As I’m preparing for my upcoming trip to Jeju, decided to put together this map of my accommodation, attractions I plan to visit, and interesting vegetarian/halal-friendly/ halal food places in Jeju for my reference. Hopefully others will find the map useful too! (This map is still a work in progress and will be continuously updated over June – Aug 2015 as I plan my trip). (Also see my Seoul map here).
Last Updated: 4 July 2015
Note: Those labelled “Tried & Tested by Ms. RaRa” are those that I’ve actually visited on my last trip. Other places were found based on my research online. When you click on each place on the map, you will also also see links to blogs/websites that I referred to. Click on those for more info. The following are my main references.
Actual days of travel: 13-14 Apr & 16-19 Apr in Seoul
While there are quite a lot of halal restaurants in Seoul, they are not evenly distributed around the city, with many concentrated in the Itaewon area. As I chose not so stay in the Itaewon area (as it is far from other attractions), before the trip I had to do quite a bit of research to find out where I could get vegetarian/halal-friendly food around the places I planned to stay at or visit. The research paid off and I rarely found myself hungry with no viable options nearby (people who’ve travelled with me before know how grumpy I can get when it’s lunchtime but we can’t find food or need to travel some more to get food). So here goes, my brief review of the places I had a chance to dine at back in April 2014. They include Oh Sae Gae Hyang, Gwangjang Market & Murree Restaurant Hope fellow Muslim travellers or vegetarians will find the post useful.
When travelling, I try to look for halal food, or halal-friendly food. However, in Korea, it is difficult to find halal-certified food outside of major cities like Seoul and Busan. Even in these cities, the options are limited. Also, I wanted to try some local cuisine, ‘cos isn’t that one of the fun aspects of travelling? That’s where the halal-friendly options came into play. By halal-friendly, I mean food from places that are not certified halal, but whereby the food itself is from permissible sources (e.g. seafood or vegetables) and there is little or no risk of contamination with non-permissible items (i.e., the shop doesn’t sell non-halal meat). Here, I share the places where I found such food in Jeju.
Two days after arriving in Seoul from my 4-day sojourn in Jeju, I took another side-trip, this time to Sokcho & Mt. Sorak. My days of travelling solo was coming to an end, as a friend would be joining me at Seoul Express Bus Terminal directly upon arrival from Singapore.
Sokcho City, in Gangwondo province, is the starting point for most people headed to Mt. Sorak from Seoul, as the express and intercity buses end their journey there. It is well-known for attractions such as Sokcho Beach and Abai Village (filming location for K-Drama Autumn in My Heart). Like many seaside towns in Korea, it is also a great place to get fresh seafood. By this time, I was missing the plentiful seafood in Jeju, so was looking forward to the meals on Sokcho.
In this post, I share more about how you can travel by express buss from Seoul to Sokcho, and local buses from Sokcho bus terminal to Mt. Sorak.
Not for me glitzy 5-star hotels in touristy areas. At least not on this trip, where the priority was to stretch my budget over 10 days and and reserve my funds for good food and interesting experiences. So I chose to get a single room in a youth hostel, or guesthouse, in Korean tourism lingo, costing only 40,000 won a night (about 50 SGD). The guesthouse of choice was YEHA Guesthouse (City Hall branch), located in Jeju-Si. There is another branch (Terminal) just a few minutes down the street, but the City Hall one was rated #1 out of 71 specialty lodging in Jeju on tripadvisor.
Update (7 Mar 16): You can now download the Jeju Olle Trail Guide in English here (pdf file).
The romance and beauty of Jeju had long been the stuff of my dreams. It was formed through several years of watching variety shows featuring Jeju, such as 1N2D, We Got Married and Family Outing. (Scroll below for some links to the relevant episodes of these shows with subtitles. You’re welcome :)). I had also watched many dramas featuring Jeju; Boys Over Flowers being one of the more famous ones. Visiting Jeju was definitely top of my list on my Korea trip.
While the evening before, I had managed to catch some glimpses of Jeju’s famous coastline, I knew that was just the tip of the iceberg and I ain’t seen nothing yet… so when Day 2 dawned, I was practically hopping with excitement to explore the island. I chose to do so partly on foot, by hiking along one of Jeju’s famous olle trails. Route 5 was my trail of choice.
Seoul is well known for its street food, as K-drama or K-variety show fans would know. Unfortunately, most of the snacks are not suitable for Muslims due to non-halal ingredients or cross-contamination with non-halal ingredients.
One of the street snacks that I really looked forward to, which I was very sure is OK to consume is hotteok. It is a deep-fried “dumpling”, with brown sugar and nuts encased in dough. Sounds yummy already right? I looked around for it over the several days I was in Seoul and finally found it one morning on a side-street along the way from our hotel to Jongno-gu 3-gil. It only cost 1000 won (around sgd 1.20) and the ahjussi uncle selling it is a smiley genial man. He must be used to tourists ‘cos even though he didn’t speak English, he guessed we didn’t know the drill and gestured to us to pick-up the folded white paper cup from in front of his stove and hand it to him to fill in the piping hot hotteok. My first bite into the pillowy soft dough, followed by the burst of flavor from the sweet and nutty filling was unforgettable.
Unfotunately, we didn’t see the ahjussi again and I didn’t manage to get more hotteok on the other days. Saw some at Namdaemun market on my last day there, but the queue was long and I didn’t have time to wait cos I only had a short time there before my flight. Recently, I came across this video at Seoulistic, and was pleasantly surprised to see the hotteok cart I’d bought from featured in it. (Ahjussi’s cart appears as the first of four hotteok places introduced)
Check out the original post on Seoulistic for maps to all the places mentioned. Ahjussi’s cart is the first on the list.