As I sit to write this blog post on days one and two of my Jeju Island, South Korea trip, I’ve allowed myself to transport back through time. I’m pretending I’m back in my quiet hotel room with the TV on a Korean channel neither I nor my roommate can understand, and outside my window sits a foggy view of Jeju City. I miss it there, despite only spending 4 days in the cold, slightly gloomy, yet beautiful city.
But this isn’t where my trip begins, it starts back home here in sunny hot Philippines on April 5th Easter Sunday at 8 AM in the morning. I’m on the way to the airport with Gab in the driver’s seat, his eyes still groggy despite sleeping earlier than I did the night before.
I packed last minute and had some luggage troubles (I accidentally locked the luggage I borrowed from Gab’s mom and neither of us knew the code but when we needed to ask she was already sleeping – of course something like this would happen to me. Of course.), which didn’t help with my excitement for the trip, hence not being able to sleep much the night before – An issue I always have before a big trip. I think this is why I prefer midnight flights so I can sleep on the plane.
So I arrive at NAIA Terminal 2, go through the usual check-in and immigration lines and I’m done in about an hour, leaving me with two and a half more hours wait before boarding the plane. I never really mind, because the airport is my happy place. I love waiting around knowing that eventually I’ve a way out of there, I love people watching, and I love watching planes fly by every 2-3 minutes or so.
A cute kid I randomly took a photo of while people watching
Flying with Philippine Airlines
We finally get to boarding and getting settled into our Philippine Airlines chartered flight to Jeju. I’ve been lucky enough to be placed in a window Choice Seat. I would like to note that the PAL’s Choice Seat for Economy Class is awesome. It’s spacious, clean and comfortable and I would recommend it to anyone who will ever fly long haul in economy. I’ve never tried their Choice Seats before but now I know that if I fly PAL to Europe later this year, then definitely Choice Seats all the way!
I killed some time on the plane by watching Julie & Julia while I ate the yummy Korean food served to us on the flight. We were given a choice of beef or seafood marinara pasta, and I chose beef because it’s always my safe choice. It’s pretty hard to mess up beef, you know? After my lunch, I continued watching my movie but decided to stop because the turbulence was messing with my head. I started feeling nausea and I think the lack of sleep the night before was starting to get to me. I think I was able to sleep 30 minutes tops and the rest was just me wishing in vain that I’d get a decent nap in.
Hello, South Korea!
Before I know it, I hear our captain’s voice flowing through the speaker telling us we’re about to begin out descent into Jeju City. Cue the excitement once again. I mishear what the captain says about the weather, he says it’s a chilly 30 degrees and I look down at my thick fur lined parka thinking how I may have exaggerated the cold a little. My friends did say to just bring a light jacket and I’ll be fine. Nope. They were wrong. It was a chilly THIRTEEN degrees in Jeju and the chilly weather greeted me right smack in the face the moment I stepped out of the plane. It was such a wonderful greeting to Jeju though! I think we all know how much I love cold weather. I would rather freeze to death than die in the heat.
Sonny, our tour guide for the entire trip, hiding behind her sign because she’s so shy. Haha
Outside the airport, walking to our tour bus, a necessary photo moment — just because.
Our first stop upon arriving was getting settled into our hotel rooms at Lotte City Hotel. It was already past 4 in the afternoon when we landed, and because of the one hour time difference we really did lose a lot of time that day just traveling to Jeju.
A foggy view of Jeju City from our hotel room
My roommate Irish, Cai from Rakso Travel and me :)
After getting settled in, we all made our way to our first stop in Jeju City: A restaurant called Neum Bom that served the ever so famous black pork! Apparently, this type of meat coming from a breed of black pigs is so famous that you can find it almost anywhere, so you need not to worry about trying it in specific restaurants. There’s an entire street in Jeju where restaurants are famous for having black pork as their main dish!
We wanted to walk around after dinner but the weather wasn’t cooperating much, it started to drizzle and temperatures started dropping to about 7-8 degrees – It actually felt like our fingers were going to fall off!
We headed back to the hotel instead to get a good night’s rest for the upcoming day ahead, and besides, most of us were tired from the long day we spent just getting to Jeju.
My first impressions on Jeju so far:
- Coming from a tropical country, the weather is perfection.
- The food is promising, before this trip I’ve only been exposed to Bulgogi and Japchae
- Jeju has so much to offer I doubt you could see everything you’d want to see in 3 days!
Big thank you to Rakso Travel for this experience! The first day was great despite it mostly just traveling to Jeju!
Stay tuned for days two, three and four of my Jeju Island trip! <3