Even though the cold is envious of the spring’s blooming flowers and tries to bite back by putting a chill in the air, a visit to the seaside road on eastern side of the island was the order of the day for this trip.
Jeju is surrounded by ocean on four sides so there is ample seaside road to explore which passes through a string of beautiful villages each with their own unique appeal.
The chill in the air kept many people away providing an atmosphere of seclusion and calmness which soaks into your mind.
It was not too long ago that Jeju’s longest stretch of seaside road saw completion. At 40km from Gimnyeong to Seongsan and then on to the Pyoseon area there is certainly lots to find.
Next to the seaside road the sea sits draped in an emerald color. It is all very good to look at the waves if the weather agrees. A panorama to Hallasan presents itself. The scene holds up to anywhere else in the world.
A well maintained surface means there are cyclists dotted about the route.
The start point at Gimnyeong Beach may not be bigger than the nearby Hamdeok Beach, but the water is oh so clear and it is possible to go fishing. There’s a camping ground and marina for yachts. In fact there were quite a few people enjoying a yachting experience.
More features on this stretch of seaside road are the wind turbines which form part of Jeju Island’s renewable energy project. At first they appear quite close behind the houses, but on closer inspection there is quite some distance. This is the best way to take a photograph because if you’re too close there is no way to get them into your frame.
However getting up close is quite the experience. The turbines are so big. Plus if you keep going you’ll find buildings dedicated Jeju’s smart grid test bed.
Wind turbines aside, try a café as you arrive in Woljeong-ri. One of these is the Goraega Deol Café (The Café is Becoming a Whale) which was once known as the famous Island Zorba. Island Zorba has now moved to Pyeongae, but that doesn’t stop you having a lovely cup of hand-drip coffee while taking memorable photographs.
If you continue on you will find yourself in Pyeongdae where you can refill at a restaurant famous for jeonbok dolsotbap (a hot pot abalone and rice). Another place is famous for seafood ramyeon. There’s a small terrace outside which makes for a most agreeable seaside view.
The next village the seaside road passes through is Saewha. It is a place known for its women diver museum and bultam (women diver rest or preparation area). A large traditional market lends itself for exploration.
As this area is quite flat, small guest houses (or pensions) crop up each with their own unique theme. Some are just too nice to pass without going in.
Moving on will bring you to Hado-ri which is the temporary home for many rare migratory birds including the Stork and Black-faced Spoonbill. The birds make the region a photographers dream and you’ll find a lot of them here so why not join them?
Also you’ll discover an old fortress wall designed to prevent a Japanese invasion from times past and Rabbit Island, home of the crinum flower. There are hydrangeas, but those won’t be blooming until the summer.
On the seaside road from Gimnyeong to Seongsan there are so many things to see. The camera isn’t able to capture it all. After this weekend the cold’s bite should finally be overcome. So stop reading and get out there to see for yourself.