Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Review: Jeju Taxi Tour by Richard Kim

Since we only had 3 days and 2 nights in Jeju, we decided to hire a taxi tour to save time as a lot of people recommended it online. After doing an online research, we found out that one Mr Won is highly recommended by almost everyone. Sadly, he was only available for the first day but not for the second day.

Hence, we decided to go with the second best, Richard Kim. After a few exchange of emails, we managed to book him for KRW100,000 for a half day tour and KRW130,000 for a full day tour. Please also note that on top of that, you are also expected to pay for the toll fees as well as for his food during the tour.

When we touch down Jeju airport, a sweet looking elderly man was already there holding the sign with our names on it. He’s none other than our tour guide, Mr Richard Kim and he promised us “many many” good times in Jeju.

We gave him a list of must visit places to plan since he is more familiar with the location of places. He then agreed to take us to four different places on the list for the half day tour. This was supposed to be our relaxing and stress free trip to Jeju since we will be leaving all the planning to the tour guide but it turned out to be pretty stressful in the end. Read on to find out why! ;P

The first place he took us to was however, not on our list. It was a tourist shop selling all of Jeju famous products and I can’t help but to notice the tangerine flavoured chocolates almost at every corner. After that, he took us to the Manjanggul Lava Tube….and that was the end of our tour. His reason was that we took too long to explore the lava tube and he finishes work at 5pm...-____-

Us, being all happy and excited before entering the lava tube not knowing that  we would come out later feeling the total opposite ;P

You can just imagine how upset we were at that time to pay him KRW100,000 and visit only one place when we were promised four!  Unless we were Speedy Gonzales, we don’t know how fast he expected us to finish the 2km walk. Not only did we have to walk to the end of the tunnel, but we had to walk all the way back to where we first entered! :o 

As it is, we were all tired from the walk and the atmosphere became tensed on our way back as neither of us felt like talking to him. He must have sensed that we were annoyed with him so he decided to make little pit stops along the way just to cheer us up, which included the tangerine farm and the windmill.

 
He must have realized that we were easy to please....Just stop and take their pictures! haha 

He also loves talking about the tangerines and he would go, “Oooh! Look…Tangerines!" almost in a child-like voice every single time we passed by one. It was cute at first but after hearing him repeat the same thing like a broken record, we almost wished that the tangerines would disappear because they keep popping out everywhere, all along the way!

Iris then decided to be funny and quickly pointed to the next batch of tangerines before he had the chance to do so. To our surprise, he stepped on the emergency brake in the middle of the road and asked us to go down and take pictures. It has got to be the loudest and most horrified “No!” ever from the four of us in the car at that time! Luckily there were no cars behind us!

Heart shaped tangerines <3

Most of the time, his driving skills are okay except that he loves going downhill or taking sharp turns in top speed, which scared the daylight out of us! He claimed that this "roller coaster" would be the best time for hugs and kisses but in case you haven't noticed, we are a group of four girls. Obviously, we can’t be hugging and kissing each other in the car! LOL!


Our view on the road. So many breath taking scenery in Jeju we miss!

The next day, we did everything in “Pali pali” (Fast in Korean) Style, so fast that we later had to check our cameras to recollect where we have visited. We literally felt as if we were running the Amazing Race, trying to make every second and every cent count! 

Columnar Joints @ Daepo Coast...Check!

Filming location of "Secret Garden" at SEAES Hotel & Resort...Check!


Jeju Teddy Bear Museum...Check!

Yeongmori Coast...Check!

Hallim Park...Check!

 Jeju Mysterious Road...Check!

 Hyeopjae Beach...Check!

Apart from being our driver and tour guide, he was also our photographer who risked his life in taking the last picture above! He kept going backwards to the middle of the road when a car was heading his way. Despite us screaming "Car! Car!", he plainly ignored us and kept meddling with the camera, trying to fit us together with the sculptures in the photograph. By now, we can safely assume that Mr Richard Kim is not someone who can multi task! haha

A point to note that although he claims to be an English speaking tour guide, we realized that he was memorizing most of his sentences. If you look closely, there is a paper stuck on his steering wheel and  he would explain by reading from that piece of paper. Ask him anything out of the topic and he would either ignore you or answer something totally out of the topic.

Typical situation :

Mr Kim : There are many many good food in Jeju

Iris : Like what?

Mr Kim : There are many many good food in Jeju

Iris: I know, but what are the famous food?

Mr Kim : No problem! I will guide (which sounded like “ride” most of the times!) you!

At that time, we felt really frustrated because there was no two way communication at all. We couldn't get our points across and he was there reading out loud like a school boy. However, as we look back at it now, we can’t help but to laugh at how funny the situation was. He was part of the reason why our Jeju trip became a memorable one with so many stories and laughter to share! ;) 

Our only regret was not doing a thorough research on each of these places so please, do not repeat our mistake! If possible, we would recommend you to plan out the itinerary instead of leaving it in the hands of the driver so that you have better control over your itinerary. Do keep in mind that Jeju is NOT a small island and it takes at least one hour journey to get from one point to the other. A hint, since Jeju is separated into the East Course and the West Course, you can start your planning from there! 

Overall, Richard Kim is a nice person and we know he really tried his best to keep us happy. Although the first day didn’t go as well as we had hoped, the second day did sort of made up for it. We appreciate his service and patience, especially after we saw him lost control when a lady driver drove at the wrong side of the one way street. He was scolding her loudly  in Korean and at the same time, keep turning back to apologize to us in English. All we know is that you would never want to mess with an “ahjusshi” (elderly uncle in Korean)! Haha

 That's Mr Richard Kim and us not ready for a photograph, cheese!

Richard Kim can be contacted via email at skimsr@hanmail.net or through phone at 001-81-10-3710-0065.

22 comments:

  1. Hi! thanks for your information on this. By the way, what car is Richard Kim using? Overall, would you reccomend him?

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    1. Hi shawnnaye! Thank you for your comment and for reading out blog! So sorry we took so long to reply! :) We can't remember the exact model he was using but it's a sedan car and it fitted the 4 of us comfortably. We do recommend him as he is a pleasant driver and he really did try his best to accommodate us despite all the dramas :)

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  2. Hi! I have read about your jeju taxi tour. But is there taxis tour available on weekends like sunday? Because our itinerary for jeju will fall on the weekends. :)

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    1. Hello! Hope our reply is not too late.
      Yes the taxis tour are available on weekends.

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  3. How much were the toll services for the whole day trip you took?

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    1. We didn't take note on the amount that was paid for the toll services :(
      Our guess is the toll is not very expensive.

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  4. Thanks for review for trip. I am Richard Kim. I am looking forward to provide joyful trip for you guys. Toll is about 150 USD for a group up to 4 people for 8 hours. Cell number is 82-10-3692-3305. P. The cap is brand new santafe a big SUV.

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    1. Can I get the email of Mr. Kim? Is the number in the previous comment is really his number? Thanks

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    2. Hi Natalia!

      From our records, Richard Kim can be contacted via email at skimsr@hanmail.net or through phone at 001-81-10-3710-0065.

      However, do note that we were in Korea in 2012 so there is a possibility that he may have changed his number. Perhaps, you can try Google around for confirmation :)

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  5. I have seen Mr. Won’s name a couple of times on the internet while I was searching for a taxi/driver who can take us around Jeju (I also came across Mr. Kim’s name), but opted the first one as he responded quickly. So common sense will dictate that you choose the one who’s willing to do business with you, or so I thought. A week before the trip, I sent Mr. Won our itinerary, a well-thought-out one. It took a while for us to figure which places we wanted to visit with the limited time we had, so I figured I’ll send him our itinerary and see what he’s going to say and added ‘optional’ places to visit in case we had extra time (I even added on the list a place that was closed due Geothermal activity of some sort, but I kinda hoped that it’ll be open in time for our vacation); I sent him the itinerary and explained that those are the places we wanted to see (if possible), but again, we were expecting that he will share his input, but he only said “OK.” So I thought that because he is an ‘expert’ and he knows how to manage our time accordingly, then maybe it was really doable to cover all the places in 2 full days. As the trip was approaching, we had constant communication about the mode of payment, our ETA/ETD, etc; I even asked him the night before our flight about other activities to do in Jeju. Everything went well until the day of the trip; he never showed up. We tried contacting him (SMS/phone call), but we did not hear from him. We even gave him a 2-hour window to reply or at least have the decency to let us know whether he’s picking us up or not. Nada. Zero. Nothing. No word from him, so we were forced to ask our host to arrange a taxi service. It was waaaay cheaper than Mr. Won. We paid 100,000 won than originally agreed with Mr. Won which was 130,000. So, I’d suggest that you skip the thought of contacting Mr. Won (unless you are 100% sure of the services he will provide) and just find one once you get to Jeju. I’m sure your hotel staff will help you.  Good luck and enjoy your vacation!

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  6. I stayed at December hotel last week, hotel is a bit outdated but good value. My sister went to Jeju and recommended the hotel and the driver Mr LEE SUNG FEEL (recommended to the the hotel staff to her) so I booked the same.

    When we got to Jeju and confirm the meeting time with Mr Lee (via email) for the next day, there was no reply. We asked the hotel and it turns out that he FORGOT my booking.

    So the hotel booked for us another driver, Mr KIM SUNG CHEOL for one day and the rest will be with Mr LEE. On the tour day, it was raining so our itinerary has to change. We asked Mr LEE for advice and he took us to 2 waterfalls. By 11am, we were soaking wet so he took us to lunch which we paid for his meal. We told him that we are all wet and feel like we getting a cold and wanted to go back to the hotel. He agreed but took us to a dirty and moldy Korean movie set display. We did not want to go in but he made all sort of comments and so we went in. He wanted to take photos of us with old Korean clothes from the movie set. The place was completely empty and he just wanted to extend the time so he can charge us a full day fee. We asked to go home a few times but he insisted to take more photos etc. We left at about 2pm and it was an unpleasant experience.

    On the next 2 days we have Mr Lee. All he wanted was to take us to the place, take photos and move to the next place. Time after time, we asked him to give us time to enjoy the place but he insisted on coming with us. On the Sunrise peak, he followed us all the way and keep on pushing for time. We felt like we were running marathon.

    On the last day, I insisted that he stay in the car but by 4pm he said that he is running overtime and asked for more money, 40000 won per hour. I told him that the schedule is from 9-6pm which he argued with us in front of the temple that its 9-5pm. His English is quite bad so we did not fully understand as my sister's tour was 9-6pm. He also did not want us to get out of the car to go to the temple until he finished explaining. My sister was so surprise of Mr Lee's behavior as he was a good driver to her.

    It was time consuming dealing with these two drivers and overall, the MR LEE and MR KIM made the experience in Jeju a bad one. I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND both of these drivers.

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  7. Hey lady travel bugs. Thanks for the info. I'm trying to set up something and am happy for your info. Great blog!

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  8. When you are moving from one place to another, just give a call to the cranleigh taxi service company and they would be sending a taxi to your location. Within that time, you can just pack up your items and get ready to move out.

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  9. Did you know that Koreans are really stressful? I spent 3 years here in Korea. Most of them are not helpful unless you bring one Korean friend with you. There are stubborn, intolerant , and do everything in pali pali (quickly-quickly). Don't expect they will speak English with you. I prefer do everything my own, traveled all over Korean by public transportation. It takes time on the road, but I don't need to take unnecessary stress from Koreans due to their lack of hospitality.

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  10. Hi would like to recommend 2 drivers whom I have engaged for my 2013 & 2015 trip.

    http://airfne.com/listing/korea-lee-hongmin-ko-soon-tae/

    http://airfne.com/listing/korea-mr-xuan-玄庸昊/

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joseph could you kindly share their contacts & rates as I can't seem to work out the links above! :/ Many thanks! :)

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  11. I didn't notice this on the lot but when I took the 300 home and camped in it a few times, מלונות בחו"ל

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