Thursday, November 22, 2012

Anneyong-haseyo Korea ( Part 2 ) Exploring Jeju Island

Today let me take you with me to Cheonjiyeon falls.

Cheonjiyeon  is also known as  “God’s Pond” or " the " Pond of Heaven's Emperor ". According to our guide, Cheonjiyeon derived its name from a legend that seven fairies who served the King of Heaven descended to this water source on cloud stairs, then bathed in its clear waters.

The park’s walking path takes you right to the falls. If you love nature, water, and stunning views, this is the place to be. Be sure to bring your tripod to capture all the glory.

Actually, Cheonjiyeon falls is a three-tiered waterfall.. The first fall looked like a large U -shaped grotto with a massive cascade of water plunging deep into “The Pond of God” ( the second level ).  During the winter months, this first waterfall may be nothing more than a mere trickle, but that doesn’t diminish the area’s beauty, but rather enhances it. The Cheonjiyeon falls is home to more than 400 individual species of plants and animals. 

After taking a brief rest, we went to the second falls ( we did not go to the third falls anymore ) -- This path takes one into the surrounding wooded areas and allows you to embrace nature. Walking along the wooden path, you can see several streams, flowers, and if you’re lucky, a few animals just as curious about you, as you are about them. Photographic opportunities abound along the path and at the waterfalls.

We had a seafood lunch at Sinwoosung.

We had one big steaming seafood pot filled with the best catch of the day.... Scallops, oysters, mussels, clams, succulent shrimps, very sweet tasting abalone, and sea urchin. In Korea the side dishes and rice that come with your main meal are always refillable. They also give you a free bowl of seaweed soup.

 After lunch we drove to the Seongeup Folk Village.

This is a small and nice village that re-animates the life of the Koreans in the past. There are many things to see and learn to know how the people lived in the old days. I was hoping to get a picture of the natives in their national clothes but I was not able to see any of them. According to our guide, the natives are quite camera-shy and they would rather stay inside their homes and prepare meals for their families.

Jeju is famous for the unique fences around the village houses. Reaching up to just around knee height, the fences were probably more as an obstacle to prevent farm animals from wandering into the garden. However, the fences have another socio-cultural role. It is visibly seen every time you see a home anywhere in the island. These bars act as a sign of the owner's whereabouts. Usually there will be 3 bars up. One bar up means " back in a while ". Two bars up mean " out for the whole day ". Three bars up mean " gone traveling ".

In the photo above you will see there are 3 bars at the gate.... When all 3 bars are put down, it indicates that the home owner is at home and you are welcome.

This village is a must see, especially if you enjoy architecture. Go back in time and experience the traditional Jeju way of life in this preserved agricultural village. The thatched roof and lava rock wall homes have been passed down through the generations and locals still inhabit these homes.

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