Y'all. Jeju continues to rock my world. There is no shortage of amazing tourist traps on this island, and thankfully so many of them are close to where we live so we can make a quick little trip between nap times and have hours' worth of hilarious photos to enjoy for years to come.
Soingook Museum Park is unlike any other place I have been. It is a little chunk of land with scaled miniatures of world landmarks. Another tourist attraction purely designed for selfies and instagram, this little gem is so. great.
The hilarity starts from the parking lot.
You're greeted by this grand entrance that features two iconic castle architectural styles. Is it a fairy tale? Is it a fortress? You have to go in to find out...
Is that an African hut? It's unclear.
And before you ask, YES that is a child and what appears to be an alien in a classic car on the roof! I LOVE IT!
This dragon is so stoked about it's light bulb holding duties.
We arrived just as a tour bus full of people pulled in to the parking lot, so this is the kind of attraction that is on people's list when they visit Jeju, apparently. I was even more amped about this little trip as we were walking to the entrance because they had decorated for Halloween! I LOVE Halloween! Several of the miniatures had been dressed up and there were little ghosts and witches' hats tucked into the bushes here and there.
I'm not gonna lie, I squealed a little bit when I saw the leaning tower of Pisa model.
Gorilla is dressed up and ready to trick-or-treat.
As soon as you turn the corner past the ticket booth you are met with ridiculousness and it is AWESOME!
We've always wanted to take one of these photos!
Y'all. They're ACROSS THE POND from each other! I can't handle it!
Sadie was over it.
There were lots of recognizable landmarks and famous buildings...
That church thing in Germany that no one remembers the name of
The Acropolis, including the Parthenon and Athena's temple
St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow
The summer palace in Thailand
The Great Wall
Anemic Christ the Redeemer
Buckingham Palace with what I feel is a much too large statue of Queen Victoria in front of it.
It's like you're really there.
And then there were some lesser known landmarks...
Really? It's like they googled "pretty buildings in New Zealand" and went with the first one that caught their eye. We've been to Rotorua and saw this building, but...I mean...I don't think it's one of the most recognizable in New Zealand...
Moscow State University? ...okay....
You guys, the Smurf Village is totally a place...We were really disappointed that it didn't have a plaque like all the others that gave its location, scale, and historical background. Missed opportunity.
I'm sorry, can we just take another moment to bask in the glory of the miniature Mount Rushmore?
It's just. so. ...awesomely bad.
There were lots of Korean landmarks that Tyler and I hadn't heard of, which will come in handy for planning our upcoming Christmas trip around the country. Neither of us know all that much about Korea or Korean history before the 1950s, so I'm glad we now have a list of sights to see.
Like this Buddhist temple
Sadie was over it.
There were also other little gems that were there for no other reason than a photo opp.
Who knew the Koreans liked the Blues Brothers so much?
Ah yes, the classic pose-like-the-piece-of-funny-looking-art photo
Just. So good.
"Hey look, it's Fair Use Wonder Woman..."
There were also some little haunted nooks...
I think they were going for a haunted woods kind of feel...I'm not sure why the grandma is crouched in the bushes. She looks completely calm in the presence of the creepy witch lady in the trees...
And questionable art choices...
Where's that hand going, buddy!?
We had to take a little nap stop and enjoy the amazing weather before exiting through the gift shop.
They were both over it.
But seriously, if you ever find yourself on Jeju island, you HAVE to go to the Soingook Museum Park! We will definitely be going back at some point because there was a whole section that was closed for...cleaning? Renovation? Anyway, it was dedicated to "Old Korean reminiscence" and I feel like it would have been pretty informative while also being entertaining. I'll keep an eye on when that re-opens so I can tell you when to book your flights.
In all of the countries we have lived in so far, I think it would be fair to say that the people as a whole have been pretty easy going, not overly anxious or go-go-go. But once they get behind the wheel of a car it's like they are in a race and desperate to get to the finish line! I am constantly being tailed here, no matter how far over the speed limit I am going.
Which is why photos like this one are really scary! Let me set the scene. Sadie and I went on a little adventure yesterday, and at one point I was stopped at this red light on a 6-lane main road. It's a major thoroughfare with a long straight stretch and no speed bumps. People will tear through this intersection at 60 miles an hour if the light isn't red. It's hard to see in this photo, but the cherry picker is in the middle of the three lanes so that the stop light can be repaired. Directly in front of the truck is a man standing behind a yellow sign. That man is supposed to signal for all the people to get into the other lanes...he's standing between the sign and the truck. Literally inches from the bumper of the truck.
In the States, there would be cones a half a mile out, signs telling you to merge into one lane, maybe even a cop with his light flashing. Here is one dinky man with a red mini light saber half-heartedly waving it and hoping no one plows into him at 90 miles an hour. Seriously if the light hadn't been red I would not have realized in time that this truck was at a dead stop.
Sadie and I ventured out to a nearby park that we see every time we drive into the city. Its gate says "Norimae Themepark," but we've come to find that every thing is called a themepark here, so I don't think Korea quite knows what that word means. My first exposure to the word Theme Park was when I was taken to DollyWood as a young girl, so I was not so secretly hoping Norimae was the name of a little known Korean country music star and this trip to the park was about to rock my world.
Welp, it wasn't dedicated to K-Twang (which is what we need to all call Korean country music if it ever becomes a genre), but Norimae park was still pretty great. It's a very nicely kept park with a beautiful pond in the middle and all kinds of nice winding paths through manicured gardens. There was also a bunch of this:
Little nooks along the paths with instagram-worthy photo backdrops! This park knows its audience: young couples curating the perfect life in social media.
There was a sign that frequently popped up that read "usual path," which I found really funny. Does that mean the other direction is the unusual path?
I never did figure out what the volcanic bomb was. It was just a little path, from what I could tell...
My options were "Mrror funtain square" or "Traditional house"
Yes, but is it THE way out?
The signs were helpful and entertaining all at the same time.
This was the gate to the traditional house
I was disappointed that I couldn't go in the traditional house!
Despite its nonchalant entrance that is sort of tucked into a curve in the road, this park was heavily attended on the day Sadie and I went. There was a school group of young kids who were having a great time intercepting Sadie and I as we meandered and practicing their English. All they could say was "Hello" which was right on par with my level of Korean vocabulary: "Annyang Haseyo" which means "Hello."
Gotta make the boyfriend take the perfect Instagram photo
As we wandered along we found a bonsai garden and a George Orwell novel.
See what I did there?
Sadie was practicing her goat face
Hello goat! One day we will teach Sadie about the inhumanity of making two goats live in such a tiny enclosure.
She was unimpressed with the conditions, though the animals were being better taken care of than at DinoSaurLand Park, it seemed.
Throughout our walk it was hard to tell if Sadie was asleep or just hiding from the sun. I think my child might be part lizard.
One of the photo backdrops featured fake Jeju tangerines tied to a real Jeju tangerine tree.
I'm glad to have discovered this little park so close to our house. It'll be a great little dose of nature between naps and I'm definitely adding it to my list of stops for friends and family when they visit.