There are 2 things in life I want to try before I die. Bungee Jumping and Plantation / Vegetable Farming.
I grew up in a city. A Metropolitan City. There aren't even proper farms where I live.
Growing up, I've always wondered what it was like to be a farmer. My only experience with farming was hydroponic farming at the age of 11. Oh when I brought home that little bunch of Kang Kong (Water Spinach) I was ecstatic. I remember my grandma bursting into laughter when she saw my vegetables - I told her I farmed enough vegetables with my class for the whole family (in her defence she did question me several times as to how my school had that kind of space).
This is why whenever I get to visit a farm, any kind of plantation area, i'm always more than excited.
Visiting the O'Sulloc Green Tea Museum wasn't initially on the itinerary of things to do on the tour I was on during my time in Jeju. But, midway through the day, we were about to have lunch when the bus pulled up by the famous O'Sulloc Green Tea Museum, You have no idea how happy I was to be able to spend that short amount of time there.
The place had rows and rows of green tea plantation, and when you rub your fingers on the leaves, a faint green tea smell lingers.
If you know me you know that I FREAKING LOVE TEA. With all my heart and soul. I don't discriminate when it comes to tea. But green tea. Oh, how I adore the smell of green tea.
I love green tea cakes, I love green tea itself - hot AND cold, Green tea latte, I love green tea ice cream. Green Tea Everything. Getting to see the green tea farm and then getting to taste the products in the form of the food served at O'Sulloc Green Tea House makes for such a special experience.
I wish I had extra time to actually explore the museum, to perhaps see the manufacturing process or how green tea is dried and processed. Unfortunately, we had to rush off for lunch.
Truth be told, the green tea at O'Sulloc Café is not the best. 2 thumbs up for the green tea rolls and green tea itself, but the latte and bingsoo were pretty average. If you would compare it to say Japanese matcha, i'd choose the Japanese green tea over this.
But somehow, getting to see the green tea plantation, touching the green tea leaves and remembering the smell it left on my finger, made me appreciate the food even more, and made me less critical.
After all it's Korea, not Japan, to each its own flavour!
25 August 2016 Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
Read: 5-fun-facts: Seoul & Jeju
During our time in Jeju, we got the chance to visit a couple of beautiful waterfalls and a cliff made out of lava rocks. Despite the crazy heat and the really crowded attractions (wished there were less people around so I could take better photos though), we enjoyed it.
Not to mention, i'm all for visiting nature sights during my travels, getting to see these waterfalls and cliffs were awesome!
You probably can't see it from these pictures, but the Jeonbang waterfalls, being the only waterfall that falls straight into the ocean, was CROWDED. SO popular among tourists. The base of the waterfall was made out of huge rocks - no sand, no even ground, just ROCKS. It was kind of difficult to navigate, but well, you gotta go for it.
There were kids climbing all over these huge rocks, with no fear some even swimming and playing near the ocean. I'd totally be down for an ocean swim if we weren't on the Yeha tour, and if there wasn't as many people.
The 2nd day of our Yeha Tour, we visited the Cheonjeyeon waterfall, located in a park with 3 other waterfalls. The cheonjeyeon one is the biggest, and probably the most popular. Similar to when we were visiting the Jeonbang waterfalls, we were on the Yeha Tour and that meant not being able to stay for a really long time.
But I didn't really mind it because there was jut way too many people around.
Because, there were larger rocks around, a river stream flowing down, everyone was climbing around the rocks trying to get to different points to get a good view of or a picture with the waterfall.
Stupidly I wore my favourite Nike sneakers, and did not want to ruin them with the water, so... I stayed on the safe side while jerald went climbing those rocks.
Nevertheless, I CAUGHT A R A I N B O W. That's all that matters. :)
21 August 2016 Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
After frolicking around in this sunflower field, we were starving and in need of some good food for lunch. As we were waiting for the bus back into the city centre of Jeju, a cab pulled up and told us the bus only comes every half an hour. Considering the fact that we were starving, we hopped on to the cab and headed for what we hoped was going to be the BEST black pork BBQ in Jeju.
Upon arriving to that recommended place, we realised it was closed. It only opens at 2pm. Bummer. It was only 1 in the afternoon and we did not have sufficient time to wait till 2, as we had to catch a flight to Seoul. Sadly, we began roaming around looking for an alternative.
As we were looking left and right for a nice eating place that serves authentic Korean food, we stumbled upon this tiny shop with only 4 tiny tables - the ones where you sit on the floor cross legged - 3 of those tables were occupied by Korean businessmen. Looking at the pictures (since the entire menu was in Korean) we abided by the "if there are locals eating means its serves good local food" rule and headed in.
Everyone in the shop was having the same soup meal, and both Jerald and I were so confused as to what to get, we ended up pointing at a picture that looked similar to what everyone was having, and then added on a bowl of Kimchi Chigae.
When we pointed to the image of the soup, we got some laughter from both the owners and others eating in the shop, after a quick word translation on the phone, we realised we ordered a bowl of HANGOVER SOUP. A soup for when you're hungover. Not exactly a common dish.
Nevertheless, the food was SUPERB. This Hangover Soup has my stamp of approval. I loved that the 2 soups came with so much vegetables and ingredients in them, along with a ton of delicious side dishes.
The atmosphere is one that was homey, the food, really yummy and authentic, was prepared by 2 Korean ladies.
After the 3 tables of men left, 2 kids came out and began studying on the same tables.
I don't think we walked into and actual restaurant, but more of a tiny family business where these 2 Korean ladies could earn some money during lunch. I'm not quite sure.
Restaurant or not, this place served MY BEST MEAL in Jeju, and one of the best meals during my time in Korea. Not to mention, it was so affordable! The total bill came up to only 11, 000 won (US$11).
Writing this, I just wish I could teleport back and have those 2 delicious bowls of soup again.
Here's the shop front for any of you readers who can read Korean. I wish I could give more information because they deserve the promo, but I don't speak/read/write korean. So, do a quick search using their phone number and you'd probably get the location of this shop! It's a definite MUST VISIT.
17 August 2016
Jeju is well-known to be a summer island. An island Koreans flood to during the summer for its awesome weather and wonderful beaches.
But what is the most popular and famous in Jeju isn't just the beaches but also its stunning coastal views and amazing walks.
From hiking up Mt. Hallasan or the hundreds of other volcanos in Jeju to the walking trails around the island. Walking or hiking in Jeju is definitely a must do. And trust me, the view is stunning!
Getting Around JejuJeju is 4x the size of Singapore and 3 to 4 times the size of Seoul. IT IS HUGE. Since it isn't a metropolitan area, there aren't subways or trains, so driving is definitely the best way to get around.
During our stay in Jeju, we went on the Yeha Tour which brought us to 6 or 7 different destinations around Jejeu in a day and gave us time to explore freely at these destinations. This free and easy our is best for such a huge island like Jeju especially if you aren't driving.
One other way to get around Jeju and enjoy the view of the island at the same time is through walking.
Eoseungsaengak TrailMost people who go to Jeju to hike will hike up the famous Hallasan mountain. However that takes couple of hours and if you were only there for a few days (like I was) you wouldn't have that kind of time. On the Yeha tour, we were given the option to hike up a smaller mountain trail near the Hallasan Mountain. It is about 1.3 km high and took about 50 mins up and down. Definitely a decent work out, not to mention, being 1.3km above ground gives you a stunning view!
Mt. SanbangThis is another vertical hike we went up. Instead of a mountain / volcano type terrain, it was a paved one with proper steps and would lead to a resting area mid way (you can stop there if you've had enough!) and a temple at the top of the hike. For the hiking adverse, the midway view and rest stop definitely boasts a good enough view.
Olle TrailsThese are the most famous walking trails that go around the perimeter of the island. They have a total of 26 routes with varying difficulty.
Depending on which part of the island you start your trail, get a really different experience.
We were on the Olle trail on 2 different days on 2 different routes, one was beside the sea with people drying squids, and you also get a view of the sea, the vast sky and the view of Chuja-do, a smaller island beside Jeju.
The west course of the Yeha tour allowed us to take 30 min walk along 2km of the Suweolbong Trail which was a more paved pathway with really interesting rock structures and a lot of greenery.
I wished I had more time spent in Jeju to enjoy more of its walks. If you ever do find yourself in Jeju, do carve out more time to explore the coast by foot. It makes for an amazing experience, and stunning pictures!
8 August 2016 Jeju-si, Jeju-do, South Korea
9 days in Korea - 4 in Jeju, 5 in Seoul.
Korea was insanely h o t. I spent 9 days in Korean summer heat and came back tanner than when I first went there (coming from Singapore you'd think i'd be used to the heat, alas, I got burned).
9 days of awesome food, 9 days of cultural, scenic and shopping experiences, 9 days of extreme fun & SO MUCH EXPLORING!
I spent 2 of these days shopping, and I am now broke due to the crazy amount of skincare products I bought. When the money ran out, and the trip came to an end, I made my way back to Singapore with such a heavy heart.
I have so much to share - pictures and a ton of videos, but here's starting with a fun light hearted post featuring 5 interesting things I discovered during my time in Korea. Some of this you might already know, some you might not.
1 || Girls don't show their shouldersI know Korea is conservative, but I expected less conservativeness in Seoul, after all it is so cosmopolitan, and you know... look at what Kpop idols are wearing recently.Walking around in the day time I see guys in T shirt and jeans, none in singlets, and girls with a T-shirt under their vest tops. You do see a lot of girls in shorts though, which got me wondering if covering their shoulders was a way to prevent sunburns (I got burned on both shoulders lol!)
Considering the crazy heat, I was surprised at their ability to dress in sweaters and jeans. I felt awkward wearing my spaghetti strap tops to be honest - despite still perspiring profusely even with that ventilation.
I guess koreans just have this crazy ability to withstand the summer heat!
2 || Free attractions are a plentyI remember doing research and realising that a lot of the museums and attractions required some sort of admission fee. To my surprise, I think most of the places we visited in Seoul were free. Or rather, there was sufficient "free areas" to explore that we did not feel the need to pay extra to see more.
Note: The last Wednesday of every month is designated as Culture Day and that means FREE entry to cultural placesBecause of Cultural Day, we got ourselves a free pass into the Gyeongbokgung Palace!
3 || Mandarin is like a 2nd languageKorea gets most of its tourism from Mainland Chinese and so almost all the shopkeepers and storeowners have the ability to speak fluent mandarin. The signs in shops, toilets, train stations and along the streets / markets too have Chinese characters written on them beside the Korean characters. It's pretty insane.
One of the guides in Jeju could speak english, mandarin and Korean. He was guiding a tour in 3 different languages. Talk about multi-lingual.
Sadly, english isn't as widely spoken in Korea, despite being in the Capital, Seoul.
There is definitely a huge benefit if you understand chinese or can read chinese characters.
4 || Cicadas are EVERYWHEREThe sound of cicadas are pretty deafening. THEY ARE SO SO LOUD. For real. I've never heard such loud sounds coming from trees and plants, but in both Jeju and Seoul, the sound of cicadas were so distinct! And oddly they don't just sing at night, but in the day too!
We don't get to see any of them cicadas, but you definitely hear them. All 100000000000000000000 of them. At least it sounded like there were that many.
5 || Korean Girls ACTUALLY have that fair porcelain complexionYou know they say only the Kpop idols and actresses look that good because of the work done to them. Or maybe the country just puts their best faces forward. I think it might be the latter. Anyway, in terms of certain facial features or the way people look generally - they don't look moderately similar to the idols, but if you think about it, 99% of the US does not look like Beyoncé neither do the english in the UK look like Cheryl Cole, so I think it's just the way entertainment works.
Wait, I digressed. The point is, they really are super fair. And skin care is HUGE. I'd say 80% of the regular koreans I passed have really clear good skin. They are either naturally fair or they use a bunch of whitening products and BB Cushions that are 2 shades lighter to get that fair look.
I'm not much of a whitening products girl, but I definitely got sucked into their whole skincare situation.
Stay tuned for more posts on the places I visited in Korea (all the free things you can do), where to visit in Jeju and Seoul, the AWESOME FOOD, a few outfit posts, and also, how my bank account now hates me because of the multitude of skin care products I got!
To see more of my pictures during this trip, check out my Instagram!
Click Here for more 5 fun facts posts of other places I've visited around the world.