Mystical Jeju Island (Part 5 – A Song of Teddy Bears, Tricks, Nanta, and Ice)

Joanne Teddy Bear Museum

If you’ve missed the first part/s of this series, I highly recommend reading them from the start. (I’ll provide all the links after this post.) If you have been following this series religiously, good for you! Thank you very much, and I appreciate all the support! Welcome back to my South Korean trip around Jeju Island…

Aside from the food, I can honestly say that Jeju offers a lot of fun, even if you’re a solo traveler like me. Mind you, when I travelled to Korea, I was with five or more other solo travelers, so it wasn’t really that big of a deal if you travel alone. Korea might just be one of the safest places in world (behind Singapore), and it’s very friendly for paranoid travelers but not much of challenge for those looking for hardcore culture shocks. Hence, it’s perfect for vacations but not much for adventures.

Jeju Media Center

There is so much to do in this little piece of volcanic land – so much so that staying a couple of days won’t cover all the attractions this island has to offer. I’m going to be covering a couple of places I happen to stumble upon, so let me give you a quick tour of them.

Joanne’s Teddy Bear Museum

Located in Jungmun Resort Complex in Seogwipo-si, Joanne’s Teddy Bear Museum is a gallery exhibition hall for Joanne Oh, a world-famous teddy bear collector. There were three buildings filled with wide arrays of teddy bears with disparate themes. Some of themes, quite nice:

Joanne's Teddy Bear Museum

Whilst some were grotesque and quite reminiscent of Jan Svankmajer’s creations…

Creepy Teddy Bears

Of course, there were huge and cool ones…

Cool Teddy Bears

Whilst there were sad paper mache shitty ones (A for the effort, though)…

Poor Teddy Bears

They also pride themselves with an Obama bear. Yeap,…

Obama Bear

(whispers) Spoiler Alert: Donald Trump Wins

This place has opened sometime around 2009, and it also sells a shitload of teddy bears. Make sure to bring some money when you visit. There are plenty of nice (expensive) ones that might just tickle your fancy. Also, do yourself a favor, and get yourself a proper souvenir like a Jeju bear. I know I have to go back to Jeju because of it.

Ecoland Park

Ecoland Group

Class picture? Also, is this really in Korea? 🙂

Warning: Do not visit this place if it’s raining AF. What a waste of an attraction.

Korea and trains – what could go wrong, right? Well, a lot I imagine. I got to visit this site with the sodding rain, and we looked like refugees. Anyway, the site would’ve been so much prettier if it weren’t for the f&cking rain.

Rainy Ecoland

Imagine that it’s summer.

In any case, it was still beautiful with the Jeju ship and windmills? and all. Our Korean guide was quite adamant in cursing her fellow Koreans for pushing us against the trains to get ahead. It didn’t really bother us, and it was a tad entertaining to be honest.

Ecoland Jeju

Apart from the ship and mill in the middle, I think I can recommend future visitors to skip this one and just go to Loveland or something. 🙂

Trick Eye Museum

Next is the Trick Eye Museum. Opened in January 2013 as the third in the franchise after Hongdae and Busan, the museum offers exciting and unique paintings created using ‘trompe l’oeil’ techniques that give each 2D art piece the illusion of being in 3D. At least that’s what the Korean tourism websites will tell you.

I look strangely happy.

Anyway, this museum was a freaking one-stop attraction. The Jeju Ice museum and 360 degrees 5D movie centre were all in the same building as this one. Yes, that’s one ticket for all three attractions – all in the same effin’ building.


Aside from the nice canopy of pine trees outside, I really enjoyed this place for lots of reasons:

  • I got to buy my Market-o Real Chocolate Brownies here which I couldn’t find in the local supermarket near my hotel.
  • I got to experience below zero temperatures.
  • I got to buy the cheapest Korean mini-statue souvenir shit here.
  • And I got to slide in the ice which is nice.

Ice Museum

Yeah, ice! As close to freaking winter as I could get…

Also, there’s a shitload of weird ice sculptures…

Ice Sculptures

However, it’s really the slide which was the star of this attraction. Even if I forgot my jacket in the bus, I was quite glad to make the slide a couple of times despite shivering in the extreme cold.

The museum also offered a couple of 5D movies – y’know, those 5 senses movies which weren’t really new. However, the movies there included Poseidon, The Room, and something else I tragically forgot. Anyway, people highly recommended the horror movie ‘The Room,’ but I saw Poseidon because of bad scheduling. Nevertheless, it was okay, I guess.

Now for the actual trick eye museum. There were of course a f&ckload of illusions for everyone to choose from. The floors were marked where the cameraperson should position himself or herself to get the best possible photo. If you’re traveling solo like me, I recommend being in cahoots with another traveler to ask if they can take a photo of you and vice versa. There’s no other way of going around this but to ask for help, you introvert!

After a couple of laps around the museum, I managed to get these photos of me taken:

Indiana Jones


Korean TV

Pretty neat, huh? Although, I wonder what the text on the TV one means.

Maze Park

This one wasn’t really on the plan, but I visited it anyway since I was there already. The Jeju Gimnyeong Maze Park is a theme park with the coolest labyrinths. It can be found in Pyeongdae-ri, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si. Essentially, there were three mazes, but the first two were, in the words of our Korean guide, “child’s play.” So I only went through maze #3. Here’s us taking a photo of the maze before embarking inside the actual one:

Jeju Maze Park

And another group pic before the maze like we’re going to lose some people inside…

Maze Park Group

Maze #3 was a bit challenging to be honest. It wasn’t necessarily easy to solve, but it looked so small and unimposing in a view from the top.

Maze 3

Apart from the actual maze, there were other things you can do on the site like hanging out with a harubang, checking for suspicious things that emerged from the fog, inspecting a large bell-thingy from Borobudur, Indonesia, and simply admiring the view.

Maze Park Jeju

Nanta Show

One of the highlights of my trip was attending a showing of Nanta. According to its website, Nanta is a South Korean non-verbal comedy show that incorporates traditional samul nori rhythm and cooking. It premiered in October 1997 in Hoam Art Hall in Seoul. However, it was more than just a drum, cooking, and music show. It offered so much more – something you could expect from the longest running show in South Korea. I got a nice front row seat, and it was quite an idiosyncratic experience considering that the actors would chuck out food and other things to the audience. It was a rowdy experience, but nevertheless, a good one. The melodies were great, and the characters were very likable. The comedy translates to any audience, so it wasn’t a big deal even if they spoke Korean for a bit.

Nanta Show

See the mess at the stage – that’s the aftermath of the show. I’ll just leave you to imagine what has transpired in there.

Overall, I enjoyed most of the sites I went to in Jeju. I know there’s still a lot to see, and it’s not like I’m not going back there. However, if there are places you’d like me to check out, lmk in the comments below.

Stay tuned for more Jeju Island; in the meantime, here’s the rest of the parts: