How to Visit Love Land Museum on Jeju Island

I woke up at about 0530 and spent the next 6 hours, twisting my newly washed hair. Our flight left at 1500, and we hadn’t been to the airport before, neither had we scoped out the actual time it would take us to navigate our way through the subway system. I had four sections to finish when I gave in to Steven’s concerns about missing the flight. My hair would have to wait; I still had to pack. I threw a few things in my suitcase, grabbed my sweater and my sunglasses, and closed the door behind me. We were going on our first trip since moving to South Korea. I’m told Jeju Island is Love Land– so let’s get this party started.

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20150522_161023 How to Visit Love Land Museum on Jeju Island
  1. Flying to Jeju
  2. Where to stay
  3. What Makes Jeju Island special
  4. Centerstage– my hair
  5. Settling into the hotel
  6. Things to do on Jeju
  7. The Beach
  8. The Botanical Gardens
  9. Love Land and coastal drive
  10. Downtown

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Jeju Island is Love Land
Running Late as Usual

Sure we knew what stop to get off at. It had a little airplane logo under the words Dondaegue, duh. But that was because we rode that train all the time. However, neither of us knew anything past that, and if you know us, we have the unfortunate tendency to push the limits when it comes to flights.

We had been in Korea for almost a month and were still in housing, and it was a long 4-day weekend. That little room would make anyone stir crazy. It was time to see other people and explore our newly adopted country. And not the same ole people we saw at the Hilltop where we ate four times a week. Or even the people we ran into at the Commissary or PX or the post office day in, day out because it’s a small community.

We needed to see new people. I loved strike that, love my husband, but the feeling was mutual. We needed to get out of there for a few days. I can say that without fear or hesitation. We’ve been married for 20 years, neither one of us is going anywhere.

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Jeju Island is Love Land

So we booked a flight to the island of Jeju just off the southern coast of Korea. It’s a 45-minute flight that takes you back to a more traditional Korea.

Where we stayed: Shilla Stay Jeju. It was located downtown away from the pricey beach resorts, and we loved staying at this hotel. The staff was polite, but unhelpful as far as restaurants and bars and not exactly English friendly. The beds and bathrooms were excellent. The breakfast costs way too much.

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ponds How to Visit Love Land Museum on Jeju Island

Wine Bar with a View

That night we decided to visit the bar on the 12th floor it was closed for a private party. It would have been nice to know that in advance so we could have made other arrangements. Parking and WIFI are free—Aveda products in the bathrooms and huge windows. The view from the rooftop is fantastic. Wine/ beer tasting is all-inclusive for ₩30,000 had an excellent selection. I will stay here again.

There are few international chain hotels and even fewer chain restaurants; the majority of the locals are either in tourism or live off the land. As a tourist destination, English isn’t guaranteed in the restaurants, hotels, or at many of the main attractions. We had to navigate with a Korean map, I translated with the help of Google Translate, and when we realized our new to us GPS hadn’t been updated, we ended up navigating with a Korean language GPS from SIXT (all you need is your Korean and stateside DL) as well. If it weren’t for Steven, I’d probably still be in Jeju right now. I couldn’t even find tampons. Yeah, that’s random, I know, but it’s the truth.

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The Highest Form of Flattery

Jeju is a volcanic island, sometimes referred to as the “Hawaii” of Korea. I’m not so sure I’d go that far having visited Hawaii, but it’s a nice break from the mainland. Generally, anything that claims to be something of something else is, at best, just a compliment.

We strolled out the back gate to the subway entrance less than two blocks away. It was hot, and I felt the beads of sweat running down my back, as we stepped onto the down escalator into the cooler, but not cold, tiled subway tunnels beneath the busy street. We didn’t have to wait long and found a seat in the busy car. I felt a chill as the air conditioning and my sweaty back collided.

I was also acutely aware that I had four rather large puffballs on top of my head and wished I had thrown on a hat. One transfer to Dondaegu station, no escalator, just stairs, and a lot of them. Steven grabbed my bag and we hiked up the stairs. We followed the signs to a taxi stand just outside of the station for the 5-minute ride to the airport. The driver didn’t appear to know much English until Steven handed him 5,000 Won, and told him to keep the change. Then it was “thank you very much” and goodbye, have a nice day”.

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It’s Showtime

I was right. It didn’t take that long to get to the airport. I took my hair gel and comb out of my bag before we checked it and found my way to the bathroom to finish my twist. Little did I know that I would have an audience for the next 30-minutes. One after another stopped, came in close to admire and inspect my hair twisting efforts. Both women and children seemed mesmerized.

Thankfully no one asked to touch my hair, but many told me it was so beautiful and a few even asked me if their hair could be twisted. A few of them came in so close I had little room to actually lift my arms above my head. I was relieved to finish.

The show was over people please return to your seats.

The hotel was absolutely beautiful. We stayed at a downtown hotel instead of one of the expensive hotels near the beaches. We decided to rent a car to visit the beaches and I’m glad we did.

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Panoramic View

It had a panoramic rooftop garden, with unlimited wine tasting during the weekend. Our room had a wonderful view of downtown, the entrance to the market across the street, and a front-row seat the glorious sunrise every morning. It was brand new, built only three months ago and the price was right.

However, I wish the staff spoke better English. It felt like torture every single time I spoke to them. Steven gave up altogether. I had to remind myself that we were in their country and every single one of them spoke better English than I spoke Korean which did little to help me find the answers to my questions.

Here’s a good place to mention the fact that Google maps do not work in Korea. It will show you where you are, but it will not navigate to where you want to be. The alternate app is called Waze Social GPS, which I tried to use a few times, but I hate it. I’m told you have to be very specific for it to work. Well if I could be that specific, I probably wouldn’t need a GPS. Every other GPS is in Korean and is also useless to me.

Jeju Island is Massive

I did a little research and found a few activities for the four-day trip. We would go to the Spirited Garden, a botanical garden, visit Hyeopjae Beach drive along the coastline to enjoy the rugged lava formations, go to Love Land (a museum and statue park dedicated to sex), check out a couple of barbecue places I heard Jeju was famous for and photograph three of the beautiful Waterfalls: Jeongbang, Cheonjiyeon, Cheongjeyeon.

With no kids (woohoo) I didn’t have to research parks, zoos, or playgrounds… but they have all that crap there too for those that need it. Tons of it. The roads on the island are good. The speed limit is slow… too slow. And the GPS we bought a few days before was set to the particular liking of the previous owner, who apparently liked to be informed every time you went 1 mile over the speed limit, every upcoming crosswalk, speed bump, and camel crossing. I’m exaggerating about the last thing, but it beeped incessantly until we figured out how to mute it.

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Jeju-Beaches How to Visit Love Land Museum on Jeju Island

 

Day 1… Beach 

Have you ever been to a beach where the sand was completely covered my mesh and practically no one got in the water with a swimsuit? I have… now. From the parking lot, right up to the water’s edge almost, was covered by a thick mesh staked into the ground, semi-permanently. We walked around the beach, posing for selfies; admiring the clear blue-green waters of the razor-sharp lava rock.

I dipped my toes in the warm water and watched the people with nets. Most of them fully clothed, wearing wide-brimmed hats, pants rolled up their knees or thighs. Not exactly your typical beachwear.

Matter of fact the only ones I saw in swimsuits were the westerners sunbathing on their beach towels. The Koreans don’t suntan. I’d learn later that they, speaking generally of course, actually avoid direct sunlight. I can relate, I don’t “purposefully” tan either.

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No More Botanical Gardens

After lunch, we visited a couple of waterfalls, a botanical garden, and a huge crater. I will never, ever suggest we visit another botanical garden TOGETHER again. He mitched and moaned about how expensive it was and who wants to see a bunch of flowers.

They have flowers on the side of the road. He didn’t stop until we reached the koi pond. I bought him some fish food and he fed the fish and quieted down. I would have bought him ice cream next, but feeding the fish seemed to do the trick. Damn it, I thought I left the kids back in the States.

The waterfalls were a hike and a half and we visited three during our time on Jeju Island. The last was the most dramatic. It fell several stories, the only waterfall in Asia that emptied directly into the ocean.

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Day 2… Love Land and coastal drive

It’s hard to explain a place like Love Land. It’s a part theme park, part museum, part interactive, but mostly part tacky. We loved it. There are so many pictures I took at Love Land I would love to post but don’t because it borders on pornographic. Its something you have to see for yourself. Let’s just say there was an abundance of phallic symbols, boobs, and sexual innuendo.

Everything in the park sexual themes. The doorknobs to the bathrooms are boobs or penises. There are large sculptures dedicated to fornicating, larger than life male and female body parts, exhibits on lust, love, and goodness know what else. And like all good theme parks, there’s a gift store where you can buy candy panties, sex toys of all shapes and sizes as well as artwork, books, and sculptures. The park is full of large wooden peni. It would be hard, no pun intended, to find a suitable place for it in my small apartment.

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King-crab-1 How to Visit Love Land Museum on Jeju Island

Day 3… Our last full day on the island

We decided to explore downtown Jeju City. The seafood is delicious,  but we opted for Indian food for lunch and pizza for dinner. We returned to the hotel and spent the rest of the evening at the rooftop bar taking advantage of the unlimited wine. Sometimes, it’s good that we have limits I’m just saying. The flight back to Daegu was uneventful. We surfaced from the airport into the sweltering heat of what my friend calls Daufrica. Get it Daegu + Africa. You would have thought it would have been much hotter on the island, but it wasn’t. I enjoyed Jeju even though it wasn’t high in my initial bucket list. It’s a good getaway destination for both families and couples.

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Comments

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I am not joking. I will never go to one without a signed waiver. I don’t know what he expected to find there, but apparently he didn’t find it or he needed a nap. I have no idea. There are sooooo many pictures I took at Love Land I would love to post, but don’t because it borders on pornographic… its something you have to see for yourself. Lets just say there was an abundance of phallic symbols, boobs and sexual innuendo.

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