Xander and Haeppy, along with our friends Joan Kim, Latina Saram, MeiKCJ, and a bunch of other YouTubers and SNS Influencers, went on an overnight tour of some UNESCO sites on Jeju Island courtesy of the Korean UNESCO board.
We had to get an early flight from Gimpo International Airport. When we say early we mean get-there-by-6:40AM-early, which maybe isn’t too bad but we hadn’t slept at all that night so we were exhausted. Before boarding our Korean Air flight at 9:30AM, we grabbed beers at the convenience store in preparation for the slightly-over-an-hour flight to Jeju Island.
We ran into some trouble at security because, unlike international flights where you can have as may batteries as you want, or at least it seemed that way, domestic flights in Korea have a carry-on limit of 5 spare batteries per person for Korean Air. We have a lot of equipment, even between the two of us, and had no clue about this restriction as it never came up during our flights to Hong Kong and Thailand. Assuming basic math hasn’t changed, our six Inspire 2 batteries, two Ronin-M batteries, several GoPro batteries and five Sony batteries added up to a bit over the 5 battery limit.
Although this may sound bad, we really weren’t that fired up to go on the trip to begin with, so we were very willing to just turn around and go home if the batteries posed a problem, as there was a lot of other work that we could be done instead of going on this overnight tour.
Fortunately, we were able to split our batteries between four people. Nevertheless, it soured our mood and flabbergasted us; how did it make sense for domestic flights to be stricter than international ones?
We arrived in Jeju and grabbed another beer from the convenience store as there was no breakfast provided on the tour; kinda odd but ok. We then moved to our tour bus and were taken to our first destination, the Haenyeo Museum. Although Jeju Island is relatively small, it’s still objectively, pretty big. One annoying thing about the tour was that the destinations were nearly an hour of driving apart from each other, so we spent most of our day in the bus.
At the Haenyeo Museum we received a lecture from a professor who had extensive knowledge on the history and customs of the Haenyeo. This lecture was only available to the tour participants. It’s quite probable that you’ve never heard of the Haenyeo (해녀). They are women who free-dive to collect shellfish from the ocean floor. They dive without any underwater breathing apparatus, are able to dive about 10 meters deep and know when to come up for air in a safe manner. The name Haenyeo (해녀) translates to sea women or women of the sea. While men fished on boats, the women dove to get other sources of food. A lot of men were lost at sea, so a lot of the Haenyeo (해녀) were widows.
After eating lunch, we moved to the Haenyeo experience at Ha-Do. This experience is available to the public and costs 30,000원. The experience is weather dependant so if it’s too windy and/or the sea is too rough you cannot do this activity. You don a wetsuit and head cover, a visor, a snorkel, and a set of flippers. A real life Haenyeo will guide you into the water and you will go hunting for some shellfish. The experience lasts around an hour and a half. Xander didn’t go in the sea and flew our DJI Inspire 2 to grab some amazing shots.
After every one changed and dried off, it was time to eat Korean Seafood Soup for dinner.
Misfortune strikes again!
Xander didn’t eat any of the dinner as he absolutely hates this type of seafood. In fact, many of the other tour participants didn’t have much of it either. Even Haeppy, who normally loves seafood, couldn’t have much as the dish was just too fishy smelling and tasting.
After dinner, we checked into the Best Western Jeju and fell asleep straight away; after being awake for over 30 hours, going to bed at 8:30pm wasn’t such a bad idea.
The next morning we had a nice breakfast buffet in the hotel then headed to the Jeju Natural History Museum for a 4D experience about an old Jeju tale explaining how Jeju was formed. The group then hiked up Geomun Oreum, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Geomun Oreum is a large crater formed during a volcanic episode a very long time ago. Now it’s covered in green trees and is a popular hiking destination and beauty spot. We didn’t do the hike and just flew our DJI Inspire 2 instead, as the weather was terrible and neither of us wanted to make the hike in the rain, with or without the provided raincoats.
The next destination was another natural wonder, the Manjanggul Cave, which is a 13.4km long lava tube. You get to explore only 1km of the lava tube, but it’s packed full of ambient lights to illuminate the internal features and information about the formation of the lava tube is sprinkled throughout the cave. The temperature inside is a cool 16°C, which is a stark contrast to the weather if you go in the summer; it was like walking into an air-conditioned room. It was interesting how the floor and wall textures changed so many times within the 1km walkable path. We got to use the Ronin-M to stabilize the walking and running in the tunnel and our A7S IIs did fantastically in the low light conditions.
After leaving the cave, we headed to the airport for our flight home. Luckily, this time they only cared about the Inspire 2 batteries as they were the largest and didn’t check the smaller Ronin-M batteries.
Overall the tour would be great for people who like museums and the mix of history and nature with some authentic Korean food.
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