Find our trip itinerary here.
When we were planning our trip to Jeju Island back in July-August, we did not know what to expect. In the spirit of discovery, we went ahead, booking 4 different air bnbs throughout the island and a 2-week car rental, with no restaurant reservations except at 2 Italian restaurants (@surikitchen_jeju’s pastas are 😘).
My daughter planned the entire itinerary and I trusted her fully as she has experience planning our trip to Tasmania years back. That spirit of nonchalance worked in our favour and in this past 2 weeks, we’ve discovered an under-the-radar island with an abundance of natural splendour and some toothsome surprises to boot.
Snow storm when we least expect it. The sheer abundance of stylish cafes (favourite coffee stop: @seeker_jeju) Jeju island yellow kiwi fruit with a reddish inner tinge that is way sweeter than the NZ ones. The flavoursome and deeply mesmerising (and fatty) Jeju black pig that we enjoyed via K-BBQ (Sukseongdo is a must-visit) and donkatsu. The sheer accessibility of Jeju abalones in supermarkets, in abalone restaurants and in simple dishes like the fantastic seafood ramyeon that we had at @Noraba_jeju. Also, the island’s unique omegi rice cakes that in our opinion stand shoulder to shoulder to the Japanese mochi.
We knew that Jeju Island had nature but we discovered this trip that nature’s available at every turn and we partook in our fair share of hiking trails. Our most memorable moment was tucking into sashimi of freshly harvested seafood by the haenyeos of Jeju – oh how they’ve lifted our spirits when we least expected when we descended on the banks of the Jeongbang waterfall.
Our most surreal moment? Watching the sunrise from Seongsan Mountain in the blistering cold of a winter’s dawn (we woke up at 5am and it was 100% worth it).
We felt such thrill in discovering hole-in-the-wall local eateries and local bakers (cheesecake from @jejuhamel and rice flour-made financiers from @monirice_, to say the least😘😘). We also ventured into local turf and tasted hearty and utterly delicious hangover soups, cheonggukjang and spicy stews that kept us warm when we most needed it.
That’s not forgeting the special moments we spent exploring Jeju’s terroir via local markets (love the folk markets), and supermarts (we particularly ❤️emart in Jeju), cooking with fresh ingredients, and bonding over simple home-cooked meals washed down with heaps of local dairy and yoghurt milk.
I was slightly fearful that we’d have nothing much to do in Jeju during winter but despite the inconvenience of the short-lived snowstorm, that fear proved to be pretty much unfounded.
Glad to be back to spend the last day of the year with family🥰