Welcome to Jeju Island, South Korea
Jeju Island (Jeju-do) is the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula and is also known as the “Island of the Gods”. The island lies in the Korea Strait, south of South Jeolla Province and has long been a favourite domestic holiday destination thanks to its beautiful beaches, lush countryside and seaside hotels designed for rest and relaxation. The island contains the natural World Heritage Site Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.
Jeju Island has two major cities; Jeju City the capital which is located in the central northern part of the island; and Seogwipo located in the southern part of the island, and close to a wide range of tourist sites.
Things to See
Manjanggul Cave is one of the finest lava tunnels in the world and a UNESCO World Natural Heritage attraction. Only 1 km of the lava tunnel can be accessed by the public. It is formed when the lava that was deep in the ground spouts from the peak and flows to the surface. Manjanggul Cave has a variety of interesting structures inside including 70cm lava stalagmites and the lava tube tunnels.
The inside of the tunnel sustains a temperature of 11~21℃, creating a comfortable cold atmosphere. There are rare animals such as bats living in the tunnel, which makes this tunnel valuable for researchers as well. “Stone Turtle” is especially eye-catching because it is shaped like Jeju-do Island.
Jeju Love Land is the most eccentric and internationally infamous attraction. It is a theme sculpture park based on sensuality and eroticism and was created by graduates of Seoul’s Hongik University. The spacious park (39,667m²) is home to over 140 sculptures (40 within the gallery and 100 outside). The park as a whole looks like a piece of land art.
Jeju Love Land is open every day. It usually takes 30-40 minutes to look around the park. Jeju Love Land houses a glass-dome restaurant, an outdoor café, an art shop, a sex shop and various works which visitors can touch. Jeju Love Land is an attractive place where art and eroticism meet in cool, fun, humorous styles.
The Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju Island is one of the few teddy museums found in Korea that boasts a unique collection of teddy bears to entertain its visitors. Teddy bears are no longer just a regular toy to children, but a best friend, if not part of the family. Teddy Bear Museum located in Jungmun Tourism Complex on Jeju Island, one of Korea’s main tourist attractions, is a museum dedicated to teddy bears that opened in April 2001.
Millions of people around the world collect Teddy Bears and they seek out old, unique, and valuable teddy bears for their personal collections. The Jeju Teddy Bear Museum opened especially for the European collectors and is more exciting than ever with special “Teddy Bear” entertainment. Some scenes from the popular Korean Drama “Goong (궁)” was filmed in this museum.
Situated to the north of Jeju City, Yongduam was created from the erosion of coastal rocks by strong winds over the course of thousands of years. However, there are plenty of other stories of how it came to be. One legend has it that a dragon stealing precious jade from Mt. Halla was shot down by an arrow from the mountain deity. When he fell down on Yongduam, his body immediately sank into the ocean and his head rapidly froze looking at the sky. Another legend has it that a white horse, who dreamed of being a dragon and ascending to the sky, came to be caught by a soldier and froze into the rock.
The views at Yongduam Rock promise to be spectacular and it is also an excellent vantage point for you to watch Haeneo women divers working to catch seafood. The coastal road between Aewol-eup and Yongduam is a popular spot for couples. Cafes and seafood restaurants began to appear there five years ago and now form a pleasant café village. Further from the port is one of the most popular beaches on Jeju Island, Hyeopjae Beach, showcasing the deep royal-blue sea year-round with splendid white sand.
The water at Cheonjiyeon Falls, meaning “sky connected with land,” appears to fall from the heavens, giving the falls its name. Take a walk along the subtropical path towards the Cheonjiyeon Falls for a kilometre and you will be able to hear the magnificent sound of the water falling surrounded by wild Dampalsu trees, Sanjuya trees and camellias. The waterfall is about 22m high, 12m wide and 20m in depth and stands picture perfect from every angle. The clear and deep water of Cheonjiyeon Falls is designated as Natural Monument and is renowned as a habitat for Mutae eels.
Jeongbang Falls is among the top three waterfalls of Jeju-do and is the only waterfall in Asia to fall directly into the ocean. It is a great place to relax during the summer. On top of the cliff, there is an observatory from which you will be greeted by dazzling views of the sea.
Next to the waterfall is an inscription reading “Seobulgwacha,” referring to Seobul passing by this place. Seobul was a servant of the Emperor of the Chinese Qin Dynasty (BC 259~210) who was ordered by the Emperor to find a substance that would make him immortal. Seogwipo is also said to have gotten its name from this story, meaning “Seobul Headed Back West.”
Jusangjeolli are stone pillars piled up along the coast and is a designated cultural monument of Jeju Island. Jusangjeolli Cliff was formed when the lava from Hallasan Mountain erupted into the sea of Jungmun. They are rock pillars shaped like cubes or hexagons of various sizes and almost seem as if stonemasons had carved them out.
The administration of the district named them ‘Jisatgae Rocks’ from their old name ‘Jisatgae’. The 20m cliff makes it a popular spot for high tide and sea angling. The waves of the high tide crashing into the side of the cliff provide a breathtaking view of the ocean surrounding the pillars.
Oedolgae Rock sits not far from the shores of Sammaebong, Seogwipo. It is an amazing rock 10 meters in circumference and 20 meters in height and is also known as Janggunseok Rock. It is surrounded by beautiful islands such as Bum Island, Sae Island and Seonnyu (fairy) Rock.
For breathtaking views of the sunset, the fantastic rocks of Oedolgae and fields of reeds in the extensive ranch, do take a stroll along the Oedolgo walking treks towards the Oedolgae Rock. Oedolgae was also a filming location in the iconic 2003 Korean drama series, “Daejangguem” where Hansangoong (Yang Mi-Kyung) faced her death under a false accusation while being carried on Daejanggeum’s (Lee Young-Ae) back.
In Cheonjeyeon Valley, visitors can see Seonimgyo Bridge, an arch bridge with 7 nymphs carved on both sides and the octagonal Cheonjeru Pavilion. Seonimgyo Bridge is also called Chilseonyeogyo, also known as the Seven Nymphs Bridge, the nymphs on the bridge represent the Korean legend of the descent of seven beautiful nymphs from heaven in the evening; and it connects Cheonjeyeon Falls with Jungmum Tourist Complex. On the surface of Cheonjeru Pavilion, there is a painting that tells Cheonjeyeon’s legend of the seven nymphs and the mountain god.
Also located in Cheonjeyeon Valley, is Cheonjeyeon Falls, named “The Pond of God,” consists of 3 sections. Around the falls, a variety of plant life thrives, such as the rare ‘solimnan’ reeds. To the east, there is a cave where cold water pours from the ceiling to create the first waterfall. The water gathers into a pool and from there, falls two more times, creating the second and third waterfalls, which then flow into the sea.
Things to Do
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak or Sunrise Peak is famous because climbing to the top to view the sunrise is a popular activity. It takes about a 25-minute walk to the top, covering over 600 steps. Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak rose from under the sea in a volcanic eruption over 100,000 years ago. Located on the eastern end of Jeju-do Island, there is a huge crater at the top of Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak. The crater is about 600m in diameter and 90m high. With the 99 sharp rocks surrounding the crater, it looks like a gigantic crown. While the southeast and north sides are cliffs, the northwest side is a verdant grassy hill that is connected to the Seongsan Village. The ridge provides an ideal spot for walks and for horse riding as well.
The sunrise from the crater is magnificent. Also, the Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak is surrounded by bright yellow coloured canola flowers in the spring; a truly magical sight that will take your breath away. As a bonus, on the cliffs off to the left, as you ascend, there is a stairwell down that leads to a place where you can see regular performances of the Jeju Women Divers group.
Arguably one of Jeju Island’s more memorable landmarks, Hallasan National Park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site which is treasured for its geological value. To fully embrace the beauty and wonders of Hallasan National Park, a hike up Hallasan Mountain is recommended. Even if you are a hiking amateur, there is no need to worry as the mountain is relatively easy to hike and each hiking course is less than 10km in distance, it is possible to go to the peak and back in one day. However, the constantly changing weather brings a lot of wind, so make sure that you are well prepared before you start climbing.
Hallasan Mountain rises up proudly from the center of Jeju Island and is famous for its vertical ecosystem of plants that results from the varying temperatures along the mountainside. Over 1,800 kinds of plants and 4,000 species of animals (3,300 species of insects) have been identified; to explore the mountain’s treasures, simply follow one of the well-developed mountain hiking trails.
O’sulloc Tea Museum, located next to O’sulloc’s Seogwang Tea Planation in Jeju, was the first tea museum opened by Amore Pacific in 2001 with the aim of introducing and spreading Korean teas and the traditional tea culture of Korea. Located among actual plantations of green tea, this museum is built in the shape of a teacup. Here you can see tea collecting methods and take pictures in the middle of tea plantations. The O’Sulloc tea museum teaches you about Korean tea culture through a miniature of a green tea production line and many other interesting activities.
The museum is a cultural space where the West and the East, and modernity and tradition coexist in harmony. The museum has a tea gallery, a souvenir shop, eco-friendly resting area, and cafe where visitors can enjoy a variety of tasty tea-based desserts. A very beautiful modern building, the museum is surrounded with summer-houses, stone towers and soft green grass lawns.
Recognised for its architectural design which is reminiscent of Buddhist temples during the early Joseon Dynasty, Yakcheonsa Temple is an impressive Buddhist temple measuring an impressive 30 metres high and covers a total area of 3,305 meters squared, it is the largest temple in the East.
Upon entering Yakcheonsa Temple, guests will be greeted by a 5m-tall statue of Vairocana, the tallest of such statues in Korea, on a 4m high pedestal. The walls on both the right and left have been sculpted into large altar portraits of Buddha and in front of the Dharma Hall is a giant Buddhist temple bell, weighing 18 tons. Beloved for its size and grandeur, the temple consists of the main temple (2,652 meters squared) and a 3-story residential structure for the Buddhist monks. Other notable sites are the Gulbeopdang (the Dharma Hall, built inside a natural cave), the Samseonggak Shrine, and the Sarira Pagoda.
Seongeup Folk Village located at the foot of Halla Mountain on Jeju Island, is a small town that holds a vast amount of culture. Seongeup Folk Village shows the unique culture of Jeju Island: the black lava rock walls, the straight but curvy alleys to block the wind, and the stone grandfather statues (Harubang), which have become a prime feature of the landscape.
Cultural properties in the folk village have been handed down from generation to generation and include treasures such as residential houses, Confucian shrines and schools, ancient government offices, stone statues, large millstones (pulled by horses or ox), fortress ruins, and stone monuments. Among the cultural gems of the folk village are intangible cultural assets such as folk plays, native foods, local folk craftsmanship, and local dialect.
With a total of 117 houses and facilities, Jeju Folk Village has restored the scenes of the village to that of the 1890’s. Among them are Mountain Village, Hill-Country Village, Fishing Village and Shamanism Village. Built on an area of over 150,000 square meters, the village has reconstructed and moved living structures from varies styles. Get the audioguide: a steal at only Kw 2000. Pace yourself, seeing everything can take up to 4 hours. Kw 6000.
Jeju Folk Village has been reconstructed following long-term research and analysis of experts. Some of the extensive range of folk items on display are 1,627 woodenware, 1,046 bamboo ware, 1,699 earthenware, 1,544 porcelain ware, 765 wax candles, 921 ironware and 579 other items. The Jeju Folk Village is the island’s main tourist attraction where customs of the old days can be explored.