Monday, April 20, 2020

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Jeju, South Korea (济州,韩国) 2020

One of the best travel destinations of South Korea is of course the south island of Korea peninsular- Jeju island. The place is practically designed for tourism- visa waiver programs, countless of resorts and hotels, plethora of museums and point of interests for tourists. As for Malaysians, Air Asia X offers direct flight from KLIA2 to Jeju and the whole journey takes approximately 6 hours. While Jeju International Airport is only a 15 minute drive away from Jeju city, the island's transportation is not as friendly. The common mode of transportation is to travel either by Bus or Taxi but if you are travelling with family members (especially elderly or infants), the best way to explore the island is to rent a car. 

Renting A Car on Jeju Island:

There are plenty of car rental companies on the island but it is best to have reservations before hitting the island and it may be a little complicated since most of them cannot communicate well in English. We used The Sixt  and whole process was quite smooth except the slightly long wait at Jeju International Aiport (car rental lounge right outside the airport). The petrol price at Jeju (or South Korea) is definitely higher than Malaysia but for a Hyundai Sonata up to 3/4 tank, it costs a little over 50,000 KRW. There are no tolls around the island but a lot of traffic lights and speed cameras. While the speed limit is generally very slow on the island, the fact that South Korea practices left-hand driving (totally opposite to Malaysia), it is generally quite different and would take some time for Malaysians to get used to (note: obtaining an international driving license is a must before travelling to South Korea if you wish to rent a car). GPS is available in most cars; though it is a common practice for drivers to key in phone number of the destination for navigation.

1) Ehwa Samgyetang (Korean Ginseng Chicken) 梨花参鸡汤
Address: 318-22 Cheonji-dong, Seogwipo, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 11 am to 9 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 762 3319

Ginseng Chicken Soup (16,000 KRW)

Medicinal Ginseng Chicken Soup (17,000 KRW)

Korean Ginseng Chicken is a popular dish in Korea, it is believed to bring invigorating-medicinal effect. To savor this delicacy at Jeju, make your way to Ehwa Samgyetang at Seogwipo town. It is quite easy to notice... it can be found on one of the busiest streets on Seogwipo, though the area has plenty of eateries and restaurants, Ehwa Samgyetang stands out with its huge signage. The menu is simple and straight forward, only offering one item- Ginseng Chicken Soup, though available in different variants. Their Ginseng Chicken is lightly flavored with no seasoning. A complimentary glass of Ginseng Wine will be provided, in which diners can opt to drink it directly or to mix it in the soup for a bolder Ginseng flavor. Do note that the restaurant has a one soup one diner policy, so sharing is not allowed.  


2) Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market 西归浦每日偶來市場
Address: 22, Jungjeong-ro 73 beon-gil, Seogwipo, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 7 am to 9 pm. Opens Daily.

Tteokpokki (3,000 KRW)

Eomuk/ Korean Fish Cakes (1,000 KRW per stick)

Gimbap- Pork and Vegetables (3,000 KRW each)

Korean Mochi (5,000 KRW for a box of 6)

One of the largest markets at Seogwipo city is the Seogwipo Maeil Olle Market. It gathers a lot of vendors across few streets- from raw ingredients to cooked delicacies, or wearable items to souvenirs... many international brands (cosmetics or fashion) can also be found near to the market. It's almost like the busiest business district of the city. While it was interesting and fun to excavate the goods to satisfy the inner shopaholic, we could not resist to try the local delicacies. The best way to experience was of course to pick a seat next to the alley and order the skewers and Tteobokki (like most locals do). While they may not serve the best around, it was indeed a nice way to experience the local lifestyle. There are a lot to see and try at the Maeil Olle Market, one of the must visit attractions in Jeju. 

3) Jeongbang Waterfall 
Address: 37 Chilsimni-ro214beon-gil, Donghong-dong, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 9 am to 6 pm. Opens Daily. [During Winter/ Opening Hours may be different for other seasons]
Contact Number: +82 64 733 1530
Entrance Fee: 3,000 KRW per adult

Conglomeration of fresh Seafood- Sea Cucumber, Sea Pineapple and Sea Snails (30,000 KRW)

Famed as one of the top 3 waterfalls in Jeju, the Jeongbang Waterfall is probably the one with easiest reach... as in one needs not walk/ hike far to reach the fall. It only takes a little more than 5 minutes to reach the waterfall from the main entrance. It may be a little time-consuming for old folks to traipse up the stairs on the return trip though. But it is nevertheless, a beautiful spot to witness the beauty of mother nature and capture some seaside photos. The Jeongbang Fall is said to be the only waterfall in Korea where water falls directly into the ocean. While every spot offers good photo-opportunity, seafood lovers can try their luck at the seaside... some female divers will slice up some of their freshest catch and serve you immediately, though at a fairly high price. Unlike those in restaurants, the seafood here carries very bold seawater essence, a very unique experience that you will need to experience yourself in Jeju. If luck is on your side, you may even see some real Haenyeo (female divers) in action. 

4) Osulloc Tea Museum and Bakery
Address: 15 Sinhwayeoksa-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 9 am to 6 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 794 5312

Best Set B- Green Tea Soft Serve, Green Tea Swiss Roll and Hallabong Smoothie (17,600 KRW)

Classic Jeju Cheese Cake (6,200 KRW)

Cherry Blossom Scentful Olle (7,300 KRW) and Moonwalk (7,300 KRW)

Another must visit museum in Jeju would be the Osulloc Tea Museum, not so much for those whose keen for history but tea and dessert lovers! The brand is synonymous to serving quality Green Tea products and has plenty of outlets across South Korea. It is known to serve some of the best Green Tea desserts in the country. As for the Tea Museum at Jeju. the place is huge and has very big tea fields behind the museum. Step in the place and you will find a lot of information about the brand, further in will be a display area featuring the brand's merchandises as well as tea leaves. Not only edible goods can be found here but an array of skin care products as well.

Towards the end of the museum is a corner dedicated to serve some of their best food offering. While the menu is mostly made up of Green Tea sweets, non-Green Tea options are also available as well as some light snacks (like Sandwiches but not so much on mains). All of our orders were toothsome with bold Green Tea flavor, we especially recommend the classic Jeju Cheese Cake... creamy, delicate yet, packed with a strong Green Tea punch. If you are driving, there are ample free parking space around the premise (walking distance). 

5) Jorim Myungga
Address: 311-5, Seogwing, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 8 am to 10 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 767 8562

Grilled Wild Big Eye Red Snapper (40,000 KRW)

Grilled Hairtail Fish (20,000 KRW)

Ever heard of Hairtail Fish? It is not very common to consume this type of fish in Malaysia but its a type of delicacy in South Korea. Not surprising though, the South Koreans have turned the fish into very delicious dishes, one of the common ways of cooking would be making it into a stew (with Potatoes and Vegetables); otherwise, grilling the fish is also a good way of serving it. The fish has a lot of tiny bones so it is not quite suitable for children. The meat is sweet and packed with great fish flavor, give it a try if you are a fish lover. One of the restaurants that serves this delicacy is Jorim Myungga, a restaurant found amidst of a row of Seafood restaurants at Jeju-si (not exactly a popular tourist restaurant but one of the servers is Mandarin-literate). 

6) Pyoson Kalguksu
Address: 40-52, Pyoseon-ri, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 9 am to 8 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 900 5945

Sea Snail Knife Noodles (8,000 KRW)

Sea Snail Pan Cake (8,000 KRW)

Deep Fried Pork Chop (8,000 KRW)

In close proximity to the Jeju Folk Village is an area filled with restaurants and eateries. Pyoson Kalguksu is one of the restaurants that left me with the deepest impression. Not because of the restaurant per se but the food itself. It was something very new for me... something that I have not tried before. The Sea Snail Knife Noodles has a very unique broth... cooked from using an enormous amount of Sea Snails and Seaweed. The broth carried a very strong seafood essence... a little overwhelming to the extent that the fish stench at first but fortunately, the actual taste was not as expected. It was very smooth with bold seafood sweetness, the stench was not there at all. The home-made Knife Noodles were slightly al-dente and worked well with the slightly starchy but seafoody broth. Inexpensive price tags and generous serving portions. 

Additional point to note: they served delicious Ban-Chan!

7) Jeju Folk Village
Address: 631-34, Minsokhaean-ro, Pyoseon-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Opens Daily. [Opening Hours may change depending on season]
Contact Number: +82 64 787 4501

The best place to experience and explore the old Jeju lifestyle would be the Jeju Folk Village, a museum built to showcase the traditional past of Jeju folks, with over 100 facilities that were once actual residences and various official buildings. The scenes were built based on the Year 1890 timeline. This is the place for you to better understand how the old Jeju folks lived and offers great photo opportunity. Various interaction games (free of charge) are also available but do note that the place is fairly huge and you would probably need to spend a couple of hours here so be sure to wear a nice pair of walking shoes.

8) Gongbech Cafe
Address: 1568-1 Dongbok-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 10 am to 7 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 783 3000

Beignet (5,000 KRW), Tangerine Cream-filled Croissant (6,500 KRW), Croissant (4,000 KRW) and Doughnut (3,000 KRW)

Gongbech Cafe is one of the most popular hipster cafes in Jeju right now, the seaside cafe is said to be associated with a member of BTS, one of the most famous K-Pop groups in South Korea (the place is open by SUGA's brother apparently). The cafe has a minimalist decor- both interior and exterior. The place occupies 2 buildings, in which 1 of them is the main cafe itself while the other one is an exhibition hall with art displays. Step in the place and you will be welcomed by a display of pastries and cakes, as well as an order counter for beverages. The actual dining hall is on the lower floor, with a big glass windows allowing diners to overlook the Hamdeok coastline. The food offering however, is not as impressive as compared to other cafes in Jeju. Likewise, the variety is not too wide either.

9) Guksu Madang 麵條庭院
Address: 65 Samseong-ro, Ildo 2(i)-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 8 am to 2 am. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 727 6001

Gogi Guksu/ Black Pork Noodles in Pork Broth (7,500 KRW)

Myeoghi-gogi Guksu/ Black Pork Noodles in Anchovy and Pork Broth (7,500 KRW)

Bibim-Guksu (6,000 KRW/ No Meat)

Boiled Mandu (5,000 KRW)

If tasting Black Pork Noodles is one of the must-do items on your travel itinerary, try out Guksu Madang 麵條庭院, found along the popular Black Pork Noodle Street at Jeju city. This place does not only serve Black Pork Noodles but other dishes that are not made out of Pork either. This is especially useful and important if your travel companion is not a fan of Pork. The broth is available in both Pork Bone broth and Dried Anchovy, along with other noodle choices like Bibim-Guksu (noodles dressed in Gochujang sauce and fresh greens) as well as Korean cold noodles. Generous serving portion and good quality, a place worth checking out.

10) Espresso Lounge
Address: 2319-4 Nohyeong-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 9 am to 1 am. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 744 3584

Pecan Pie (4,000 KRW) and Cappuccino (5,000 KRW)

Walnut Fig Bread (5,000 KRW)

Volcano Bread (6,500 KRW)

If there is only one cafe worthy for your time to visit in Jeju downtown, it would definitely be the Espresso Lounge. It is also one of the largest cafes in Jeju downtown. The 2-storey cafe boasts over a casual, comfortable space (with an industrial interior design) for a quick coffee boost... over an array of bread, pastries and sweet treats. The variety is fairly large here... from some of the most commonly seen French pastries to some innovative creations. But the prices are on the higher side, with an average pastry ranging from 5,000 KRW to 7,000 KRW (equivalent to RM24). Quite a good place to wind down and enjoy an afternoon tea over pastries and coffee. If parking is your concern, there are ample parking spaces around the premise. 

11) Jeju Mokgwana- Former Central Government Office
Address: 25, Gwandeong-ro, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 9 am to 6 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 710 6714
Entrance Fee: 1,500 KRW per adult

The Jeju-mok Government Office is not a must visit tourist attraction in Jeju but the strategic location makes it hard to be missed. The museum is only a stone's throw distance away from Exit 12 of the Jungang Underground Shopping Street. The premise was previously used as government office as early as 1434 but was burnt down and recently restored in 2002. The museum seeks to restore the previous glory when the government office was there- how it was run and operated in the older days. Nothing spectacular if you are not into history but the place is definitely a strategic, quiet place for photo opportunity (relatively quieter than other popular tourist attractions). 

12) Antoinette Cafe
Address: Jungang-ro 13-gil, Ildo 1(il)-dong, Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea.
Business Hours: 10 am to 11 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 752 5455

Mont Blacn Cake (6,000 KRW)

Mont Blanc Bread (7,500 KRW)

Adjacent to Jeju's Black Pork Street (and end of Chilsungro Shopping Town) is a cafe cum bakery- Antoinette Premium Bakery Cafe... it has a huge facade with modern, european-styled interior decor. Step in the place and you will plenty of French pastries and desserts (there is even a certificate endorsed by Lescure Butter). The cafe spans over 2 storey, with some standard tables and chairs available as well as some stairs that you can sit on them. Antoinette does not offer any main dishes but a big range of bread, pastries and an array of eye-pleasing desserts (mostly cakes). We had both Mont Blanc Bread and Cake, both were quite delicious in its own way. The Mont Blanc Bread was moist inside (with hint of Honey) and crisp-flaky outside. Quite a good spot to ease your crave over desserts and stretch your shopping leg at the same time.

13) Taste Best Restaurant
Address: 11, Jungang-ro5-Gil, Jeju, Jeju Island 63277, South Korea.
Business Hours: 11 am to 10 pm. Opens Daily.
Contact Number: +82 64 723 5226

Korean-styled Fried Chicken (18,000 KRW)

Dak Galbi (20,000 KRW/ small)

A short walk from the shopping district of Chilsungro Shopping Town is a row of Korean restaurants and Taste Best is one of them. The restaurant offers Dak Galbi, a spicy stir-fried Chicken using a large pan. Rice or Ramyeon can also be added to the dish at the end of the meal. The restaurant also offers Korean-styled Fried Chicken, along with the favorable Somaek combo (Beer and Soju). Not to say they offer some of the best Dak Galbi or Fried Chicken in Jeju but their location is certainly most convenient; also, not too heavy for the wallet either.

About JEJU International Airport [International Departure Hall]

Jeju International Airport can be found right next to Jeju-si, a short 10 minute drive away from the heart of the city (not to be confused with Seogwipo, another city of Jeju Island which is almost 45 minute drive away from the airport). The airport houses both domestic and international departures, it is a fairly small airport so do not put high hopes on the airport for any last minute shopping. The international departure hall of Jeju Airport has a small corner for tax-free goods, including the usual cosmetic products, cigarettes, liquors and perfumes. The selection is quite limited and the prices are not as competitive as some airports. While airport exclusives are available, the variety is too limited. Prices are both available in USD and KRW. The choices are equally limited when it comes to dining- in which there is only ONE proper restaurant that offers main dishes. But if you just want to fill the tummy by having lighter options, you can check out the 2 bakery cafes that offer bread and pastry menu; otherwise, the "Nice 2 C U" convenient store is your only option. Do note that the convenient store has a policy that disallow shoppers to cook instant noodles and eat inside the departure hall but other microwaveable items are fine (microwaves are available for use). 

Have Fun Exploring Jeju!

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