Friday, August 26, 2011

More Jeju: Waterfalls Galore

We spent almost an entire day of our 5-day stay in Jeju looking at waterfalls. And fair enough, they're super pretty! Two of our four nights on the island were spent in Seogwipo Harbour, which occupies a good part of the southern coast. We stayed at the excellent Jeju Hiking Inn which is super cheap, super comfortable, and has super WiFi and a superb roof to drink on in the evenings (I should know.)

A short walk from the Hiking Inn is the first of three Jeju Waterfalls we visited - Cheonjiyeon. Like almost all of the natural attractions on Jeju there's a fee (2,000 won) and then a short walk to the falls alongside the river. The falls are beautiful, and there's a large, clear pool beneath them writhing with freshwater eels. 

Also writhing were the tourists. 

This is the least tourist infested shot I got.
 The next stop on our waterfall tour was Jeongbang Falls. These falls are unique in that they cascade right into the ocean. It's a pleasant 20 minute walk from Cheonjiyeon to Jeongbang, around the coastline. 

If I thought the first falls were crowded, it was nothing compared to these ones. The crush of people started at the top, amongst traders hawking everything from chocolate to coconuts.

From the top, it's a steep walk downhill to the falls themselves (after handing over your ticket, of course.) While impressive and beautiful, the hordes of people are somewhat distracting. Tom and I picked through the crowd and were drenched by the spray of the waterfall - no pics unfortunately, didn't want to bust my camera.

The masses clambering over the rocks.
Spot the daring waygook!
The last falls we visited are apparently Jeju's most famous but were the least crowded. Cheonjeyeon Falls are close to Jeju's Jangmun Beach - a popular tourist spot - but I didn't feel the press of people as much as I had at the previous two locations. Perhaps because it was a bit overcast that day.

The beautiful carved bridge to the falls.
Reminds me of home!
It's about a 10 minute walk from the gate to the falls themselves, and at the top of the walk is a deep, clear, cold pool of water. The day we went there was a fine mist rising from the pool itself which made everything feel kinda eerie.
OK, it was still pretty crowded.

The main falls are downstream from the pool, and for a few minutes there were only 8 people on the viewing platform. An impressive feat, considering the business of all of the other falls we'd been to.


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