U-do is a short ferry ride from Jeju, and is definitely not to be missed. The island is named after the Chinese word for “cow” which is “woo” (pronounced like “ew”) because the island resembles a cow. I’d heard so many amazing things about this island, and everyone who had been there told me it was the best thing they did while in Jeju. The island is very small, and there are many ways to see it: bus, bike, car, scooter, and ATV. I was really excited to rent an ATV because I’d never been on one before. I also really miss driving, so I thought it would be a great way to scratch that itch.
Unfortunately, our group had so many people that they ran out of scooters and ATVs right before it was my turn. We were driven in a van to another vendor, but they wouldn’t rent them to us because we didn’t have international licenses (the other places ignored this rule for our group). Then they refused to drive us back to the starting point so we sat there for 20 minutes getting more and more angry and frustrated. When we finally made it back, one of the group leaders offered to rent a car and drive us around the island. I was disappointed, but gladly accepted.
Our first stop wasn’t far down the road. We were all hungry and cranky, so we got lunch at a Chinese restaurant. It was actually really good, and the jajangmyeon was the best I’ve had in Korea. We also got to try the delicious peanut makoli that U-do is famous for. U-do is famous for growing peanuts, and the peanut makoli was delicious! Our lunch spot overlooked a beautiful white sand beach. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to hang out here. I almost forgot I was in Korea, but all the fully clothed people lounging on the beach reminded me (swimsuits are not popular here…people usually swim in their clothes).
The island is very small so it didn’t take long to drive around it. The views along the road were gorgeous. We only stopped one other time to see the famous black sand beach and the beautiful purple cave I’d heard so much about. To get to the cave you have to walk across the black sand beach, and then climb over a lot of rocks. The cave fills with water during high tide, and we got there in the perfect time to walk through it and see the purple algae that grow along the cave walls. The walk over the steep and slippery rocks was a little scary, but I made it there and back safely. At the end there was a great little natural pool. We hung out there for awhile before heading back. The best part was watching all the Korean girls trying to climb over the rocks in heels.
I had just enough time to grab a delicious peanut ice cream before heading back to the ferry terminal. Despite all the mishaps (I’m still angry I didn’t get an ATV), it was worth it to experience beautiful U-do!