think it’s just alright. Here, they also sell their award winning green tea leaves. Naturally, being a tea lover, I bought some.
Next up is Yakcheonsa temple. One of the biggest temple I have seen. The main temple, 主殿, is flanked on the left and right by two equally tall drum towers, 鼓楼. After exploring the main temple, do remember to check out the paths to the right of the temple. The most obvious one will lead you to a pagoda. Moving more towards the back of the main temple, is another path that will lead you to a cave temple. This is a hidden gem, as many tourists miss this.
After Yakcheonsa, I drive on to Cheonjiyeon Falls, and then to Jeongbang Falls. Of the two falls, I think Jeongbang is more majestic, and feels more raw, i.e. less adulterated by commercialism. By then, it is already approaching 6pm, and since it is approaching winter, the days are getting shorter and the sun sets at around 5:30pm, making it quite dark. In jeju, most roads are not lighted, meaning, if there are no cars around you, apart from your head lights, you are driving in total darkness. Many times, my mirrors are totally dark, making them seem invisible in the darkness. Amazingly, I welcome such a feeling, in fact I think this is the real driving experience, to enjoy the quietness, the peacefulness and the darkness. Thinking about the obscenely lit streets of Singapore, I can’t help but think how much energy is being wasted, and if there really is any justification for it. Anyway, my dinner this night, is the remaining pizza, which I start eating while taking a slow 1hr plus drive back to the hotel.
|South Korea Day 1, Jeju||South Korea Day 3, Jeju|