Written and photographed by Samantha Elisabeth
My friend and I had planned to travel to Jeju even before I booked my flight to come back to Korea. She had her final summer vacation in early August, and I knew I wouldn’t start work until at least the middle of the month. We had each been to Jeju before – me in the fall and her in spring, and we were both eager to return for a second visit.
I don’t think I was quite prepared for how humid the weather in Jeju would be. The minute we stepped off the plane from Gwangju, we could feel the sweat trickling down our necks, arms, and legs. Everywhere we walked, it felt as though we were wading through a muggy cloud.
However, there’s something special about traveling in Korea’s most southern region during the hottest days of summer. The weather forces you to slow down to an almost lethargic pace. There aren’t any days for frenetic sightseeing or crazy outdoor adventure. Instead, your days are spent languidly moving from one beautiful outdoor setting to the next with many, many breaks in between for an icy Hallabong smoothie or peanut ice cream.
If you’re like me, this all sounds perfect. After spending the better part of the year packing up my life multiple times and running around the U.S. gathering paperwork and reuniting with friends, I was ready to just relax. I wanted to soak in my surroundings and simply enjoy this beautiful island.
Perhaps the best part was being able to catch each day’s golden hours. While the sun was almost unbearable in the middle of the day, morning and evening were almost magical.
If you visit Jeju, wake up before sunrise and be outside for the sunset, whether it’s at Hyeopjae Beach, Seongsan Ilchulbong, or even the random parking lot of a gun range! You’ll be treated with the kind of hues and tones no amount of Photoshop could ever hope to replicate.
Samantha is a writer and photographer over at There She Goes Again (https://www.thereshegoesagain.org), a travel blog dedicated to slow, stylish travel for women. When she’s not planning her next adventure, she’s reading a good book, looking up cat videos, studying languages, and watching entirely too many sitcoms or YouTube videos.