Jeju Island: Drive by Photo-ops
Between visiting some of the major highlights of Jeju Island, such as Mt. Halla and Jeongbang Waterfall, we stopped off at some of the other popular photo-op sites.
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These places, it seems, are natural wonders that have become stops on the normal tourist routes around the island. Following the massive tour buses of Chinese and Japanese tourists, we stopped off at a few ourselves.
Soesokkak Estuary (쇠소깍) was the first of these photo-op sites. Honestly, this area could have more to do than take pictures, but since we visited on Korean Thanksgiving Day, everything was closed that could be done. Black rocks change into a sand beach that reaches out to the blue ocean. At the eastern end of the beach, the freshwater Hyodoncheon stream opens up and meets the salty waters of the ocean. There were rafts tied up at the end of the stream and it seems tickets can be purchased for a small fee to take a short trip up and down the stream a ways. In the summer, I imagine this beach is covered with blankets and people enjoying the beautiful waters.
Oedolgae (외돌개), or Lonely Rock, is a basalt formation that juts 20 meters up into the air from the sea. A few different stories bring tourists to this spot, the most recent being that it was where Hansangoong (Mee Kyung Yang) faced her death in the 2003 TV drama ‘Daejangguem’. For history buffs, it is said that at the end of the Koryeo Dynasty, General Choe Yeong drove the Mongol forces off of Jeju island in 1218 and it was this spot that became the final stand as the Mongols were forced to recede to Tiger Island seen just past Oedolgae. The name of the rock itself comes from the legend that General Choe Yeong disguised the rock as a giant military general and the enemy soldiers were so terrified that they committed suicide. There is a nice field nearby and I suggest not stopping at the photo site suggested and clearly seen by the throngs of tourists, but walking up the path a bit to the other side to view the area with more peace and quiet.
A dragon came to Mt. Halla to find an elixir of youth for the Dragon King or another tale has it that a dragon was ascending to heaven and grabbed a sacred jade that belonged to the guardian of Mt. Halla. Both tales end with the guardian shooting the dragon with an arrow that caused the dragon to fall into the ocean and turned it to stone with only its head above the water. It is this head that can be seen at Yongduam (용두암), or Dragon Head Rock. This area is very close to the airport and there is a small market in the vicinity. It’s a great welcome or goodbye to Jeju Island.
All three had lovely surroundings and made for some nice pictures, though should only be visited on the way to or from other more major sites.
Are you going to Jeju and want to know where to stay? Check out The Shilla Jeju, Ocean Palace Hotel or Kensington Jeju Hotel for an amazing stay on this amazing island in Korea.
Soesokkak Estuary (쇠소깍)
140 Hahyo-dong Seogwipo-si, Jeju Island, Korea
서귀포시 하효동 140
791 Seohong-dong Seogwipo-si, Jeju Island, Korea
서귀포시 서홍동 791
Buses that stop there: 2, 5, 7, 8, 100, 700, 900
Yongdam 1-dong, Jeju-si, Korea
Buses that stop there: 6, 7, 17, 30, 36, 37, 38, 70, 87, 90, 200, 500