South Korea Travelogue 4: Seongsan Ilchulbong, Udo Island, Manjanggul Lava Tube and Kimnyong Maze Park

Similar to the day before, we woke up early, at around 3.30am, to climb Seongsan Ilchulbong also known as Sunrise Peak to catch the sunrise. The climb was made in the dark with many others hoping to observe the sunrise. A large number of people have groused about the climb, but in comparison to the hike at Hallasan, this was peanuts. It took us only 20 minutes to reach the top.

Seongsan Ilchulbong is a tuff cone-steep, with a wide crater-formed by a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. It is located on the eastern side of the Jeju Island. Other than being famous for the view, the peak is indeed a sight worth seeing in Spring when it is surrounded by bright yellow rapeseed flowers.

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The pictures above were taken using the Panorama function of my iPhone 6. We were afraid we could not catch the sunrise as the weather forecast was cloudy, however the sun did not disappoint!

The admission fee is 2,000Won (SGD$2.40) per adult, but we did not pay it as the ticket counter was not opened when we got there. In fact, it was on our way past the entrance/ exit that they were beginning to set up the ticket counter.

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If you are interested to see Haenyeo (diving women of Korea) perform, you can head to the bottom of the cliffs on your climb down the peak. The performance times are 1.30pm and 3pm. The women will also be selling their daily catches there later in the day.

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Being really hungry, we went to Paris Baguette at the other end of Seongsan Ilchulbong carpark. I was surprised that they were opened so early!  We got a bit of everything: banana tart, egg sandwich, traditional rice cake bread, macarons, strawberry latte and grain latte. The staff recommended that we dined on the second floor as it had a lovely view of the peak.

After breakfast, we went back to the B&B for a short nap before taking a ferry over to Udo Island. It cost us 47,000Won (SGD$56.40) for a round trip for the four of us and the car. You can apply and pay for the tickets at the Visitors’ Centre located at the ferry terminal. If you do not have a car or wish to drive your car over, there are other transportation options available on the island.

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We were really blessed. As soon as we drove off the ferry, we saw a group of Haenyeo getting ready to go into the sea. They did not mind us taking their pictures and it was really good to see them in their element.

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We saw a cute puppy! It was lonely and kept whining and barking to get people’s attention.

Subsequently, we got back into the car and drove around the island. It is quite a short route by car, about half a day including stopping for meals and taking pictures.

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We managed to find Blanc Rocher Cafe not long into our drive. Udo is famous for its peanuts and this cafe, located by the sea, came highly recommended for its ambience and Udo peanut desserts. You have to try their Udo Peanut Ice Cream (4,500Won) which comes with peanut soft serve and peanuts on the side, as well as their Peanut Ice Flakes (9,000Won). I really liked their fries too! It reminded me of shaker fries but with quality and a great view!

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After our whole trip, my family and I still feel that the above Topokki (5,000Won) from Udo Snack on Udo Island is the still most delicious! It was very spicy and tongue numbing, and so good that even when my lips could not feel anything, I  continued eating.

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We came across this peanut factory/ museum, but there was not much to see there.

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There was a more popular and crowded ice cream store down the block, but we decided to try Jimmy’s Natural Ice Cream because my sis read about it online. They sell only two types of ice cream: Peanut (4,000Won) and Mandarin (4,500Won).

I chose the Mandarin one but I guess the owner was so enthusiastic in telling me about his visit to Singapore that he gave me Mandarin ice cream with peanut toppings! Hence, I have a mixture of both. I like that the owner takes pride in his own homemade creations.

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We went to Manjanggul Lava Tube next. Similar to most of the entrance fees in Jeju, this one cost 2,000Won per adult. The tube is 7.4km long but only one short section is opened to the public. It makes for a nice stroll in air-conditioned-like weather, so bring a sweater with you.

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I was famished and got myself a corn dog to tide me over for lunch at Manjanggul. It was pre-cooked, then microwaved before served. I think that says it all.

One of our last stops of the day was Jeju Kimnyong Maze Park. The entrance fee for this was a bit higher, 3,300Won. I felt that it did not really warrant the increase as the maze was not really well-maintained. Some parts of the maze was quite bare. However, it was still fun trying to find our way out.

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We rushed to Sangumburi Crater just before 6pm and they refused to let us in. The crater was supposed to close at 6.40pm and the ticketing counter at 6pm. However, these slackers had already closed the ticket counter and even barred the entrance before we got there! We were really upset with how unprofessional they were.

We then drove around the folk village, but must of the buildings were renovated, sporting air-conditioners and new window frames.

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Lastly, we headed for dinner somewhere near our B&B. This ahjumma was superb at multitasking! She was cooking all four of our dishes concurrently! Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of the place.

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There were two dessert cafes nearby and we chose Philippines Dessert Cafe because honestly, it was really striking from the outside. The prices there were on the high side, even for their merchandise. I had the Mangoray Halo Halo (15,000Won), which was equivalent to SGD$18! I must admit that they were really generous with the mangoes and the mangoes were very sweet. But $18? Naaahhhh…..

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