Looking for Day 1 & 2? Read part 1 here.
Day 3 – Take it easy
- Yongduam Dragon Head Rock (용두암 )
- Mysterious Road – Ghost Road (신비의 도로)
Yongduam is a stone’s throw away from the airport on the north side of the island, about an 1hr to 1h 30min drive from Sunrise Peak in the south. With Jeju’s characteristic volcanic rock, it forms what looks to be a black dragon’s head. You’ll need to park somewhere at the top, and it was quite busy when we went so parking was a little bit of a hassle. You make your way down a few steps and it’s right by the ocean. It gets wet and a bit slippery so don’t be wearing no heels (looking at you gentlemen). Make a wish here and that dragon may grant it.
On the way you’ll see a few other picture worthy stuff.
Mysterious Road, or Ghost Road, isn’t scary at all. It actually has almost nothing to do with scary, but more cool. They say if you leave your car in neutral, it will roll uphill. I know right? Trying not to kill ourselves we had to test this with our groceries first. The Milkis bottle did seem to roll up hill, so we upgraded to the Matiz making sure the engine wasn’t engaged. All 52 horsepower at neutral baby!
Video doesn’t do it much justice except for the 1 min mark, and it was raining so we didn’t want to get out of the car for too long. You’ll just need to see it for yourself. We saw some others trying it out, so know that you won’t look like a crazy person stopping in the middle of the road.
Day 4 – Take it all in
- Gwamul Open Air Public Bath (과물노천탕 )
- Open roads of Jeju
After a few days of visiting the sites you need some time to just be in the moment. A drive around the north west side of the island will bring you to Gwamul Open Air Public Bath. I was drawn here not because of the bath however, but because it was the closest beach I could get to. The bath feeds in directly from the sea, so I guess the real utility of the structure is if you wanted to take your swim suit off. Otherwise, I would prefer to dip into the water from the beach.
The bath house is made of carefully placed rocks, with the entrance displaying statues of pigs made from the volcanic rock characteristic to Jeju. Behind the bath house where the sea feeds into the pools the volcanic rocks jut out making it quite a difficult and dangerous area to get into the water.
Another statue, this time depicting the Haenyeo (해녀), sea women also known as the mermaids of Jeju reminds beach goers of the diving tradition and the female divers who are considered Jeju’s treasures. Before industrialization of the land, the Haenyeo provided the main income for their families as heads of the household. They would catch a variety of fish and shellfish to later sell. Training began at 11 years of age. As of 2014 95% of Hanyeo were above the age of 50.
The Open Roads of Jeju on a sunny day will always be uplifting. It goes without question that you should take a road that follows the coast. Driving the roads I feel more connected to what locals on the island must feel like. With good weather you don’t even need to turn on the music. Drop all the windows and let the fresh air in. The sights and sounds of the island is all you need.