Ina’s feet were still red once we woke up. The plan of visiting Udo Island was wiped off the table and instead we decided to take the more relaxed option; visiting waterfalls. When I think about waterfalls, I associate it with a lot of walking because that’s how I remember it from childhood vacations with my parents. It is not like that in Korea. Everything is close. As you enter the park you first pass a fountain, then next to it on the right side is a traditional Korean pavilion. Right in front of you, you see the Seonimgyo bridge and not even 10 meters away from that you find a viewpoint for the first waterfall.
The main attraction in this place is the waterfalls; the Cheonjeyeon Falls, which name means: The pond of God. The name is linked to the legend in which seven nymphs come down to take a bath in the water. They have to take off their wings in order to be able to take a bath. In the version that I’ve heard, one of these nymphs wings gets stolen by a man who later becomes her husband. They get two children, a girl, and a boy. One day, the nymph finds her stolen wings in her husband’s house. This legend has been told in different ways around the world and in Korea it goes as follows: the nymph decides to take her wings and go back to heaven. However, she has only two wings meaning she can only carry herself and one more person. She chooses to bring her son with her because boys are considered to be more important.
The story of the nymphs has been pictured on the ceiling of the pavilion. The Seonimgyo bridge which initially drew my attention when we were looking for touristic things has the 7 nymphs on its sides as well. Sadly we couldn’t get any nice view of the bridge itself, we only got the chance to cross it.
After you pass the bridge, you are able to get closer to the waterfalls. The water that comes from the first waterfall divides into the two others. The viewpoint near the first waterfall was broken so we couldn’t get as close as we would have liked. The second waterfall is pretty close to the first one but nonetheless, you have to go up and down some stairs in order to get there. I could feel it in both of my legs and felt the urge to rest on every platform in between… the Hallasan mountain really did its job. Not much water came out of the second one, but the stones and its shape made it look very impressive nonetheless. Only the third waterfall looks like a typical waterfall. It takes 500 meters of staircases to reach it and unfortunately you can’t get very close. It was very, very, humid around the area near the waterfalls. As you are not allowed get into the water, you sweat a lot. (They literally put signs up which say: “No diving and swimming. It’s a law.” It seems like Koreans are really bad at translating their own language into English. There are many places where something is written in English and the word used does not convey what they actually mean to say.)
Another nice thing about this place is the little canals that Jeju citizens dug out by hand around 100 years ago. Since there is no natural surface water on Jeju Island, farming seemed to be nearly impossible. Due to the canals, they dug themselves, citizens are now able to farm rice and other foods.
All in all, we took about one and a half hour in this touristic place. Since everything is very near to one another, it really does not take you much time. If you decide to visit these waterfalls you might also be interested in the museums that are very nearby. Neither Ina or I like museums, but there is a Teddy Bear museum, the Believe It or Not museum, a K-pop museum (we plan to visit one in Seoul), and a Chocolate museum. If neither of those sparks your interest, closely you can also find others like the Sex & Health museum or the Tea museum. The only disadvantage is that all these museums have European prices. It’s a good thing we do not like museums. It’s a huge money saver on Jeju!
We visited these falls on June 13.