Next thing you know, we woke up and it was morning!
Turns out the typhoon had mostly missed Jeju Island, and we didn't end up with nearly the amount of rain they were calling for.
Good thing, because we had sightseeing plans and we were going out to explore, rain or shine!
From Seogwipo, we walked up to the bus stop near the Jungang Rotary (not the one on the rotary) and hopped on the number 701 bus that follows the coastline around the island. We were headed in the eastern direction, to the Manjanggul Lava Tubes. It cost 3,300 won ($3.75) each for the hour and a half bus ride.
All of the buses have these fancy monitors in them that tell you the time, route number, weather, bus stops, and tourist info.
Our bus went by the Jeju motion picture museum. Korea is the only country in the world that produces movies that are more popular and take in more money than Hollywood films shown in the same country. Who would have thought?
Sorry, not many pictures from the bus. Or at least not many that are worthwhile. Tough taking pics from inside a window on a moving bus!
The bus only stops at the highway, so if you're headed for the lava tubes you have a 2.5 km (1.5 mile) walk. Or, you can take one of the taxis that are inevitably waiting by the highway at this point. Taxis are cheap, but we had already sat for an hour and a half and decided to do the walk.
Kevin, beside some interesting plants and flowers.
The Manjanggul Lava Tubes are a UNESCO World Heritage site. They are about 7.4 kms (4.6 miles) long, however only one km is open to the public. It is one of the largest lava tubes in the world.
Admission is a very reasonable 2,000 won ($2.20) per adult.
Inside the lava tube.
A lava tube is actually a cave that was formed by molten lava making it's way through the rock. As the lava flow stops, the cooling leaves a tunnel, with a fairly level floor.
We were warned today that because of the rain overnight, it was still raining inside the tube! Leakage from the rainwater through the ground and the ceiling and walls of the tube.
Yep, lots of dripping water. Some people even had umbrellas.
The lava leaves interesting decorations on the walls. And this wall has a big crack in it too!
Another formation left behind from the lava.
This gives you a good idea as to how much water was coming in from the ceiling!
The largest lava column in the world.
And that was about it. We like to visit caves, and this was a little different because it's not a normal cave. Worthwhile, especially because of the reasonable price.
We walked back out and found a snack bar where we bought a kimbab roll each. Our favorite Korean snack!
Seaweed rollup with rice, veggies, and usually egg and some kind of sausage. Makes for a filling snack, and it's usually fairly cheap. This one was actually a bit expensive, at 2,500 won ($2.75). But it was good, and it hit the spot!
Neat statue depicting the lave tube and the lava column.
We walked the 2.5 kms (1.6 miles) back to the highway and were really lucky with our timing. The bus was just pulling in! We had to run a little bit to catch it!
We were charged 1,300 won ($1.40) each for the 20 minute or so bus ride from the highway outside the lava tubes, to Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak).
To get a good idea of what "Sunrise Peak" really looks like, you need to see an aerial photo so I borrowed one that I found on the web...
It's a volcanic crater that sprung up from the ocean about 5,000 years ago!
Sure doesn't look the same from this angle, does it? Can you see the stairs you have to use to come back down?
Here, I'll zoom in on them for you!
Oh, by the way? It's just a little touristy here!
Dunkin Donuts is actually a popular franchise here in Korea. They also love Starbucks here!
Lots of tourists! Mostly from Japan and China.
Starting to get a nice view.
The lava makes interesting formations.
And, the view from the top!
Other tourists at the top.
The crater itself is not that much to see.
Now, to take the stairs back down!
Kevin, in his Tilley gear!
Jeju Island is famous for "Wind, Rocks, and Women"!
With regards to the "women" part of that phrase, it is the traditional female divers in this area that are something of an anomaly in the world.
From wikipedia... While in 1950 there were as many as 30,000 haenyo (female sea divers) on the island, in 2003 there were only 5,650 sea women registered as divers, of whom 85% were over 50 years old. In the early 1960s, 21% of women on the island were free divers, providing 60% of the island's fisheries revenue. With the number of sea women declining and with tourism giving Jeju men more opportunities, it is unclear what will happen to their daughters' status in their communities and home, though it is unlikely that the matriarchal family structures will continue to survive. As of 2014 only about 4,500 haenyeo, most aged over 60, were still actively working.
Some of the divers put on a "show" at this touristy location. We were too late for the show, but we saw some of what they brought up from the sea...
These women are ocean divers!
They were selling seashells by the seashore!
We took the bus back home, and it was dark by the time we arrived back in Seogwipo. Another great day out exploring. We've only got one more day here which is too bad because we won't see everything we wanted to.
Oh well...we'll have to come back some day!