Our weekend on Jeju island wasn’t what we had expected, but it was still magical in its own way. July is the rainy season in Korea, but I didn’t know that when we booked our flights. We also had no way of knowing that Korea was going to be getting the tail end of a monsoon this weekend. All this is to say that we were completely soaked for most of our time on the island, but the gorgeous scenery more than made up for it.
The fact that it’s an island makes it seem like it would be small, but in fact it’s quite big and spread out. Jeju is a very popular tourist destination for Koreans, and it’s actually laughable how many attractions and museums there are on the island. Gorgeous scenery and natural wonders of the world aside, you can also visit museums about sex, teddy bears, chocolate, seashells – there are over a hundred on the island. We didn’t visit any of them, preferring to experience the stunning natural beauty of the island, despite the pouring rain and long bus rides.
It seemed like everywhere we looked on Jeju, we saw something beautiful. The whole island is so lush and green, full of tropical plant life and huge cliffs and deep blue water. The highlight for me was definitely Seongsan Ilchulbong Sunrise Peak, which formed from an underwater volcanic eruption. It is absolutely majestic and otherworldly because of its size and greenery, and the fog hanging over it while we were there. While we were doing the tough hike (steps pretty much straight up to the top of the crater), it was also coincidentally raining the hardest it had on our whole trip. It was a good exercise in patience and staying present and reminding myself to look around and take in all the beauty. When we got to the top, we just kind of surrendered to the pouring rain because, well, we didn’t have much of a choice! Our umbrellas and rain ponchos weren’t doing much of anything, so we stripped them off and embraced it, fooling around and even taking some yoga photos because we’re crazy. It ended up being a lot of fun.
Our last stop was the Samyang black sand beach where the sun finally broke through the clouds and gave us a little warmth. The beach itself was small but beautiful, and the black sand was pretty awesome. We rounded out the weekend with drinks and snacks and even got a gift of some delicious treats from a Korean family sitting nearby.
All in all, it was a great weekend. We were lucky enough to see some very beautiful places and have a little vacation, which was much needed after a pretty stressful week. It wasn’t perfect, but I was proud of our attitudes and our ability to stay positive despite the weather.