Warning: Some (and by some, I mean two) explicit images below. You’ve been warned. Drag an Excel spreadsheet over your internet browser window if you’re at work.
Jason’s parents were so sweet to treat all of us to 4 days at a beautiful tropical island just south of Korea’s mainland: Jeju Island. Known by locals as ‘Honeymoon Island’, it’s a popular Korean vacation spot and (as noted by its nickname) a popular honeymoon destination. In fact, Jason’s parents came here for their honeymoon in the 70s.
Initially, this had all the ingredients for an awkward weekend – even my brother commented on how it was going to be awkward going on a triple-date/long weekend/couples getaway with my in-laws. But I’ve enjoyed travelling with Jason’s parents before and love spending time with Jeanne and Dave, so I had no doubt that it would be a grand ol’ time.
As we were waiting in the airport for our flight to Jeju Island (by the way, it’s considered an international flight even though Jeju Island is considered to be part of Korea), my mother-in-law (MIL) asked whether we would like to go horseback riding, trekking through a national park, climb a volcano crater, and visit a circus.
“Wow!” I exclaimed, “That sounds like an awesome, action-packed long weekend!”
“No,” my MIL replied, “That’s just on the first day”
And then it hit me: we were going on an Asian holiday tour. I had been on one before 5 years ago when I visited my dad’s family in China so I had an idea of what we were in for. For those who have
been lucky enough to have never been on an Asian tour, let me break it down for you. People of some Asian races (i.e. Korean, Chinese, Japanese) love maximizing the value of their money. They typically perceive something to be of higher value if they get more of it. So when it comes to holiday tours, the more activities you can cram into the allotted time-frame, the better the value.
So thus began our whirlwind ‘Honeymoon Island’ vacation. For 4 days, we woke up every morning at 7:30am to a packed itinerary. On average, we would have 7-8 activities scheduled per day. I have to admit, it was pretty exhausting. It probably didn’t help that we had all originally envisioned a long weekend of relaxing and lazing about on the beach.
But once we shrugged our shoulders and decided to go along for the ride, it wasn’t all bad. The entire island is is 75% cheesy tourist traps and 25% beautiful natural wonders. And amongst the 30 individual activities/sights/events we enjoyed/endured, there were quite a few gems.
We started off slowly and visited an impressive botanical garden called “Spirited Garden”. The bonsai trees were beautiful and we enjoyed the leisurely stroll through the peaceful garden grounds.
We visited a beautiful little waterfall (Cheonjiyeon Falls) that Jason’s parents also visited over 30 years ago on their honeymoon.
We checked out the eerie underground Manjanggul lava tubes. Flowing rivers of lava carved out these massive caves.
Then things got a little kooky at (what we dubbed) “Randomland”. There was an indoor ice sculpture exhibit and a whole bunch of 3D scenes that you can take a picture with. We had a great time taking cheesy pictures and cracking up at the ridiculousness.
After “Randomland”, things got even stranger.
When Jason and I first started our travels in June, my friend (who will remain unnamed) sent me a link (NSFW) and insisted we go there when we travelled to Korea. It’s deceptively called Jeju Loveland. It really should be called Jeju Sexland, When my friend first told me about this place, I thought “Korea is pretty big – not sure if I’ll actually come across it”. But when I found out that this outrageous theme park was actually on Jeju Island, I knew we had to add an extra activity onto the itinerary.
Jeanne was not so keen on the idea and who can blame her? It would be kinda weird going to a sex theme park with your parents. Nonetheless,I somehow managed to get it onto the schedule.
Once we entered Jeju Loveland, this was the first thing we saw:
Jeanne and Dave immediately bolted and disappeared into the park. Soon after, Jason’s mom wandered off too. So it was just Jason, my father-in-law (FIL), and I wandering through the very risque theme park. The picture below is probably the only safe picture I can post here. If you want to see what else this park had to offer, you can click the link above. (Or here, if you don’t want to scroll up). Seriously, this place was hilarious.
I’m not sure why such a racy theme park exists on Jeju Island. Perhaps because it’s known as a honeymoon destination and the tourism board wants to get all the newlywed couples in the mood?
Even the island’s natural rock formations were in on it:
Speaking of natural rock formations, this one was one of the highlights of Jeju Island: Seongsan Ilchulbong (or Sunrise Peak).
Formed by volcanic activity, this tuff cone and crater are one of the few well-preserved specimens of its kind. This site map gives you a sense of what it looks like from the air.
And this is what it really looks like from the air (Picture courtesy of Jeju World Natural Heritage website) Pretty impressive-looking, eh?
It’s a short 20-minute climb to the top. The views from the top weren’t too shabby either.
It was a great way to end our trip. Okay, who am I kidding? We ended our trip with a massive Korean feast (of course). On the menu: Jeju Black Pig. Don’t ask…it’s a Jeju Island specialty.
Yes, we complained about the cheesiness, the ridiculousness, and the jam-packed schedule – but in the end, we had a lot of good ol’ family fun (sex theme park and all). Thanks, mom and dad, for treating all of us to a wonderful time!