I faked my instagram vacation. The day before my Chuseok holiday began I was feeling pretty stressed out. I couldn’t shake this nagging feeling that something was wrong.
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I had planned on getting up a little later than normal and heading to the gym. After that, I’d go to the bank to get my Korean won changed over into Chinese and Taiwanese currency. I didn’t make it to the gym. The bank was closed due to the holiday (where was my brain, again). Ultimately, I didn’t even make it out of Korea. I had pretty much planned on doing this Taipei guide from Live Travel Teach to a T. This is the story of how I faked my instagram vacation on Jeju Island.
Typhoon Malakas was headed toward Taiwan, and my Mother wasn’t exactly excited for my journey into the storm. There were typhoons last year which effected Korea, so I wasn’t too worried, and it sounded like my travel-mates weren’t either. When I got to the airport and got my ticket, the attendant told me (in typical Korean fashion) that my connection from Nanjing, China to Taipei, Taiwan might get cancelled. When a Korean says “maybe” or “might be” they mean “definitely”. I was crushed. Bye, bye dumplings. Bye, bye architecture. See ya later, temples. I wouldn’t even be able to enjoy my time in China because I was planning on taking advantage of the 24 hour tourist visa. I had a carry-on bag packed, so I went on Skyscanner to check out my options. I knew everything would be pricy because of the holiday, but I didn’t expect airfares to be quite so high.
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My #vacation to #Nanjing, #Taipei, and #Qingdao was canceled due to the #typhoon. Options? Go back home and spend 4 days in #Seoul, or book it to another #airport and pray there would be a ticket with #JejuAir to the #Hawaii of #Korea. I chose the latter. #Jeju, here I come! #silverlining #trip #travel
I hadn’t really eaten yet, so I bought a sandwich and began frantically searching through the carrier who I knew flew out of Incheon. I then had the bright idea to check out the travel agency in the basement of the airport. They wanted over $700 Canadian for a flight to Tokyo, Japan. I walked right out of there, got onto the subway, and headed over to Gimpo to try my luck at Jeju Air. They immediately told me that there were no flights available. After a slight pout and an explanation in broken Korean about how my trip had been cancelled and I’d come all the way from the other airport, I was on a $98 one-way trip to Jeju Island: The Hawaii of Korea.
When I arrived at Jeju Airport it was dark and the rain had started. I would have to wait 23 minutes for a bus to Hamdeok Beach where my friends had a hostel. Since I had no idea how far away it was, I decided to take a taxi. Jeju Island is a lot bigger than I had assumed. We were on the North coast of the island. It was far from everything. Our first night my dinner was a late night sausage on a stick and a beer by the sea. I thought that maybe the morning would be different, but we awoke to an overcast day. My back hurt and I was already bruised. We were sleeping on the floor “ondol” style. This is normal for many Koreans. I’m generally okay with it for one or two nights, but four was a little much. Still, I took a photo from our balcony and used every editing feature instagram offers to contrast, brighten, highlight, low-light, colour, and over-saturate the crap out of the image to make it look like a picture perfect vacation.
Here’s the original:
It’s nice, but it’s definitely not the blissed-out blue beach vibes people want to see in your instagram feed.
After the brilliant sun in Thailand, my skin adapted back to tanning pretty easily. My alabaster skin is certainly not this dark. This came from, again, over-saturating the image, adding some orange colour, and making the image warmer. I look like I have a pretty healthy glow, don’t I? Except that I don’t really, and the wind was so strong that my left eye looks super lazy:
The waters were nowhere near as stunning as I had seen in photos. A typhoon would mean we’d have to return home a day early. People were stranded at the airport.
We were able to see some cool things in Jeju even though our hostel was incredibly far from Jeju City and the more popular beach.
We saw some cool lava caves which you can read about here. I hadn’t done any research (I thought I’d be in China and Taiwan) so we were really lucky to have friends on a tour staying in a nearby hostel.
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Hello #Jeju! • • • • • • • • • #Korea #JejuIsland #Korean #SouthKorea #expatlife #traveladdict #travelblog #travelblogger #travelbloggers #globetrotter #travelgirl #openmyworld #girlslovetravel #femaletravelbloggers #socialmedia #제주 #제주도 #travel #trip #traveler #condenast #blog #blogger #worldtravel #adventure #digitalnomadgirls #travelista #seetheworld #instapassport
We didn’t check out the statue park I wanted to see, but we saw some cool little gremlin guys around town at cafes and outside hotels.
We made it to Loveland: a sex-themed statue park which sounded ridiculous and fun, but ended up just kind of being uncomfortable. We imbibed a bit as Jeju is famous for Peanut Makgeolli (flavoured rice wine). Ultimately, unless you’re really into graphic, sexual statues I might skip this one. Koreans love penis parks though. I don’t really get it!
Monkey Beach Bar was another highlight because I got to see a whole bunch of friends from Busan! There was a ball pit, some stages with stripper poles, and lots of games and dance contests on the main stage. With the cheap buckets they sold, a climbing wall, a slide, and darts this place was a lawsuit waiting to happen.
I was on standby for a flight home. I eventually got a place on the ferry and then had a 7 hour bus ride home. It wasn’t so bad as I got to chat with a friend or sleep most of the way. It was tiring though, too. A flight would have been preferable.
People seem to either love Jeju Island or hate it. There are many great parts of the island like Hallasan (the big mountain crater) and there’s even a hidden beach nearby (check out the blog + vlog combo from Television of Nomads for details, and check out all their Jeju posts here). I still love you, Korea, but next time…let me leave!
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