Jeju Island is a small island with a warmer climate than the mainland, and beautiful scenery. White sandy beaches washed by turquoise sea surround the coastline. Waterfalls splash into rivers and even into the sea at one point, while the central area has mountains with Mt Halla the centrepiece. Famous for its unique network of lava tubes, Jeju is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another label often used describes the island as “the Hawaii of Korea.”
Dolhareubang – Grandfather stones are the symbol of Jeju and seen everywhere around the island. Carved out of lava rock around 1754… there are 45 of the originals left.
Locally spelt Cheju Island attracts many tourists…. and I would be surprised if there are many places that could compete for the number of theme parks within such a small area! Many are family parks….while others are definitely in line with the adult honeymoon theme and are sex parks featuring graphic monuments in colourful mosaics, statuary and educational museums.
Many of the activities are for those keen on the outdoors… walking, hiking, watersports – swimming, snorkelling, wind surfing and diving. Jeju Island is South Korea’s main dive centre… attracting many international divers.
7 “Must Do” Activities On Jeju Island
1) Visit a Waterfall – It is surprising to find several lovely waterfalls right in the city of Soegwipo. I will suggest you should try and visit more than one but Jeongbang Waterfall – is unique in that it is right on the coast. This 23 metre waterfall not far from the city centre is a pleasant, picturesque walk down through a well formed cliff path, taking you to the foot of the Falls.
2) Visit a Beach – although they have a short 6 week official season when lifeguards are on duty….walking these beaches is delightful any time of year.
Jungman Beach – This is the main tourist area about 2 kilometres from Seogwipo, with several large hotels, many with lovely views over the beach and sea. The beach is a lovely stretch of white sand, with gazebos for shelter. Apparently this beach has been featured in many movies. There is also parasailing, rafting and waterskiing.
3) Experience one of the many beautiful coastal spots or waterholes – not beaches but lovely for swimming in cool crystal clear water.
Oedolgae (Way-doll-gay) – This was an absolutely gorgeous spot, down a coastal cliff path to an area of rocks, pools and sea……and very good for snorkelling. Oedalgae is the name of a 20m high rock formation with small pines growing on top named from a Korean Legend. There is a beach on the coast line with several caves where the locals sheltered during the war. A large carpark is located across the road to the track.
4) Hike up one of the mountains – The ultimate is Mt Halla but for tourists some of the smaller mountains are still a good work out with lovely views.
Seongsan Llchulbong – A hike up Seongsan Llchulbong is well worth while with views of the crater, the surrounding coastline and islands. Unusual because it was created by an underwater explosion, it has a well formed path. Koreans are great hikers so you can join the many Korean families and take your time. It is a climb for those with a reasonable level of fitness, although if you take it slowly there are plenty of resting places to take in the views, take photos and enjoy the experience. It is a popular spot for watching either the sunrise or sunset.
5) Visit a Korean Temple – There are several temples on Jeju. Each with unique features.
Yakcheonsa Temple – Yakcheonsa is the second largest temple complex on the island. Its size and beautiful, colourful architecture of unique artwork makes it one of Southern Jeju’s most awe inspiring attractions. It features an enormous bell which they ring out for prayers, a large golden goddess… while the monks can be seen going about their daily chores. Situated overlooking the coast….it has magnificent views.
6) Visit a Theme Park – There is such a variety to choose from whether your group is adults or a family….you are sure to find one or two that you might want to visit.
Hallim Park – This is a good place for those with limited time. With eight different themes featured……there are several garden areas…. lava caves, and a folk village park, giving you a good cross section of South Korean culture and natural attractions on Jeju.
- Palm Tree Avenue
- JejuStone and Bonsai Garden
- Jae-Am Folk Village
- Bird Garden
- Water Garden
- Subtropical Botanic Garden
- Jae-Am Stone Exhibit Hall
- Hyeopjae& Ssangyong Caves – Hyeopjae is one of several caves located in Hallim Park.
You can easily spend a day, enjoying a traditional Korean meal in the Restaurant in the Folk Village.
7) Go down a Jeju Island Lava Tube – There are more than 120 lava tubes are scattered throughout the island. Several are open to the public.
Hyeopjae (designated Natural Monument #236) and Ssangyong are accessed from Hallim Park. Manjang gul Caves – are perhaps the most visited on Jeju Island. With two levels it features lava columns and interesting formations. 1 kilometre is open to the public.
Getting to Jeju Island
To get to Jeju Island you either take a boat from mainland South Korea…Busan has boats departing daily or fly to Jeju City. Seogwipo on the southern coast is the main tourist resort area….and the best place to base yourself. This is where most international conventions are held in Korea….and where the Football World Cup was held.