Our guide for the trip is Wak @ Ghani Salleh, a Malaysian who used to study in Korea and now works as a tourist guide for Malaysian tourists. He ferried us around the island in a rented SUV, which could fit 6 people nicely. Wak speaks Korean fluently so he had arranged everything for us, from accommodation, food and the domestic flight to Jeju. He is on Instagram : JejuTnT. Our trip was organized by Luvkites, a group of Malaysians.
On this first day, he drove us to Gimnyeong Beach and we had our first seafood lunch at a local restaurant there. The scenery to and around the beach is just serene. The Clear blue sky, punctuated with huge white wind turbines became the background of the sandy beach and greenish-blue sea. The wind was pleasant enough and not too cold as it was already June, the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer. We took a lot of selfies and wefies...!
Our lunch spread was delicious. The star dish could be mistaken for Asam Pedas in look and taste. The mackerel stew was large in portion and could feed 6 people. The side dishes were plenty and refillable. I loved the little crispy anchovies and kept asking for refills. Kekekekeke.....
Next, we went to explore a natural wonder of Jeju, the Manjanggul Lava Tube Cave which was pretty mysterious and kinda spooky. The Lava Tube was naturally formed over thousand of years by volcanic molten lava and it created an underground tunnel which you can explore for about 1 km in length. The temperature inside is between 11C - 21C....
(The Manjanggul Lava Tube is located in Gimnyeong-ri, Gujwaeup, Jeju City and is 23 m in breadth and 30 m in height. As the lava tube stretches for as far as an approximate 8,928 m, its length ranks amongst the top 10 in the world. Wikipedia)
The cave is definitely much, much bigger and longer than Gua Kelam in Perlis. The interior is dark and wet and damp but there are ample and strategic lightings throughout the tunnel. Every significant formation in the cave is accompanied with an information board in English and Korean. The bridges inside are safe and strong to walk on. We were just in awe of this God's Creation.
We also took a picture with a group of boys on a schoold field trip. They were friendly and asked us a lot of questions. :)
After soaking in the beauty of Jeju's natural wonders, we made our way to Greencastle Pension in Jungmun, Seogwipo to check in. The place is clean, nice and comfortable. There is a small orange orchard beside the pension. I wish they were the sweet Hallabongs... We took this opportunity to rest for a while before we continued our exploration of Jeju.
Jeju island is actually very big. I hear it is three times bigger than Seoul. It may take up to an hour to go from one end to the other end. Furthermore, the tourist attractions are scattered all over the island. From our pension, we made our way to Jeju City. We were looking for a place to pray when I thought of a famous Korean Muslim in Jeju whom I have befriended on Facebook, Sheikh Kim Daeyoung who is a university lecturer and is also in charge of Jeju Muslim Centre. Even though we did not make any appointment to go there, Prof. Kim was kind enough to receive us at the centre. This place is well known as a stopover for many Muslims from all over the world. Prof Kim chatted with us and told us about the centre and his Muslim background. It seems that he is the only well-known local Korean Muslim in Jeju.... There are very few Korean Muslims here. Recently, he met up with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife who were visiting Jeju for a few days. Daebak!
After we said our thanks and bid farewell to the Sheikh, we left the centre to search for a seafood restaurant, to have dinner. We finally found one that is quite near to our pension. As usual, we ate fish (grilled mackerel), seafood stew, sweet potato fritters and a lot of banchan. At night, the temperature dropped and it was quite cold. Luckily the restaurant was warm and cosy. After dinner, we went back to the pension. We were tired from all the travelings but happy to be together in Jeju. I could't wait to do more exploring the next day!
Stay tune for Day 2 of Forever Jeju......!