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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#1101: Korea day 2 // Trick Art Museum, Seongeup Folk Village, Seongsan Ilchulbong, Jeju Haenyeo Museum, Manjang Cave & Paris Baguette

I'm back with a post on my day 2!! Which was actually the first full day I spent in Korea. Woke up really early in the morning because our tour started at 830 am T.T

I think we must have gotten up at 7am just to get ready and grab breakfast to make the 830am pick up. Korea's time is an hour ahead of Sg's so it means we woke up at 6am :O

Yeha guesthouse provides free breakfast consisting of toast, jam, eggs, tea, coffee, rice (lol) and kimchi.  Mama Cheryl made us awesome cheese omelette and we toasted some bread to have with jam. #cherylcooks heh. 

We signed up for 2 days of the Yeha tour which brought us around the East and West of Jeju. A bus will go around picking up people from various hotels/guesthouses before the start of the tour. The places of interest that we were brought to were recommended by visitors who went to Jeju before so I guess although we are visiting touristy areas of Jeju, we kind of got to see the best of Jeju as well!

Our first stop was the Trick Art Museum.

The Trick Art Museum is the first museum in Korea to show optical illusion art, and is located in Seogwipo City near the Seongeup Folk Village. Exhibitions on walls and floors are rendered in three dimensions. Exhibitions consist of seven themed sections: Parody Zone (showing famous paintings and sculptures), Animal Zone, Jurassic Zone, Aquarium Zone, Egypt Zone, Magic Zone, and Illusion Zone.

Trick art renders two dimensional paintings in three dimensions by creating illusions. Each work looks differently when seen from different angles or spots. Its magic magnifies when seen from camera lenses. Visitors can take pictures with various fun poses blending nicely with the exhibitions. Cameras as well as video equipment are permitted in the museum.

Our next stop was the Seongeup Folk Village.

Located at the foot of Mt. Halla on Jeju Island, Seongeup Folk Village is a small town that holds a vast amount of culture.

Cultural properties in the folk village have been handed down from generation to generation and include treasures such as residential houses, Confucian shrines and schools, ancient government offices, stone statues, large millstones (pulled by horses or ox), fortress ruins, and stone monuments. Among the cultural gems of the folk village are intangible cultural assets such as folk plays, native foods, local folk craftsmanship, and local dialect. Even the trees are an important part of the area's heritage. Several zellkova and nettle trees that are hundreds of years old stand at the center of the village, preserving the dignified atmosphere of a bygone era.

The Seongeup Folk Village shows the unique culture of Jeju Island: the black lava rock walls, the straight but curvy alleys to block the wind, and the stone grandfather statues (Harubang), which have become a prime feature of the landscape. The local black-haired pigs and tongsi (pigsty/restroom) are especially well-known characteristics of Jeju folk culture. The Jeju black pork is said to be very nutritious.

I was really looking forward to going to the folk village even though I knew it wouldn't really be legit with real villagers still living inside but the rain really ruined the day for us :( It was pouring and the wind was really strong and our shoes were soaked through making it a pretty miserable day to be out in the open.

We did manage to walk around a bit before we gave in to the weather and sought shelter at the restaurant where we were to have our lunch at.

For lunch, we had BBQ Jeju black pork! I didn't really enjoy the meal because I was partially turned off with the idea of the pigs eating human poop (I still don't know if it's true or not) and partially because the taste of the pork was really strong.

I don't usually eat any other meat except for chicken and duck because I don't like the taste of most meats. I don't know if this makes sense but some times the pork taste is super strong and it tastes too… porky? Or like beef tastes too beefy. I just don't like that taste when it happens which is why I don't eat most meats.

Our next stop, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak.

Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak rose from under the sea in a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. Located on the eastern end of Jejudo Island, there is a huge crater at the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. The crater is about 600m in diameter and 90m high. With the 99 sharp rocks surrounding the crater, it looks like a gigantic crown. While the southeast and north sides are cliffs, the northwest side is a verdant grassy hill that is connected to the Seongsan Village. The ridge provides an ideal spot for walks and for horse riding as well. The sunrise from the crater is magnificent. Also, the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is surrounded by bright yellow colored rapeseed flowers in the spring and is truly a sight to behold.

When they said "Sunrise Peak" on the brochure we received, I thought they meant we were going to sit on the bus and the bus would take us to the top. Never did I expect them to bring us to a mountain and expect us to climb it to the top. But that was what we did, climb out first mountain of the trip (we eventually climbed 3 in total).

The view from the foot of the mountain.

I don't think you can tell just how steep these steps are but it was honestly a challenge climbing up the mountain.

Three-quarters up and we were treated to this view of Jeju island. It was a pretty foggy day so most of our pictures didn't come out as nicely as we wanted them to but hey, at least we made it!

View of the crater from the top of the mountain. Wasn't as amazing as I thought it would be but then again it is still pretty amazing to think we're literally at the side of a volcano!

And what's also amazing is the fact that even though I'm scared to death of heights, I made it! Took me a lot of courage to stand near the barrier to take the next few photos but I'm so glad I did.

I never knew that climbing down a mountain would be this painful to my knees but yes, I think I must be getting old or something but climbing down hurt almost as much as climbing up did, just to different parts of my legs. But we did manage to get a pretty good view of the ocean as we were on our way down so I've got that going for me.

Our second last stop for the day was the Haenyeo Museum. Due to the bad weather and strong sea currents, we didn't manage to catch the woman diver show :'( but we did visit the museum to learn more about these amazing women.

Haenyeo refers to female divers who dive into the ocean to gather various shellfish, seaweed, etc without using any underwater diving equipment. When diving underwater, a haenyeo carries only a pair of goggles, a round ball-like tube to keep her balance, and a basket to put her collections in. Such women involved in the fishing industry are known to be scattered all around Jeju-do, Koea, Japan, and Russia.

Jeju-do has established the Jeju Haenyeo Museum to introduce to the world the unique activities and future of Jeju-do's haenyeo female divers. The Jeju Haenyeo Museum exhibits various photos of haenyeo female divers and their activities, to provide an accurate picture of their lives. The Jeju Haenyeo Museum also has an observatory where visitors can see an excellent view of the Hado-ri area, which has a garden with various sculptures and a resting area.

Our last stop for the day was the Manjang Cave.

Manjunggul Cave is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world, and is a designated natural monument. A lava tunnel is formed when the lava that was deep in the ground spouts from the peak and flows to the surface. Manjanggul Cave has a variety of interesting structures inside including 70cm lava stalagmites and the lava tube tunnels.

Only 1km of the 13,422m Manjanggul Cave is open to tourists. The inside of the tunnel sustains at a temperature of 11-21℃, creating a comfortable atmosphere. There are rare animals such as bats living in the tunnel, which makes this tunnel valuable for researchers as well. The stone pillars and stalactites are widely spread and the tunnels show off the cave's topographical features. The Stone Turtle is especially eye catching because it is shaped like Jeju-do Island.

It was a pretty amazing experience, trekking in the cave at 9℃ or so when we were there, because thousands of years ago, the exact ground where we were walking on had lava flowing through it! How mind-blowing is that? I'm always amazed by nature and by how wonderfully beautiful all these features are.

God, You truly are amazing.

After our trek we got the bus to drop us off at a shopping area in Jeju for us to grab some food. Walked around and popped into a random shop to have really good BBQ chicken with cheese, fishcake soup and spicy doubukki.

It was really good to sit down after a really cold and wet day out, just sipping on hot fishcake soup hehe.

After that we went shoppingggg around and popped into Paris Baguette which seems to be every where in Jeju/Seoul actually.

We took a cab back to our hotel and ended our really long day with a mask pampering session.

Stay tuned for the rest of the posts on my Korea trip!

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