Sunrising House is the only resort on the island where you can step outside and see the island of Udo, Sunrise Peak, Seopjikoji and Mount Halla by simply turning around. If you are lucky, you will be greeted by one of the two resort watchdogs, Kum Dung Yee, a mid-sized black mutt, and Ilchul, a yellow Jindo. These watchdogs, however, are looking to see when the next opportunity to receive a friendly scratch will occur. This six-bedroom overnighter is also equipped with modern amenities and most importantly the warm embrace of Kang Joong Hoon, the owner of the establishment.
Kang will greet you with a smile and genuine concern that each guest enjoys a relaxing visit. We visited on New Year’s Eve and every room was booked, but the guesthouse is rarely vacant. If luck is with you, you can stay in one of the rooms that the 2008 Nobel Prize winner for literature, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, has occupied on many visits to Jeju, including one during which he worked on a French environmental documentary on the island. In fact, Kang said, a postcard had just arrived from Le Clezio stating that his only New Year’s wish was to be back at Sunrising House.
The average price for rooms during the off season is around 60,000 won per night, while the highest seasonal price is around 200,000 won. The small resort has a Western-style restaurant on the first floor that is open for lunch and dinner. Each room is also equipped with a kitchen and cooking utensils. The rooms not only provide a view of Sunrise Peak but also overlook an estuary that is home to more than 50 different kinds of birds that inhabit the area.
▲ Sunrising House offers a home away from home, as J.M.G. Le Clezio can attest. Photos by Kim Gyong Ho, courtesy of Kang Joong Hoon
Among those are some of Kang’s own. A family of mallard ducks swims the estuary by day and crosses the somewhat busy road separating the house from the water whenever they are hungry for the grain that Kang leaves out for them. He has an animal farm beside Sunrising House. To the right as you exit the resort is an area that hosts free range chickens, ducks, rabbits and the dog pens. Kang does not know how many rabbits he has as they only appear from their burrow for a daily serving of lettuce.
Sunrising House has the feeling of a Beatrix Potter storybook, complete with its own author as Kang is a poet himself. It is truly a writer’s paradise, but will suit anyone who enjoys a serene environment filled with positive energy. As visitors exit the resort to their left, they will find a small walking path with benches to sit on and relax while the simplicity of superb natural views spread before them.
On an easel in my small back room A painting of a spiral is dozing off, snoring Along my gaze while I am lying on the side A lazy shadow of the moon is also declining Half-closed eye Down into the deep valley of the forest Into the white nest on a dead tree Fluttering blithely as a feather Falls a spiral.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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