Thursday, September 26, 2013

Falls, falls and more falls with a bit of lava

And in case you were worried by the title, I'm all right. No harm done to me :)

Boy, what a day, yesterday. I was exhausted physically, which is usually not the norm. I'm usually mentally exhausted from the shows, but physically ready to kick ass.

Yesterday I awoke at 7:30 a.m. ...  and now everyone that knows me can pick themselves up off the floor, wipe the confusion off your face and keep reading :)

Left the house at 8 armed with a map and guidebook plus a rain jacket and snacks. I was headed to the Manjanggul Cave. Supposedly it's the world's longest lava tube cave system (according to the Lonely Planet travel book). It was spectacular and quite large. It was huge in fact. Never once did I have to crouch or crawl or even lower my head.

For those interested in visiting the Manjanggul Cave I highly suggest getting there when they open, which varies depending on the season, but it's around 9:00a.m. You can check the Korea travel site online for specifics. But if you get there too late you'll be swarmed by school children and other Asain tourists. As I was walking out at 10, I had to pause multiple times to wait for others to pass whereas when I was walking through upon entering there was barely a soul to be seen. Entrance fee is 2,000 won so it is not expensive and I highly recommend the trip!

After visiting the cave I took a nice walk back to the highway where I waited on the bus for about an hour. I was so happy and the weather was so nice that I didn't even notice the wait. Time just seemed to be flying by around me and I was standing still in a fragment of bliss, hoping the moment would last forever.




After I boarded the bus back to Seongsan I returned to reality and realized I was very tired. Fearing I would miss my stop I didn't snooze even though the ride was 45 minutes long. 

Once home I quickly showered and repacked my bags for an afternoon in Seogwipo-si and an evening performance. 

I arrived in Seogwipo-si around 3:30 and took off for my first waterfall. On the way I encountered a sign for one that wasn't on my map. Why not check it out? So I took a detour down a road to a path that ended at a beautiful and secluded waterfall. The name is Sojeongbang Waterfall. It is the only waterfall on Jeju to fall straight into the ocean and not into a river or stream. And you can walk right under the water fall since it's not too large and enjoy the refreshing feel of the cool water if you dare to get wet!

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It wasn't the biggest of the waterfalls, but I enjoyed its quietness and secluded nature. After taking pictures and soaking in the beauty I headed up the path and discovered I'd accidentally stumbled onto an Olle Trail, no 6 to be exact. 

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After walking along the Olle Trail for 10 minutes I came across my originally intended water fall, Jeongbang Waterfall. This waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and costs 2,000 won to enter. There is a trail that leads down to the beach area, which is really just boulders that makes it fairly difficult to walk. Hint: don't look at the waterfall while you are walking...

There are beautiful cliffs that extend out from the side of the falls and the boulders surrounding the pool below allow for good picture taking if you aren't afraid to fall in off the slippery rocks.

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After Jeongbang Waterfall I had just enough time to visit one last touristy falls named Cheonjiyeon Falls. There is also a 2,000 won charge to enter here.

Legend is that angels would secretly come down to bathe in the pond just below the falls. I didn't see any angels and I didn't bathe so I'm charging the legend as superstitious blubbery.

This waterfall is at the end of a long river that visitors walk alongside to reach the falls. You can walk on either side sometimes, as there are several bridges and even an outdoor performing venue. There are beautiful plants and wildlife and many places to sit and enjoy the tranquility of the park; until the children come bounding and screaming by. 

This particular falls is popular at night because it is illuminated. I was there just before sunset and did not have the opportunity to see this, but I may have the chance to return one of these days after dark. 

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It was a beautiful day of sightseeing that ended with a short performance (on my part) at a haenyeo seminar where I also got to hear a young lady sing traditional Korean songs. It was very cool and there was a fabulous dinner to boot! 

I'd say yesterday was a big success. I'll write more about today and tomorrow another time, but things are finally coming together in small pieces and I'm really enjoying Jeju every day!