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00707012
2012.08
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KOREAN

Korea’s New Face Discovered on Jeju Island

When I arrived in Seoul, I thought that this was the only city that I would get to know, but I found that Seoul is a really big city and there are so many places to visit, that sometimes the time is not enough. Over the past four months in Seoul, I met a lot of people, and I discovered how proud the Koreans are of their country and how friendly and kind they can be. But Korea has many faces, so you have to also visit other cities and places to discover them.

A Three-day Trip to Jeju

The writer, left, and her group visit the Teddy Bear Museum in Seogwipo.Last month, I had an opportunity to visit Jeju Island with other members of my group. Everyone was really excited about this new experience, so we prepared with great expectations and waited eagerly for the start of our adventure. On Monday, everybody was ready early in the morning. We boarded a bus for the airport and when we arrived there, we checked in as fast as possible. The trip was quick and easy, and when we soon arrived in JejuIsland, we almost could not believe it. Even though it was rainy, we were still excited and wanted to start our sightseeing as soon as possible.

In the three days that we spent on Jeju Island, we visited many sites and places, like the Teddy Bear Museum, Jusangjeolli Cliff of Jungmun, Yeomiji Botanical Garden, Manjanggul Cave, SeongsanSunrise Peak, Ecoland, and sandy beaches. Also, we enjoyed a submarine ride and also spent time horseback riding or collecting seashells. We really enjoyed all these various experiences. But I want to share more about the three specific things that I especially loved.

The Jusangjeolli Cliff of Jungmun includes stone pillars that rise up along the coast. The cliff was formed when lava flowed down from Mt. Halla and made its way to the seas offJungmun. The stone pillars are shaped like hexagons of various sizes. The waves crashing onto the cliff provide a breathtaking view. When I saw all of this wonderful sight I just couldn’t believe my eyes because it was such a beautiful view! We walked along the coast in rain. We took a lot of photos of this wonderful scenery, but I think that maybe a video would have been even better.

Incredible Views of Pristine Nature

A group photo at Seongsan Sunrise Peak.Manjanggul Cave has been designated a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. When we arrived there, a guide explained about the creation of this lava tube system. About100,000-300,000 years ago, the lava from volcanic activity meandered along the northeastern coastal slopes, creating a series of unique caves, also known as lava tubes. For security reasons, the entire system is not open for tourists but people can only view certain segments.

Inside the tube, the view is amazing; you cannot believe what your eyes are seeing. Even though it is cold and dark, you can see so many lava formations of different shapes and colors. When I was walking along the cave, I was thinking just how wonderful that nature really is. Our group walked the entire length of the tube, and then we took a group picture near the end. Outside the tube, I found a forest area, where a number of different kinds of trees and plants inhabited.

SeongsanSunrise Peak rose up from under the sea during a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. At first sight, I thought that I could not walk up the peak, but when you are with friends and hope to see a beautiful view, what seems impossible becomes possible. The walk took around 40 minutes, and upon arriving at the peak, we found a huge crater in the form of a gigantic crown. Even though we were tired, we wanted to walk all the way around the crater. And, the view was so fascinating. You could see the sea and the city. We were lucky that the sky was so clear and blue on the day so we had a nice view far and wide. I could not tell where the sea ends and the sky starts. We took a lot of pictures, and the views will remain in our minds forever.


People of Jeju Resemble Nature

Collecting clams along the seashore. So far, I have discussed the places we visited and our experiences at those places, but we also learned about the island’s people. I felt that the people of Jeju are a little bit different from the people of Seoul. All in our group agreed that local residents of Jeju are very proud, considerate, kind and nature-friendly. Wherever we went, like the airport, hotel, restaurants, museums, and parks, everybody treated us as their friends. At first, I assumed that maybe we might not be able to understand their pronunciation, or they would not trust us, but I was wrong. They spoke very clearly, so we could understand everything they said. They taught us about their island, their customs, their daily life, their work, and how beautiful Korea is all around.

We were in Jeju for three days ―three fantastic days. We gained so much experience, knowledge, and memories of this great island that I cannot write about all of them here, but surely we discovered a new Korea. This new face of Korea is natural and perfect. Jeju Island certainly deserves the title of UNESCO World Natural Heritage. We were truly lucky to have an opportunity to share a little part of this amazing place with its proud residents and to keep the island and its people in our memories. You have to visit Jeju Island, and be sure that you have the time to go all around the island and visit all its amazing attractions. This was the first time for us, and we didn’t have enough time, hence everybody vows to soon return to Jeju Island!


Gloria ShantallVilongnéBermúdez
Third Secretary,Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ecuador

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