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Trip Report Jeju Island, S Korea - some thoughts

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I haven't seen many reports on Jeju Island, so will offer my thoughts after a short visit from the US. Stayed at the Shilla. Visited Seogwipo and the Sunrise Crater.

There are many flights on several airlines GMP-CJU and they can be packed during the summer like any other tourist destination. Lots of folks lugging bags of fruit, chocolate, etc. onboard; lots of families and children in the waiting area.

Airport bus runs from the airport to south side Jungman Resort area and on to Seogwipo for just a few dollars. Hyatt, Lotte and Shilla are expensive both for rooms and food. They are isolated from everything except the Teddy Bear museum, Ripleys museum, a few convenience stores and restaurants, a few cheaper hotels, and the botanic garden. The hotels are on a cliff over the beach--a LONG climb down and up staircases. We met lots of people resting, drinking water just to get back to the hotel. The brown sand beach is pretty from above and at sealevel. Roped off area with lifeguard. After one climb, we did not return to swim. Luxury hotels have pools, casinos for foreigners. Budget hotels have more modestly priced restaurants.

Local taxis are inexpensive, but to travel the length of the island (tourist destinations are scattered all over the island) costs $40 one-way. Some people book a taxi for the day for $100+. The airport bus can be used for some destinations and one can transfer to other long distance or local buses for just a few dollars.

The markets in downtown/CBD Seogwipo are interesting--sort of an urban renewal of traditional markets. So you still have tanks full of squid, bags of spices, linens piled up for sale, etc., but the streets are paved with some fountains and most importantly for bad weather, a nice ceiling. We didn't find much else of interest, but we were also wandering blind.

The sunrise crater is big. Folks walked up/down in an hour, but that was relatively rushed. The diving demonstration was OK. One lady speared a fish and people were having their picture taken with her in her wetsuit holding the speared fish. I did not see the new museum mentioned elsewhere, but we were on a tight time schedule. Lots of souvenir shopping here.

The drive up through the hills is way more scenic than the loop road. Problem with fog, though.

Some people told me about their climb up the volcano. 3 hours, I think, in the driving rain. Not a pleasant experience, but an accomplishment. They said also souvenir shopping there.

General observations--not many people speak English. Carry a Korean language map along with an English language map. Prices for souvenirs were similar at the hotels, E-Mart, airport, souvenir shops--just the size of the selection varied. No problem finding global ATMs scattered about. Distances are long--takes quite a while to see much.

Hope this helps the next person headed to Jeju Island.

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