Jeju Morning: Volcano Crater and a Country Stroll

Rarely do I rise before 10 a.m. 

But the guidebook said Jeju’s ‘Ilchulbong’–a volcanic crater on the East Coast in a town called Seongsan–was the first place on the island to spot the “orange fires of dawn.”  A sunrise sounded good.  Really good.  So after the Busan plane touched down on a Saturday afternoon, I caught a bus from Jeju-city that rolled along the North coast for an hour or so, checked into a minbak, and wandered out to find dinner–with a crater view, of course.

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It was just a light snack.

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Followed by a beach nap.  And an early night…

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to catch the sun.

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It rose at the top of these steps…

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On one side, the sea.  On the other, the town.  And more sea…

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And in between, the crater bowl.

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Which was really that green.  And much bigger than it looks here…

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Behind the crater, a country road curled along the coast.

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And a mailbox guarded a cemetary…

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with another close by, everything green…

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except the tiny white shelter that reminded me of Greece…

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and the sky, and the water, in the window streaks.

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Get there: Take Bus Route 12 (East coastal road) from Jeju City Bus Terminal to Seongsan; 1hr 30 mins. 

Ilchulbong hike: About 20 mins to the top.  You can climb it any time of day, but arrive before the sun for the first glimpse of Jeju light and a few less people crowding the view. 

Country road stroll:  Hop over to the coast side of the crater on your way back down and follow the trail.  I recommend a slow meander.

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