Jeju Island, 455 km. from Seoul, is a masterpiece of nature. Created by a volcanic eruption ages ago, the only Special Self-governing province of South Korea is a popular tourist destination for families and young couples, mostly from mainland locals, China, and Japan. Thankfully, Rakso Travel has opened a gateway for Filipinos to experience a piece of Korea without the stress of getting a tourist visa.
The adventure began on April 5th, Easter Sunday — the first day of our 4-day trip. Upon arriving at NAIA Terminal 2, I noticed the crowd at the airport. Most of them were carrying an OEC in their hands, they’re OFWs returning to their work country. More than a year ago, I was one of these people and I knew the bittersweet feeling of traveling. Airports can quietly elicit various range of emotions.
Moving on, I went through the usual check-in and immigration queues. As always, I roamed around, bought some snacks to eat in case I get hungry during our tours (Mamon from Goldilocks, lol) and find a peaceful spot near my gate. We’re expected to leave at around 11:30AM but given the volume of travelers leaving Manila that day, our flight got delayed.
Soon, we finally get to board our Philippine Airlines chartered flight to Jeju. There are no direct flights to Jeju Island, but Rakso Travel made it possible for their customers. Cool, right? Anyway, I was surprised that I was booked in a window Choice Seat. I’ve never booked Choice Seats before, but I love the spacious legroom. :)
Since this is a three-hour flight, I applied the routine I always do when I fly to Singapore: read the magazines, answer the immigration forms, eat the in-flight meal, and fight off sleep until we’re halfway there. I get restless when I wake up in the middle of the flight.
The captain made its announcement through the speaker. I looked out the window, but there was nothing but a thick fog. A few minutes later, land suddenly appeared. We are now, technically, in South Korea!
A foggy (and gloomy) welcome by South Korea!
Jeju Island was enshrouded with rain and fog, at THIRTEEN degrees Celsius. I love the chilly weather! As we exit the airport, we saw this crossing guard officer wearing a red coat. She was constantly moving around, and this is the only decent photo I have of her:
After getting our bags and all, we were welcomed by the beauty Sunny, our tour guide for the entire trip. Due to the weather condition, Sunny advised us that we’ll go straight to our hotel first, then have dinner. We were staying at Lotte City Hotel, the tallest building in Jeju.
Sunny took us to this famous restaurant called Neulbom where they served one of Jeju’s specialty, the Jeju Black Pig. These creatures are a breed of domestic pig that has black skin and is said to have a distinct taste from other breeds of pig.
All of us were hoping to explore the neighborhood after dinner, but the weather didn’t improve that night. The temperature dropped to 8 degrees and the cold reminded me of Beijing during winter. Yikes! I was so relieved that I asked my sisters if I could borrow their sweaters from H&M. As much as I love the chilly weather, I doubt I’d survive cold temperature brought by this rain. Exhausted, we headed back to the hotel to get a good night’s rest instead.
Thank you so much to Rakso Travel for this amazing experience! I can’t wait to share with you guys the rest of my Jeju Island posts!